At GetYourGuide, there are multiple routes to engineering success. But whatever the discipline, level, or location, three elements are constant: learning, impact, and above all, growth. Here, Eugene Klyuchnikov, Engineering Manager in Marketing & Marketplace Intelligence outlines how supporting growth is central to our culture.
Personal Growth is at the core of GetYourGuide’s culture. It is about pushing beyond perceived growth boundaries, regularly committing ourselves to something new or challenging, and prioritizing and steering our own development. We focus on what creates impact and learn from all types of outcomes.
To illustrate our principles, let's examine a typical growth path of a software engineer – we’ll call her Zaria. We’ll follow Zaria on her journey from joining GetYourGuide, right up to her second anniversary. We will see how she explores various opportunities at different stages of her career with the company, spanning everything from learning and upskilling, right through to compensation.
After joining, Zaria spends her first month learning GetYourGuide’s culture, getting familiar with her own and fellow teams, as well as generating her first decent impact.
It is in everyone's best interest that Zaria receives all-around support on her first days at GetYourGuide. To help with her rocket start, Zaria's manager provides her with a detailed onboarding plan that looks more like an hourly schedule at the beginning, but quickly turns into broader directional strokes once she progresses through it.
The goal of the onboarding plan is to not let Zaria become lost in the amount of information, acronyms, and unfamiliar terms she’s encountering; as well as provide her with a recommended sequence of meetings and learning modules. Of course, it is never set in stone — should an emergency happen, Zaria has full freedom to deviate from the plan.
One of the central pieces of an onboarding plan is the Competency Profile: a framework that captures specific competencies and behaviors that drive personal and professional success. It helps both Zaria and her manager understand the full spectrum of what needs to be done to fulfill Zaria's role and understand what competencies she needs to perform (and succeed!) in her current job.
Zaria quickly learns that GetYourGuide culture values impact. There's no single right way of generating it: she can work on improving customer experience, helping the business to grow through effective technology, or increasing the productivity of people around her — every meaningful contribution counts! Zaria promises herself that she’ll be proactive, won't hold back from asking questions and expanding horizons, and essentially become a role model for working smartly and effectively.
When it comes to assessing Engineers' performance at GetYourGuide, everyone's contribution gets evaluated against four different competencies:
There's no better time for feedback than now. At GetYourGuide, we encourage everyone to maintain ongoing performance conversation with their managers, and feedback is an essential part of that.
Continuous feedback allows us to build confidential long-term relationships with our managers and peers, discuss our growth plans and types of challenges that can help us on our way, and quickly correct our course of action when something doesn't go quite as expected.
Zaria has already requested feedback on the results of her work from peers, as well as made sure that honest, actionable two-directional feedback is included in every 1:1 session with her manager.
To outline the importance of getting hands "dirty" and immediately stepping out of our comfort zone, it is expected that Zaria starts shipping to production on day one. But worry not: her first couple of tickets are straightforward (yet meaningful) bug fixes or UX improvements from the team's backlog. They are a great way for Zaria to get familiar with our tech stack and go through a deployment process without worrying about breaking something important.
Day by day, Zaria learns by doing and gains more and more confidence. After her first month at GetYourGuide, she's already contributing to critical systems in a meaningful way.
Due to a high autonomy in defining their working style, every team at GetYourGuide decides how often and on what days they want to meet in the office. Because both offices in Berlin and Zurich are designed for fostering collaborative work, these office days often boost productive discussions and finding non-standard solutions to complex problems.
Zaria loves this idea and decides to go to the office even more frequently: on Tuesdays and Fridays to match with team office days, as well as on another random day per week to meet other teams and use the office environment for focus work.
Zaria is already familiar with most of the tools, technologies, processes, and principles applied by her team — and delivered her first decent results, making both the team and her business partners excited. Now, she's ready for more opportunities to contribute to team results and speed up her day-to-day growth even further.
Somewhere between her first and third months at GetYourGuide, Zaria is ready for taking on the Team Operator and On-Call duties. These roles assume driving operational excellence in the team by monitoring systems' health and reacting to alerts, answering urgent and operational questions, and shielding the rest of the team from distractions.
At GetYourGuide, teams have ownership of the systems they work on and are empowered to make significant changes to their operational aspects, as well as delivering business outcomes. By taking team operator and on-call responsibilities for production issues, we ensure end-to-end ownership and ongoing responsibility for the products and systems we build. Depending on the criticality of services, some teams implement a 24/7 on-call rotation while others maintain it only during business hours.
In keeping with one of her development goals, Zaria decides to become an active member of the Architecture Guild. This should help her learn from her fellow engineers and start generating impact outside of her own team.
Guilds at GetYourGuide are organized around a technology, discipline, or engineering concept. As a group, they own engineering decisions for their technology or discipline. There are no limitations to joining the guild based on the team or seniority level: the guild is made up of members of different levels within the entire Engineering department. With a well-defined decision-making process, the guild provides all members, regardless of their title or level, an opportunity to make decisions that impact the entire tech organization.
Of course, learning opportunities at GetYourGuide are not limited to guilds. Zaria quickly realizes that there are more forums than she could physically participate in — hence she should be rather strategic and choose those that fit her learning style and maximize potential value to her own development.
Here are just a few examples that are available to Zaria (as well as everyone else)
Of course, every group in Engineering also develops its own recurring meetings designed for presenting projects, giving space to brainstorming and discussions, or sharing knowledge. Zaria is even thinking about proposing her own format in the team!
Zaria has already recognized that at GetYourGuide, personal growth is the sum of skills that are acquired by tackling more ambitious work challenges and expanding her work scope. At the same time, since one of the company's beliefs that forms its culture is that everyone owns their development, GetYourGuide seeks to leverage external content, when needed, to align individual professional skills with organizational goals.
That is why Zaria has been provided with an additional individual learning budget per year — the Personal Growth Budget. She can use it for immediate growth needs like courses, books, online resources, and more. She doesn’t need anyone's approval, nor does she have to share where she'd like to spend her budget; whatever makes her more efficient and productive is automatically allowed.
Zaria is becoming a true expert in her domain and has already initiated a discussion with her manager about reaching a Senior Engineer position. She understands that it's going to be a challenging (yet exciting!) journey and would like to have a clear action plan.
But first, let's enter the fun area.
Hackdays are two-day hackathons where every engineer is allowed to work on a project of their choice with colleagues in varying domains across the organization. They occur every two months and provide a great opportunity to try something new, build impactful solutions, and meet new people. The only limitation is that the hackday project must be related to GetYourGuide, yet even this rule is quite loose — for example, the project can target the distant future and go beyond immediate company goals.
Zaria already participated in the previous hackdays when she worked with three other engineers on a new image recognition feature for the GetYourGuide product. They haven't fully achieved in two days what they wanted but they got a lot of support and tons of ideas when presenting the results to the entire Engineering team. Zaria loves this supportive atmosphere — and is planning to try another approach next time.
It is time for Zaria to take part in her first performance review at GetYourGuide.
Of course, continuous feedback (that we described earlier) and performance reviews don’t have to be an either-or situation: continuous feedback allows Zaria to constantly receive evaluations about her work and correct her growth path, while semi-annual performance reviews are just a formalized summary of what has been discussed between her and her manager on a regular basis. However, it's an important step: during the review cycle, everyone's performance is calibrated across the teams to ensure a consistent and fair evaluation. Also, promotions and compensation adjustments are a result of the process.
Usually, there are five steps in the process:
Zaria is doing great. She has earned recognition in the company as a thoughtful, reliable engineer who's not afraid of nonstandard solutions. She has grown her impact beyond her team by suggesting valuable improvements in technologies and processes. These achievements have been naturally reflected in her mid-term goals and in compensation.
As we already briefly touched in Performance Review, compensation levels at GetYourguide are aligned with seniority and, essentially, with impact and performance. Engineers in the same position, seniority level (tier), and location (country/city) receive equal compensation. Its level is regularly adjusted through two regular initiatives:
Zaria likes the fact that everyone's salaries are formed in a fair and transparent way. Thanks to this, she can focus on delivering impact and doing what's important to her, rather than thinking about how and when to negotiate her next salary move. She knows that smart work and passion will inevitably bring her there.
Zaria was excited about the results of her recent performance review cycle — but not over excited: after all, if done right, feedback shouldn't come as a big surprise :) She's getting closer to a senior position and as a result, decides to look for a mentor.
Mentorship is a valuable tool for turning our growth vision into a reality. The journey is owned by a mentee, as they bring in the topics they're pondering and the goals they aim to achieve.
Mentorship creates a space where the mentor shares their knowledge, helps identify opportunities in the mentee's path, and challenges them to overcome obstacles. The relationship is attentive to their values and needs, and respectful of the mentor’s time, resources, and experience.
It's time to congratulate Zaria: she's gotten a promotion to a Senior Engineer position! Her focus on delivering consistent impact and enabling people around her has now been officially recognized and reflected in her title and compensation. What a ride!
We let Zaria celebrate and properly enjoy her incredible achievement. Yet, at some point, she will need to think about how she wants to develop further and where she goes in her professional career.
At GetYourGuide, once one reaches a Senior Engineer position, a parallel Managerial Path becomes available. This transition is not considered a promotion, but rather a role change. If an Individual Contributor (IC) becomes a manager, they still have the option to later transition back into an IC role. Growth can happen in any direction and at every level.
It is very beneficial to both Zaria and her manager to understand in what direction she'd like to develop her skills and grow her impact. There are plenty of opportunities at GetYourGuide, and targeted effort is often key to success.
Engineering Managers (EMs) are evaluated based on the performance and success of their respective teams as opposed to individual success. EMs support and steer their teams and help them achieve their goals. Team success is the top priority.
Engineering management structure/level is determined by a combination of team size and discipline/business-domain focus:
An Engineering Manager is primarily assessed by the results of their team, not their personal contributions. There are five pieces of their competency profile they are being evaluated against:
Although the IC and EM paths are different, the opportunity for impact is constant. Whether an engineer wants to grow on the IC track towards becoming a principal engineer, or wants to become a successful manager, or even decides to move between the two, they will have the chance to make their mark on the rapidly-growing industry.
It is time for us to leave Zaria celebrating her success and thinking about her path. Learning at GetYourGuide is a never-ending story: fostering career development isn’t just something we aspire to but something we guarantee and outline for all of our employees. Inspired by Zaria’s journey? Start realizing your own growth potential, and take a look at our open Engineering roles here.
How Sequential Testing Accelerates Our Experimentation Velocity