Does FAANG matter for Product Design careers?

Microsoft / Design tIdrG82
Jan 13 15 Comments

*Note: this is specifically about Design, engineers have a very different outlook on this from what I’ve seen/read.*

So I know we, in tech, put FAANG or FANMG or whatever on a pedestal, but for Product Design Leaders is it really a big deal, outside of comp?

I recently got an offer from a Facebook and a Tier 2 tech company (not saying because the role is unique enough to be identifiable), and I really am not feeling Facebook, so I’ll be declining the offer. I have a final interview with Google (L5/L6) coming up. Problem is Google has a long hiring process—I’ve already communicated that I have other companies I’m getting to offer with—so with an offer on the table, I’m not sure if I can wait a month to see if I “get” Google. The recruiter from the T2 company told me that after a couple weeks they’ll have to kick back up the recruiting process, which is understandable bc they have a role to fill, so I’m trying to do a cost-benefit analysis on is it really worth it?

Both roles give me the opportunity to build a team from scratch, define a nebulous space, etc. Both have huge potential, pay won’t be 100% comparable, but I’m ok with that. So it sort of boils down to will the T2 company drag down my resume in a way that everyone knows having a Google (especially being a leader) would raise it up? Is Google worth the wait even if it’s uncertain whether or not I get the role?

I’m “comfortable” at MSFT to I’m not really in a rush, but the opportunities are unique.

TC: $282,750
Base: $175,000
Bonus: $52,500
Stock: $221,000 (4y)
YOE: 7yrs (only 2 in tech)


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TOP 15 Comments
  • Qualtrics Trey
    Sharing a point of view from marketing, which is different than design but maybe relevant.

    In my experience on many hiring loops (non manager) at Microsoft and Qualtrics, a big name brand company is like a top university. It gets you in the door, makes your first interview more likely, often implicitly makes people expect your interview to go better.

    Depending on the size of company you apply to, they may be trying to find people from diverse (smaller, industry etc) places.

    Translating senior titles at Tier 2/3 companies to FAANG / tier 1 is definitely not a clear map. At qualtrics I’ve seen us hire former senior individuals from Microsoft to the same level as Senior directors from T2/3 companies.

    My TL:DR.
    (1) top companies Are like top universities, they get you the first conversation and then it matters a lot more what you’ve done.
    (2) the job after that job isn’t always a clear level step or scope step up, when you go from T2/3 to FAANG/T1

    Also, I’d say Microsoft is definitely T1. Qualtrics, harder to say what an outsider point of view is. Maybe “interesting tier 2” ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
    Jan 13 2
    • Microsoft / Design tIdrG82
      True, yeah I have enough experience that title doesn’t mean as much to me as what I’ll be doing and the impact I’ll have. Either way I’ll be leading a team, so no big there.

      Since joining MSFT, I’ve never had a “door” problem, in fact both FB and Google reached out to me for the roles so I never had to apply. Maybe I’m just over thinking it 🤷‍♂️
      Jan 13
    • Qualtrics Trey
      If that’s true for you, I’d try to focus more on what do you want to do? What size company do you want to be part of?
      Would going T2/3 be big fish small
      Pond and that’s enticing etc.

      My impression is that google
      May have a more “fun young culture” than Microsoft, but I don’t think it’ll
      Be dramatically different day to day. That’s why I wasn’t gung ho to go to another massive tech company right away
      Jan 13
  • Oracle / Design MiddleWest
    Outside of TC, not really a big deal. Building a team, defining a nebulous space...all that is interesting. FB and Amazon are both filled with designers from all over the place. I was with a tiny HCD consultancy in St. Louis before joining Amazon a few years back at L6.

    Curious, what’s your level at Microsoft? I’ve heard of L64-65 making upwards of $400k. Always wondered if that was true.
    Jan 13 1
    • Microsoft / Design tIdrG82
      I’m L63 actually lol, but I’m also under-leveled.
      Jan 13
  • Fidelity Investments AkumaFi
    I've been in both sides of camp when I was junior. (No fortune 500 exp, then getting fortune 500 exp later) Many designers are on both ends and great work is done on both ends. But here is the thing, I interviewed with an asshole whom made it clear he valued pristine pedigree and FAANG and was disinterested in a portfolio full of start-ups. It was an agency. You have the advantage of Microsoft on your resume already, if you want to take that experience and make impact somewhere smaller it should be safe to do so. Just keep in mind there are assholes out there.
    Jan 13 0
  • OpenTable Meliodas
    Google is not a leader when it comes to design.

    I’ve never heard, “we copied this from Google” said at a design meeting.
    Jan 13 3
    • Oracle / Design MiddleWest
      Uh, how many companies use Material Design? Lyft recently redesigned their passenger app using Google Material Design. It’s all over the place.
      Jan 13
    • Microsoft / Design tIdrG82
      Lol you’ve never worked for Microsoft...There are quite a few teams that spend their time trying to run after Google across PM, Design and ENG.
      Jan 13
    • Oracle / Design MiddleWest
      Which companies would you say are better designed? I like Square, Stripe, DigitalOcean, DropBox, Uber. Probably more I’m not thinking of at the moment.

      Material isn’t anything special but it gets the job done. The “design” really isn’t the objective, though. I like Facebook’s emphasis on being as invisible as possible.
      Jan 13
  • fiVn5$!Br
    OP, how many months does the Google interview process take?
    Jan 13 1
    • Oracle / Design MiddleWest
      They tell you that it can be up to 8 weeks. I found Google responsive, but also in, they didn’t disappear, but they’re slow to move things forward. I wound up taking another offer than awaiting them.
      Jan 13
  • Facebook / Eng

    Facebook Eng

    Google, Oracle
    worked at Oracle, then Google, now Facebook.
    TC is most important indicator. No matter what company, no matter what you do, if you pay first tier tc then it is big deal.
    Jan 13 1
    • Microsoft / Design tIdrG82
      I think that’s only true if you’re financially driven and that’s your primary motivation. I’d be a liar if I said money doesn’t matter, but if it’s great money, but I’m only working to push a metric 0.1% then I’d choose the lower pay with higher impact.
      Jan 13
  • Microsoft Google U
    By Microsoft standard, your YOE and your TC are incredible. I'm jealous. You'll probably find yourself at L5 at Google. I know they tend to low ball and don't be surprised at a massive paycut.

    I know folks who left Msft who were high contributers and all took a cut when they decided to make the big move for the glory of working at G.
    Jan 13 0


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