I'm relatively new to software so would love to understand more here. In particular, what does it look like at Big Tech compared to other companies? My goal is to eventually transition into a Big Tech company - Do you always need to work 60+ hours a week to do well there?
You definitely don't need to work 60+ hours/week to do well. There will be times (perhaps a few weeks at a time) when there's a deadline and you have to put in more time, but in general the industry norm is going to be around 40-45 hours a week. For engineers at FAANG, it's probably even less, although companies like Amazon and Meta typically have longer hours compared to Google or Microsoft (so there is variation among them).
At smaller companies, I broadly think about two types of companies: