As I think about my career a few years from now, I wonder if I will continue to learn and grow at Amazon or if it would make sense for me to switch to a startup. I do care about compensation as well so that may be a limiting factor in jumping to a startup. What advice do you have for someone who may be interested in working at a startup vs. Big Tech? How many years of experience should I rack up at Amazon / in Big Tech before moving to a startup?
In a vacuum, my recommendation is to stay at Amazon for at least 1.5+ years so no one questions your tenure at the company (I actually made a video about this topic here).
It's probably in your interest anyway to stay at the company for 2-3 years due to your stock vesting schedule at Amazon. So stay unless you really hate your team/manager, and even then, I'd first try to switch teams before exploring externally.
Once you have a decent stint at Amazon on your resume, you now have the "FAANG glow" which will open up more opportunities. So the number of companies that reach out to you will only increase, which means your chance of finding a good startup will be good.
Moving to a startup typically only makes sense if: