Company Brand vs Title, Google v Microsoft

New / Eng nightdrive
Nov 11 24 Comments

I have competing offers from Microsoft and Google, but they are for different roles:

Google - Application Engineer III
Microsoft - Software Development Engineer II

Google’s name power is big, but I never realized how big. Everyone outside of tech is telling me to choose Google because of resume, regardless of title.

People inside tech though, tell me to choose SDE because Application Engineer is seen as inferior. They can never explain why though, and when they try, it usually just exposes that they don’t actually know anything about the role.

These are both development roles. AE would be working on internal software, SDE would be working in Cloud Ops.

Assume pay is the same after tax and over 200k TC. This role is L4 at Google and 61/62 at Microsoft.

Which offer would you take?

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TOP 24 Comments
  • Intel Why???
    If TC after tax is the same, consider cost of living, opportunities for career advancement etc.

    Neither title or company is better or worse in terms of reputation
    Nov 11 6
    • Citadel Securities bluetiger
      Google is better in terms of reputation
      Nov 11
    • New / Eng nightdrive
      OP
      Yeah... as working engineers inside the industry we can all know that the engineering bar isn’t THAT different... but to anyone who’s never written a line of code, there’s some kind of mythology around engineers that make it into Google.

      I don’t understand how Google has managed to cultivate that, but it’s definitely a real thing out there. People light up when you tell them you got an offer from Google. I already feel people treating me differently and I haven’t even accepted yet.
      Nov 11
    • New / Eng nightdrive
      OP
      @sweSharp I’m not sure what you mean by “early cognitive ability profiling”?
      Nov 11
    • Google / Eng
      sweSharp

      Google Eng

      PRE
      Condé Nast
      sweSharpmore
      Sorry not communicating clearly but Google has always been known to be a tough interviewer and was famous in its early days for pitching those brain teasers we all know and hate now.

      I think this reputation is outsized compared to the actual truth of the situation, but ya this started the idea that you must be some kind of savant to get into Google

      We do still use cognitive ability though as a signal
      Nov 11
    • New / Eng nightdrive
      OP
      Ohh, you mean those old questions like “Why are manhole covers round?” I think Microsoft used to do the same (think the manhole one is from them actually). That’s probably part of it.

      Maybe the reputation just didn’t stick for Microsoft because of Win 9x and blue screens? lol

      And Google’s all web-based, so when their early stuff broke their users probably just blamed it on their ISP or IE...
      Nov 11
  • Google / Eng
    sweSharp

    Google Eng

    PRE
    Condé Nast
    sweSharpmore
    Application engineers are the people that customize stuff like Salesforce, Remedy, or SAP. I think with Microsoft you could work your way into Google and still have the software engineer title. Then again coming from Google, maybe you could turn AE into something else at another company but at Google it's going to be a bit annoying
    Nov 11 1
    • New / Eng nightdrive
      OP
      Do you mean transferring to SWE ladder within Google would be annoying? What would that process be like exactly, would I just apply like any other candidate, or is there someone within the company I would talk to?

      I’m actually more excited about AE than other people seem, I could see myself just staying in that ladder as long as the work is challenging enough. If I ever did transfer, that would be the reason, though. To keep growing the skillset.
      Nov 11
  • Microsoft xle8sn27
    How was the interview for AE compared to SDE? Coding?
    Nov 11 4
    • New / Eng nightdrive
      OP
      SDE I was told would be 5 coding rounds, but halfway through they switched to system and OO design. I think they figured out I could code and switched to determine level.

      AE was 2 coding, 2 system design, 1 googleyness. Google also had 4 coding rounds from 2 years ago where I think I near-aced 3 of them, and did embarrassingly bad on 1 (that one was most senior interviewer, failed HC).

      I think the AE rounds had the highest difficulty rating. Their questions were designed in such a way that there was basically no limit to how much depth of knowledge and coding ability you could demonstrate. Very open-ended design questions, and the coding rounds were OO design + algorithm questions, and when you finished one they just asked you to add another method that does n more complicated things. The questions were never “finished”, they just kept getting bigger until time ran out.

      My impression is that I did really well in all 10, but everyone thinks they do well. I have some confirmation from the recruiter at Google about how well I did, though.

      Google interviews felt much more personal. I have this feeling like the people at Google really care about me. Which can’t be true lol, but there’s just something about how people treat you there that’s just different than literally everywhere else. Don’t know how to explain it.
      Nov 11
    • Microsoft xle8sn27
      If it were me I'd go to Google (although I've worked at Microsoft and another FAANG). 62-63 is a very challenging jump, some people never make it even with 10+ yoe. That said I doubt there's much room for growth as an AE. If your long term goal is to be a manager or improve technical skills go to Microsoft but if you want to optimize TC I would go to Google for a year or two, get the brand name, and transfer to SWE (or move again).
      Nov 11
    • New / Eng nightdrive
      OP
      It’s an interesting point about optimizing TC through brand name. I’ve heard exit options after a few years at Google are vast. People don’t put “Application Engineer” on their resume either, it’s standard to use generics, so title probably wouldn’t even factor in during a future job search, right?
      Nov 11
    • Microsoft xle8sn27
      True, I don't think future jobs will care too much about Application vs Software eng. It's more that your own skills will not be valued and developed as much.
      Nov 11
  • Microsoft RnPQ40
    It’s not worth to give up SWE title
    Nov 11 0
  • Meesho @Admin
    Dude. Go for SDE role.
    A friend of mine switched from MS SDE role to Google AE role and is now crying everyday.
    Nov 12 1
    • New / Eng nightdrive
      OP
      Why does he regret it?
      Nov 12
  • Amazon You First
    What about you? What do you want?
    Nov 11 1
    • New / Eng nightdrive
      OP
      There are other factors I left out of the OP to keep the poll results clean, and all of those factors favor Microsoft: I already live here, no relocation, and I have a ridiculously good living situation that saves me about $1600/mo in rent and utilities.

      When the living situation is factored in, SDE has a higher monthly net.

      If I were choosing based purely on workplace and people, it would be Google. If I were choosing based on near-term TC, it would be Microsoft. If I were choosing based on long-term TC, it might be Google. If I were choosing based on technical growth, it would be Microsoft.

      Overall, I really don’t know. The pros and cons are split too evenly.

      And I don’t have the experiential knowledge to really know how much I should value workplace/people over technical growth, for example.

      I had a phone interview with the hiring manager at Google, and really liked him. So at Google I would be guaranteed a boss that I like a lot. Whereas I haven’t spoken to the team I’m assigned to at Microsoft yet. So that’s another factor.

      I have no idea what I want. I both gain and lose significantly in different areas with either choice. It’s a really difficult one. Probably the hardest choice I’ve ever had to make actually (still young though).
      Nov 11
  • Google SwDK27
    I would choose Microsoft bc of SWE vs AE I think
    Nov 11 0
  • Google zlmA04
    Microsoft. Better mobility than Application Engineer ladder
    Nov 11 0
  • Microsoft qErH38
    I would ask MS to pay more and make sure your getting to 62, not 61
    Nov 11 1
    • New / Eng nightdrive
      OP
      Is it that much of a difference between 61/62?
      Nov 12
  • Target horsepower
    OP: what is your L62 offer at MSFT? I got my one today and want to see how it differs.
    Nov 13 0

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