Principal Engineer

Last Edited : Jan 11, 2023

3 Min read

Title: Principal Software Engineer

Scope: Function or Company

Summary: A Principal Engineer works closely with the Head of Technology and is capable of technically leading to solve Signal AI’s largest and most challenging technical problems effectively.

Principal Engineers proactively identify problems that challenge our scale or business direction and are widely considered an expert in one or more areas by company leadership. They define and set our principles and patterns, including extending these to cover previously unknown spaces.

Someone moving to Principal Engineer will be on an individual journey and their progression and goals will be very bespoke. These will be agreed with their line manager and other senior leaders around the business. It’s important to note that opportunities to progress to this level and above will be constrained by the needs of the business, and will likely take around 5 years or more for our most talented engineers.

Key Takeaway: As a Principal Engineer you’re a seasoned technical leader and your impact is felt company wide. You proactively and regularly engage with senior stakeholders across the business and can bring those people along with you.

Influential Impact

  • They are a technical authority at Signal AI, with influence and respect across multiple teams, disciplines and projects.
  • Understands and is involved in the wider business strategy; doesn’t just have a pure engineering focus. Able to contribute directly to the business strategy if called upon.
  • Fosters a culture of quality within their function. Proactively champions measures to test work, and gets buy-in from stakeholders when this is not appreciated.
  • Able to provide company-wide learning pathways as a subject matter expert in their domain.
  • Supports hiring our most senior engineering people.
  • Comfortably leads the resolution of any engineering problem related to their discipline, whether they have experienced it previously or not.

Technical Mastery

  • Connects initiatives to the larger company strategy and can articulate the lead measures and their impact on the business’ success.
  • Able to identify root causes and initiate changes to the processes or technologies that underpin Signal AI’s engineering organisation.
  • Confident with huge scale complexity, and someone we would send our very gnarliest problems.
  • Has the knowledge and experience to predict scalability problems before they manifest.
  • Actively manages technical debt and can communicate its importance to non-technical stakeholders.
  • Actively looks for risks in existing technologies or architecture. Initiates technology evaluations where needed to make sure key technical decisions are approached with proper due diligence.

Behavioural Approach

  • Able to provide actionable direction to teams of multiple stakeholders even in the most challenging of situations.
  • Proactively identifies and communicates opportunities of growth for less experienced engineers.
  • Guides conversations to remove blockers and encourage collaboration across teams.
  • Interacts with customers and other external stakeholders as a consultant and spokesperson.
  • Leads by example to proactively foster an inclusive, diverse, and positive engineering culture across the business.