Part 4: Growth at One2N

At One2N, we are committed to providing our employees holistic professional growth.
Working here, you get opportunities to grow as a consultant, a techie, a problem solver, a decision maker, and a leader.
We make a bold promise that if you work with us for a decade, you will be able to run your own business or join a company as a VP of engineering or even a CTO. (You’ll get this kind of exposure at One2N.)

How many growth levels are there in One2N?

We have three growth levels in One2N. These growth levels (or designations) indicate the incremental levels of influence they respectively carry on projects and the organization as a whole.
These are NOT conventional hierarchical designations, as in, it's not like Level 1 reports to Level 2, who in turn reports to Level 3.
In a project, we all report to the decision make contact POC at client, no matter our level.
Similarly, at the org level, we all report to the One2N leadership, i.e., the founders of the company.

What do the levels look like?

Level 1 - Software Engineer, Site Reliability Engineer

At this level, you are told what tasks to do, why to do them and how to do them properly. And then you do them.
What we expect from you at this level is:
  1. The basic capability to do the tasks. For a dev, it means the ability to read & understand code and write code that works. For an SRE, it means creating a simple CI pipeline for a typical three-tier web application.
  1. Curiosity to learn how to do these tasks in better and better ways.
  1. Curiosity to understand why you’re doing these tasks to begin with.
  1. The discipline to follow good practices and follow the work culture of the team consistently.
  1. The ownership to completely own these tasks, i.e. getting them done as per the expected quality parameters within the expected timelines.
  1. The proactiveness of getting yourself unblocked with the help of your peers or seniors whenever you are blocked.
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Level 2 - Senior Software Engineer, Senior Site Reliability Engineer

At this level, you identify what tasks need to be done, why to do them and how to do them properly. And then you do them. You also mentor Software Engineers (from Level 1) on how to do their tasks.
What we expect from you at this level is:
  1. The capability to do your tasks properly and mentor others to do their tasks properly, i.e., by following and teaching good practices.
  1. Curiosity to further refine your skills, i.e., exploring even better ways of doing your tasks.
  1. The discipline to follow good practices and the team’s work culture consistently, but also the curiosity to explore ways of improving these practices and this culture even further.
  1. An ability to make your team understand the reasoning behind the tasks - why they should be doing what you’ve told them to do.
  1. The ownership to completely own these tasks, i.e., getting them done as per the expected quality parameters within the expected timelines.
  1. The proactiveness to monitor whether your teammates are blocked and help unblock them by providing the necessary guidance.
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Level 3 - Lead Software Engineer, Lead Site Reliability Engineer

At this level, you engage with the clients right from the inception phase to define the full scope of any project. You define the project’s roadmap and help break it down into the various tasks the team needs to do. You prioritise these tasks with the client so the team can follow that priority. And, of course, you also do many of these tasks yourself hands-on.
What we expect from you at this level is:
  1. The maturity to have business-level conversations with client CxOs and understand their problems and pain points.
  1. The ability to come up with multiple high-level technical solutions to their business problems.
  1. The ability to identify and finalise the solution that delivers the maximum value to the client while being the most cost-effective for them. And the ability to communicate this value to them in business terms (dollar value).
  1. The high-level vision to define project’s technical roadmap, break it down into tasks, define timelines, and prioritise the tasks in consultation with the client.
  1. The ability to assign tasks to yourself, Level 2 and Level 1 engineers and getting them done as per the expected quality within the expected timelines.
  1. The ability to mentor Level 1 and Level 2 engineers on good practices, consulting skills, etc.
  1. The maturity to define good practices and establish the work culture for your team to follow.
  1. The diligence to constantly monitor if your team is blocked and unblock them, ideally through hands-off guidance, but even through hands-on technical intervention if needed.
  1. The hands-on skills to do some of the critical tasks yourself. You will never be hands-off at One2N.
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What are the common expectations amongst all levels?

  1. Following our core values - Regardless of your level, you are expected to value and demonstrate pragmatism, ownership, humility, curiosity and continuous learning in your day-to-day tasks. It is these values that make you a Ngineer.
  1. Documentation - You are expected to document your tasks religiously, no matter your level. We have built a culture of writing at One2N because it brings many immediate & long-term benefits to our projects, and our own professional growth. As you move from Level 1 to Level 2 to Level 3, you will be expected to document your problem-solving approaches, your technical design approaches, how you add business value to your clients in measurable terms and much more. Therefore, you are expected to build this habit from day 1.
  1. Client interaction - As you grow in One2N, the nature of your interaction with the client changes.
    1. At Level 1, you will mostly give your work updates to your clients;
    2. At Level 2, you will ask them questions and provide them suggestions apart from giving updates;
    3. At Level 3, you will drive the client engagement from day 1
    4. However, what remains the same is that you will interact with the clients directly. This helps you grow as a consultant and establishes trust between you and the client.
  1. Org-level contribution - As an organisation, One2N evolves on the basis of your constructive inputs, no matter what level you are at.
    1. Your inputs help define the guidelines and policies that drive One2N,
    2. You share your knowledge gained on your projects with the rest of the org (through our weekly tech sessions), thereby enhancing the org’s knowledge base,
    3. You conduct regular interviews, code reviews, and pairings with incoming candidates,
    4. You are a brand ambassador of One2N, promoting our work, culture, thoughts, and more in your network,
    5. You even let your hair out and create a fun environment for One2N to thrive in 😀

If I meet some expectations, but not all, from a higher level (say Level 2), and on the rest, I’m at a lower level (say, Level 1), would I still get promoted?

In short, in such cases, the One2N leadership will review how many areas you have grown in, how much, and in which areas you are still at a lower level, and then decide whether you deserve a promotion. Usually, no one grows on all expectations simultaneously. You grow on a few expectations earlier and on other expectations later. For e.g., you might have the skills to mentor your teammates on best practices and unblock them when needed (i.e, you are L2 here), but you may not have the communication skills yet to question your clients or provide them with suggestions (i.e., you are still at L1 here).
See some of these examples illustrated below:
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When we review your performance, we review your growth along all those expectations, see where you have grown and where you haven’t, and then decide whether you get promoted. The more areas you grow in, the higher the chances of your promotion.

How do I move from one level to the next?

You have to learn and upskill yourself proactively. You have to earn the trust of the One2N leadership so that they trust you with higher-level responsibilities.
How do you do that?
  1. By being good at your own level first - At the very least, you need to meet the expectations that One2N has from you at your level. Are you consistently doing your tasks as per the expectations laid out by One2N? Are you consistently demonstrating our core values while doing these tasks? The answer to both these questions has to be a resounding Yes from you, your teammates, your clients, and the One2N leadership.
  1. By proactively learning and upskilling yourself - One2N actively encourages and guides you to upskill yourself to grow to the next level. It does so by:
      • Asking you to take on a higher level of responsibility whenever it sees your potential.
      • Proactively seeking opportunities in projects where you could get a chance to take on those higher levels of responsibilities
      • Pointing you to relevant reference materials (books, articles, videos & more) so that you study your core concepts in depth.
      • Giving you constructive feedback through regular 1 on 1s so that you can work on your gaps and improve continuously.
      However, this will only help you grow if you are willing to put in proactive efforts for your growth. Your growth in One2N is driven only by you, not anyone else.
      Also, while you may be eager to take on higher responsibilities, you will only get them if you show the effort & potential for doing so.
  1. By performing at a higher level consistently for at least 6 months - Let’s say that you have been playing the Level 1 role for 1 year, and then for a brief 1 month period, you take on the Level 2 role. Would you be promoted to Level 2? No.
You must perform at Level 2 consistently for at least 6 months to be considered for a promotion.

When I move up the growth path from one level to the next, do I also get a salary appraisal?

Usually, we keep your salary appraisal and level promotion independent of each other. However, there could be situations where both these activities happen simultaneously, i.e., you get promoted along with your appraisal, or you get your salary appraised along with your promotion if the One2N leadership feels you deserve it.

How do I get notified of my promotion?

  1. If and when the One2N leadership feels you deserve a promotion, they invite you for a meeting regarding the same.
  1. In the meeting, your performance is reviewed and you are informed that you will be promoted.
  1. You are informed about the level you are getting promoted to, and the expectations we have from you to do justice to that level.
  1. You are also informed if there is a salary increment along with the promotion.
  1. Finally, you are given a Promotion Letter, (also saved in your Employee Folder) mentioning details like your new designation, the effective date of promotion etc.