Back at my previous company, there were levels, so I could create a list of steps to get to the next level. But given that I’m working at an earlier stage company, I can’t really do that. I want to become a senior engineer.
Two questions to ask if you are senior:
Once you have calibrated the above with people around you, then talk to your manager about the expectations and define what it means to meet or exceed expectations. At a startup, there’s more burden on you to define “success”.
I talked about this in another question around how to measure your own career growth.
It's tricky in startups, because as you alluded to, there's no formal title to attain. This was the case for me when I initially joined Course Hero. I think the primary ways to measure scope, especially at senior levels, is how many stakeholders depend on you to add value to their work and guide them. So if you're the primary person pulling together 5-10 people to ship a product (e.g. 1 designer, 1 PM, 3 engineers, 1 marketing person), that's a good sign you're a tech lead/senior engineer. This will be reflected in peer feedback as well.