1
pandasama
18d

Is there a big difference between being and Engineer 3 or an Engineer 2 or 1? At what point of time should you ask if you can be promoted to a higher Engineer level?

Comments
  • 3
    It really depends on the company.

    Job titles vary wildly through the industry. Some places they're somewhat relevant to pay, and ability, etc. Other places they're pretty meaningless.
  • 0
    @N00bPancakes My director has mentioned that titles are mostly meaningless but hasn’t mentioned compensation so wasn’t sure, I’ve been an Engineer 3 for a year now so was wondering if it’s the right time
  • 4
    I know a level 4 but act like a level 1 in our team. I guess in our company or maybe just our unit it is meaningless. If your manager says it's meaningless and you feel you are worth more then just try your luck somewhere else.
  • 1
    @iamai hmm fair point, thank you!
  • 3
    @pandasama Personally I focus more on what i'm "getting' from the company than the job title.

    Having said that if it's an employer who really puts a lot of emphasis on job titles and you don't feel like you're where you should be, and after talking to them about it (that's the important part) they just won't change it that could be something to think about / consider why they won't... consider options.
  • 1
    @N00bPancakes fair enough, everyone seems so nice otherwise but at the end of the day it is a job I guess
  • 2
    At Amazon there were three levels of SDE. SDE-I was recent grad. SDE-II was no more than 4 years removed from that. SDE-III is the highest level before principal engineer.

    You were expected to move up periodically. If you didn't move up, you were shown the door; they only kept A-players. You could stay at SDE-III indefinitely bc PE are few and far between, but you had to continue justifying your job in perf reviews and stacking up favorably vs other employees.

    Personally I liked the model. In most cases it prevented stagnation and didn't reward or enshrine people for not advancing their skills. There were of course exceptions, but they were few and far between.

    Most companies though, it's just a measure of time served and boots licked.
  • 1
    @SortOfTested Thank you for that informative response! Funny enough, it’s reversed in my company (SDE-1 is the highest) but yeah I can see how moving up is a sign of staying there, I think in my company it isn’t too harmful for job security but I can see your point in general what it means if someone doesn’t move up
  • 2
    @SortOfTested times served and boots licked indeed. Manager of Level 4 who acts like a level 1 justified the promotion due to tenure but same manager somehow won't promote another Level 3 who is sole support for a special solution. It's really a mystery within our team.
  • 1
    @iamai my company gives the vibe at least of being supportive and promoting healthy work environments, and so far that does seem to be true but I can’t be completely sure yet, so I’m hoping it isn’t too much on boot licking
  • 2
    @SortOfTested I've heard that about Amazon. I find most large companies... advancement is still political to some extent.

    I'm not sure requiring advancement really prevents the political / song and dance required to move 'up'. At least in my experience it doesn't really.
  • 2
    @pandasama it's your manager who will in the end fight for you to get that promotion. The company can't promote everyone there has to be justifications and your manager will be your voice during those deliberations. Do you trust your manager to fight for you to get your promotion? Try to ask for it, justify it will proof why your work should be rewarded, if you don't feel any recognition that satisfies you then maybe another company can give what you want.
  • 1
    @N00bPancakes
    The difference is in the review cycle. It's aggressive, pervasive and has extra-team oversight from other engineers. It's still game-able, but the act of doing so requires significant collusion across multiple teams and is mostly limited among engineers to the all-asian teams. Amazon corporate tries to cartel-bust those routinely.

    Meanwhile most of corporate America just assumes the entire teams and departments magically transforming from mostly natives to mostly people from one minor geographic area means all people from that area must be really tech savvy 🙄.
  • 1
    @iamai I guess that’s tough to do when I believe everyone around me contributes almost equally and we all do decently well with everything, so anything I say could be used to promote anyone really :) I do like my director (she’s a great person and very technically knowledgeable) so perhaps it wouldn’t be the end to ask her, thank you!
  • 1
    @SortOfTested That's interesting. I talked to someone who has been at Google for a long time and they noted that one of the problems with having folks from 'outside' a given area get in on reviews was you had folks tailoring their work to things folks from the outside would be impressed by.

    Improve an existing product under the hood? Meh. New product? Woah cool!

    They felt it encouraged a lot of hopping to the next new thing / lack of focus because outside groups really struggled / were less likely to reward people changes within a specific area that weren't highly visible to anyone outside.

    Granted, in a way, to some extent that's life / every company.
  • 2
    @N00bPancakes
    Can confirm. Google focuses on new, as their product line can attest. Amazon has a lot of greenfield, but most teams at AWS are small, and own the projects for a significant period of time. Most people do move on to a new team between every 2-4 years with a core team staying in long-term rotation.

    Someone commented about how it was a negative that some leadership of the Angular team moved on after ~10 years. I can only assume people like that view 10 years as a short time to be on a project. At some point you just want new and interesting challenges.
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