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Skills Database

SkillRolesLevel 1Level 2Level 3Level 4Level 5
Design Systems
Designer
Can implement styles from an existing design system to make a new page.
Can contribute basic new components and styles to a design system.
Can create a simple design system by themselves, and can contribute complex, multi-variable components to existing systems
Can independently create and maintain a design system of moderate complexity which is easily scalable and has a 1 to 1 relationship with a code base.
Can independently create and maintain a large design system, document it, and publish it publicly. Is known in the industry as an expert on design systems.
Figma Skills
Designer
Knows how to implement simple components, shared colors, and typographic styles. Keeps layers neat and contained.
Can create nuanced components with a variety of states. Finished design is fully optimized, with no one-off unaffiliated styles.
Can implement deeply nested components to create flexible, powerful systems with a document. Can teach Figma to new users.
Deep understanding of all the built-in features of Figma (components, styling, prototyping, external plugins).
Writes Figma plugins to create bespoke functionality. Publishes Figma work to the public and is known as an expert on Figma techniques.
Visual Design
Designer
Understands the basic rules of visual design: hierarchy, balance, alignment, order, etc. Can differentiate different typeface styles and what they are best for.
Has a mental library of design principles informed by successful designs from history. Understands the progression of typography through the years and how web and print typography differ.
Knows when to "break the rules" to create dynamic style. Is up to date with the latest design thinking across multiple disciplines.
Has their own trademark style based on a strong understanding of historical design principles and current trends. Publishes work publicly, promoting the company.
Has a style that influences other designers. Their work is cited as inspiration in the design community. Speaks and writes about design thinking and trends for the Cantilever audience.
UX
Designer
Can create a set of wireframes for a simple website in both mobile and desktop. Can read and understand user research to tailor solutions to specific audiences.
Can present wireframes effectively to a client. Can build a clean, consistent set of wireframes for a complex website. Can analyze business needs to understand user journeys and create psychographics. Comfortable running user testing and analyzing sites in relation to competitors.
Can create powerful, flexible wireframes to show both website structure and nuanced UI patterns (such as scroll-triggered effects and animations). Is imaginative in the UX process to think of new UI paradigms that are uncommon and differentiate our work.
Performs user research and discovery projects as the background for design work. Can create a content model for a medium-sized site and match it to wireframes.
Can handle the most intensive, research-driven UX projects independently. Inspires others to create more advanced, innovative UX work. Creates and publicizes new UX methodologies (ex. UX Kits).
UI
Designer
Can visually show different states of a component through multiple artboards / storyboarding.
Is comfortable creating a finished site design from approved wireframes, resolving the nuances of the UI in a consistent and on-brand way.
Creates best-practices UI that is intuitive for users. Can create a common style across all UI in an interface. Knows the basics of how UI will translate into code and pitfalls to avoid.
Creates imaginative, on-brand ways to address common UI challenges. Publishes work on behalf of the company. Can create animated prototypes and interactive demos.
Can handle the most complex UI challenges elegantly with on-brand design, for any product or website. Is known as a top UI designer worldwide.
Branding
Designer
Can create logo concepts that are unique, balanced and clearly convey the brand. Can provide strong feedback on visual identity work.
Can work with a client to design an on-brand, production-ready logo for them.
Can create a larger visual identity for a client including ancillary materials alongside the core brand. Branding work is imaginative and thorough.
Can creative direct a large branding project, integrating user analysis, client input, competitive research, and strategic thinking.
Can handle a massive branding project with global scale, successfully integrating input from many complicated stakeholder relationships.
Presentation
Designer
Reliably communicates with team leads around project status and deliverables.
Comfortable speaking directly to clients to learn about their vision and desired direction, and to demo completed work.
Can participate in client discovery or sales meetings and clearly communicate vision and intent when presenting to clients.
Can lead important client meetings as our point person. Can create presentations to inspire and direct our clients/prospects.
Can present the work of themselves and others successfully. Can write exceptional brand guides. Speaks and writes publicly about design on behalf of the company.
Coding Understanding
Designer
Understands the basics of how web technologies work to render design to the screen
Has a basic understanding of HTML/CSS and knows how tags and styling work.
Has experience writing HTML and CSS and can articulate to developers how a component might be built.
Has written production-grade HTML/CSS/JS and can help developers plan and execute their work
Literally is a developer also 😆
Webflow Development
DesignerDeveloper
Can work with a template or existing site to customize colors, typography and site content
Can create a medium-sized Webflow site from scratch, matching provided or own designs.
Can translate a visual design into a custom built Webflow site using components and shared styles
Can create more advanced Webflow sites using collections and e-commerce features.
Able to create new custom components that are accessible and re-usable between Webflow projects. Is known as a Webflow expert.
Budget & Timeline Management
Project Manager
Knows how to track project budgets. Alerts client or senior PM when a budget is in danger.
Takes charge of the budget and schedule. Keeps a close eye on hours throughout the project. Regularly reports on budget and timeline to the client and strategist. Pauses the project and asks for confirmation before exceeding estimates.
Has a sense for when a project or task my go over budget, and reacts accordingly. Can manipulate tasks within a sprint to meet client budget and timeline goals.
Based on observations about the project, suggests technical and design changes that can help our budget/timeline position. Proactively recommends changes to the client. Can adjust staffing plan/WBS based on budget or timeline problems.
Develops and tests new theories about optimizing projects. Works with designers and developers to determine how to optimize their work. Can create advanced schedule structures to optimize delivery dates based on parallel-path execution. Bonus points: Publishing these findings to the Cantilever blog, or speaking about them at conferences.
Technical Knowledge
Project Manager
Has the ability to learn and understand technical concepts. Has a good attitude about trying to learn. Proactively researches topics beyond their area of expertise
Understands the basic elements of how sites work. Understands how a CMS interacts with frontend code to allow a site to be editable. Understands the basics of performance, SEO and accessibility.
Has a basic working understanding of web design & development. Understands why different frontend methodologies work better for different needs. Can explain how the CMSes we use differ, and why we would use one over another. Has a sense for when there is a speed or technical issue on a site and can provide clear, helpful feedback.
Understands broader topics like marketing, branding, and content strategy. Can diagnose problems on a basic technical level by analyzing browser behavior or console warnings. Can analyze customer needs and make confident recommendations on specific technical approaches based on prior experience.
Understands the principles behind our development practices. Can debug a code issue directly and provide useful insight. Can fill in as a strategist for smaller projects.
Design Expertise
Project Manager
Has the ability to learn and understand design concepts. Proactively seeks knowledge about design.
Understands the basic rules of visual design: hierarchy, balance, order, etc. Understands the core elements of User Experience (UX) and can pick between very good and very bad user experiences on other sites.
Understands basic typographic principles and what makes for "good" typography. Can identify usability flaws in sites and work to address them. Understands Cantilever design standards and practices. Can help clients and designers work together by translating between their different languages.
Can judge and provide feedback on design work from the client’s perspective. Can speak confidently about how design work meets or fails to meet customer needs. Understands industry trends. Understands current technology and how it influences possibilities for designers.
Understands web/branding history and can use historical examples to support a point. Can confidently present design work alone and alongside a creative director. Knows how to use Figma to manipulate and adjust designs if needed.
Communication
Project Manager
Communicates respectfully and clearly to all stakeholders. Might not understand every detail of a discussion, but gathers questions and asks for clarification during and after the discussion.
Can follow project meetings, take accurate and contextually-aware notes, and report back accurately on what was agreed. Can phrase project todos accurately and clearly for staff to execute.
Can follow and contribute to a high-level conversation about project approach and strategy. Can take those findings and reiterate them to staff and clients at the level of their expertise.
Can write accurate and thoughtful project documentation. Can engage with a strategist on the substance of project decisions and help them come to better conclusions.
Can communicate with the same nuance as a strategist about important decisions to do with the project
Planning
Project Manager
Understands the basic stages of how web projects are composed. Can read and understand a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) provided by a technical lead/creative director.
Can write a simple WBS for small projects, working from a project vision constructed by a strategist and the team. Can create a suitable project schedule and map tasks into sprints.
Can write a simple WBS for medium-sized projects. Can create a nuanced project schedule based on insight into team skillsets and dynamics.
Can write accurate WBS for large and complex projects, working with teammates. Successfully pads internal estimates to make sure we come in on time and on budget.
Helps strategists identify parts of projects which they are not thinking about. Can help others refine their estimates based on past experience with various tasks, and changes in technology. Can independently adjust a WBS based on an unexpected change or event.
Client Management
Project Manager
Can schedule a client meeting and follow along, taking notes, and distributing the notes after.
Can schedule, lead, and follow up from a client meeting successfully. Provides confidence for client that project is proceeding in the right direction. Regularly updates the client on status. Is available for questions and answers requests promptly.
Can brainstorm and evaluate new ideas with the client, creating new opportunities to collaborate. Consistently reminds the client about action items outside of our own areas of responsibility.
Can act as a strategist for smaller clients, and thinks strategically even when not acting as strategist.
Is requested specifically by clients. Is a general project management expert and leads our project management practice
DevOps
Developer
Can read and understand what a build process does (with help from documentation and google). Can run Cantilever projects locally and work effectively. Understands how simple servers and CDNs work. Can deploy code using GUI tools and basic Git-based deployment workflows.
Can create a new Cantilever project including a standard build proceess and local environment setup using Valet. Can modify a standard build process to suit the specific project they are working on. Can work within an existing server to find and fix permissions or other minor issues. Can create a simple new server setup using our guides.
Can implement local development tools that we’ve never implemented before. Can create a fully optimized build process from scratch. Knows how to implement Docker for our more complex builds. Can customize server settings like memory limits, Nginx rewrite rules, and logging. Knows Cloudflare intimately. Can debug most common server and CDN-related issues without help.
Can set up Docker for a complex multi-tenant project use-case. Can set up CI/CD workflows. Can optimize build processes for peers. Stays involved in the community and understands devops trends.
Can build new Node packages to address our common workflow issues. Can solve any server-related issue and can implement advanced rewrite techniques like full domain masking. Knows how to use Cloudflare service workers to optimize edge performance.
CMS
Developer
Knows how to implement a site in at least one CMS using by-the-book means. Can modify a CMS-driven site to add fields and update existing logic.
Has a strong understanding of how Cantilever approaches CMS integration for websites. Can build full features in an existing CMS-driven site. Can create a new simple site using at least one CMS. Can train content administrators in using CMS. Can create a clean, user-friendly interface for authors by configuring fields intuitively.
Can write custom code within a CMS-driven site to implement complex backend features. Can write plugins or field types to solve missing features of a CMS, and can debug CMS errors. Can write tests for their backend code within a CMS. Can implement a new CMS-based site cleanly without any help.
Could write their own basic CMS if they needed. Writes complex plugins and extensions that allow us to satisfy our project requirements without hacky code.
Has created their own CMS or similar robust application. Can debug core CMS code and contribute to open-source modifications for our common CMSes.
Backend
Developer
Can read, understand, and debug existing backend code. Can implement basic functionality within an existing site. Understands common PHP syntax and is comfortable reading through PHP code.
Can implement a moderately complex route->controller->view feature within an existing MVC framework-based site (Laravel, Ruby on Rails, Yii, etc). Understands how to create simple PHPunit tests and how to modify existing ones.
Can build clean new sites on at least one MVC framework, without help. Can architect and create PHPunit test coverage for a project. Can architect and build complex features, like an API, within an MVC framework. Can work with a JS backend.
Has intimate knowledge of how common frameworks function. Is an expert in PHP syntax, best practices, and performance. Knows how to write extensive test coverage for an application. Understands JS backends strongly and can architect and write new applications in a framework like Express.
Can work in more useful languages other than PHP and JS (Ruby, Go, Elixer, Python, etc.). Is a leading expert on backend coding methodologies and techniques.
Javascript
Developer
Knows core vanilla javascript syntax and can write simple components within an existing site. Knows the basics of debugging JS using console.log and debugger tools. Can handle the JS layer for a small site without needing help.
Can build clean JS components within an existing framework or vanilla project, matching the conventions of the project. Strongly understands the common patterns of UI development (slideshows, menus, responsive heroes, filtering systems, etc.). Can debug quickly using debugger.
Expert in at least one JS framework along with vanilla. Can make smart architectural decisions. Can build a site’s JS layer from scratch, working from existing site models. Can build functional JS that handles complex business logic, not just UI components. Can understand and debug third-party JS. Can write JS unit tests within an existing framework.
Deep expert in several JS frameworks as well as fundamental vanilla JS. Understands JS unit testing and can set up a basic test suite for a project.
Is a leading expert in Javascript syntax, techniques, and best practices, current and upcoming. Can create robust JS unit test architecture. Can build advanced features in a fraction of the time.
HTML/CSS
Developer
Knows all common HTML tags and what they do. Knows the basics of how CSS works and can style a straightforward page independently without help. Can build a new component within an existing Cantilever site, following existing conventions.
Can create full pages which match design comps without requiring much help. Has mastery of HTML/CSS syntax. Writes clean, accessible markup. Can quickly debug layout errors. Can use Cantilever CSS frameworks to build complex pages with minimal help. Can optimize SVG images for inline or image display depending on the situation.
Can build components of any complexity within CSS frameworks without causing code bloat. Can deliver perfect visual fidelity without hacky code. Can quickly debug layout errors. Understands SVG animation techniques. Is an expert in HTML and CSS syntax and best practices. Is an expert in accessibility and how good markup enhances it. Can teach others their skills.
Can build own HTML/CSS frameworks. Is constantly keeping up with changes in web standards and browser support. Knows when it is appropriate to deviate from provided mockups and add nuanced touches that enhance the user experience. Can write code that matches provided designs in a much shorter timeframe.
Understands HTML/CSS on a root technical level and how it works under the hood. Can design in the browser. Can write CSS Algorithms and fancy stuff like that (See https://notlaura.com/writing-css-algorithms/).
Thought Leadership
Archived
Tells friends and family about the company and what makes us special
Posts on social media, forums, etc. discussing company projects and accomplishments. Attends meetups and events to grow skills and meet people on behalf of the company.
Creates blog posts and articles on behalf of the company, demonstrating their area of expertise and helping others.
Speaks at conferences or meetups on behalf of the company. Creates complex content that successfully reaches larger audiences
Is known as an expert in their field. Is a visible public evangelist for the company.
Team Leadership
Production
Can provide approvals for clarified, lightweight tasks within their domain of focus. Can write basic handbook entries.
Can approve more complex features. Can write significant handbook entries.
Can approve any task within their area of expertise. Can write involved handbook entries. Can manage a junior team member.
Can approve tasks even outside their area of expertise given a clear enough task. Is a respected leader within the team on their area of expertise. Can manage multiple team members and mentor junior staff. Can set up internal systems and databases to enhance team efficiency.
Mentors and manages senior staff. Can fill in for other team members (for example, as a designer, acting as a PM of strategist). Is a public evangelist for the company and our culture.
Strategic Process Development
Head of Production
Understands our existing processes intimately and can tweak them in order to improve results
Can lead the creation of extremely complex new business processes touching multiple teams and disciplines, with a smooth rollout in a reasonable timeframe.
Personal Management
Head of Production
Can act as manager for our PM and Strategy teams without creating undue conflict
Can help even the most senior report grow and change. Can motivate a strong team towards common objectives.
Client Relationship Management
Head of Production
Can help maintain existing client relationships by staying in touch with our clients and gathering feedback proactively.
Actively generates business by maintaining great relationships with client stakeholders, leading to referrals and connections.
Subject Matter Expertise
Head of Production
Understands the basics of web design and development. Could act as a capable PM or Strategist if necessary.
Is an expert on web design and development and is known as a leading mind in the industry
Project Capabilities
Strategist
Is able to handle smaller clients with simpler needs such as webflow sites, light branding, etc
Is able to handle clients at any level of technical and design complexity. Can open up new markets for Cantilever based on unique domain knowledge (ex. someone who knows the medical field really well allows us to work in that field)
Strategy
CEO
Maintains a long-term vision for the company and leads the company towards objectives that satisfy the vision. Typically succeeds.
Leads the company towards fulfilling strategic objectives, and almost never fails.
Personal Management
CEO
Is a reliable, effective manager for our senior leaders.
Is an inspirational leader who dramatically accelerates the growth of their direct reports. Adeptly resolves inter-company conflicts and leaves the team feeling supported, challenged, and appreciated.
Financial Management
CEO
Understands our books. Can set financial targets for the company and make strategic changes that bring them about. Understands risk factors that face the company and makes proactive adjustments to avoid problems
Thinks creatively about financial challenges and reacts according to best practices. Seeks to gain knowledge about financial management and implement lessons. Can create nuanced financial reports that reveal lessons.
Understands advanced methods of financial analysis. Can create complex models and forecasts. Understands how to use leverage safely.
Understands how macroeconomic trends are affecting the business and makes changes in reaction to them. Consistently delivers strong financial results even when market conditions are poor. Understands how to raise funds and manage equity transactions.
Has deep knowledge of the financial levers available to firms and comes up with creative, ethical strategies to boost earnings. Is an expert on the macroeconomy and makes strategic plans in line with forecasted economic trends.
Working with Developers/Designers
QA Engineer
Can articulate issues to developers accurately
Works efficiently with developers to help them replicate bugs.
Can contribute to conversations around Cantilever dev strategies based on findings in prior QA processes.
Can pair with devs to break down issues by looking at the code.
Works with our dev team to modify their practices in response to recurring problems noticed within our source code
Automated Testing
QA Engineer
Is actively learning about using automated tools to test sites.
Understands the different types of automated testing available. Can monitor and adjust existing automated testing setups.
Can implement at least one strategy for implementing automated acceptance/integration testing
Can implement multiple strategies for writing acceptance tests and connecting them to our continuous integration tools requiring minimal help from DevOps.
Is an expert in automated testing technology. Understands multiple platforms and approaches and when they are appropriate. Can integrate automated testing tools with a CI/CD pipeline without help.
Accessibility Knowledge
QA Engineer
Knows the basic principles of web accessibility and what makes for an accessible website. Can test for keyboard accessibility.
Knows how to use at least one screen reader to test websites. Knows all the common accessibility antipatterns (keyboard traps, labels in images, etc) and can identify them on sites. Can use automated tools like AXE to analyze websites and report back to developers on issues. Can check all WCAG AA 2.1 rules which do not involve looking at actual code.
Can check the full WCAG AA 2.1 checklist including reviewing code for invisible or structural problems. Understands common solutions to accessibility issues.
Understands the qualitative experience of disabled users. Has extensively used a screen reader and knows how to use it the way a real-world user would.
Is an expert on web accessibility, knowing the WCAG criteria intimately but also understanding the qualitative experience of disabled users.
Manual Testing
QA Engineer
Can accurately compare a finished web page to a design comp/QA checklist and note the differences. Can test invisible functionality like Google Analytics with coaching. Needs a few passes and may miss some bugs. Can write a clear and accurate bug report using our template.
Tests rigorously and thinks of edge cases that others haven’t tried yet. Finds most bugs with a few passes. Uses the CMS to test different permutations of content. Can guess when a bug is likely a content issue vs. when it is a code problem and note so in the report.
Knows the basics of web development and can guess when an issue is frontend, backend, or content. Avoids logging erroneous issues. Can intuit when differences between comps and pages are likely acceptable. Can test invisible functionality like Google Analytics without much coaching. Needs fewer passes to catch most bugs.
Knows a good amount about web development and can usually tell what part of the stack a bug is coming from. Understands the nuances of the application they are testing and tailors testing to each product. Understands the most common types of bugs well and can articulate why they occur. Can write own QA documentation based on a project’s UX documentation and a demo. Usually finds most issues on the first pass. Can begin to make suggestions about where in the code a problem might lie. Checks the code for hints when encountering an infrequent/unusual problem.
Can read and understand code so they know how to best challenge a site’s bug-proofness. Has a strong intuition around what aspects of a site are likely to be the biggest problems. Understands the common types of programming bugs and security vulnerabilities and can test against them specifically. Only needs one pass to catch almost any bug. Can write and assign issues directly to developers with recommended solutions based on the contents of the source code. Can assess independently whether an issue has to do with content, and can write a report directly for clients.
Budget and Timeline Management
Strategist
Keeps a close eye on project timeline and budget status and makes modifications when necessary to avoid problems
We almost never miss deadlines or go over budget on this person’s projects.
Strategic Planning
Strategist
Understands the basic business realities of their clients and plans our work to align with their business goals
Is an important strategic advisor to client not just on our work. Proactively makes smart suggestions for projects and
Review & Feedback
Strategist
Can review and assess work against agreed-upon Definitions of Done. Can verify when we have completed tasks successfully according to client requests.
Can provide creative and technical feedback on the level of a creative or technical director. Can guide work proactively by providing unique insight. Can synthesize client feedback with our own requirements to find novel solutions.
Task Clarification
Strategist
Can handle small to medium inbound requests for work from clients and clarify them to be actionable and ready for a sprint
Can handle any conceivable request from a client including for full new platforms or projects, and spec/clarify them in coordination with internal experts
Executive Communication
Executive Assistant
Can help executives draft outbound communication. Can handle light email management and triage on behalf of executives.
Saves executives significant time by intercepting communication and ensuring that executives are focused on only what they need to focus on
Can write basic contracts according to directions provided by executives.
Can handle most legal paperwork needs on behalf of executives.
Can write communication on behalf of executives that requires almost no revision.
Studio Management
Executive Assistant
Can operate within project management software effectively, coordinating between various teams
Can set up a project in our project management software for a small initiative on behalf of a project manager or executive
Can act as a Project Manager for small internal initiatives.
Can act as a strategist for small internal initiatives, or a PM for larger ones
Can act as a strategist and PM for significant company initiatives, overlapping with ops team
Scheduling & Logistics
Executive Assistant
Capable of handling most daily scheduling and logistical tasks effectively and on time without help. Occasionally needs help for more significant tasks.
Can handle all typical scheduling and logistical needs without help.
Can handle almost every scheduling and logistical need on behalf of executives without help. Can set up and run company events.
Can make strategic decisions around scheduling and logistics that are in line with general company status and context.
Is a true extension of executives and vital to their effectiveness and decision-making. Can make effective decisions and take action on behalf of executives without help. Is an expert on our industry and company.