Choosing between L3 Google and L5 Amazon offers. 3.5 YOE

Nov 18, 2019 53 Comments

I'm currently a senior engineer with ~3.5 years of experience.
I'm lucky enough to have received offers from Google and Amazon and I'm having a tough time deciding. The Amazon offer is for more money and a band that isn't the 'new grad' band. The Google offer can't match those, but it has intangibles that I value - year-round warm weather, free food, more interesting work, more vibrant company social scene.

Am I foolish to turn down an Amazon L5 and ~40k more comp for an L3 role at Google?

My Amazon offer:
Title: L5
TC over four years: $264k per year
Base: 160k
Hiring bonus:
- Total: 165k, disbursed as followed:
-- 1st year cash bonus, paid monthly: $95,000
-- 2nd year cash bonus, paid monthly:$70,000
Stock: 113 shares. Schedule is 5%, 15%, 40%, 40%
Location: Seattle
Notes: The generous hiring bonus ensures I don't have to care nearly as much about Amazon's steep vesting schedule.

My Google offer:
Title: L3
TC over four years: $226k per year
Base: 140k
Hiring bonus:
- Total: 50k
Stock: $210k. Schedule is possibly quarterly, possibly monthly depending on stock price. I'm at ~159 shares currently.
Location: Sunnyvale
Notes: My recruiter said Google would be willing to shift some of my hiring bonus into stock as long as the TC over 4 years doesn't change. Would be a way to guarantee my stock vest monthly. That would help with holding the stock for over a year to reduce capital gains tax.

comments

Want to comment? LOG IN or SIGN UP
TOP 53 Comments
  • Facebook / Eng
    mturtle

    Facebook Eng

    PRE
    Amazon, Facebook
    BIO
    ex-AMZN, ex-fb
    mturtlemore
    Obviously AMZN. It's a higher level and more money. Why are you even debating this?
    Nov 18, 2019 5
    • Amazon OyQW43
      Coz everyone knows AMZ sucks compared to G
      Nov 18, 2019
    • Athenahealth szbW41
      OP
      OyQW43's response - whether a joke or not - definitely does play into my decision.

      Even though Amazon's public perception has changed and is quickly catching up with Google, there's an intangible value that comes with working at Google that Amazon doesn't quite possess.
      Nov 18, 2019
    • Facebook / Eng
      mturtle

      Facebook Eng

      PRE
      Amazon, Facebook
      BIO
      ex-AMZN, ex-fb
      mturtlemore
      If you really want google, just take amzn and interview again at google L4 in a year.

      In the mean time, you will make more money and can learn alot at AMZN.

      Joining at L3 means your peers will all be 22. I know you think you well be ok with that, but you won't be.
      Nov 18, 2019
    • Amazon thule
      Could accept the Amazon offer and apply to G again in 6-12 months to see if they set you at a more appropriate level.

      Imo it's a bad career progression move to allow yourself to be downleveled in this case, even if you value G benefits/prestige.
      Nov 18, 2019
    • Google / Eng RdmTechDev
      Keep in mind: Amazon vesting schedule favors staying for 24 months or your TC will be much lower
      Nov 18, 2019
  • Google PvJl86
    Me and 3 of my former colleagues moved from L5 Amazon SDEs to L3 Google SWEs. For all of us, Google paid us more than we were getting paid at Amazon. We are all happy with our decisions. Of course it's a bit different cuz you would be getting paid more at Amazon, but the intangibles are huge. Google also has more predictable refreshers. When I was at Amazon, you didn't get refreshers unless you performed well. At Google, you get refreshers as long as you don't perform bad (bottom 0-4%). I'd say go with Google. I always wish I had joined Google sooner.

    I think 80% of people who have worked at both would say the same.
    Nov 18, 2019 1
    • Amazon compare
      Listen to this guy ☝️. Unless the Amazon job profile is what you are interested in, then pick Google. Google is hard to get into. The vesting that he mentioned will beat Amazon in 2-3 years. In Amazon, promotion to L6 is super hard with your level of experience even in 4 years.

      Even after interviewing with google after a year, there is no guarantee you will get to L4 level. Better chance to get to L4 from L3.
      Nov 18, 2019
  • Amazon OyQW43
    40k money is too little to turn down Google. But level is kinda an important factor. Hmm. Maybe a poll.
    Nov 18, 2019 4
    • Google Krepton
      Not if you factor in CoL
      Nov 18, 2019
    • Amazon OyQW43
      What is CoL?
      Nov 18, 2019
    • Google Krepton
      Cost of living in bay vs Seattle
      Nov 18, 2019
    • Pure Storage CiLh06
      And the state tax
      Nov 19, 2019
  • Google PvJl86
    On second thought, go to Amazon first then move to Google so you can appreciate Google more. 😃
    Nov 18, 2019 1
    • New / Eng
      AmazonEng

      New Eng

      PRE
      Facebook, Amazon
      BIO
      Facebook, Amazon Software Engineering.
      AmazonEngmore
      Lol
      Nov 18, 2019
  • New / Product coldouts
    Amazon not even a question
    Nov 18, 2019 3
    • Amazon OyQW43
      Excuse me?
      Nov 18, 2019
    • Bloomberg
      offByOme

      Bloomberg

      PRE
      Bloomberg
      offByOmemore
      Amazon? Easily a question.
      Nov 18, 2019
    • Amazon OyQW43
      This is a hard one to me, and I lean to choose Google
      Nov 18, 2019
  • Google / Eng RdmTechDev
    I had similar set of offers, and went with Google, but in WA. Did you ask Google to match the offer? You may need to do a couple more interviews to try for L4.
    Cost of living in CA is much higher, so the pay difference will feel much bigger.
    My $0.02: I work with many former Amazonians, but haven't seen anyone leave for Amazon and be happy there long term.
    Nov 18, 2019 2
    • Athenahealth szbW41
      OP
      Google initially lowballed me with an offer that was like 70k less than Amazon's TC. The current offer is their attempt to 'match'.
      Nov 18, 2019
    • Google / Eng RdmTechDev
      Sorry to hear that. You could tell recruiter that you need more and are willing to re-interview for the higher level. You could also see if you could find a Seattle/Kirkland team match to at least match the cost of living.
      Nov 18, 2019
  • Microsoft skankhunt1
    Amazon
    Nov 18, 2019 0
  • Jane Street Capital iejdndj
    Take Google. You'll get promoted to L4 soon and pass the Amazon TC.

    Also don't ask them to turn your cash bonus into stock. That's a terrible financial move.
    Nov 18, 2019 5
    • Uber / Eng mH7bSe
      Promotion doesn't adjust comp.
      This base is already in L4 band.
      Nov 18, 2019
    • Google / Eng RdmTechDev
      Wrong. Promotion does adjust Comp at Google
      Nov 18, 2019
    • Uber / Eng mH7bSe
      No it doesn't. As "2% bump" = "doesn't"
      Nov 19, 2019
    • Google / Eng RdmTechDev
      Sorry for the terse reply. You're right that these aren't huge changes, but 6 - 10% isn't nothing
      Nov 19, 2019
    • Uber / Eng mH7bSe
      You don't get that much if you are already 140k when promo to L4.
      See the other post of L4 offer with 150k base. And external hires usually get better comp than promo.
      Nov 20, 2019
  • Intel fghyr
    Why do you want to turn cash into stock?
    Nov 18, 2019 2
    • Athenahealth szbW41
      OP
      I only want to turn enough into stock to get to 160 shares so I get my stock monthly instead of quarterly. Google only gives out stock monthly if you were granted more than 160 units of stock, and if I take the offer as given right now, depending on stock price, I might only have 159.
      Nov 18, 2019
    • Google GoLinks
      It's not # of shares but dollar value. Equity over $160K gets vested monthly, which is like 122 shares at current value. I was OK with low base too because of the monthly vest as I can choose to sell stocks monthly if I feel like the base is not covering my living expenses.
      Nov 19, 2019
  • New OPqa80
    Remember that bonus tax rate is higher than the normal tax rate
    Nov 18, 2019 2
    • Google no_you
      It's not. It's only withheld at higher rate.
      Nov 18, 2019
    • New OPqa80
      Wut? Seriously! Mo' money for me!
      Nov 18, 2019

Salary
Comparison

    Real time salary information from verified employees