Growth paths at ExpressVPN

If you asked your boss what you need to do to get promoted or how long it would take, could they give you a concrete answer?

Woman walking up coloured platforms against white background.

Your career, your way

At ExpressVPN, we want our employees to understand exactly how they can progress their careers with us; whether they are in people management, prefer to remain an individual contributor (IC), or want to move into a completely different role.

ExpressVPN's growth paths detail the skills and performance levels required to progress to the next level of seniority. With a clear road map of career development opportunities, we empower employees to know exactly what they need to do to justify a promotion.

ExpressVPN's co-founder on growth paths

Peter is one of ExpressVPN’s co-founders and has been instrumental in the exponential growth of the company since it began in 2009.

Headshot of Peter for quotes.

"Establishing growth paths has meant that we’re able to really structure our growth as a company and embed our values in the process. Employees have more autonomy in their career progression, so they feel empowered to do their best work."

Peter, Co-Founder

What do growth paths look like at ExpressVPN?

Two colleagues sitting on beanbags with devices discussing work.

“Our growth paths are flexible and completely transparent. This is not an ‘up or out’ culture—progress may follow the traditional path to people management, or it might mean specializing in a particular area. It’s really up to the individual to decide.”

Andrew, Head of HR, Asia

Growth paths are tied to a range of areas—for us, performance is about more than metrics. For example, we value collaboration, whether that’s driving pair programming, providing feedback across organizational boundaries, staying up-to-date and sharing the latest developments with colleagues, or creating content and training to benefit others.

There’s a strong feedback culture at ExpressVPN, too. We encourage employees to give frequent and detailed feedback to their direct reports, their peers, and management.

So how is performance measured at ExpressVPN?

There are five dimensions used to assess performance at ExpressVPN. They’re purposely broad and designed to promote ExpressVPN’s culture, values, and growth.

Green checkboxes indicating progress and results.

Deliver results

Getting things done is important, but it's the impact of the final, finished, and published product that counts.

Icon illustrating innovation and problem solving via lightbulb, pencil, and paper.

Innovation and problem solving

Rather than see things how they are, high-performers imagine how things should be and champion improvements.

Five star rating, building a better ExpressVPN.

Build a better ExpressVPN

Everyone should contribute positively to the brand, company culture, and overall objectives of ExpressVPN.

Range of speech bubbles against blue background indicating teamwork and positive relationships.

Teamwork and positive relationships

High-performing team members contribute to a positive work environment that empowers others to work and collaborate effectively and happily.

Arrows heading upwards together.

Improve yourself and others

We constantly improve skill sets to become more productive or widen an area of responsibility, helping others to learn and grow as well.

Does every career development path lead to people management?

Growth path grid showing pathways to people manager, IC, or new role.

No—at ExpressVPN, people management is undertaken only by those who want to take on that challenge. If you’re pursuing a people management growth path, you can expect extensive training in areas like giving and receiving feedback, difficult conversations, and successful hiring. These skills and deliverables will also be embedded into your development plan.

But if your ideal career path doesn’t point towards people management, that’s more than OK. If your ability to do something well—and your passion for doing it— means you want to keep doing it, we have growth paths that help you progress your career as an individual contributor.

Making the move from engineering manager to individual contributor

Shaun started with ExpressVPN as an engineering team lead. He worked on a range of projects in multiple roles, before becoming ExpressVPN’s engineering manager. But after a year in management, he realized he wanted to be more hands-on again.

Two colleagues walking and talking.

“I found myself designing technical solutions in my mind, writing code when I had 10 minutes to spare, and generally yearning for the ability to get my hands on the technologies that I evangelized day in, day out.”

Shaun, Engineering Fellow

Together with the CTO, he planned a transition out of his management role and into an IC role as a Software Engineering Fellow.

It’s common for people to reach the top of their field as an IC and feel like they’ve hit the ceiling—unless they move into people management. What’s not common is the ability to choose a different path, one that allows career progression with or without people management.

“It showed that ExpressVPN was willing not only to grow people within their career growth paths, but also embrace and encourage the individual’s desired growth path,” Shaun explains.

For Shaun, there was an opportunity to grow and progress the careers of his colleagues—to go where he could add the most value.

“Combining world-class technical architecture, deep business and product knowledge, and leadership, I see the biggest value I add in this new role as being a good leader that has the time and hands-on expertise to support, mentor, and coach others.”

“I also know the growth path within management is still open to me should I change course down the road. The feeling of safety and belonging is a significant factor in being able to make such decisions.”

Ping zhu illustration for changing locations.

Join us today

Growth paths enable you to fulfill your potential and progress your career with ExpressVPN. If you’re looking for an inclusive, challenging, and collaborative workplace, we’d love to talk to you!

Ready to put your career on the fast track and make a meaningful impact on the digital world? Check out our job openings page for all the latest info.