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YoE : 3
TC : 65k USD
Location : India
Goals - $1mil TC in 5 years, making Director in 10(or a director level IC - Distinguished Engineer), or some really kickass research papers.
(Stretch goals are a thing)
Will be joining Google India soon as L4. From what I've read it seems that I would need 40h/week to maximise my career growth within Google. I can see getting to L5 as straightforward however progress beyond that seems more unclear/ambiguous.
This still leaves me a lot of time(20h/week let's say) that I could devote to -
1. Working on research in algorithms/distributed systems(can get professors who would be willing to collaborate), with the end goal of joining a great PhD program. Googlers and Xooglers - would you suggest using company resources instead to transition into a more 'researchy' role? I believe there's not much scope for applied research as an SWE outside of ML and ML engg domains.
2. Doing part time online courses(GaTech OMSCS, etc.). However given I went to a reputed school for CS undergrad, I do not see much value in a purely coursework masters and I think any research papers at all via 1st option(highly ambitious/optimistic) would better demonstrate academic chops.
3. Gunning for elite HFTs and quant hedge funds(JS, 2s, HRT, etc.) to maximise dat TC in the short term. My concern is how the finance industry is making the market more efficient and shrinking. If I aim for a quant role, I might have to gain skills that might not carry outside the industry. If I go for a pure software dev role this concern does not exist so much however I'm still concerned that there is not much of distributed systems/planet scale engineering in these places, which is the sort of thing I'd eventually want to do as an IC.
Also, if this industry does happen to be short lived, I believe I'd have to get in ASAP to mine the remaining gold.
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- Lol @getting to L5 is straightforward.
Bro you do realise Google is full of motivated people right? Especially the ones that are trying to go to L5. Just working your ass off won’t take you there.
- 1. Straightforward as in simple, not easy. In the sense that getting my dream body is simple but not easy.
2. I do not see myself as especially smart or motivated(compared to the average Google hire). Are you implying that average smarts and motivation cannot get one to L5 or that most L4s being hired now are not expected to get to L5?
3. What differentiates L5 from L6 to me is that L5 used to be a terminal level. That means if I were to have joined G a few years ago, I'd either have had to get to L5 or get fired.
A lot of things might have changed in the last few years - maybe the distribution of engineering projects do not require the same fractions of L4/5 as before, the hiring bar was supposedly dropped, etc. Possibly because of these I differ from the average Google hire from a few years back in terms of raw aptitude and (external)promotion prospects.
But if I were to imagine myself in the shoes of the average Google hire from a few years back I'd see L5 as something I'm 'expected' to get to.
4. Whether I can get to L5 is a minor point overall; the major point being I got the sense that putting in more effort beyond 40 hours does not seem to accelerate one's progression in Google, so no matter what promo and progression looks like at Google, it seems like I shall be devoting 40h/w max which gives a rough sense of weekly time budget.
- So L4 is the new terminal level. Which means you don’t get to L5 unless you totally deserve to be there.
I don’t work in the India office, so take this with a pinch of salt. In my team, I’ve seen L4s who could’ve been easily near the Microsoft L64 (aka close to principal). Most L5s I’ve come across are much better than the average Microsoft principal engineer. I’ve known of kickass L4s unable to make it to L5 after 5 years at the level. But may be this is just my team.
As an L5, your impact goes across the teams. You lead projects that spread across multiple charters in Google. It demands that you:
a) are already a high performing L4 (the best L4 your team has)
b) have shown consistent execution
c) have enough expertise that you can influence two or three other teams
It’s certainly possible, but it’s not just through perseverance. It’s through creating very recognisable impact. And with the growing competition, it’s getting super hard.
- Google monrowA very detailed plan on how to earn more money. Impressive!!. I'd also suggest you to take into account some costs like paying alimony after your marriage fails.
- Google poorrich1 million USD in salary is not common for even Directors. 500k on the other hand would
be median of L6 which is your only reasonable 10x target in next 5 years. L4 to L5 is easy as you already know. L5 to L6 within 2 years is theoretically doable but very hard.
If you really want 1 million TC, you will have to take risk. After couple of years in Google, jump to an early stage startup with hyper growth and get as much stake as possible. Don’t ask me (or anyone else) which that startup will be - no one knows for a fact.
Director level IC over 10 years is doable. Online Degree is almost as useless as toilet paper if you really want to be an IC.
There is no gold in Quant. The brokers and hedge funds make millions over big investments of billions. Don’t have an illusion that they will pay million dollar salary to an IC quant role.
The systems at traders are actually quite complex and of the very few places who have been using low latency processing since very early on. The area is growing and you will have fun working on real money making projects. But yeah no planet scale stuff.
- >1 million USD in salary is not common for even Directors.
Those are separate goals. Otherwise goal 2 would have included goal 1.
>After couple of years in Google, jump to an early stage startup with hyper growth and get as much stake as possible. Don’t ask me (or anyone else) which that startup will be - no one knows for a fact.
This seems to me to be betting with money(opportunity cost/low cash comp).
I would rather consider something a bit different as suggested in another comment here - rise to Senior/Staff then join a small startup in a senior leadership role. Instead of a money bet it's a bet that the scale and complexity of my responsibilities will grow fast.
If I had to bet with money I would do it via PE/VC funds(hitting the legally required net worth to be able to do this seems possible for me in India)
>Online Degree is almost as useless as toilet paper if you really want to be an IC.
Interesting, would you say an online MS would have more value for managers?
>Don’t have an illusion that they will pay million dollar salary to an IC quant role.
I see offers of upto 400k to fresh college grads on Blind so I think getting to 1mil in a few years from there is definitely within the realm of possibility.
On Blind I think I saw a TC progression upto ~800k for 6-7yoe at Jane Street. Of course this only says it's possible not probable. I do not yet know if I have the analytical/quantitative aptitude for this.
Also I'm considering both quant as well as pure SWE roles.
>The systems at traders are actually quite complex and of the very few places who have been using low latency processing since very early on.
Seems to me the focus areas are latency vs horizontal scaling. Low latency is valuable to HFTs as they already have a very low network latency to the market so their internal system latency is non negligible. This is not the case in consumer internet companies where network latency to the end consumer is usually orders of magnitude higher, so not as much latency obsession. I'm curious to know more about the transferable skillsets between pure SWE roles in quant finance vs traditional tech/FANG companies.
- Honestly, if there’s a clear path to make millions, everyone would make millions and then inflation would make millions seem like thousands.
The best way to mint money is if you start your own business. There’s always risk ofcourse but generally you earn based on the value you create.
The second best option is to gain very valuable growth and then move off to some startup in a high level role and pray that the startup takes off.
- >The second best option is to gain very valuable growth and then move off to some startup in a high level role and pray that the startup takes off.
This is actually something me and friends have seriously considered. Does not require as much complete investment as starting one's own thing, do not need to complete the company lifecycle and hence can iterate faster(i.e. join ~1-2y old company, jump ship when it's looking bleak, shaving ~2y off each company iteration - I'm assuming this will have to be done several times because of the 'pray it takes off' thing.)
- Yeah, typically join 1-2 year old companies and hopefully stick around for 5-6 years till the company makes it really big in an IPO.
The downside is, if the company doesn’t take off, you’re losing about half a million dollars over 6-8 years in faang stock that could’ve vested; and making paper money instead.Aug 12 2
- Woah! Slow down there cowboy! You are setting up too many expectations for yourself. You will get a lot of opportunities and setbacks in the future.
Don't anchor yourself to these goals, keep them as a reference and don't make them your identity. Cuz even if one of those don't pan out well, you will be devastated. Talking from personal experience of being hyper focused and over enthusiastic. Anyways Wish you luck but just don't over plan things !