Foundations

By Medium

Develops expertise in foundational systems, such as deployments, pipelines, databases and machine learning

Level 1

Works effectively within established structures, following current best practices

  • E.g. Resolved out of disk errors independently

  • E.g. Implemented new ETL pipelines based on existing ones

  • E.g. Made safe and effective Ansible changes

  • Performs backfills safely and effectively, without causing pages

  • Makes simple configuration changes to services

  • Writes thorough postmortems for service outages

Level 2

Develops new instances of existing architecture, or minor improvements to existing architecture

  • E.g. Improved ETL efficiency by improving Dynamo to S3 loading

  • E.g. Built custom packages for RPMs

  • E.g. Upgraded NodeJS from 8.0 to 8.1.1

  • Triages service issues correctly and independently

  • Builds machine learning jobs within the ML framework

  • Made minor version upgrades to technologies

Level 3

Designs standalone systems of moderate complexity, or major new features in existing systems

  • E.g. Designed flexible framework for writing machine learning jobs

  • E.g. Built Medium's realtime stats pipeline

  • E.g. Designed Ansible configuration management

  • Makes major version upgrades to libraries

  • Designs moderately complex systems

  • Acts as primary maintainer for existing critical systems

Level 4

Builds complex, reusable architectures that pioneer best practices for other engineers, or multi-system services

  • E.g. Introduced Kinesis and pioneered streaming events pipeline

  • E.g. Designed AWS configuration management

  • E.g. Designed and built BBFD

  • Introduces new databases and technologies to meet underserved needs

  • Demonstrates deep knowledge of foundational systems

  • Designs complex projects that encompass multiple systems and technologies

Level 5

Is an industry-leading expert in foundational engineering or sets strategic foundational direction for an eng team

  • E.g. Developed and implemented HA strategy

  • E.g. Defined and developed Medium's continuous delivery strategy

  • E.g. Invented a novel ML technique that advanced the state of the art

  • Invents industry-leading techniques to solve complex problems

  • Defines the strategic vision for foundational work and supporting technologies

  • Designs transformational projects in service of long-term goals

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