Principal Engineer

Principal Engineer Roles at GitLab

Principal Engineers are recognized experts in multiple technology domains relevant to GitLab, and represent the senior technical leadership within their organization. They are responsible for driving the direction of their part of the organization, assisting management and other senior technical leaders create strategic roadmaps, and driving priorities to meet various objectives. This role reports to Senior Manager and above.

Job Grade

The Principal Engineer is a grade 9.


Share our values, and work in accordance with those values.

  • Collaborates and makes proposals across several teams on their engineering work, and helps their team members make informed decisions in alignment with the sub-department strategic plans.
  • Proactively identifies opportunities to reuse or generalize existing services and product features. Avoids duplication of effort by encouraging collaboration.
  • Exposes technology and organizational needs throughout their department.
  • Teach, mentor, grow, and provide advice to other domain experts, individual contributors, across several teams in their sub-department.
  • Play a central role in technical, business, and organizational contributions affecting the sub-department/department.
  • Plan improvements and features with a 6 month view.
  • Solves technical problems of the highest scope, complexity, and ambiguity for their sub-department.
  • Interfaces with EMs and Senior Manager or above and enables Staff Engineers to engage on department-level aspects of larger (sub-department wide) initiatives.
  • Looks for innovation opportunities between several teams with a willingness to experiment and to boldly confront problems of large complexity and scope.
  • Proposes initial technical implementation which supports architectural changes that solve scaling and performance problems.
  • Ensures that OKR level goals are aligned across several teams in their sub-department.
  • Guides conversations to remove blockers and encourage collaboration across teams.
  • Provides a point of escalation for sub-department teams facing complex technical challenges.
  • Attain a measurable impact on the work of sub-department teams.
  • Interact with customers and other external stakeholders as a consultant and spokesperson for the work of your sub-department.
  • Exposes the work of the sub department and their business impact internally.
  • Knowledgeable in all specialities practiced within the Department or Sub Department
  • Participate in either Tier 2 or Tier 3 weekday and weekend and occasional night on-call rotations to assist troubleshooting product operations, security operations, and urgent engineering issues OR the Incident Management on-call rotation to help ensure the availability goals for are met, by working with reliability engineers and development team members.
  • Complete Interview Training in support of hiring efforts for the department. Participation as either a technical interviewer or part of their team’s interview panel may be expected from hiring managers, given ongoing hiring needs.

Career Ladder

For more details on the engineering career ladders, please review the engineering career development handbook page.


About GitLab

GitLab Inc. is a company based on the GitLab open-source project. GitLab is a community project to which over 2,200 people worldwide have contributed. We are an active participant in this community, trying to serve its needs and lead by example. We have one vision: everyone can contribute to all digital content, and our mission is to change all creative work from read-only to read-write so that everyone can contribute.

We value results, transparency, sharing, freedom, efficiency, self-learning, frugality, collaboration, directness, kindness, diversity, inclusion and belonging, boring solutions, and quirkiness. If these values match your personality, work ethic, and personal goals, we encourage you to visit our primer to learn more. Open source is our culture, our way of life, our story, and what makes us truly unique.

Top 10 Reasons to Work for GitLab:

  1. Mission: Everyone can contribute
  2. Results: Fast growth, ambitious vision
  3. Flexible Work Hours: Plan your day so you are there for other people & have time for personal interests
  4. Transparency: Over 2,000 webpages in GitLab handbook, GitLab Unfiltered YouTube channel
  5. Iteration: Empower people to be effective & have an impact, Merge Request rate, We dogfood our own product, Directly responsible individuals
  6. Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging: A focus on gender parity, Team Member Resource Groups, other initiatives
  7. Collaboration: Kindness, saying thanks, intentionally organize informal communication, no ego
  8. Total Rewards: Competitive market rates for compensation, Equity compensation, global benefits (inclusive of office equipment)
  9. Work/Life Harmony: Flexible workday, Family and Friends days
  10. Remote Done Right: One of the world's largest all-remote companies, prolific inventor of remote best practices

See our culture page for more!

Work remotely from anywhere in the world. Curious to see what that looks like? Check out our remote manifesto and guides.