L3 to L4 Promotion at Google

Microsoft slowly
Nov 23, 2018 24 Comments

I've read a lot about how difficult it can be to get promoted at Google, and was wondering how this would affect me as a new grad joining the company. How difficult is it to get to L4? And realistically, how long would it take to get to L5? Does it matter if I'm at a remote office (Seattle)? This is holding me back from accepting the offer, and making me wonder if a company like Microsoft with a clearer growth path might be a better choice.

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TOP 24 Comments
  • Google / Eng ironcheff
    L3 to L4 is easy. L4 to L5 could be challenging but not insane. Up to L5 is totally reasonable overall. Past that is much harder though. But it's the same everywhere, no? Staff+ for only a small fraction?
    Nov 23, 2018 4
    • Microsoft slowly
      OP
      I agree, people on here seem to blow it of proportion though. I just worried that the down leveling at Google indicated it was harder to get promoted.
      Nov 23, 2018
    • Google halloWorld
      One thing you have to understand about google is promotion is based on what you do here. Not what you did anywhere else or the knowledge you bring from anywhere else. Domain knowledge (or open source tool knowledge) will help you do things, but it won't be used to determine if you meet the next level. It's all about what you land. If google downlevels someone you can expect to be at that level for 12-18 months because it takes time to launch things.
      Nov 23, 2018
    • Microsoft slowly
      OP
      I got placed on Communications, so Hangouts/Duo. What would constitute a launch? How big of a feature are you expected to do independently?
      Nov 23, 2018
    • Google halloWorld
      You're expected to work on your own without constant attention from manager/tl/senior engineers. Any feature can be used to help demonstrate that. It's not just the big features, launching multiple smaller features helps too. It's mostly about being able to work without constant guidance and producing google quality artifacts through that process.
      Nov 23, 2018
  • Google Djeicubdux
    I think google has a clear career growth path. Ppl failed to get promo complain here, but the ones got promo wont.
    It depends on the team, the project and your ability & efforts. 3 > 4 should be within 1.5 year. 4>5 ~ 2 years.
    Nov 23, 2018 2
    • Microsoft slowly
      OP
      Do some people get stuck at L3, or is it safe to assume I'll definitely be L4 in 3 years?
      Nov 23, 2018
    • Google halloWorld
      Most people get promoted within 3 years from 3->4
      Nov 23, 2018
  • Google / Consultant texangoogl
    I was just promoted from L3-L4 in just under a year. It was a grind though. I think most people are about 1 1/2 to 2 years
    Nov 23, 2018 7
    • Microsoft slowly
      OP
      Did you join as a new grad or did you have experience at another company?
      Nov 23, 2018
    • Google / Consultant texangoogl
      5 years in the industry, 1.5 in my current role, no degree.
      Nov 23, 2018
    • Any special advice on how to do that? Are you working on a small team that has enough opportunities to show impact?
      Nov 23, 2018
    • Google / Product PiGuy
      👍tex
      Nov 23, 2018
    • Google / Consultant texangoogl
      Yes I'm on a small team (3 when I started up to 6 now) supporting a much larger team (500 to 1000+ respectively)

      The team was relatively unknown for the first 6 months, and we had to work to get our name out there. My first perf was not great (CME) but my second cycle was much better (SEE)

      Keep track of everything and be proactive. I find meetups and events I can go to. The networking part is hard to keep track of with real numbers and impact but it does help.

      Note: I am more in a customer facing role
      Nov 23, 2018
    • So that means generally one SEE is enough for promo within 12 months if manager is helping? Not generalizing but there was some post where a Googler mentioned that you need at least two EE or SEE for it. Thanks for the info.
      Nov 23, 2018
    • Google / Consultant texangoogl
      Yes having a good manager and skip level manager really help.

      I think L3-L4 can be done with just one SEE, likely need two EE.

      Most likely L4-L5+ will need multiple SEE
      Nov 23, 2018
  • Google / Eng
    nocomp

    Google Eng

    PRE
    Oracle
    nocompmore
    Median times are 2 and 3 years respectively
    Nov 23, 2018 5
    • Microsoft slowly
      OP
      Does everyone get promoted? Or do some people get stuck at L3?
      Nov 23, 2018
    • Google / Eng
      nocomp

      Google Eng

      PRE
      Oracle
      nocompmore
      Some people do, I know someone who's been L3 for 5 years, the guy is smart but doesn't step up.
      Nov 23, 2018
    • @nocomp any specific reason for that? Doesn’t Google fire for that?
      Nov 23, 2018
    • Google / Eng
      nocomp

      Google Eng

      PRE
      Oracle
      nocompmore
      At L3 it could, I guess his manager is maybe helping him somehow, even if he's on PIP I wouldn't notice so only time can tell :p
      Nov 23, 2018
    • Google halloWorld
      Everyone gets promoted or pushed out. Not stepping up and doing independent work will eventually get you an NI since you should be able to manage your own priorities and work independently before you hit 5 years.
      Nov 23, 2018
  • Google
    NGLR

    Google

    PRE
    Sprinklr, SHI
    NGLRmore
    They publicly post the times to promo - if I recall correctly L4 to L5 is 2.5 years, on average. L5 to L6 considerably longer - 5 to 7 years or more. Again, people that don’t promo aren’t cut out for the position or don’t want it. Would be easier for them to take a higher level position elsewhere.
    Nov 23, 2018 1
    • Microsoft slowly
      OP
      Thanks, I was mostly concerned about getting to L5, since I know any higher is tough anywhere.
      Nov 23, 2018

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