The secret to building a 10x startup engineering team
For many startups the success or failure of the company of depends upon the type of engineering talent they recruit
It’s a cliche, but truely great products are built by great engineering teams. Often mediocre engineering teams, can only lead to a mediocre product.
I have been fortunate enough in my career to work with elite engineers, and I have also been fortunate to work with mediocre engineers.
So here is what you are looking for
Hire a great chief technology officer.
Your CTO needs to be a hands-on engineer while he might also need the skills to design high-level systems also he should be able to inspire and lead your team to solve difficult problems and if not then solve it by himself.
Great engineers only want to work with the best managers, if you hire a b level manager you will be hiring b and c level engineers at your company.
Hire the execution team
Now, this is a tricky question. So read carefully, a lot of this depends upon the money you have to spend on engineering so let me do budgeting for you and tell you team structure for each of the different scenarios
All salaries are based on the India location(avg startup salaries).
SDE 1 will cost about $15000
SDE 2 will cost about $25000
SDE 3 will cost about $40000
Tech lead will cost about $60000
Engineering Manager will cost about 100k.
You have 100k / year to spend on the engineering
I am assuming that you have 2 verticals in which you need to do engineering. so considering the team I would suggest you is
2 SDE-2( one for each type )
This kind of team will be perfect to execute the first version of the product each of the SDE2 will be responsible for delivering the software which they want in the particular vertical. SDE1 will be useful to perform tasks that are quite repetitive. Sde1 will be assiting sde2. SDE3 will make sure that your system is architecture is right from day one. if you have more than two verticals of engineering then I would ask you to get rid of the sde3 and get another sde2 and in that case, sde2 will be responsible for managing whole design and scalability.
You have 500k/ year to spend on the engineering team
I am assuming you have 2 verticals then your Tech Lead should be responsible for creating the whole project plan
2 Tech leads
Tech leads will make sure that the deliverables are getting completed by each of the sde2s and sde1. sde3 is its own functional units where they work on critical business problems that require more tech attention. Sde1 works on small components carved out by sde3, under mentorship form sde2s.
If you have three verticals of engineering then use one sde3 as a lead to manage a couple of sde2, for the third vertical dont have any sde1 in it until you have a technical lead.
You have 2 million/ year to spend
2 Tech leads
1 Engineering Manager
You should use the same team structure as suggested in the previous 500k years spend and top within an engineering manager who can enable greater cross-functional collaboration between teams with the help of the tech lead.
Hope this helps some startup founders who do not have an engineering background to come up with the engineering team spend for the year.
Feel free to reach out to me to understand how to build a tech team based on your budget.