How to Build an Engineering Competency Matrix

12 September5 min read
How to Build an Engineering Competency Matrix

Technology is constantly advancing with each passing day. However, companies need help to make changes linked to organizational structure, productivity, and associated competencies to foster technology-led innovation.

Companies can easily manage engineering competencies by utilizing an engineering competency matrix that aligns with the innovation-driven approach

In this blog post, we'll talk about the procedures that must be taken to create a helpful engineering skill matrix.

How Should You Think About Engineering Competencies

Now, what is the engineering competency matrix? An engineering competency matrix is a go-to tool for recruiters to help companies define and visualize their employees' engineering skill sets to succeed in their assigned roles.

There are many ways to conceptualize engineering competencies. Of them, we can focus on the following four:

1. Knowledge areas: These pertain to your company's history and values, industry (such as oil and gas exploration, rubber production, or SaaS), and legislation in your industry. Everyone working for the company should have a working grasp of these topics.

2. Functional skills: These skills are based on roles. For example, functional knowledge can include Python, data modeling, and data visualization for a data scientist. Although some lists identify digital skills as a separate competency area, it should be noted that they are a part of functional skills. As long as you give them some thought, it doesn't matter where you put them.

3. Leadership abilities: Regardless of function, these are the soft abilities needed for various levels of engineering leadership. Thinking about it on three different levels—leading oneself, leading teams, and leading businesses—is a widely accepted industry standard.

Engineers on all levels require leadership abilities, such as time management, combining work and family obligations, emotional intelligence, and analytical thinking. A lot of a company's values can be found in the definition of these abilities by HR departments, which are skilled at doing so.

4. Behaviors: This is the exciting part. While the first three categories can all be measured in some way, behaviors are observable. Ownership, trust, sensitivity, and approachability are a few examples.

Building an Engineering Competency Matrix in 4 Steps

Building an engineering competency matrix isn't a one-day task. However, with proper planning and execution, one can easily create an effective engineering competency matrix. Here's what you need to do to build an engineering competency matrix:

Step 1: Delegate the Ownership

The first and foremost step is to assign a dedicated professional to take up the responsibility of building an engineering competency matrix. The person should be aware of all the company's objectives and shared vision to develop an effective engineering competency matrix plan. 

Since this task requires full-time attention, assigning specific personnel to build it from the ground up is mandatory. By doing this, you are making this the professional's #1 job priority.

Step 2: Establish the Matrix's Objectives

Fair clarity about the goals and objectives behind creating a competency matrix must be considered. One can easily set priorities by determining the team values and taking things step-by-step. 

You need to ask yourself various questions to initiate this step as part of the process. Questions like - "Is it necessary to establish a team from scratch?", "What are the ways you can evaluate employee performance?" and so on. 

Finding answers to such questions will help build a cohesive work environment and meaningful collaboration.

Step 3: Define Core Competencies

This is the step where one needs to create a list of core competencies to analyze and categorize the specific skills that require leveling up. The person who is responsible for building the engineering competency matrix will be one to make sure appropriate communication is made to all the employees. 

In this instance, you will need to define the roles and responsibilities of every individual associated with the task. Maintaining the whole list will be a new task in itself on a day-to-day basis. 

Regular review and frequent updating of the list will be required to check the skills thoroughly. In addition, eliminating technologies that no longer resonate with the business requirements should be done to avoid misunderstandings. This step also involves defining different levels of core competencies for each skill. 

Proper training should be conducted to enhance the overall performance of employees and help them level up their skillset by identifying the areas that require training. 

Also, a brief description of what all tasks have been delegated to whom and how everyone in the team can contribute towards building a successful engineering competency matrix.

Step 4: Gather Feedback and Execute

The engineering competency matrix will only make sense if it is thoroughly tested based on feedback and points of improvement from co-workers. 

This step is the most important as it will solely reflect on the company's culture, individual employee growth, recruitment process, and performance evaluation. Not just one-time feedback but a continuous set of iterations need to be made about the engineering competency matrix. 

Following this approach will keep you one step closer to achieving the company's goals and ensuring that all the employees are on the same page. In addition, reviewing the matrix every six months is often recommended to track the business processes and related competency levels.


Building an engineering skill matrix will benefit your business significantly, regardless of whether you run a startup or an established IT company. It will support the development of your organization's talent and encourage creativity.

To implement learning and development strategies appropriately, engineering leaders and recruitment managers should use the competency matrix to identify talent shortages.

Additionally, the competency matrix will assist you in forecasting the best strategies to address talent gaps and the amount of money needed to prevent a capital expenditure overrun by the organization.

The methods mentioned above, however, will assist you in creating an engineering competency matrix that will hasten the expansion of your business.

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