Last year, we identified a need to redefine the career framework for our software engineers within the UK engineering teams and started work on a Capgemini Software Engineering grade ladder. The grade ladder is our team’s self-produced documentation to enable everyone, both inside and outside our team, to understand our ethos and values and what’s expected of them.

We were inspired by a blog post from Camille Fournier’s renttherunway.com in which they shared their ladder (and they took inspiration from the original Foursquare engineering ladder made by Harry Heymann, Jason Liszka and Andrew Hogue).

We are sharing our latest evolution, licensed under the creative commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International licence (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0). That means we too are cool with you taking it and making it your own, all we ask is that you don’t make money off it, and that you credit those who came before you, just as we have.

When documenting the grades our objectives were to:

  • be actively inclusive (to ensure that we not only attract and recruit a diverse group of people, but also retain and develop those individuals once they are part of our team)
  • be team-owned (it’s ours!)
  • be generic (it won’t be tied to technologies, so it is less likely to go out of date this way)
  • allow it to evolve (we can change it)
  • be versioned (we know which one we’re working against)
  • not be written specific to Capgemini (because many of the consumers will not know our internal jargon / processes)
  • be HR-friendly (so it aids everyone’s career progression, rather then confusing it)
  • be open and public (so everyone can see it and everyone can contribute to it)

We have found the ladder has aided us in several ways. When hiring it’s helped recruiters to understand what we expect from candidates. During interviews it assists us to see where someone would fit. When people join us the ladder provides a terms of reference for the expectations we have of you. Continuing through your career the ladder then assists forming the basis to understand how you can grow and demonstrate abilities to justify progression to more senior positions within the team.

We’ve published it on our GitHub and as a GitBook (read more on this below) where it’s available to read online or as a PDF, Mobi or EPub. If this sounds like the kind of place you’d like to work then you can check out our latest opportunities here.

P.S. Automating all the things

Being engineers we like to explore new tools when a good opportunity arises. The decision to publish the grade ladder gave us such an opportunity to use GitBook.com and Gradle composite builds. First up we created a simple Java app that takes our grade definitions as a CSV file and generates some markdown pages into a layout suitable for GitBooks. Using Gradle we’ve scripted our Java build and page generation tasks. Using the Gradle node plugin we then added tasks to test creating the PDF, EPub and Mobi outputs locally. When we’re happy with our changes we commit the generated pages to GitHub which then fires a webhook to GitBook which then acts as our build tool regenerating our output formats.

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