There are a number of tools we use to plot and manage career development:
Maintaining current role descriptions which establish expectations for hiring and ongoing performance expectations is an important supporting function for effective Career Development planning.
The rest of the tools are for active engagement by the Team Member along with their Manager. The origin activity for this is the Big Picture Career Conversation, followed up with quarterly checkpoints and frequent 1:1s. Finally, 360 Feedback and Talent Assessment provide annual opportunities for additional insight on progress.
Managers should endeavor to have a bigger picture career conversation at least once to set the tone and direction for subsequent Quarterly Checkpoints. There are many ways to have career conversations, and no one way will be a great fit for all team members, so use your best judgment in what type of framework to apply to each of your direct reports. It can be as simple as "Have you set any career goals for yourself?"
There is no rule that guides the amount of progress that should be made in a given time-period in a strict fashion. We should however strive to set targets to progress to the next level on at least a quarterly basis.
You must prepare to provide mentoring and guidance on focus areas for the quarter, especially in terms of how to improve and evolve in said areas. Do not hesitate to ask for help if you feel you need guidance to assess strategies for mentorship, and feel free to reach out to the other GitLab team-members who can provide said guidance. Be clear and concise in setting expectations, trying to align them with work that will take place during the quarter.
Think about the areas that are important to you and commit to working on them over the quarter. Keep an open mind to receive feedback and guidance on these areas, and be an active participant in the process.
Career development requires that all parties involved be committed to the process and are active participants.
One implicit area to focus on explicitly is communication. Regardless of your role, whether technical or manager, you must be a good communicator, and thus, it is important to always improve our communication skills.
Cross reference for Internship for Learning
There is a reasonable amount of interest to intern with Infrastructure so we wanted to put a brief landing section in the handbook. If you are interested in interning with Infrastructure, we would ask that you talk to your current manager and create an issue per the mentioned process. This can help us track who is helping on what and what they would like to learn. Mention the Reliability Engineering team members and managers to help us know you are interested. One note, in some cases, you may need to submit access-requests to get access to certain systems to help with work.
Don't know what to learn? Check out the SRE I and the SRE II Training Modules, these cover a range of topics related to how we do Reliability Engineering at GitLab. It is recommended that you come to your internship prepared, and by completing both modules, you'll ensure a richer internship experience as you'll make the best use of your time during your internship with an extra focus on more advanced topics.
Additionally, we have a broad set of technical skills listed in the job description for SRE, if you are looking for ideas on what to learn, set up a coffee chat with a team member or one of the managers. If you're interested in learning more about SREs in general, you may wish to read Alice Goldfuss's blog post, "How to Get Into SRE." This blog post is an overview of all sorts of SRE related things, some of which may not be in use here at GitLab. However, it can be a valuable tool to learn more about SREs in general, and it links to many resources that you can use to learn more about a variety of SRE related topics.
Specific ways to work in the internship:
GitLab Engineering employs a gearing method for determining the reporting relationship and number of Staff+ roles, generally referred to as Staff+ IC Gearing Ratios.
The IC Gearing policy does not require any documentation for use of the default 1:1 ratio of Staff Engineer to team. However, to ensure clarity, the SRE teams within Infrastructure will use this default ratio, providing an opportunity for a Staff Engineer to be a part of each SRE team. As Infrastructure continues to grow and add more teams, additional opportunities for Staff level SRE leaders will be created.
Exception Ratio: 3 Staff Eng:Team
Justification: The Delivery team is tasked with making it increasingly safe and efficient for work product from all of GitLab to make its way to the production environment as well as into the monthly release, patch releases, and security releases. This is an area with continuing needs for additional automation as well as a wide scope of skills and experience. The Delivery team requires multiple Staff Engineers with two frequently working in the Solver archetype on parallel issues (or staggered releases), while a third engages in an Architect archetype in moving automation and/or other CI/CD iterations forward.
Future Growth or Anticipated Change: It is expected that during FY22-FY23 two overall changes will influence the gearing ratio.
As a result of the above it is expected that within the FY22-FY23 we will reach a point where each delivery team will reduce to a ratio of 2 Staff Eng:Team.
Exception Ratio: 2 Staff Eng:Team
Justification: The Scalability team is tasked with creating improvements for the highest priority scaling items, primarily in support of the GitLab SaaS service. The team regularly shifts from one area of product or platform to another and a wide range of backend and infrastructure experience and skills are required. Additionally, a keen mind for high level architecture and an understanding of product workflow are essential for success. The team generally has a scaling item they are currently working on as well as another item that is being evaluated for the next iteration. In this model the two Staff Engineers individually employ both Architect and Solver archetypes towards their primary scaling item currently in focus.
Future Growth or Anticipated Change: It is expected that the team will continue to work in the current fashion where each Staff Engineer is providing technical leadership on parallel issues. In addition, it is expected that an additional 1-2 Scalability teams will be required in FY22-FY23 timeframe and likely that they will adopt the same model and Staff Eng ratio of 2 Staff Eng:Team.