Promotions at Amazon

Jan 29, 2019 16 Comments

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.


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TOP 16 Comments
  • Amazon RBMY63
    1. There are two paths:
    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.
    Jan 29, 2019 2
    • Amazon / Ops Visual
      Jan 29, 2019
    • Amazon lergo
      Feb 24, 2019
  • Amazon .,..,
    Of course there are exceptions, but the average time from 6 to a 7 is usually around 3+ years. It’s probably one of the toughest promos at Amazon.
    Jan 29, 2019 0
  • Amazon / Product jawtez
    In some cases if you were mis-leveled you could get rescoped to L7 in first few months. For me it took 3 years to get promoted to L7 principal PM-T. And had to do as RBMY63 describes.
    Jan 29, 2019 3
    • New PMM2
      Does Mis-leveling happen?
      Jan 30, 2019
    • Amazon / Product jawtez
      I have seen 2 SDEs mis-leveled. One was a L4 to L5 and one was L5 to L6.
      Jan 31, 2019
  • Amazon / Eng
    L6 > L7 requires you do some exceptional work and be the top PM in your org for many years in a row. Good luck.
    Jan 29, 2019 0
  • Amazon / Ops Visual
    What is your total YOE?
    Nobody gets promoted in one year at Amazon unless you were mistakenly under-levelled while hiring.
    Jan 29, 2019 3
    • Amazon BeffJizzos
      Not true. A guy at Amazon in my team got promoted in 11 months from L4 rcg to L5.
      Jan 29, 2019
    • New PMM2
      L6 to L7 is tough
      Jan 29, 2019
  • Amazon / Mgmt

    Amazon Mgmt

    Fastest L6 to L7 PMT promo I’ve seen is 18 months.
    Jan 30, 2019 1
    • Amazon / Ops Visual
      Same here.
      Jan 31, 2019
  • OP
    10 years YOE. 6 years relevant exp.
    Jan 29, 2019 0


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