Beyond the Offer: A Beginners Guide to Career Progression in Tech


You’re about to hit the one year mark into your first full-time role as a software engineer. Just a couple of months ago, you felt on top of the world; you had just graduated with a very generous offer from your favorite tech company, and life couldn’t be better. Now, a year into your career, you feel lost. It took you about six months to settle into your new role, but your manager is starting to raise concerns regarding your performance, and there’s pressure to get promoted within a specific timeframe. You feel overwhelmed; you hadn’t thought this far into your career. 

As scary as this sounds, this could be a reality for a vast majority of us. No one sits us down before we start our careers with a guidebook on career progression for software engineers. This talk aims to provide an in-depth explanation of what typical career progression looks like for software engineers, how promotions work, what they entail, who’s involved, and details actionable steps to get promoted to a senior software engineer.


The session will focus on the following areas:

  1. The basics

    1. What is an IC

    2. What is the typical engineering track for a software engineer (intern, new grad, mid-level, senior, staff, principal, distinguished)

    3. Brief description of what these roles are and how expectations vary for them

    4. What is a terminal level

    5. Difficulties of getting promoted the higher up you go

  2. Why do promotions matter?

    1. Opportunity for greater impact

    2. Changes to compensation

  3. Understand how promotions work

    1. The process: self-review, peer view, manager feedback, frequency, etc

  4. Who’s involved?

    1. Your manager’s/skip-level manager’s role

    2. How to successfully navigate your relationships with the key players involved in your promotion

  5. Understanding the criteria (competencies)

    1. Technical contributions and expertise 

    2. Design and architecture

    3. Collaboration and communication

    4. Team building - mentorship

  6. What if you don’t get promoted?

    1. The importance of being realistic in this process

    2. Pros and cons of changing companies to get promoted 

Room 103
Sunday, March 17, 2024 - 13:00 to 14:00