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FAANG: Great For Compensation, Less So For Promotion

Getting into FAANG is the dominant thing on so many software engineers' minds, but most of them are making the mistake of not thinking about what happens after they get in. When it comes to that, hitting a growth wall is a very common (and painful) career trap Big Tech engineers run into.

Here are the core points from the video:

  • Most big problems have been solved - Many teams at FAANG are maintaining flagship products at this point. While these products are great for consumers by being universally known and very useful, they are usually not great for engineers looking to grow. Since they are so hyper-optimized, it's very common for a software engineer to run 10 experiments on a product like Facebook home feed only to have every single one of them fail.
  • Getting to senior/staff is very hard - Because scope gets so hard to find, these promotions in particular can be extremely difficult. SDE 2 -> SDE 3 at Amazon is notoriously impossible, and L4 -> L5 at Google is known to be very tricky as well.
  • You're competing against teammates - While scope can be created and expanded, there is often a finite amount of it. This means that Big Tech engineers are often jockeying against their very talented peers to own this limited resource. In the worst case scenario, this leads to very dirty politics.

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