Better Performance Reviews for Developers with a Skill Matrix

Has some comfort working with live production systems, but may rely on teammates before taking actions. Succeeds by introducing simplerand time-tested approaches to technical problems to several teams.

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Start from high-level guidance first, and then dive deeper into every position. To achieve that, a person responsible for competency matrix creation has to speak to employees, run some market research, consult HRs, and C-levels. You may argue that your priority is technical competency, and anything else is non-essential. However, as our experience shows, defining your values and looking for people who share them is vital for a healthy and productive working atmosphere. Base your assessment on the same set of skills for all developers. Suggests and/or implements reasonable technical additions or upgrades to the current tech stack. Learns diverse technologies, techniques, and topics out of curiosity.


Approaches disagreement with inquisitiveness, empathy and the goal of a stronger solution; modelsthis behavior for teammates; consistently disarms conflict. Relied upon to keep complex projectson-track and sustainably implemented. Acts as an ambassadorand proactive connectorfor their team with other teams. Understands the basics of failsafe design; can implement with minimal prompting. Can do basic code profiling alone and optimize obvious offenders.

  • May broadcast to broader engineering groups through Tech Talks or the company technical blog.
  • Speaking of skill gaps, if you detect some, we’ll be happy to help you fill them.
  • Hopefully this guide allowed the process to be quicker and easier than it was for us.
  • Works with Patents team to ensure company protectable subject matter is identified during collaborations with third parties.

This, for me, was the most fun part of this entire process. This is the part where you sit down and debate “what matters to us? ” We had some help from our excellent Head of HR, David Mann, who came in with note cards detailing out ~100 behavior traits that are valuable to have as a professional. These were not engineering-specific, and ranged from Communication to Political Awareness. We also utilized other publicized competency matrices to seed ideas of what could be in the running.

What is skill matrix?

Good performance reviews should be as fair and objective as possible, communicate expectations clearly, and point out concrete areas of improvement. For this, we use a skill matrix as a systematic assessment tool containing skills tailored to the role of a software developer. This post is a hands-on guide to applying a skill matrix in practice. You have a finished product that has been wordsmithed, stress-tested, and has buy in from respected individuals in your organization.

software engineer competency matrix

Once you have a list, doing a few passes to merge similar competencies is a good idea, as it will save you time later in the process. For example, we merged Pragmatism and Economic Thinking, as we realized the manifestation of these competencies resulted in the same behaviors. When Lena Reinhard, our new Director of Engineering, joined, she took this on as her first big project.

Responsibility and Proactivity

However, even after you following a thorough process, it will never be perfect. As people start to use and test what you have created they will find slight inconsistencies and opportunities for improvement. If you’re a beginner, most software engineers recommend learning Python, Java, or C first. Below, we’ll give you a rundown of each of these programming languages and others, while describing what they’re used for and why you might want to try each one. Guidesorganizational adoption of new data formats, data stores, and patterns for performance & data locality; consults regularly across teamson similar issues. There are many ways to gather feedback, such as having a diverse portion of individual contributors complete mock self evaluations with their manager. Regardless of how you do it, the important thing is ensuring you gather feedback from the people this will affect.

Which is harder Java or JavaScript?

Java. It's a bit harder to learn Java than Python and JavaScript. It's one of the most stable and reliable ways to build large systems. If you want to work at large tech companies, Java will be useful for your future job search.

May sometimes need minimal coaching on communication skills, but overall a strong speaker and listener. Leads technical explanations when appropriate; knows when to listen and give space to teammates. Participates in major projects and initiativeswithin and between teams, including working groups. Works between and across teamsalmost as much as with their own. Usually leads at least one majorproject and sometimes several medium projectson their team. Customizesout-of-the-box tools, may create small custom toolsto instrument and monitor systems.

Have your company/team values in place

Uses prototyping as a primarytool for rigorous design exploration. Sometimes employs prototyping for exploration of designs. Listen to our podcast in which tech founders reflect on their journey of building a successful startup and reveal their secrets to success.

  • Leadsmajor strategic technical initiatives across many or all teams.
  • Ensures timely & accurate accounting of all business expenses.
  • For example, we merged Pragmatism and Economic Thinking, as we realized the manifestation of these competencies resulted in the same behaviors.
  • By creating a skills matrix, organizations can easily identify where employees are succeeding and where they need to improve.
  • Whether you are a startup or an established tech company, a competency matrix will be beneficial for your employees, teams, the company as a whole, and your customers.
  • Can comfortablyand effectivelyresolve issues outside of their immediate scopeof experience.
  • May occasionallyhelp teammates overcome obstacles and complete project work.

Dives deeper into known stacks and discovers refactoring potential. If you have your own thoughts, experiences, or questions about building a competency matrix, I’d love to hear them! Feel free to reach out to me via email () or via Twitter (@JustinC474). However, if you have followed steps 1-4, it should make this step much easier for you than it was for us. I tried to tackle this step multiple times throughout the process, but without the correct framework to shape my approach, I often felt aimless and scattered. Once the framework was in place, filling out the content became much more straightforward.

More than that, employees can see what they need to master to climb up the career ladder and who can help them learn within the company. We also enjoyed coming up with our own values as a team. We didn’t borrow that competency from any HR cliff notes or other matrices we consulted, but from the get go this was a key competency we knew would be in the final cut. A skills matrix is an excellent tool for gaining a better understanding of various abilities and competencies. Feels comfortable explaining technical subjects and receiving feedback across teams, whether formally or informally.

software engineer competency matrix

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