As growth teams have become more and more common, a new engineering role has emerged – growth engineer.
I’ve noticed a ton of new growth engineer job postings & roles, and they can’t seem to agree on what the job description really is.
There seems to be a spectrum in expectations for growth engineers, between do-it-all savants and regular run-of-the-mill devs.
Some descriptions define the role as coming up with, executing, and interpreting experiments. Which… I’m sorry, that’s an entire growth team in one role.
Others look like copies of the companies’ other dev roles, but this one is on the marketing/growth team!
So what makes a growth engineer different from any other engineer?
A growth engineer should have similar (but slightly different) skills and a different mindset than other engineers.
Any good growth team is going to be iterating quickly and testing a lot of ideas. When you’re implementing those ideas you have to be fast.
What to look for in a growth engineer
- Technology proficiencies – will they be building experiments within your codebase or are they going to be using a testing platform like Optimizely/Google Optimize? If it’s the former, you’ll need to vet them the same as any other developer on your team. If you’ll be using a front-end tool – it’s key they know JS like the back of their hand.
- CSS comfort – most experiments are re-tooling & restyling elements that are already on a page or flow. Those that are comfortable with CSS will have a much easier time finding the shortest path to those changes.
- Web APIs – being comfortable with Web APIs and DOM manipulation is key for so many experiments. Having a grasp of easy ways of moving & manipulating content without relying on frameworks makes a big difference in experimentation pace.
- Speed – if the goal is to get out a lot of experiments, a good growth engineer has to be fast. Use any hiring tests as a way to gauge speed and code quality.
Growth engineering roles can be really rewarding. The role allows developers to have more variety and spend time in multiple areas of your app/website than a typical developer. While Growth Engineers get to build things quickly, they also contribute to the productization cycle when experiments win. The nature of this work is high-velocity, quantitative, and helps reduce user friction, making it very rewarding for engineers to see the impact of their work in a clear and exciting way.