Senior Engineer

Last Edited : Jan 11, 2023

3 Min read

Title: Senior Software Engineer

Scope: Project or Team

Summary: Senior Engineers are experienced individual contributors and domain level experts within their teams. They deliver high quality software and take complex problems and suggest multiple alternative solutions, skillfully weighing trade-offs to help their team make effective medium term technical decisions.

Senior Engineer is a challenging step up from Engineer, and with it comes new responsibilities and expectations. Although not every engineer will want to reach Senior level, Signal AI will always need engineers at this level and above and there will be opportunities to progress to this point should someone be willing and able. To progress through this level will likely take around 1-2 years for a talented engineer.

Key Takeaway: As a Senior Engineer I your domain knowledge and technical experience allow you to have more impact by helping to steer product and/or technical decisions. You have become someone people can rely on to help with tricky or urgent problems.

Influential Impact

  • Can demonstrate their technical skills outside of code, and leads the design process for complex technical problems in their team.
  • Takes responsibility and personal ownership of customer-impacting issues for the systems they co-own.
  • Able to understand competing priorities and effectively order them appropriately. Can identify risks, assumptions, issues and dependencies.
  • Proposes new technical approaches to problems that inhibit end users.
  • Coaches more junior engineers to deliver effectively and build high quality, resilient software.
  • Active in contributing to improvements in technologies and processes via seeking consensus and RFCs.

Technical Mastery

  • Able to take highly complex problems and weigh up several alternative solutions before reliably proposing the most appropriate.
  • Understands and applies good software design principles, that meets requirements as simply as possible and can be easily understood by others.
  • Able to identify trade-offs and relative strengths of integration testing compared to effective observability.
  • Understands and considers performance and scalability when proposing or building solutions. Demonstrate awareness of risks and trade-offs in technical decisions.
  • Able to drive pairing activities related to most of the components, codebases and systems owned by their team.
  • Keeps a lid on technical debt and tackles problems before they can do harm.
  • Proactively explores opportunities for codebase or system level improvements. Can suggest, and present justification for, new tools, languages and technologies.

Behavioural Approach

  • Invites participation and knows when to leverage others to solve a common problem, constructively working to level-up the capability of other engineers in their team.
  • Able to identify trade-offs and relative strengths of alternative technical approaches. Can reliably choose approaches that meet Signal AI’s needs now without sacrificing tomorrow.
  • Understands that being senior doesn’t mean they can stop learning. Actively seeks feedback on their own code and believes they can learn from everyone in their team.
  • Self-motivated team player that works with their team to deliver effective solutions in line with estimates.
  • Communicates peaceably when challenging the ideas and opinions of others. Provides concise, actionable, timely and objective feedback to peers.
  • Exhibits emotional maturity when working through conflicts. Able to persuade teammates through well-informed and clearly expressed opinions.