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How to get promoted to Staff (ICT5)?

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Senior Software Engineer [ICT4] at Apple6 months ago

It seems at Apple that getting promoted past ICT4 can take ages. My manager has 3x my YOE and many reports, but we're both ICT4. There is no leveling rubric that I can find, so it's unclear to me what differentiates an ICT5 from an ICT4 here. I'm thinking it might even just be worth abandoning the promo goal for the duration I work here, then aim to be hired into a promo at the next gig in a few years.

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  • Alex Chiou
    Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero, PayPal
    6 months ago

    It seems at Apple that getting promoted past ICT4 can take ages.

    In generally, making it to staff is very hard at a FAANG/FAANG-equivalent company. I know a lot of folks who get "stuck" on this promotion. I've heard that Apple's promotion speeds generally aren't fast unfortunately.

    There is no leveling rubric that I can find

    This is really surprising to me given how big and established Apple is. Did you ask your manager about this, and they confirmed that this indeed doesn't exist?

    I'm thinking it might even just be worth abandoning the promo goal for the duration I work here, then aim to be hired into a promo at the next gig in a few years.

    I wouldn't get too discouraged like this - This mentality can lead to a self-fulfilling negative-outcome prophecy where you are indeed stuck at senior. Some thoughts from me:

    1. Is there a staff engineer in your team/org that you can emulate?
    2. How does your manager react when you ask them on how you two can work together to create an expectations plan to get to staff?
    3. What big problems exist in your org? Is it alignment issues? Some technical roadblock on the product? Bad infra/internal tooling?

    For resources on how to get staff, here's my picks:

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