Promotion by your peers: the TI Technical Ladder

Not everyone wants to be a manager but everyone wants to get ahead in their career – grow, learn, advance and be promoted. That’s where the TI Technical Ladder comes in.

While managers decide who can be nominated for a promotion through the technical ladder, it is fellow employees, those who are higher on the ladder than the people being nominated, who vote on the submissions.“So many people at TI are interested in making key technical or production contributions pushing the envelope and creating products that change the world,” said TI Senior Fellow Baher Haroun. “At TI, you’re given the ability to innovate, even if you’re not interested in moving up the ‘management ladder.’ The TI Tech Ladder is a recognition mechanism inside TI that creates a parallel promotion ladder with management.”

Baher said voting takes into account three criteria. The weighting across the three criteria is somewhat flexible, but is more heavily impacted by tangible contributions to TI’s business:

  1. Contributions to TI’s business (50-60 percent) – Did the employee create technological revolutions that make, or have the potential to make, revenue and profits for TI?
  2. Employee’s value as a technical source of information (25 percent) – Is the employee a person who gives presentations, educates and mentors others and contributes to methods, tools and ways of doing their job that other people use? Essentially, is the employee the “go-to” person for advice and questions?
  3. Contributions recognized outside of TI (15-25 percent) – Is the employee recognized externally for their work in terms of showing TI as an innovative company because of patents it generates? Does the employee engage customers, write papers in conferences and take part in activities of standards organizations?

The TI Tech Ladder is exclusive, with only 20-25 percent of eligible employees on the tech ladder and only five people at the highest level of the ladder – TI Senior Fellow. Duy-Loan Le is a TI Senior Fellow and advanced technology ramp manager for embedded processors.

“Everybody has different DNA, different passions and different career aspirations. To advance in a management track you have to ultimately manage a lot of people and run a business,” said Duy-Loan. “How do you motivate people who don’t want to manage people or run a business? How do we recognize them for their career and inspire them to innovate? That’s the whole purpose behind the technical ladder track.”

TI Senior Fellows Baher and Duy-Loan both said if you are passionate about your work and create world-changing innovations, TI is proud to recognize your skills, ability and ingenuity.

“Every time you move up the ladder, it is an honor,” said Duy-Loan.

“There is a sense of pride, a sense of accomplishment, and the reward and recognition is an achievement that people cherish. The TI Tech Ladder says that I’ve done my share and I am being recognized for my work,” said Baher.