Is 400k a good goal?

Amazon bPRG82
Jan 3, 2018 50 Comments

I joined amazon a month ago and my TC including stock is 200k. Since im here for at least next four years for the stocks to be vested, im wondering what is a realistic goal to make in terms of TC. Is reaching a TC of 400k possible by the end of next 4 years?. Im not talking about jumping to other companies to hike up my pay, but just staying at Amazon for the next 4 years, and making a goal which is realistic. If i dont get promoted at all or get no more stocks annually, im just looking at a flat TC of 200k annually(considering stock remains around 1200$)
Im currently sde 2, and would like to stay on the engineering side for the next 4 years. What is the maximum TC i can expect at the end of next 4 year, if i do really good? but if sde ladder doesnt take you to 400-500k i might change to management later on.

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TOP 50 Comments
  • Microsoft / Eng Archer9
    Does amazon seriously give out that much stock?
    Jan 3, 2018 4
    • Microsoft
      yMcg47

      Microsoft

      BIO
      Amicitiae nostrae memoriam spero sempiternam fore
      yMcg47more
      Says the msft guy with a surprised look
      Jan 3, 2018
    • Amazon bPRG82
      OP
      My current tc is 145k base , 45 + 30 sigon and 125 stocks. Im based in phoenix
      Jan 3, 2018
    • Microsoft / Eng Archer9
      ??

      Msft doesn’t give that much stock to take someone from 200k to 400k
      Jan 3, 2018
    • Cloudera Sakaraka
      That’s a lot in Phoenix. 400k is for L7, and your offer is L5. It is impossible to reach L7 from L5 in 4 years
      Jan 3, 2018
  • Google ohhappyday
    Staying at amazon for 4 years :( good luck!! You got this!
    Jan 3, 2018 2
    • Amazon bPRG82
      OP
      Lol. I would coz of stocks
      Jan 3, 2018
    • Uber / Eng
      (👈👉)

      Uber Eng

      PRE
      Google, Uber
      (👈👉)more
      That’s not a financially smart way of looking at it. The company is sure as hell not looking at it that way.

      Your equity will refresh every year. If you do well, you should have a constant stream of equity. It doesn’t matter that it vests over four years. A year from now, you’ll have new refresh equity for year 5. Year after that, you’ll have get equity for year 6. It’s how they fool you into thinking that you need to stay and/or not look elsewhere.

      The way to think about it is your comp is an annual stream of income. Calculate what your annual comp will be. Compare that to any other market offers you have every year. If you have a better offer, there’s no sense in waiting the four years.

      Any competitive offers will at least match your unvested equity. So whether you leave one year out or three years out, your in the same boat.
      Jan 4, 2018
  • Amazon amzn11
    Getting promoted to SDE3 and making 300k would be an attainable goal for you to set over the next four years
    Jan 3, 2018 4
    • Amazon bPRG82
      OP
      Thank you for a good suggestion! This sounds more realistic. I think even 300k is quite impressive to get annually.
      Jan 3, 2018
    • Amazon bPRG82
      OP
      On average how long does it takes to reach sde 3 from sde 2
      Jan 3, 2018
    • Amazon amzn11
      4 years
      Jan 3, 2018
    • Amazon hatTip
      Things have changed now. 2.5 to 3 years should seem realistic. It mostly depends on your manager , team and how much circle jerking goes around.
      Jan 4, 2018
  • Snapchat / Eng Snapisdope
    It’s outside the realm of possibility. Unless you are a rock star and get some special grants. The only way is if stock appreciates a lot.
    Jan 3, 2018 3
    • Amazon bPRG82
      OP
      So only doctors can dream of making 400k+ annually :(
      Jan 3, 2018
    • Snapchat / Eng Snapisdope
      No. It’s just not possible at Amazon given your initial offer.
      Jan 3, 2018
    • Facebook / Eng instandidl
      @bPRG82, no. Just get out of Amazon. Go to FB or something. $400k pretty common here
      Jan 4, 2018
  • Google paperazzi
    Is it possible? Sure.

    I dowant to turn this around and ask you what you're looking for. I think you're setting an artificial goal that is not related to your primary goal.
    Jan 3, 2018 5
    • Amazon bPRG82
      OP
      Well i would like to hit 400-500k by the time im 35. Im 31 now. I know its a very shallow goal, but it keeps me excited atleast!
      Jan 3, 2018
    • Uber / Eng
      Sight

      Uber Eng

      PRE
      Facebook
      Sightmore
      I’m 34 and make > 400k. There is nothing too special about me, so it is definitely possible. My biggest gains came as I moved between companies though.

      When they have a fish on the hook there is no reason to feed it more bait.

      Paparazzi’s question is good though and I’d challenge you to dig deeper than the number. Is the money about status for you? Is it about affording a particular lifestyle? Is it personal satisfaction in being acknowledged as “the best” at your craft? Is it about a nest egg/early retirement?

      If it is simply about maximizing income, your best path will be to convert as much of your active income to passive income and to keep your costs low. Most millionaires have multiple sources of income and they leverage their wealth to build more wealth.
      Jan 4, 2018
    • Amazon bPRG82
      OP
      Uber, i would very much be interested in the route you follow to reach 400k+ at 34. How much were u making when u were 30? You attribute your increase in pay to moving companies a lot? Also where are u located? If you are in bay area then 400k might not have the same value as 400k in arizona. For me reaching 400k is about affording a particular life style and also the satisfaction of acknowledgement.

      So would you advice me to stay entire four years here ar Amazon and aim for sde 3 promotion, or change boats as early as two years.
      Jan 4, 2018
    • Uber / Eng
      Sight

      Uber Eng

      PRE
      Facebook
      Sightmore
      I got a jump start and entered the workforce at 17, skipping college. Fortunately, I came out a little ahead of my peers - it could have easily gone the other way.

      My basic formula has been to stay focused on avoiding being too comfortable, taking calculated risks, never doing the same thing twice. I’ve tried to focus on growth areas that are highly portable/transferable between companies. The way I see it, if you do good work you can always go back.

      The best time for you to negotiate is when you start becoming comfortable, because other places will have to buy you out of that comfort. Your willingness and ability to walk away from a deal is a good thing from a negotiation standpoint. I often left companies shortly after I got large promotions (most people typically stay when that happens). I also discovered that the largest grant is typically the initial one.

      Re: stating the entire four years at Amazon, it really depends on how things are going for you. If you are learning and growing and being rewarded at the same time, then staying makes sense. If they are paying you well, but you are not growing you should consider the exit...because the next place will grow you and will have to match or exceed what you are making. And...you can always go back. But generally I would say 2-4 years is a good time to consider jumping ships.

      One last thing worth investigating is whether or not there is a “time in grade/level” that HR imposes too. At many companies there are rules against promoting faster than 12 months in a level, and often you need to be performing at the next level for a minimum amount of time (6+ months) in order to even be a eligible for a promo. Your manager also needs to be a good salesman. I’ve seen great engineers who have not been adequately represented during calibrations and I’ve seen mediocre engineers receive large raises because their managers fought hard for them. Just a couple of things to consider.

      Re: your drivers, you will find that there is not too big of a lifestyle difference from 250k-500k. Across that spectrum, you can afford pretty much anything that you want. The differences in quality become marginal, but you will definitely have more money to invest or donate should you wish.
      Jan 4, 2018
    • Google paperazzi
      Nice discussion. Op, it sounds like you want to support a particular lifestyle as soon as possible, and financial independence isn't really the goal.

      My advice would be to avoid very specific goals for now, but to consider making visible impact at work, and interviewing every 6 months or so with big fish. Be willing to jump whenever someone gives you a 30%+ bump. But also be willing to listen to your employers counters respectfully.

      If you work hard and smart, and play the mechanics right, you could get to 400k in 3 years.

      Now you're in Phoenix, and I m no sure if you're willing to move or not. But anyway,I know nothing about that market so not sure if negotiating increases will be harder there.
      Jan 4, 2018
  • Amazon bPRG82
    OP
    But it is possible if u worm really hard and are a rock star?
    Jan 3, 2018 2
    • Facebook glfm
      Yes even for janitor based on your statement
      Jan 3, 2018
    • Amazon GreggieBoy
      No, still not.
      Jan 5, 2018
  • Uber / Eng
    Sight

    Uber Eng

    PRE
    Facebook
    Sightmore
    OP, I have never worked for AMZ, so take this with a grain of salt.

    I would be very surprised to see you making 400k annually within 4 years based on my experience with similar companies. Typically, your initial grant is the biggest and equity refreshers don’t quite measure up (are maybe 75% of what vests).

    Another factor is cost of living adjustments. I’m sure Phoenix pays less than the Bay Area, but the net result may still be better due to more affordable housing, etc. So remember that 250k may be equivalent to 400k elsewhere.

    Assuming you are a total and undisputed rockstar, you could maybe edge out a 25% annual increase each year (highly unlikely). Your TC would still come in below 400k.

    Better for you to do 2 years at AMZ, then use it as leverage and move to another company who will pay a premium for your experience over there. You’ll see much bigger gains this way.
    Jan 3, 2018 2
    • Amazon bPRG82
      OP
      Great points! But if i move after 2 years ill be missing out majority of my stocks
      Jan 3, 2018
    • Uber / Eng
      Sight

      Uber Eng

      PRE
      Facebook
      Sightmore
      Or...that stock becomes leverage in a negotiation to the new place. They would have to meet and exceed.

      You’ll also find the the majority of your learning happens in the first year at any new place. That means those are the years when the company is giving the most to you.
      Jan 3, 2018
  • Oracle yIlT68
    When I joined amazon as level 4, tc was 120k. After many years, promotions, and offers from competitors it got up to about 200k. Finally I got an offer from oracle and got walked out with it (they didn’t offer any match/raise). I would not count on staying for long to get a raise. Counter offers and leaving and coming back are proven to work though.
    Jan 3, 2018 0
  • Amazon / Eng ForEachDay
    The answer is “it depends”. I joined Amazon in 2013 with a total comp of around 190k and in 2018 my total comp is around 550k
    Jan 4, 2018 3
    • Snapchat / Eng Snapisdope
      You’re counting stock appreciation I suppose...
      Jan 4, 2018
    • Amazon / Eng ForEachDay
      Yes I am. Raise + stock increase. Although all of my current stock was granted in 2016 or later
      Jan 4, 2018
    • Snapchat / Eng Snapisdope
      Don’t count stock appreciation towards TC expectations
      Jan 4, 2018
  • Amazon OTdS88
    It would be easier at Google, or Facebook. 400K is principal pay at Amazon. Average total years of industry experience for principals at Amazon is 20, and there are less than 500 principal and Sr principal engineers in Amazon, it's a steep climb. 300K is doable though if you're on the right project and have a manager who's motivated to promote.
    Jan 4, 2018 3
    • Amazon bPRG82
      OP
      400k at fb or goog is probably for Silicon Valley? Seattle is expensive but still not as much as bay area. So maybe thats why 400k at fb, goog is easier?
      Jan 4, 2018
    • Google / Eng lululemunz
      @bPRG82 I've been at Google a couple of months here in the bay area. My total comp (not accounting for appreciation) is 340k. This excludes a 50k sign-on bonus. I'm an L4 with 5yrs of experience.

      Don't let ppl tell you u need to make Principal to make that money. It may be true for Amazon but it isn't for Google. Just prepare for the interview and get competing offers.

      All the best!
      Jan 4, 2018
    • Amazon bPRG82
      OP
      Wow! 340k with 5 year experience? I have 7 years and im only 200k. Maybe its the same as 340k considering the cost of living
      Jan 4, 2018
  • Amazon / Eng
    JustFOokIt

    Amazon Eng

    PRE
    Oracle
    JustFOokItmore
    Max u can do is 360k which is high end sde3 comp.... Obviously u should switch n can land 400k at another place
    Jan 3, 2018 3
    • Amazon amzn11
      You’d never get bear 360k as a newly promoted sde3. Remember for promotions they start you at the bottom of the range, so you can not compare a new hire who may be mid or max pay band. 260k is more likely but 300k is attainable.
      Jan 4, 2018
    • Amazon bPRG82
      OP
      If 360 is high end of sde 3. What is low bottom?
      Jan 4, 2018
    • Amazon / Eng
      JustFOokIt

      Amazon Eng

      PRE
      Oracle
      JustFOokItmore
      260k as the post above mentions
      Jan 4, 2018
  • Amazon / Eng MoonUnit
    Most of the posts above hit on this, but don’t confuse your Total Comp with your Total Comp Target. The former is driven by stock appreciation; the latter by your personal performance. Focus on your TCT, and your TC may very well hit 400k.
    Jan 4, 2018 0
  • Dropbox / Eng f(x)
    400-500k target comp *without* taking into account stock appreciation is L7+ territory. Not achievable for most people. Took me less than 5 years to go from SDE1 to SDE3 and that was hard enough. Getting to principal is at least another 3 years fron there.
    Jan 3, 2018 4
    • Amazon bPRG82
      OP
      Thanks. Reaching sde 3 from sde 2 is on average 3 years?
      Jan 3, 2018
    • Amazon bPRG82
      OP
      Drop box u worked at amazon before? You think its easier to get promoted now than before?
      Jan 3, 2018
  • Amazon bPRG82
    OP
    I think 400k might be possible through this route. Try to achieve sde 3 at amazon in the next 4 years and make a goal of hitting around 300k. Then switch as soon as possible and the next job might give u that bump to 400k. This i believe is doable in next 4-5 years.
    Jan 4, 2018 0
  • Amazon / Product
    DillyDilly

    Amazon Product

    PRE
    Microsoft
    DillyDillymore
    Very unlikely.
    Jan 3, 2018 0