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Risk of working at L+2 level?

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Mid-Level Software Engineer [SDE 2] at Amazon5 months ago

These are Google levels for discussions/comparison sake and that I came in under-leveled.

I can do work in below capacities:

  1. L3 - individual contributor and doing my tasks well.
  2. L5 - Delegating work to others as well. means developing and maintaining relationships XFN teams which are costly in terms of time/meetings it requires in order to do that. Also doing system designs /architecture/ planning /preparing content for consumption.

If I work in the L5 scope ..will the calibration meetings/equivalent give me sufficient credit for that or will I still be viewed as a L3 ( my actual level. If so then my raw code output will be primary metric)? Code output is something I won't be able to do if I focus on delegating work ( scope of L5). So will my L5 work lead to penalties if I am viewed as L3?

Lines are bit blurred in terms of R&R as I have to do product management work as well in order to get the project to succeed. I have regular meetings with many L5/L6s in order to drive the ideas and occasional ones with Directors and Senior Directors to get their buy-ins.

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(1 comment)
  • Rahul Pandey
    Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    5 months ago

    It's risky to try to operate at a level too high above your actual level. There are certain behaviors that are encouraged or required at higher levels that are not necessary at lower levels.

    So the failure mode is that you work on something at level n+2, but there's still doubt in your manager's mind (or others in the calibration) that you have achieved the benchmarks for level n. Tactically, if you're more junior, the best thing you can do is to output high quality code, find and fix bugs, and provide thoughtful feedback for others.

    I have seen cases of double promotion, but that should be something you are very clearly aligned with your manager on. These only work if everyone agrees that you could easily do the work at your current level (in which case, there was probably an error in leveling you when you were hired).

    Also, I assume R&R means Roles & Responsibilities? I'd just focus on ensuring that the work split b/w you and the PMs is clear, otherwise the PM will default to receiving credit for things which are naturally in the PM domain.

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