How We Prepare Our Students For Engineering Leadership

Getting hired and then being successful at a company requires more than just technical skills. See what we do with our students.

Meet Cate

At Code Chrysalis, we aren’t just teaching coding–-we are preparing our students for industry leadership roles.

We say that awesome software engineers embody CATE:

  • Communication

  • Autonomy

  • Technical

  • Empathy

Getting hired and then being successful at a company requires all four of the aforementioned skills. You need to have strong technical skills, because well, of course.

Autonomy is important because of the speed with which technology moves and the nature of the job; you cannot always rely on someone to figure out the solution for you.

Communication is important because engineering is a team sport that requires clear communication with other engineers, product and business personnel, managers, and even clients and investors.

Lastly, empathy is required when you are a product maker.

Managing Our Students

We have a diverse classroom. Some of our students come in with strong technical knowledge, while others have developed strong project management or communication skills. We have had students with 20 years of experience in engineering roles. We have also had students with backgrounds in completely unrelated industries.

Because of this, we decided we needed a solution that would provide a clear and continuous path of growth for every student.

We try our best to have our classroom mimic industry, so we turned to the tech industry to find leaders in the nurturing and development of engineering talent.

Our Inspiration

This led us to Rent the Runway’s Engineering Ladder. Their former CTO, Camille Fournier, and the team created an engineering ladder to introduce structure into the fast-growing fashion-tech startup.

Their ladder’s individual contributor track covers four categories: technical skills, “get shit done”, impact, and communication and leadership. We found our CATE values reflected throughout RtR’s ladder and were impressed with its breadth and depth.

Our Student Rubric

We tweaked RtR’s ladder so that it would accommodate our course better, imbuing more CATE. Our goal by the end of this course is to have every student progress from the “student” level to the “junior engineer” level or further.

You can view our engineering ladder here.

Each of our students get a copy of our engineering ladder as part of their pre-course curriculum and every few weeks during the immersive, a member of the instruction team sits down with each student to reflect on their growth. Students and staff write notes about their development and goals in a concerted effort to progress in both hard and soft skills.

This engineering ladder provides a place for every student, no matter their experience in the tech industry. This rubric not only helps us focus our support for our students’ diverse experiences, but also serves as a career guide they can continue to use after they leave the Chrysalis.

CC4 students during a team activity.CC4 students during a team activity.


You can find Rent the Runway’s original spreadsheet ladder here and a description of it here.

And of course, our rubric is here.

A big thank you to our education software engineer, Krista Moroder, for spearheading the rubric creation and editing this post!

Code Chrysalis is a 12-week, full-time advanced coding bootcamp located in the heart of Tokyo. See why we are an industry leader in technical education in Japan.

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Written on April 13, 2018