Joining as L6 Senior PM-T. Recruiter says you make your career at Amazon. What is the path for promotions?
1. Does one become a Principal Product Manager? What is the path for becoming people manger?
2. Is one year ambitious to get promoted? What impact does one need to create as Sr. Product Manager to get promoted?
I have been working at startups and my career growth has been good. Not sure how it is at big tech companies. Please advise.
PM-T L6 -> Manager, Product Management L6 -> Senior Manager, Product Management L7
PM-T L6 -> Principal PM-T (L7)
Moving to people management is not a promotion, it is an on-level role change. Some people report a pay increase but that was not my experience.
2. You won’t be promoted in a year. To move to principal PM-T you are going to need to invent a tech product that alters the business of a large organization, write the documents, get them approved, get this effort prioritized, get it delivered, and quantify the customer and/or business impact. To get the resources for this alone will likely require an OP1 cycle, which is our yearly planning and budgeting process.
Even if you walk in the door with domain knowledge and can very quickly ramp on our business, and conceive of this idea in a month or two, the rest is likely to be greater than a year. Once you’ve actually done all of that, you’ll need to have a manager supportive and capable of promoting you, and you will need to continue to add value at an L7 level while your pet project fundamentally alters the business and the impact is felt. It is probably a good idea to do that twice, honestly, but with the right scale and impact your manager might make a sell.
As a tech role, PM-T would be subject to the tech promotion process. The principal promo requires two technical assessments that need to be set up with a number of months lead time.
You will also need L7 and L8 tech feedback, so senior software dev managers, directors of development, principal TPMs, PM-Ts, and SDEs, and senior principals in the same roles. L7 is required, L8 is recommended. They need to be comfortable saying they believe you are operating at L7 already.
L7+ promos only happen twice a year versus quarterly below that... so your manager will take your completed portfolio with all this feedback and tech assessments to a panel that will reject it the first time. Someone will find some reason, and a short dwell time will be one, or motivation to find others. Once rejected it’s another six months.
Bottom line, be happy with your comp and scope of work for 4 years. Negotiate like you won’t be promoted. If you make it in 3, good for you. Less is very unlikely even if you feel like you’re a rock star.