Our engineering growth framework

At Cedar, we’re revolutionizing the healthcare patient experience with best-in-class consumer-centric technology, based on the most advanced techniques of leading fintech, ad tech, consumer and healthcare companies.

We founded the company with engineering at the heart of everything we do, and in the wake of our Series D funding we’re scaling up our engineering organization exponentially. We know that to enable exceptional patient experiences—and achieve our vision of becoming the leading healthcare consumer engagement platform—we must continually strengthen our team and attract world-class talent.

That means fostering an environment where the best and brightest engineers can grow in every way possible: by taking on complex technology projects, achieving professional growth goals, and serving our clients and their patients by performing at the highest level.

To that end, I’m excited to announce Cedar’s Distinguished Engineer Program (DEP): a codified framework based on best practices, processes, and standards to support our engineers as they hone their skills, take on more responsibilities and grow in their careers.

We understand that individual engineers’ interests, talents and aspirations vary tremendously, so our program is flexible enough to be tailored to individual circumstances. In practice, it will acknowledge people’s contributions by giving them appropriate titles, work, and compensation aligned to competencies, aiding our teams’ tasks of defining mentorship goals while informing better decision-making at the individual and team levels. This helps clarify expectations and job scope, both internally and externally, with the aim of cultivating fertile ground where engineers can develop their careers in the best possible way.

We’ve published this blog to give the engineering community an understanding of our program, and how we evaluate and grow our tech talent, whether individual contributors or managers. This will also help candidates appreciate how we appraise skills and talents against our needs during the interview process.

We know it’s impossible to put skills, responsibilities, and an individual’s growth goals into a single box. When we look at years of experience, for instance, it provides us with a benchmark for how long it takes the median engineer to achieve a certain level. But roles are never “one size fits all.” Each employee will have a customized development plan to support their career path and conversations around it; the DEP is simply a tool to help guide and organize those conversations.

Career Paths

As part of the DEP, every engineer is placed on one of three paths, offering varying scales and scopes of impact at Cedar (at the team, function, and company-wide level):

  • Technical Path – geared toward individual contributors (IC). Engineers can improve their technical skills and either broaden or focus their scope and impact with specific work, such as becoming a mentor or being a technical thought leader. This path can be great for people who want to be great engineers or technical leaders without the responsibility of managing people.
  • Tech Lead Path – ideal for engineers interested in becoming a leader on a smaller team and taking on more responsibility. Engineers can move fluidly between the Lead Opportunity Path and the Technical Path. It can also be a good transition to take on more non-technical leadership in an effort to explore aspects of the management path without committing to it fully.
  • Management Path – suitable for engineers who want to direct larger teams and focus on people management, business strategy, mentorship and team building.

About the Paths

Although this program is new, and we plan to develop how we organize and apply it, there are a few general considerations that inform its structure and how we aim to use it:

Paths will enable, not constrain growth: We recognize that individuals may have primary and secondary roles, skills across roles, and even career goals that are not always related to engineering. We want to nourish these kinds of aspirations, making them flexible enough to encompass other roles as part of growth, optimizing for unique strengths, career aspirations and interests.

Broad applicability across teams and specialization: Currently, the engineering organization has six different role areas: product engineering, support engineering, implementations, platforms, security and data engineering. All roles fit into the DEP framework, but each area requires unique knowledge and skill sets. Engineers can rotate between these role areas for exposure to new skillets.

Parallel paths are neither hierarchical nor static, and becoming a manager isn’t (necessarily) a promotion: As team members progress on their path and move up levels, moving into a management role is initially a lateral move to ensure there’s a correct fit. Again, we don’t want to lock anyone into a box if they want to take “hats” on and off. We view the movement between roles akin to a pendulum; we know many great engineers used to manage people, and all our engineering managers used to be full-time engineers.

Where we go from here

The DEP launch marks a formative stage in our journey toward engineering excellence. It represents our unique contribution to the tech industry’s ongoing discussion around building out organizations that nurture the best and brightest engineering talent. We’re grateful to Square, GitHub, and many other companies that have inspired our framework.

I would also like to acknowledge all the folks who have contributed a lot to this DEP. Thank you Majdou, Hanna, Jon, Aaron, Rhys, Trey and Tvu for all your hard work in developing and reviewing this! Thank you to all of Cedar engineering for your feedback that initiated this work. And thank you to all of you who contributed to the earlier draft. I really appreciate everyone’s help and contributions.

We will incorporate guidance from engineering management (and feedback about what’s working from our team members) to continuously refine the framework and its application. We hope this shows the value we place on transparency and the development of our engineers at Cedar. We always welcome feedback (comment below!) on how we can evolve our program and thinking.

Want to get into the details? Here is our current version of the DEP.

Ready to grow your engineering career by building digital health products that transform the patient journey? Join us.

Hassan Sultan

Hassan Sultan

Cedar Chief Technology Officer