Wikimedia Engineering/Careers

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The purpose of this page is to document the career paths and structure of Wikimedia Foundation's Engineering and Product Development efforts. It is not intended to be a listing of job openings or opportunities, or a sales pitch to work at WMF, but an inside view that's useful for current and potential employees and contractors. For this reason, it lives here on, where it can be continuously updated by anyone.

Role and title are distinct. The title ties to a specific salary band in the organization that a position should typically be situated in. A person's role may change more frequently based on the organization's needs and the person's preferences. Examples of a person's role include e.g. ScrumMaster responsibilities on a team, leadership responsibilities for a specific technical project or area, interface responsibilities between teams, etc. These role designations are sometimes added alongside a person's title in the form "Title -- Role", and may be included in other contexts as well as a useful way to internally or externally highlight a person's responsibilities, but they are more likely subject to change.

See also the discussion notes.

Engineering-related career paths[edit]

Development track

  • Software Engineer
  • Senior Software Engineer
  • Principal Software Engineer (legacy title: "Architect"/"Lead Architect")

QA track

  • QA Engineer
  • Senior QA Engineer

Operations track

  • Operations Engineer
  • Senior Operations Engineer
  • Principal Operations Engineer (legacy title: "Architect"/"Lead Architect")

Leadership track

  • Process manager (e.g. Release Manager)
  • Group manager
  • Director
  • VP of Engineering

Specialized roles

  • Software Security Engineer
  • Operations Security Engineer
  • Technical Contributor Coordinator
  • Technical Communications Manager
  • Bug Wrangler

Potential future roles (TBD)

  • CTO (for technical as opposed to process leadership)

Role designations[edit]

Product-related career paths[edit]

The matrix is here. (NB: Dead link, probably needs to be recovered from Howief's archive)

Supporting functions

  • Community Liaison
  • Product Analyst

Product management track

  • Associate Product Manager
  • Product Manager
  • Senior Product Manager

Design track

User Experience


  • User Research Lead
  • Senior User Researcher
  • Associate User Researcher


  • Research Analyst
  • Research Scientist
  • Senior Research Scientist

Leadership track

  • Director
  • VP of Product

Potential future roles

  • Principal (could be the equivalent of Architect, e.g. Principal Designer)

Levels in engineering[edit]

[Software/Operations] Engineer[edit]

  • entry-level to mid-level
  • able to be an effective individual contributor on a team, lead on a smaller team/project
  • prepared to consult with senior team members on significant architectural changes
  • prepared to develop mentoring capacity in their areas of expertise

Senior [Software/Operations] Engineer[edit]

  • 5+ years of combined professional+volunteer engineering experience (not limited to WMF)
  • can be effective technical lead on a complex team/project
  • works closely with product managers and designers on projects
  • proven ability to mentor engineers across the organization and in the community
  • track record of modelling good social and development practices
  • track record of preparing RFCs and other/comparable architectural briefings for major technical changes, participation in architecture discussions, architectural leadership in their area

Principal [Software/Operations] Engineer[edit]

  • 8+ years of combined professional+volunteer engineering experience (not limited to WMF)
  • proven technical leadership capability in multiple domains
  • notable technical accomplishments in an open source/free software context
  • track record of inspiring and mentoring engineers across the organization and in the community
  • track record of modelling and shaping best community, open source and development practices
  • track record of preparing and guiding RFCs and other/comparable architectural briefings and discussions for major technical changes, providing broad architectural leadership