A friend of mine shared me an article by Dr. WU Jun. He classified engineers in 5 levels. I think it's instructive so translated in English and share.
This classification is based on Lev Landau's classification for physicians. WU Jun adapted it to engineers. He said, taking computer industry for example, an engineer is classified as level 5 when the engineer has gained knowledge and skills to solve problems and deliver allocated work independently. For example, to develope a tool that helps people to find books, the engineer should be able to know the right tools for development, which department has the right data, and what features the tool should have to ease the process. The engineer is not qualified if they're incompetent for such task.
Level-4 engineers require leadership and the ability to break down big problems. They can find the pathway to achieve bigger goals following the "vision-goal-pathway" model. A level-4 engineer is capable to solve real-world problems at scale more than being great at writing code. For example, an engineer comes up a solution which fits the scenario.
A level-3 engineer can lead people to deliver a profitable product for a company. On top of the skills above, a level-3 engineer's skill set should cover decision-making and marketing abilities. Essentially a level-3 engineer is an excellent product manager. Taking orders and not finding the reason behind won't help an engineer step up to level 3.
Engineers on the level 2 can make differences on the world as they can invent something new. Like Jeff Dean, who invented Google Cloud. At the last, the level-1 engineers can open a new market or industry. Like Henry Ford and Alexander Graham Bell.
Which level do you think you are at?
Source: 2021-10-24 · 罗振宇 《罗辑思维》第七季