How to Rise Beyond a Support Engineer

Dec 13, 2021

6 Min Read

Career Advancement in Support Services

Exploring your hobbies and interests is just as vital as concentrating on a short- and long-term job development strategy. Taking the time to explore, plan, learn, and reflect on yourself will help you stay on track with your long-term goals.

While it’s critical to comprehend the how questions (such as how am I going to achieve my goal? how do I get promoted?), it’s also crucial to understand the what (what I am going to do? what do I wish to do? what steps must I take to arrive? what else do I need to learn?)—but understanding the why becomes your ultimate motivator.

The Support Career Framework Matrix, which follows this track of position advancements, guides promotions within the Support Department. As your predicted baseline objectives, consider the matrix (competency criteria) and promotion route. Use the tools and suggestions in this article to figure out why you’re doing it and to plan your route to promotion with a clear picture of what to anticipate when you make your decision.

Review the advice on establishing and constructing a promotion path when you’re ready to get started on your route to promotion. As needed, seek advice and comments from your management.

Resources and General Recommendations (For Your Any Promotion Path)

Learn what it means to plan your professional path and how leadership may help you achieve your goals.

  • Take a look at Gitlab’s Career Development.
  • Gitlab has a section dedicated to Engineering Career Development.
  • Take a look at videos on the Crucial Career Path Debate.
  • Read literature about management (strongly suggested).
  • To learn more about the differences between IC leadership and management, watch the Engineering IC Leadership – Handbook Learning Session.
  • Schedule a coffee date or an AMA with someone on the job to learn more about what they do and get tips on advancing in this position.
  • Learn about gearing ratios and how they’re utilized to control (rather than restrict) the number of open jobs concerning a group’s objective. Support has a staff-to-senior-manager ratio of one-to-one.
  • Discuss possible positions with your boss, and watch #spt hiring for any job postings.
  • Examine and utilize the templates and tools provided by Gitlab to keep track of your performance, professional growth, and advancement.
  • Use relevant examples to show the required abilities and the sort of work requested in the promotion document as you start tracking and documenting your route to promotion. For further information, go over each area below.

Senior Support Engineering: Path to Promotion

A senior support engineer is a strong leader who has mastered several technical skill sets to tackle intermediate and complicated client difficulties. Senior engineers serve as direct mentors to Support Engineers and contribute in various ways, including documentation, bug fixes, workflow enhancements, and acting as the next escalation point for technical concerns.

Recommendations and Considerations

Recommendations for further research:

  • Learn about the requirements for the position of Senior Support Engineer.
  • Learn about the competencies and framework requirements at the senior level.

When constructing your route, consider the following points in mind:

  • First, you work well with others and are always eager to assist with escalations, client calls, and emergencies.
  • Within the team, you can affect good change.
  • You support the development of Support Engineers by holding office hours and pairing sessions regularly.
  • You like setting an example for others and always looking for ways to enhance procedures, documentation, and training (including onboarding new team members).
  • Rather than settling for mediocrity, you are eager to test yourself with new challenges and learn from failures.

Staff Engineering: Path to Promotion

Choosing to work as a Staff member of the Support team requires a high degree of technical expertise, which is typically both broad and deep, and leadership abilities to assist support and train other engineers. In addition, by participating in technical deep dives, contributing to bug fixes, contributing to feature additions, or making product-improving suggestions, Staff Engineers typically assist in breaking through boundaries between customers, Support, and other cross-functional teams.

Recommendations and Considerations

Recommendations for further research:  

  • Learn more about GitLab’s staff levels.
  • Learn about the requirements for the position of Staff Support Engineer.
  • Learn about the competencies and framework criteria at the staff level.
  • Watch YouTube videos on how to become a Staff Engineer.

When constructing your route, consider the following points in mind:

  • First, consider the initiatives you’ve managed or been a part of and how your efforts benefited the company, team, or customer.
  • You often communicate with engineers from many teams and are always eager to assist with essential escalations, client calls, and emergency problems; you are renowned throughout the unit as someone they can rely on in a crisis.
  • With the product, technology, and cross-functional team cooperation, you have the potential to drive good change and improvements.
  • You provide regular office hours, pairing sessions, and deep-dive technical training sessions to support the development of both Support Engineers and Senior Support Engineers.
  • You operate at a level commensurate with that of a technical team lead, and you aggressively seek out chances to better the company, customers, and team members.
  • You’re excited to try new things and participate in client meetings to deliver a level of support that puts the customer on the road to success.

Support Engineering Manager: Path to Promotion.

To lead a team of varied persons, people managers require a mix of talents that include technical competence and interpersonal and organizational skills. Embodying the GitLab Values, mentoring, interviewing and recruiting, thinking holistically about the Support team, integrating into the organization, and engaging with users are all examples of these talents. In addition, people managers should be familiar with GitLab’s organizational structure to know where to seek answers and assist team members toward solutions. At GitLab, you can learn more about leadership.

Maintaining your technical abilities becomes secondary, but you have the liberty (and capacity) to balance your degree of technical skill maintenance with your team’s goals and demands. Above all, you put the needs of your coworkers and consumers first.

Recommendations and Considerations

Recommendations for further research on this topic include:

  • Find out what a Support Engineering Manager’s job entails.
  • Learn more about the responsibilities of the Support Engineering Manager.
  • To understand the basic expectations, read articles about why applicants should apply for a Support Manager position.
  • Transitioning from a Contributor to a Manager is an excellent place to start.
  • Individual Contribution vs. Management and Trying the Management Track are two topics that you should also read.
  • You can find out more about the post of Interim Manager.
  • Finally, consider taking part in the Manager Challenge.

When laying out your course, consider the following in mind:

  • Consider experiences outside of GitLab (prior employment experiences or even personal achievements) that may be leveraged to advance your case to a management position.
  • You have the self-assurance required to make tough choices, create change, and deal with stressful circumstances.
  • You can take criticism and failure with humility and enthusiasm to learn from them.
  • You can embrace responsibility and ownership for the support we give in advice, leadership, and supporting team members and the firm in overcoming obstacles.
  • Starting at the individual level, you have the power to affect good change (improvements).
  • You can earn (rather than demand) trust and respect from team members, including peers and direct reports and team members and senior management from throughout the business.
  • For example, support you have a strong desire to help each person on your team develop, and you use empathy and open communication to ensure that each line of feedback you provide is honest.

Beyond the Roles of Employees, Managers, and Support Personnel

While the purpose of this publication is to concentrate on career advancement prospects for Support Engineering ICs, there are many more options available. For example, it might provide things like transfer options or possibilities for advancement beyond the Staff and Support Engineering Manager position, such as Principal Engineer, Senior Engineering Manager, and Director-level promotions.


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