DataDIGEST’s Development ladder scope guidelines

This post is part of a series on our technical career paths,
or the technical ladders as we call them at DataDIGEST.

You can find a full index of the series at the end of this post.

Scope is a measure of your independence of work, work ownership and quality etc. In other words: What you have taken responsibility for and are producing outputs for at our expected level of quality.

Score Description
1 Works under the supervision of someone else, generally does small feature implementations, bug fixes, and small modifications. They do not own any areas of a project.
2 Works under some supervision but is able to own small-to-medium features from technical design through to completion.
3 Requires minimal supervision. Takes the initiative. Seeks empirical evidence through proof of concepts, tests and external research. Delivers major features that are well-baked and bug-free. Possesses empathy with the user of the software and uses that empathy to guide decision-making.
4 Takes personal responsibility for the whole software development process from analysis, work estimation, through to drama-free launches. Is the owning expert of certain areas and fully understands the broad architecture of the entire system. Identifies and proactively tackles technical debt. Owns the technical testing and performance planning.
5 Recognized as a prolific contributor to core and side projects. Consistently reduces complexity in order to get more done with less work. Shapes architecture and infrastructure. Makes obvious positive impact on the entire company’s technical trajectory.
6 Plays a key role in developing multi-year technology strategy for complete and critical areas of the business that encompass multiple systems and teams.

Series index
DataDIGEST’s professional technical ladders
DataDIGEST’s Development ladder scope guidelines
DataDIGEST’s Operational ladder scope guidelines
DataDIGEST’s Development ladder skill guidelines
DataDIGEST’s Operational ladder skill guidelines


Over the years much has been published on professional ladders and career paths, thus claiming that our structure is completely original would be dishonest. In this regard I would like to recognise, and thank, Joel Spolsky, in his capacity as co-founder and CEO of Fog Creek Software and co-founder of Stack Overflow, for his posts on this subject.

Furthermore it would prudent to note that “Historically, Fog Creek’s Professional ladder is based on Microsoft’s professional ladder, which was adopted and publicised by Construx” – Joel Splosky.

Many of the guidelines you see here are blatantly copied, with minor modifications for the culture we are creating.

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