<= 250k TC SDE 3's @ Amazon

Amazon scarF4ce
May 12 30 Comments

From other thread, I noticed that many engineers got low balled even after promotion to L6. At the same time, Amazon pays relatively more to new hire SDE 2's/SDE 3's.

How many of you are in this boat? Is this new Amazon norm? Which org are you in ? How long have you been in Amazon?

TC: 242k
Location: Seattle
Org: AW5
5+ years in Amazon

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TOP 30 Comments
  • Apple cho Chang
    New hires at amazon have to pass the bar raiser round which means they’re above median for the level they’re offered, which is why their offer is also usually above the median for that level (200k+ for SDE2, 305k+ for SDE3).

    Meanwhile new promotions are towards the lower end of the band (175k for SDE2, 240k for SDE3). It makes sense.
    May 12 9
    • Amazon / Eng bCxp50
      L6 is on the bubble. The bar is still respectable there in many orgs, at least for industry hires.

      The L4 bar is in the toilet, though, and L5 has been slipping aggressively. Especially L4...my team has PIP'd our last two college hires. And this wasn't just servicing a quota; these kids were *bad.*
      May 13
    • Lockheed Martin / Mgmt gdbsk6d
      Are you an SDM? Would like to hear more of your thoughts on how this process could be improved. As an outsider coming in, I really want to value the inputs of people who have first hand experience on issues that need to be addressed.
      May 13
    • Amazon / Eng bCxp50
      Nah, not an SDM myself—long tenured (4+ years) SDE. There are some nuggets of really good info on the Amazon Blind channel, and my last manager was incredibly transparent with me and shared a lot of interesting information on the way out the door (moved to another company). Helped me filter out the noise/BS.

      Here are some of the things that I really dislike about the Amazon system/culture:

      * Shocking lack of transparency. Performance rating (OLR/stack rank bucket) is kept confidential; HR guidance is not to share unless asked. Comp target is also kept confidential. There’s a “secret” dev list (pre-PIP) that’s particularly Orwellian. Interestingly, when I first joined the company, ratings were openly disclosed and my then-manager shared my comp target with me. Things inexplicably got worse after the NYT article came out.

      * Comp model is broken in general. As a first (or even second/third) line SDM, you’ll have little power to change it. Best thing you can do is try not to BS your reports (the smartest of the lot will easily see through it) and focus on what you can control or influence: projects, ops burden/overhead, growth opportunities.

      * Ops focus kinda sucks on many software teams. This is derived from a 1-2 punch of “customer obsession” and “frugality,” with the theory that engineers will be more accountable for their work if they’re in the firing line when it burns. Great in theory, but the reality is that our massive scale and microservices-driven SOA means that most major problems have large blast radiuses and there’s a very good chance you’ll get paged if something your system doesn’t even touch directly blows up; I jokingly tell my mentees that the reason we ask you to write a BFS or DFS in an interview is so that you can quickly figure out where the high severity ticket that landed on you is actually supposed to go. There are also mountains of tech debt in most orgs. Pushing back against scope creep and managing expectations helps.

      * Junior-heavy engineering workforce. Because the bottom of the L6 band is so low relative to scope, the best SDEs often leave shortly before or after reaching that level simply because they can easily get a lot more money elsewhere once they’re performing at that scope (FWIW I’m also leaving the company soon), while you get stuck managing and mentoring armies of subpar SDE1s and mediocre SDE2s. The upside to this is that it’s pretty easy to find genuine underperformers to burn on the stack every year.

      As bad as this all sounds (you did ask), there’s also a lot to like about working here; I wouldn’t have stayed here for 4 years if there weren’t (the incredible and anomalous stock run didn’t hurt, either—kept my comp a lot more competitive than it would’ve been otherwise). Scope and growth are usually pretty awesome, and the better orgs will offer you some pretty exceptional creative latitude. No fighting over projects because it’s not hard to come with something interesting on your own and get implicit approval to go out and do it—just throw it into your OP1 (annual planning doc) and provide reliable numbers to back it up, and you’re golden.
      May 13
    • Lockheed Martin / Mgmt gdbsk6d
      Fantastic insight!! I truly appreciate you sharing it with me and I will keep all of it in mind as I start this new role!
      May 13
    • New
      cdPp78

      New

      PRE
      Facebook
      cdPp78more
      bCxp50 sharing some golden nuggets 👍
      May 13
  • Amazon Beff-Jezos
    This is not Amazon norm. This is industry norm.
    May 12 5
    • Amazon scarF4ce
      OP
      It would be good if someone from Google, fb, Uber, Microsoft, etc. can chime in. Although I doubt it's true that a higher level promoted person being paid less than new hire at lower level.
      May 12
    • Microsoft jesus-
      Microsoft treats current employees like shit similar or worse than amazon.
      I am maxing out bonus but still super underpaid compare to external hires. So I voted with my feet. Funny that I am going to amazon as l5 but with l6 pay grade lol
      May 12
    • Amazon scarF4ce
      OP
      And I may go to Microsoft now, lol. Swap places every 2 years!
      May 12
    • Microsoft jesus-
      Good luck! Microsoft is awesome company. I only moved due to tc
      May 12
    • Facebook YMVM33
      Where did you move from Microsoft
      May 12
  • Amazon / Product
    dreambigYo

    Amazon Product

    BIO
    Anyone Hire Product Manager :)
    dreambigYomore
    MSFT treats existing employee$ bad?
    May 12 3
    • Microsoft jesus-
      Only TC wise badly. Microsoft is an awesome company which cares about employees a lot (except pay). I would recommend anybody to join MS.
      May 12
    • Amazon / Product
      dreambigYo

      Amazon Product

      BIO
      Anyone Hire Product Manager :)
      dreambigYomore
      😍
      May 12
    • Amazon Beff-Jezos
      Well I don’t need much care except TC wise, and I believe many people share the same thoughts :)
      May 12
  • Microsoft jesus-
    Whats ur title
    May 12 3
    • Amazon scarF4ce
      OP
      SDE 3, it's in thread title.
      May 12
    • Microsoft jesus-
      Doesnt say its yours or asking in general
      May 12
    • Google SWEING
      Yes. Your post is slightly confusing. Good to clarify in post itself.
      May 13
  • Google yXBC85
    I was offered 255k for L5 at Amazon recently... it seems kinda fucked up if they are paying internal SDE3s less than incoming SDE2s.
    May 12 4
    • Amazon PotatoSale
      This is totally messed up. I think Amazon is going to loose a bunch of senior engineers soon unless they correct this.
      May 12
    • Amazon qjshc
      seniors who can move out
      May 12
    • Facebook YMVM33
      Do they care to lose some if they can hire a bunch more? Many existing seniors will still stay and amazon can save a lot of money paying them at a lower rate
      May 12
    • Amazon PotatoSale
      Maybe. It will depend on how many will leave.
      May 12
  • Nvidia wagecuck
    When you are promoted, you are generally at the lower end of the pay band. External hires are often at the highest end of the payband (esp L5 because Amzn downlevels people with 15 yoe). External L6 are are also median or higher payband.
    May 12 0