Google L6 (Staff SWE) offer

LinkedIn djg92h
Oct 7, 2018 218 Comments

Pretty happy, L6 offer.

Base: 222k, bonus 20%, sign on $50k, GSU $900k
(541k first year TC, 491k subsequent)

LinkedIn current TC (Sr staff, promoted in recent past):
Base 210k, bonus 20%, RSU (vesting in 1yr): 225k
TC@ LinkedIn: 477k

YoE 15
Joining GCP org in Bay Area

Yeah, not A HUGE jump (especially seeing what people claim to make here on blind), but I'm quite happy with the offer, since I just collected the transition period bonus and will collect the next substantial RSU vest before leaving LinkedIn.

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TOP 218 Comments
  • Oracle kQGm74
    How did you reach where you are today? What would you advice younger engineers? Change companies less or change frequently?
    Oct 7, 2018 16
    • Microsoft FibonacciN
      Thanks for sharing the insights!
      Oct 8, 2018
    • Oracle / Eng Saying
      Just started my career a year ago and I can totally relate to each and every line of yours. I am still struggling with building rapo with my team mates. I am not good at branding my work and sometimes it works against me . Thanks again for this wonderful day post
      Oct 8, 2018
    • Adobe Fuhahgaha
      Wow! This is an amazing post
      Oct 13, 2018
    • Amazon orca2018
      OP did a bang up job of detailed comments.
      The guidance is not only useful for fresh grads -but also us "long timers" who might have forgotten these values and might overlook at times...I am sure.. I have-- so good to refresh.
      Nov 1, 2018
    • Box coyotez
      Amazing post!
      Apr 8
  • Oracle Pearman
    How was the interview ?? What were some of the difficult areas
    Oct 7, 2018 7
    • LinkedIn djg92h
      OP
      You still can't escape LC, that's the start of discussion. The interviewers still expects you to solve efficiently and write code on whiteboard. However the questions asked are closer to medium difficulty than hard, leaving time for more discussions and follow up after you're done with the coding bit.
      Oct 8, 2018
    • Amazon / Eng
      suspendfun

      Amazon Eng

      PRE
      Microsoft
      suspendfunmore
      Makes sense.
      Oct 8, 2018
    • Oracle Pearman
      Thanks a lot that’s very helpful ...
      Oct 8, 2018
    • Cisco / Eng FoundIt
      What's the domain? Back end as in web ? Or system level ?
      Oct 8, 2018
    • Visa 🧐🤫q
      Nice!! Congratulations 🍾
      Oct 8, 2018
  • Amazon HomerS
    Congratulations!!
    Oct 7, 2018 1
    • LinkedIn djg92h
      OP
      Thanks!
      Oct 7, 2018
  • BuzzFeed / Eng
    0xdead

    BuzzFeed Eng

    PRE
    BuzzFeed
    BIO
    leet hax u fr00bs
    0xdeadmore
    Did you graduate from MIT?
    Oct 7, 2018 13
    • Microsoft Dilbert01
      Congrats. I'm 7years in and will be joining Netflix soon. Hope I end up where you are headed :). I haven't had the balls to interview there since it's my dream company and I'm afraid of blowing it, haha.
      Oct 8, 2018
    • LinkedIn djg92h
      OP
      Congrats! Netflix is an excellent place to work too, you won't regret it. Good luck!
      Oct 8, 2018
    • eBay CountNow
      What was your offer at Netflix?
      Oct 8, 2018
    • Microsoft charli@
      Congrats @Dilbert01.. heard Netflix is a good place to be..
      Oct 8, 2018
    • Amazon Jеff Bezоs
      What a shame! So much money and not even from MIT. /s
      Oct 8, 2018
  • VMware 333333333
    What advice would you give for interview prep for L5/L6 level for someone who hasn’t interviewed in a while.

    Thanks for the great answers to other questions!
    Oct 7, 2018 3
    • LinkedIn djg92h
      OP
      I frankly don't have a lot more to offer on this topic than what blind has already said before. Unfortunately the interview "game" needs to be played, which means doing leetcode, CtCI and Grokking the system design interview. I struggled with leetcode for several months before setting in a strategy, so I know this can be stressful and intimidating for many people like me who had not interviewed in a while.

      For leetcode, take few weeks to solve medium difficulty questions from different topic areas, such as Arrays, list, trees, graphs, Recursion, DP, etc. Spend no more than 30 minutes to solve a question the first time. After 30 minutes, jump to the discussion section to find the top voted answers and understand them thoroughly. Then, come back after a week or so when the problem is not very fresh in your head and try to solve it again.

      Based on the first several weeks, ascertain which areas you need to spend most time (for me it was DP and Graphs). Solve as many medium questions as you can in these areas. Skienna's algorithm design manual was a great help for me too. Expect to prep for at least 3 months with leetcode before you start getting a knack. I don't think you'll ever get 100% confidence, so just start scheduling interviews with your "practice companies" in 3 months or so from when you begin your preps. You'll likely not have much of a life for weekends during these prep months, so be done with it in 3 months.

      Few weeks before your interview, purchase the paid subscription and try to solve the company-specific questions. I kept the sub for 2 months during which I interviewed at several practice companies (Amazon, Airbnb, and some companies in SF that were long commute for me which I'd be unlikely to join) and my target companies (Google, Uber, Facebook).

      For system design, I found "grokking the system design interview" course to be adequate for a regular/general SWE role. I'm sure they'll expect more if you're interviewing for a role/team focused on distributed systems though, in which case, hopefully your experience in that area will likely help you more than a crash course will.
      Oct 7, 2018
    • VMware 333333333
      Thank you, this is very helpful! Do you mind if I PM for some LinkedIn specific questions?
      Oct 7, 2018
    • LinkedIn djg92h
      OP
      Sure, I'll try my best to answer as long as it is not confidential information or may be against LinkedIn policies.
      Oct 7, 2018
  • Deutsche Bank Bingham
    Coding/Design interviews are commonly discussed on Blind , would be great to have some information on the 2 behavioral interviews you had.
    Oct 7, 2018 3
    • LinkedIn djg92h
      OP
      Behavioral are based on situation.

      - Tell me about a time you failed
      - what are you strengths and weaknesses
      - did you work with someone who was not performing well and if so what action did you take
      - did you have difficulty convincing someone about you ideas
      - what is your ideal job
      - why do you want to join this company
      - why are you looking to leave LinkedIn? Why can't you find your next job within LinkedIn?

      Etc.

      I found the "STAR" method as a good mental model of how to answer these questions. I had thought through common situational questions such as ones above, and prepared my model answers so that it covers a wide span of different projects from all my employers. I think using the same project over and over again for every question may show inexperience, so have as good set of situations and projects ready. I had classified 2-3 projects each under different "buckets", such as conflict, dealing with non performing colleagues, etc; and just picked a project based on the area I was being assessed on. This forced me to have a different projects for each of the question asked to me.
      Oct 8, 2018
    • Deutsche Bank Bingham
      Great answer, thank you
      Oct 8, 2018
    • BuzzFeed / Eng
      0xdead

      BuzzFeed Eng

      PRE
      BuzzFeed
      BIO
      leet hax u fr00bs
      0xdeadmore
      Damn. I see why the OP was hired as an L6. 💯
      Oct 8, 2018
  • Amazon / Eng acef
    Just by reading your answers, I think you deserved to be L6 at Google. All the best!

    Thanks for sharing your experience.
    Oct 8, 2018 1
    • LinkedIn djg92h
      OP
      Thanks for the kind words 😊
      Oct 8, 2018
  • Amazon HomerS
    How much time did you spend preparing?
    Oct 8, 2018 2
    • LinkedIn djg92h
      OP
      A little over 3 months. I did not feel fully prepared at the end, but I wanted to be done with it so I can move on with my life.
      Oct 8, 2018
    • LinkedIn djg92h
      OP
      Actually a little over 4 months, now that I think about it. Either way, the point is, you'll never feel fully prepared. At some point you'll just get so frustrated with not having a life outside work and leetcode, you'll need to take a leap of faith and move forward.
      Oct 8, 2018
  • LinkedIn djg92h
    OP
    I'm being rate limited by blind for posting too frequently, so I'll be posting less frequently on this thread based on whether they allow me to post.

    Thanks everyone for your kind words in this thread. I'm very excited for the next steps in my career. Good luck to everyone, I hope this thread was useful to you.
    Oct 8, 2018 1
    • Amazon / Eng acef
      Blind is stupid to do that
      Oct 10, 2018
  • LinkedIn OzzieWand
    Did it really matter that you are a senior staff at LinkedIn? How did they decide to level your interviews to L6 type ?

    I ask this because I am at high end of senior swe at LinkedIn. Too much politics to get promoted. Have 10 YOE in total. So thinking will try Google L6 in a year or so irrespective of getting promotion or not at LinkedIn
    Oct 8, 2018 8
    • LinkedIn OzzieWand
      Thanks for the response. I will check with the recruiter at the time of interviewing.

      Seems kinda of arbitrary because recruiter sets the initial level expectation. I guess once that is set you could be down leveled based on interviews but never the other way (up leveled)

      And, LinkedIn senior is equivalent to L4 only if you were a new grad hire who got promoted in 2 yrs.
      Otherwise it overlaps with L5 I think.
      Oct 8, 2018
    • Google / Eng Noogler15
      To clarify a bit, the process isn’t arbitrary. The recruiters have guidelines on how to slot candidates for different levels. Multiple factors go into that, including school degree and yoe.

      If the recruiter wants to slot you for a different level, they need to make a case and get approval for it.

      Btw, I’ve also seen Staff engineers from LinkedIn get L4 offers at Google.
      Oct 8, 2018
    • LinkedIn OzzieWand
      Thanks for the info. I understand that the YOE, previous company, graduation college influence initial leveling.

      Not sure how much title at the previous company matters. I have seen many ppl with Sr.SWE title at LinkedIn joining as L5 at google and E5 at facebook. And also some (very few, rarely) joining as L6. And yes, as you said lot of them join as L4 as well.

      I believe interviewing levels person based on skills (and some amount of perceived demand vs supply). But once you are in a company lot of other factors like team, org success, etc matters for promotions.
      Oct 8, 2018
    • Google Sundaar
      If you check out level.fyi, you'll find the low end of Sr Staff at Linkedin maps to L5 at Google, and L6 at Google requires candidate to be in the high end of Sr Staff or Principal Staff at Linkedin.

      Also, Senior at Linkedin maps to L3 or L4 at Google. Mapping to L5 is a stretch.

      Of course it's not a one-size-fits-all answer.
      Oct 8, 2018
    • Google / Eng
      senK41

      Google Eng

      PRE
      LinkedIn, eBay, Amazon
      senK41more
      never seen any linkedin senior got L5 in google. I am from Linkedin to google btw sometimes linkedin staff down level to 4
      Oct 8, 2018
  • Symantec Qzcr14
    Congratulations!! You are very modest.
    Your insight is really helpful. Thanks for a rare, positive and realistic post on blind in a long time! :)
    Oct 8, 2018 0
  • Qualcomm / Eng SanDiegan
    Congratulations: just curious about original offer as you mentioned multiple rounds of negotiations
    Oct 8, 2018 5
    • LinkedIn djg92h
      OP
      Original offer was about 15% lower in TC. I literally laughed when the rercruiter made the offer since it was lower than my TC at LinkedIn. After some back and forth I was able to get them to bump up base by about 20% and GSU by about 10%. The sign on is a one time thing so I did not put too much emphasis on negotiating that, which bumped up from 40 to 50k.
      Oct 8, 2018
    • Qualcomm / Eng SanDiegan
      Thanks a lot
      Oct 8, 2018
    • Amazon / Eng acef
      Do you have a counter offer? What made them increase the comp?
      Oct 8, 2018
    • LinkedIn djg92h
      OP
      Yes I had counter verbal offer from Uber and Facebook.
      Oct 8, 2018
    • Quantcast iejdy
      Could you share the competing offers if possible?
      Oct 8, 2018
  • LinkedIn djg92h
    OP
    I've been asked a lot through PM about specific questions I was asked during interview. Unfortunately that is covered under NDA which I'm not comfortable violating, so I'm giving the following generic guideline:

    The one design question was very similar to one of the sample ones on the Grokking course : BookMyShow. There were several trade off discussions that interviewer quizzed me on, and how that would affect the design. For lower levels of the system, interviewer was ok with me using known distributed systems like spanner or bigtable, and I also made it clear that I've not worked on data systems to talk intelligently about them.

    Trade-off calls were around synchronous vs messaging queues, strongly incremental transaction ids vs "roughly" incremental, etc. Each required changes to the design to accommodate it, but comes at a cost.

    The second design interview was more about vertically scaling rather than horizontal distributed system. The interviewer gave me a pre-existing system, and asked me to improve certain aspects without adding new machines or redundancy.

    Coding, each interview had one quick hitter question (think of covering string to integer - easy level) that took 5-10 minutes; followed by a medium difficulty that took 30-40 minutes, followed by some follow-up questions. So total 4 coding questions across 2 interviews, plus follow-up on medium difficulty level question. The medium difficulty were related to Graphs and Recursion.

    That's the most I can tell without violating my NDA 😊
    Oct 10, 2018 6
    • LinkedIn djg92h
      OP
      It's my first attempt after almost 8 years. I had interviewed for L3 about 8 years ago when they rejected me. The recruiter kept pinging via email and LinkedIn since a year or so after my failed attempt, but I was not interested in switching until recently.

      I do know that the hiring committee looks at past performance to see if you've improved. Your recruiter may be able to give you more specific feedback when you're re-interviewing. They'll almost never give specific feedback after your failed attempt though.
      Oct 10, 2018
    • Microsoft SaltyChef
      Ha lol, same. They've been pinging me for 7 years now but I've never interviewed. I feel like I'm in a good place now wrt Backtracking , DFS/BFS and DP. I'll give it shot I think haha.

      Thanks, that's good to know that they'll still hire candidates on second attempts
      Oct 10, 2018
    • LinkedIn djg92h
      OP
      Yes, they most definitely do. The primary feedback recruiter gave me from my past attempt was that the interviewers felt I was too soft: each time the interviewer asked something, I changed the design instead of justifying the choices and trade-offs. I was extra careful in clarifying the cost of a design change this time around.
      Oct 10, 2018
    • ZipRecruiter / Eng Big Kahuna
      Op, 8 years ago you interviewed for L3 while having 7 YOE? Did your performance level significantly increase from that point to go from ~L3 to L6 in the last 8 years?
      Oct 10, 2018
    • LinkedIn djg92h
      OP
      Yes, I had 8 years exp in mostly no-name start-ups. They leveled me at L3, which I did not do well enough.
      LinkedIn's has been transformational for my career in many ways. In a short span, I've grown here, learnt a lot, and found the areas that I'm most passionate about.
      Oct 10, 2018
  • Google Sundaar
    If you check out level.fyi, you'll find the low end of Sr Staff at Linkedin maps to L5 at Google, and L6 at Google requires candidate to be in the high end of Sr Staff or Principal Staff at Linkedin.

    Also, Senior at Linkedin maps to L3 or L4 at Google. Mapping to L5 is a stretch.

    Of course it's not a one-size-fits-all answer.
    Oct 8, 2018 6
    • LinkedIn Yhdr
      Do you think if I’m willing to down level and even reduce my comp to work for Google.

      I’m currently a Staff at LinkedIn and my comp is already higher than many Google staffs (560k/year).
      Oct 9, 2018
    • LinkedIn Yhdr
      How many data points do you have? Why should I trust the mapping you guys make?
      Oct 9, 2018
    • LinkedIn nobody7
      These mapping are obviously not in line with TCs
      Oct 9, 2018
    • LinkedIn Yhdr
      If so, does it make sense to move to other places with the same level but less money?
      Oct 9, 2018
    • LinkedIn Yhdr
      We are talking about data and statistics, not about any individual. People are driven by money. That’s for sure.

      I don’t trust data from levels.fyi
      Oct 9, 2018
  • LinkedIn Despotcool
    Your comp at senior staff is quite low. I am at the same level and base itself is 20pct higher.
    Oct 8, 2018 4
    • LinkedIn Xbdjssi
      I was thinking exactly the same thing!
      Oct 8, 2018
    • LinkedIn Despotcool
      Congrats on your offer at google.
      Oct 8, 2018
    • LinkedIn djg92h
      OP
      Thanks. It's probably because I was a recent promotion to Sr staff. Long timers at LinkedIn generally tend to get lower TC than newer folks at the same level. Thanks for the information though, super useful to know what the typical ranges at my level seem to be.
      Oct 8, 2018
    • Google alumnius
      Yep. Same at Google. Congrats on the new role.
      Oct 8, 2018
  • Amazon 8204836
    I really enjoyed reading the insights and advice you gave in this thread. I'm very early in my career, but you definitely gave me some things to think about especially in steering my career into a direction I want.

    I really appreciated the humility in your responses as well. Your colleagues will definitely enjoy working with you. Congrats and good luck!
    Oct 8, 2018 0
  • Bank of America RmDN74
    How many yoe ? What LOB ?
    Oct 7, 2018 3
    • LinkedIn djg92h
      OP
      15 yoe
      General back-end swe
      Oct 7, 2018
    • Bank of America RmDN74
      Wow congos !!!
      Oct 7, 2018
    • Google Techmeme
      Congos?? Desi spotted
      Oct 8, 2018
  • Deloitte rvRi22
    I had no idea there were so many ppl making $400-500k+. No wonder real estate in the Bay Area is so expensive 🙂
    Oct 9, 2018 0
  • LinkedIn G-MEIND
    Good time to jump ship!
    Oct 7, 2018 1
    • Nielsen / Eng
      SWEMLE

      Nielsen Eng

      PRE
      Google
      SWEMLEmore
      Uh....why lol
      Oct 8, 2018
  • Uber / Eng bag
    Congrats Op!

    Did you need good references from within Google, like friends/acquaintances?

    Did you need to prove domain knowledge expertise?
    Oct 8, 2018 4
    • LinkedIn djg92h
      OP
      I did not need to, I volunteered to give internal references since I was confident that most of the people I worked with who are now at Google will vouch for me.
      Oct 8, 2018
    • Uber / Eng bag
      What about domain knowledge? Did you give a general purpose software engineer interview, or they asked you specific domain knowledge questions - for example in this case Cloud Platform specific?
      Oct 8, 2018
    • LinkedIn djg92h
      OP
      I'm not a domain expert in cloud. My interview was generic, I was later matched to few teams including GCP org teams prior to HC review. Once I found a matching team within GCP, the hiring committee reviewed and approved my case for VP review (which took few more days after that).
      Oct 8, 2018
    • Uber / Eng bag
      Thanks djg92h!
      Oct 8, 2018

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