Career

Is FAANG really that special?

New / Engookami
Apr 5

I keep seeing posts about engineers who work at FAANG. They seem to love it and that’s great. It also seems like this is some mythical creature to long after. So, what is it? Why is it so great?

Seems to me like the pay isn’t much more than what I can make on the East Coast with much lower living expenses. I am currently making 150K as a senior engineer with a $1300 2000 square foot home. Seems to me that relocating for FAANG my costs would skyrocket and I would end up losing money in that deal.

Is it the culture? The challenge? The prestige? What is it? Seems like there are a ton of great companies to work for that aren’t FAANG.

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  • Microsoft ReverseInt
    Try to get a job at FAANG and then rent out your house. Give it a try. If it doesn’t work out move back. Can you go back to your o current job?

    You can make 300k+, which is a lot more. You don’t have to buy, just rent. Having a FAANG on resume will enable you to make more if you move back to East coast.
    Apr 514
    • Microsoft ReverseInt
      Yes, I’m not going to FANG, but the company matched their salary. Study and try!!! You won’t regret making double, I’m sure of it.
      Apr 5
    • New / Engookami
      OP
      That’s interesting... double the pay, double (maybe more) the expenses though.
      Apr 5
    • Microsoft / EngiRobo
      that's still better, assuming current expense e < current income i, then new savings = 2i-2e = 2* old savings
      Apr 5
    • Cisco kubernetes
      Not base salary but TC right?
      Apr 5
    • Apple FebN52
      It’s not even close to being double the expenses unless you come from a really cheap area of the country. Besides that, just do the math in a spreadsheet, don’t spout nonsense.
      Apr 5
    • New / Engookami
      OP
      I’ve done the math, it is nearly double the cost of everything. It’s not nonsense.
      Apr 5
    • Google feral
      What is "everything"? The only things that are more expensive are eating out and rent.

      If you care about retirement, you can save significantly more pre-tax dollars at a higher salary.
      Apr 5
    • Snapchat Insigniagi
      Hey @ookami stop being better and perhaps think about how you can improve yourself
      Apr 5
    • Snapchat Insigniagi
      The only dimension that costs more in the bay is rent and housing, and it’s not 2x more - more like 50-80% more. ALL other cost of living dimensions are the same
      Apr 5
    • Snapchat Insigniagi
      Also given FAANG appreciation I know lots who are making over half million a year. New grads pulling in over 300k a year with appreciation. Also the engineering in the bay is just better
      Apr 5
  • Sprout Social / EngyGae12
    One key aspect of a job that good engineers love is one with challenging problems. You can get FAANG comp outside of FAANG, but you can’t always get the impactful interesting projects. Just my 2 cents.
    Apr 54
    • New / Engookami
      OP
      Definitely a very valid point. There are start ups doing some really interesting things though.
      Apr 5
    • New / Eng
      jesus.cpp

      NewEng

      PRE
      Amazon, Google
      jesus.cppmore
      Don’t fool yourself. Most people at FAANG work on mind numbingly boring problems. Having run large teams at FAANG, I can tell you from experience.

      Most of FG are about tweaking ad tools and ad placements to eke out a fractional % gain. And things get increasingly political as you become more senior.
      Apr 5
    • Amazon Sup Girl
      Jesus.cpp nailed it. A lot of the problems people are working on are just stupid ass uninteresting problems at a large scale.
      Apr 5
    • Sprout Social / EngyGae12
      Working at scale makes even mundane problems interesting IMO, but point well taken.
      Apr 5
  • Amazon / Other
    ~(

    AmazonOther

    PRE
    Microsoft
    ~(more
    You are spot on. It’s just another rat race. If you are happy doing what you’re doing, and making above average pay for where you live, FAANG is nothing to think about.

    In fact it might take you few years to get to the steady state you are in if you start with FAANG.
    Apr 50
  • Google pussmagnet
    Well senior engineers at FAANG makes double what you make so...
    Apr 54
    • New / Engookami
      OP
      True, but my living expenses are very, very low.
      Apr 5
    • Microsoft ReverseInt
      If you make 200k extra, your living expenses aren’t 200k more if you move. Mb extra 12k -30k more depending on what you want? You are still up a lot.
      Apr 5
    • Google pussmagnet
      Idk man. Do the math. Maybe you'll see living expense doesnt matter if you income is high enough. Beside to answer your question, comp is one factor for people to want to work for FAANG. Another is self esteem and the stamps on their resume. Its similar to college admission. They may teach the same thing, but people still want to go to top schools nonetheless. Some people dont care, but most do
      Apr 5
    • Apple Gg56fh
      The biggest hit comes from the additional taxes in CA, being in a higher tax bracket, rent or mortgage (much higher for recent home buyers), daycare costs or school tuition. Then car payments, food, grocery, gas etc. interested in seeing what % of base pay FANG folks manage to save.
      Apr 5
  • Microsoft hired
    Is it sour grapes situation or real discussion?
    Apr 55
    • Amazon / Other
      ~(

      AmazonOther

      PRE
      Microsoft
      ~(more
      What makes you think it’s sour grapes situation?
      Apr 5
    • Microsoft hired
      Because if one wants 💰, they go to FANG... nothing overrated about that...
      Apr 5
    • New / Engookami
      OP
      Just hoping to get some real insight about what makes them so great. I’ve never applied or attempted to get a job at FAANG, so I don’t know what makes them so sought after.
      Apr 5
    • Microsoft hired
      Money 💰, perks, name brand, and probably work quality
      Apr 5
    • New hdSt7l
      Can u specify work quality? I have heard the opposite ie. hard to get good projects, lots of bau, minor tweaking, legacy, etc. At smaller companies you can deliver entire products with just a small team. Money also is questionable, I was on 220k base for a smaller company at one point. I suppose when u compare apples to apples pay is higher but realistically you might get principal/architect at a smaller gig and have a higher pay because of that.
      Apr 6
  • Oracle / Otherr9a7bkty
    My impression is that that's fairly high outside the bay area and NY, no?
    Apr 55
    • New / Engookami
      OP
      Many of my friends make around that as senior engineers. The right companies will pay it. Even so, if you work remote finding a gig that pays that kind of money (if you have the right experience) isn’t super hard.
      Apr 5
    • Apple Gg56fh
      Ookami. Can you give a few examples of such companies and the skillsets they’ll pay for? Thanks
      Apr 5
    • New / Engookami
      OP
      On the East Coast?
      Apr 5
    • Snapchat / EngFkuc
      Yes
      Apr 5
    • New / Engookami
      OP
      Well, MailChimp, Chick-fil-a, Turner, Oracle and the like are out here and they pay top dollar for talent. There are various start ups coming through all the time with great seed rounds who pay pretty great. The big thing they look for is Ruby and JavaScript experience. Go is getting increasingly popular as well.
      Apr 5
  • Uber Uber4466
    Besides comp, what also makes these places great is that you as an engineer run the show. In a traditional east coast company, the “Business” team probably calls all the shots.
    Apr 50
  • AT&T / Eng
    DDM2K

    AT&TEng

    PRE
    Optum, Windstream, AT&T, Verizon
    DDM2Kmore
    Well I mean they sort of set the bar for SWE comp, being the only companies willing to part with the money to attract talent in an area with exploding housing prices.

    A handful of Bay Area companies, which may not quite fit the FANG acronym, can offer similar comp to attract talent, so the group technically IS larger than just four companies, but is still an elite group.

    The resume edge it can give you can sometimes be used to negotiate higher salaries, “he/she worked at Google/Apple/etc”.
    Apr 50
  • Amazon / EngvqXq75
    Try this: try to get hired by a FAANG. If you get an offer, post back if you still want advice. If you don’t get an offer, then there’s no need to ponder it. In that case you’ll need at least one more year of experience and preparation before you can try again. After 23 years of SWE experience I got an offer from Amazon for an SDE 2 (yes, a 2 after 23 years), and I left NY for Seattle. It’s one year later, and I can definitely say I’ve done 2 years of work in that time (250 hefty CRs). When you’re very senior, one year in big tech is all you need IF you use your time wisely (I actually accomplished it through 60-hour work weeks). I’ve learned a ton of shit about Amazon, enough to get the experience I was missing, and to have a pretty solid understanding of how this machine fits together. I can merge that with the shit I’ve learned before it, and move forward. I most certainly won’t regret the move to Amazon, though I’m a little disappointed that it might only be 1 year on my career timeline (I was shooting for 2-5).
    Apr 66
    • New hdSt7l
      Why only one year?
      Apr 6
    • Microsoft Jsuheb
      Bc that is the burnout time? 60 hours a week is not sustainable for most ppl.
      Apr 6
    • Amazon / EngvqXq75
      I’ve been doing 50-60+ per week for around 20 years. I was fried already, and doing it at Amazon pushed me to the edge. It’s my own fault, maybe I wanted to fail at Amazon. I’m still waiting to see if I’m rated LE, as it seems my antics may have landed me there. Yes, a year of 50-60 hour weeks at Amazon and 250 CRs can still yield an LE rating if you have the wrong manager. In my case, I’ve had 3 already.
      Apr 6
    • Microsoft Jsuheb
      What is LE?
      Apr 6
    • New hdSt7l
      Holy shit. Inadvertently you are making me think FANG is a fucking joke. I get paid a lot right now to do a job where I can either coast or make impactful changes with no pressure either way. It sounds like FANG are simply using brand to take advantage of people.
      Apr 6
    • Amazon / EngvqXq75
      You’re pretty much right. I’m a US native so I don’t have visa issues. You might think that would give me an advantage, right? Hell no. I can see now why immigrants are preferred, it’s an easy way to enslave people in unpleasant jobs. I’m lucky that I can bail whenever I want, because I’m finding the experience way too focused on negative reinforcements. And I don’t need that shit anymore, I’m older than most of the SDMs and have paid way more dues.
      Apr 6
  • New / Producttbkj
    It’s a tech bubble over there and yes you’re right there are a ton of other cool companies to work for. As soon as companies have amazing perks people seem to forget the fact that they are just companies run by typically the same type of people found everywhere else. Facebook seems to be loosing a bit of its luster with all the scandals and could be just another tech company. Soon enough there’ll be some other company that’s all the hype perhaps in a new industry.
    Apr 53
    • Amazon Czjacha
      I’ve been in this tech “bubble” now for over 20 years. Making vastly more than most non-tech. Not really a bubble- for excellent economic reasons.
      Apr 5
    • New / Producttbkj
      I don’t think it’s worth it to make it anyone’s life goal to get into these companies regardless of a tech bubble or not. I think this mindset is prevalent on blind and people bang their head against the wall to achieve these goals. It’s only a damn job.
      Apr 5
    • Amazon Czjacha
      It can be far more than that. It can be fascinating problems at scales small companies never see, setting new standards followed by all industry, and literally changing societies and global culture with your creations. It can mean meeting luminaries in the field and making changes that affect billions.
      It’s pretty awesome.
      And pay can be commensurate. But I care less about that since we make more than possibly needed anyway.
      Apr 5
  • Amazon / EngFoods
    I promise there are plenty of Blinders who *hate* working at Amazon (and other FAANG companies), but I think this usually translates to either “my boss sucks” or “my work sucks”, especially at Amazon where effectively your whole world is your team. I for one love my team and the work I get to do kicks ass.

    A great perk of Amazon is also that if you’re in Seattle your salary goes 30-40% farther than it would in SF or NYC, because of cost of living and no state income tax.

    I agree with what was said above about FAANG: lots of chances to find coooooool work, good pay, and the intangible benefit of having a brand-name that makes folks in your home town stare. Is it necessary for a great well paid job? No. Does it increase the chances? Definitely.
    Apr 52
    • New / Engookami
      OP
      Does Amazon have a good work life balance?
      Apr 5
    • Amazon / EngFoods
      From what I’ve seen, it varies team to team. My team performs well and has a very competent manager, everyone comes in between 9:30 and 10:30, and leaves 5-6 (barring high severity issues, ofc, but they’re rare). I’ve heard of teams that have asshole managers that overload the team and expect every sprint to be “DONE done or else”, where people wfh on the weekend, but I think that’s overwhelmingly the outlier case. All the teams I have personal knowledge of are very reasonable. I think Bezos’ article in response to the Amazon culture scandal is an accurate portrayal of my time in the company.

      One thing to keep in mind is that most teams have on-call (teams that have services in production). Usually week long rotations, cycling evenly across the team, newbies join in after 6-12 months. This means you get paged when shit hits the fan, so it’s worth it to ask teams you’re interviewing for how much work their oncall is at the same time you ask about wlb.
      Apr 5
  • VMware abc567
    23 years in tech and switching another job for 60 hour work week? Wouldn't you want to FI somewhere and coast and go on vacation. If you still love tech, maybe do some side project in free time?
    Apr 61
    • Amazon / EngvqXq75
      I agree, Amazon was meant to be a last hurrah for me, but I really did want the experience. It really has helped me to put together all the things I’ve done, with more process, formality, and of course how to scale (which basically means using AWS for everything). I’m finally getting my groove there, but I still think my manager doesn’t want me on his team as an SDE.
      Apr 6
  • Intel / Engpleb
    I think there's a lot in favor of working at FAANG in the Bay Area whether is perception or concrete advantages.

    It offers some sort of prestige being in the tech capital of the world. I'm sure a lot of people have in the back of their mind the dream of creating or joining a startup and striking gold.

    Those are some of the biggest companies, they hire a ton so it's natural to keep hearing about people working there.

    Working there also helps with immigration which a lot of people need.

    Last but not least, the weather.
    Apr 60
  • New hdSt7l
    My base in australia is basically the same as that offered by FANG but no stocks. But then again rent is at most half in comparable locations and I probably work like 4 hrs a week...
    Apr 50

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