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Dropbox Engineering Career Framework
IC4 Software Engineer
I autonomously deliver ongoing business impact across a team, product capability, or technical system
Scope
Area of ownership and level of autonomy / ambiguity
Collaborative Reach
Organizational reach and extent of influence
Impact Levers
Technical levers typically exercised to achieve business impact
  • I own and deliver bi-annual/annual goals for my team.
  • I am an expert at identifying the right solutions to solve ambiguous, open-ended problems that require tough prioritization.
  • I define technical solutions or efficient operational processes that level up my team. 
  • I am a strong leader for my team with my impact beginning to extend outside my team
  • I increasingly optimize beyond just my team by driving cross-team or cross-discipline initiatives
  • Technical Strategy - I play a key role in setting medium-to-long term strategy for business-impacting projects.
  • Project Leadership - I autonomously define and deliver technical roadmaps of larger projects, often involving cross-team dependencies. 
  • Product Expertise - I actively keep customer needs in mind and leverage input from product stakeholders as available to determine the right technical solutions to deliver customer value quickly
  • Mentorship - I actively level up less-experienced members of my team by helping them with their craft, providing guidance, and setting a good example

trophy Results

Responsibility
Key Behaviors
Impact
  • I deliver many of my team’s goals on time and with a high standard of quality
  • My understanding of the business context and my team’s goals enable me to have the greatest customer impact and allows me to make independent technical decisions in the face of open-ended requirements
  • I can identify when my results aren’t moving the needle for our business/team goals or serving the needs of customers in a meaningful way and work with manager to redirect my focus
  • I get work to a simple place by focusing on the heart of the problem and prioritizing the right things
Ownership
  • I proactively identify new opportunities and advocate for and implement improvements to the current state of projects — potentially having broader business impact across teams or products
  • I take responsibility for any failures on my project and take action to prevent them in the future. I embrace and share the learnings from those failures
  • When I encounter barriers, I unblock myself and my team by proactively assessing and eliminating the root cause 
Decision Making
  • I make informed decisions by consulting the right stakeholders and balancing details with the big picture 
  • I understand the implications of my decisions and adjust my approach based on the impact and risk (e.g. choosing a more iterative approach based on the degree of uncertainty with respect to product fit, while maintaining a view of the long term arc needed to accomplish business goals).
  • I make timely decisions but don’t cut corners that would compromise my customer’s trust  

glowing star Direction

Responsibility
Key Behaviors
Agility
  • I embrace change and adapt quickly to it
  • I’m able to navigate ambiguity and remain resilient through ups and downs
Innovation
  • I am beginning to push boundaries to generate and implement ideas that aim to drive our products and tools forward
  • I set audacious goals, take risks, and share lessons learned
Strategy
  • I define the technical roadmap for complex projects, refining it as the projects progress, and provide leadership for the people executing on the project
  • I define my team's priorities and secure buy-in in partnership with my manager
  • I generate excitement for my/the team's strategy

deciduous tree Talent

Responsibility
Key Behaviors
Personal Growth
  • I proactively ask for feedback from those I work with and identify ways to act upon it
  • I have self-awareness about my strengths and areas for development
  • I drive discussions with my manager about aspirational goals and seek out opportunities to learn and grow
Hiring
  • I gain the trust of candidates and can represent Dropbox's mission, strategy, and culture throughout the interview process
  • I am able to represent my team’s technical challenges to potential candidates in a compelling way (e.g. 1:1 sell chats, blog posts, public speaking)
Talent Development
  • I model integrity and a high standard of excellence for my work. I leverage this to set and hold the bar for quality and best practices for my team (e.g. via code and design reviews)
  • I identify and support areas of growth for my teammates that take into account their skills, backgrounds and working styles
  • I solicit and offer honest and constructive feedback that is delivered with empathy to help others learn and grow

rainbow Culture

Responsibility
Key Behaviors
Collaboration
 
  • I build relationships and drive coordination across teams & disciplines, helping get to positive outcomes
  • I avoid blame and solve the right problems, disagreeing and committing when necessary
Organizational Health
  • Working with my manager, I leverage the strengths & skills of the members of my team, and help identify talent gaps required for team success
  • I act as a partner to my manager in setting the cultural tone for the team. I support an environment where all Dropboxers are included and heard
  • I motivate others to bring their authentic selves every day and contribute to building community at Dropbox
Communication
  • I tailor my message to my audience, presenting it clearly and concisely at the right altitude
  • I proactively share information so the right people are informed and aligned

owl Craft

I play a role in ensuring the quality of my team’s technical work, both code and software designs. I am responsible for designing the software or systems required in my area of ownership and ensuring that they meet their design objectives. My understanding of business context and purpose enables me to make technical decisions aligned with longer term needs, not just immediate requirements.
Responsibility
Key Behaviors
Code fluency
  • The expectations for code fluency do not go up beyond L3 (though some specialist engineers may go deep in this area)
Software design
  • I am able to give quality feedback on designs written by other members of my team, asking probing, insightful questions that solidify choices and surface erroneous assumptions
  • I effectively and quickly debug cross-module issues, and may intuit where bugs might lie due to my deep knowledge of the libraries, platforms, and systems that my software relies on
Architecture Design
  • I’m able to create coherent designs with multiple components interacting across API or system boundaries; bugs do not creep in at the boundaries between components due to mismatches in expectations of what is technically feasible
  • I’m capable of rolling out a component or major feature (and deprecating an existing system or feature) reliably - including appropriate monitoring, paging, etc are in place, and that failure domains are understood and characterized appropriately before large scale rollout. For early stage products, I am able to roll out with an eye toward achieving learning goals untainted by poor quality.
  • I design clear success metrics and achieve those metrics consistently post-launch through the lifetime of the system or feature. For early stage products, those success metrics may be oriented around learning goals rather than usage goals, given the inherent unpredictability of achieving product/market fit.