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Second switch in a short time for promotion ?

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Entry-Level Software Engineer [L3] at Snap7 months ago

Apologies for the long post.

Before Snap, I was working as an Entry Level Software Engineer in a company that had just IPO'd. The growth opportunity was amazing, and I was learning a lot, but I wanted to work for Big Tech for better compensation.

I worked in that company for 2 years after my graduation. And then I switched to Snap Inc as an L3 engineer. At my previous company, I was up for promotion in a few months, and I probably made the bad (in hindsight) decision to switch at that time instead of waiting for a few months, getting promoted and then trying for L4 at Snap (I don't know if Snap would still have offered L4)

Now I am almost completing 6 months at Snap (so total 2.5 years of experience) and I talked about promo with my manager. And he told me that he isnt putting me up for promotion in the next cycle (in 6 months) as I need more than >1 year experience (around 1.5 years) in the company for promotion. So this means the realistic cycle for which he would consider me would be a year from now (at that point I'd be 3.5 years work experience). Which to me feels way too late. For some context, I am a high performer with "exceeds expectations" feedback from my manager, so the only thing stopping me from getting promoted is my tenure in the company (acc to my manager)

My question is, should I wait for another year or should I start looking outward and considering I am 2.5 years right now (and 3 years by the time I get an offer) I should be able to get L4 in a Big Tech (I think?) I am not super certain about the future of the company as well so I will most probably be switching even after promotion.

All my college friends are L4's and SDE2's so I feel like I am behind in my career.



  • Alex Chiou
    Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero, PayPal
    7 months ago

    No worries about the long post, these are my favorite!

    First thing's first: Your career isn't a race.

    Tech is full of brilliant people who are going to grow quickly, faster than you. And a lot of them are going to be your friends and peers, especially if you work at an amazing company like Snap. It's really important to make peace with that. As long as you have a supportive team, and you feel like you're getting better as a software engineer, you should be happy.

    For what it's worth, I know many smart, talented people who were still L3 at a FAANG company (or FAANG equivalent company like Snap) after 4 years of experience. Some folks are naturally slow growers, are hit with bad luck, or make some mistakes early on - That's perfectly normal, and there are many, many years left to make up for that lost time.

    In terms of what I recommend actionably: If you like your manager and team, I would stick it out and get that promotion.

    Snap is one of the best tech companies, so concretely getting that next level is very meaningful. It makes negotiating much easier as it will be harder for companies to down-level you and keep you at L3. If you were to start interviewing now, you would grow less at work as your attention is now split, and in this bad tech climate, it could be hard to get an L4 offer.

    There's also a failure mode of having too high expectations. The worst case scenario is you get an L4 offer, and then you aren't able to handle it. This is more likely in the current environment as the vibe I'm getting seems to be "Get more with less", translating to higher engineer expectations at companies like Meta and Google.

    Related resources:

    1 Like
  • Rahul Pandey
    Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    6 months ago

    My specific answer depends on how much you like the work, people, and manager you currently have. But purely from a compensation perspective, I think looking outward is a good idea, if you are able to still get multiple strong offers. Two reasons:

    • Since you have 3 YoE, there's a good chance you're get a mid-level offer, which will bump your comp
    • The tech market is down (sharply) right now, so if you go to a public company, there's a really good chance your equity could grow a lot, assuming the markets recover in the next 1.5 years.

    If you decide to interview, don't reveal your current level at Snap, and do a blitz so you can try to get multiple offers at once.