Expectations at different levels? (Junior vs Mid)

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Mid-Level Software Engineer [SDE 2] at Amazon9 months ago

I am joining Amazon soon as SDE 2. At my previous job, I was a higher end SDE1. I have owned small internal services at my previous job. I would like to know what are some of the things that can be expected from me as SDE 2 @ Amazon ? I am expecting more ownership, but is that the only thing? I did ask the same question to my manager but he seemed very chill about it and said that he cannot say anything at the moment, maybe in our 1:1s we can discuss more clearly. Also, if you can let me know how the expectations vary across levels for Junior and Mid level and what can I do to hit the ground running and create a good impression from the very start, that'd be great. I am sure that you must have seen various E3 / E4s at Meta. If you can relate to what exactly was the difference that you saw, that'll be super helpful.

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(4 comments)
  • Rahul Pandey
    Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    9 months ago

    I really want to include canonical examples of the scope/ownership expectations for each engineering level in Taro!

    In the meantime, one really simple heuristic: how far in advance do you know what you'll work on? If you're SDE1, you're probably handed bugs/small features to work on for a few days at a time.

    With SDE2, I'd expect you to tackle more ambiguous projects which may take 2-3 weeks. You should of course be checking in during that time (and providing status updates), but you have a clear objective/autonomy on a multi-week time window.

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  • Alex Chiou
    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    9 months ago

    Levels are interchangeable among FAANG/FAANG-equivalent companies generally, so I do imagine that SDE 2 isn't too different from Meta E4. For a very detailed breakdown of Meta E4 expectations, I recommend checking out my Meta E4 -> E5 growth plan.

    I also recommend checking out this Q&A around what a competent mid-level engineer looks like. There, I break down how a mid-level engineer's performance is mainly dictated by very high technical proficiency and what that concretely looks like.

    That aside, I actually disagree with Rahul in his time horizon for mid-level engineer projects: A task that takes 2-3 weeks of coding is something I would expect an SDE 1 to be decent at. I believe that a meaty SDE 2 task should take 2-3 months.

    The most concrete thing you can do is benchmark yourself against strong SDE 2s in your team/org (you can ask your manager for who are good role models). Some things to observe from them:

    1. Their code velocity and quality
    2. Their code review volume and quality
    3. How they conduct themselves in meetings
    4. The amount of ownership and communication they exert on projects
    5. How they handle fixing bugs and production events
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  • Alex Chiou
    Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero, PayPal
    9 months ago

    For advice on how to hit the ground running:

    • This Q&A has become a great go-to resource on the basics of onboarding. It's from a Google engineer, so it should pretty much entirely apply as another FAANG company.
    • On top of racking up small wins as mentioned in the above Q&A, make your code quality as high as possible. With an SDE 1, I just expect functional code, but the bar is higher for an SDE 2. In terms of how to make the code high-quality, it's largely covered in the 1st half of our code review session.
    • Since you're SDE 2, I recommend reviewing code from SDE 1s and interns if you can. SDE 2 is the level where I expect them to be able to help other engineers, mainly those at earlier levels like the ones I mentioned. The E4s that really impressed me at Meta after joining were generally able to hit the ground running on code review as well. This is a core difference from SDE 1.
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  • Mid-Level Software Engineer [SDE 2]
    Mid-Level Software Engineer [SDE 2] [OP]
    Amazon
    9 months ago

    Thank you for the details response guys. This helps. To answer Rahul's question, I did ask my manager in my intro 1:1 if you have anything planned for me or first project or anything that I will be working on and he mentioned that he has nothing such planned upfront for me at the moment. I guess it'll be decided once I join the team.

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