Engineering team levels at TransferWise

Career maps are a tool we use to map out all the different levels within a team. They give clarity on what we expect at each level and help our people know how they can progress in their team. They also help us evaluate impact and pay our people consistently and fairly. 

We’re sharing our Engineering team levels to give you an idea of where you might fit, what’s expected at each level and how you can progress at TransferWise. 

While career map frameworks are a useful guideline, they should never replace one-to-one career development and coaching conversations. All our employees go through an annual 360 feedback review, where we refine our individual development plans. This framework helps our Engineering Leads have more structured conversations with their team members about progression and understand what they need to do to increase their impact on our mission.

When you’re thinking about your skills in relation to these levels, always remember it’s not a tick box exercise, but rather a guide to show the kind of impact we expect from our people as they progress in their journey at TransferWise. Different roles and teams have varying expectations on certain areas, but on the whole these expectations are common across all roles.

The two TransferWise Engineering tracks: Individual Contributor and Engineering Lead

There are two Engineering tracks at TransferWise – the Individual Contributor track and the Engineering Lead track.

  1. The Individual Contributor track consists of our Software Engineers who are focused on personal contribution to our product, rather than team or people leadership. There are a number of levels (L1-L5) that reflect the increasing impact, scope and responsibilities with each level. 
  2. The Engineering Lead track is made up of Engineering Leads who act as team leads and focus on making an impact at a team level. There are a number of levels (EL1-EL3) that reflect the increasing impact, scope and responsibilities with each level. It’s important to note that our Engineering Leads are still very hands-on with our Engineers, so we expect them to have good soft skills and strong coding and technical abilities too.

Important to note: The Engineering Lead track isn’t necessarily better than the Individual Contributor track. Although we don’t expect Engineering Lead 1s to be the best Engineer in their team, they’re expected to be technically hands-on. So there’s a minimum requirement that they hit Individual Contributor Level 3 before moving on to Engineering Lead 1 so they’re better able to contribute meaningfully and guide others in the team alongside other new responsibilities. 

Both tracks run in parallel and the compensation packages are of similar level. We strongly recommend our employees decide which path to go down based on the type of work they enjoy rather than basing their decision on perceived external validation.

Individual Contributor track

Engineering Leads track

Our Engineering Leads stay close to and are very hands-on with our Engineers, so we expect them not only to have good soft skills, but also to have strong coding and technical abilities. 

As an Engineering Lead at TransferWise you’ll constantly be exposed to technical design decisions as we have a platform with more than 300 services. While this is something we expect the whole team to work on, as a technical leader, you’ll have to make sure the team is on track and taking a good approach on everything they design.