I'm defining a career path for my company, and don't know where to start. I would like to see how Meta, Google are doing this so that I can tailor to match my smaller company.
Amazon Engineering ICs:
I don’t have the energy to write up Google or Meta. They have more levels of engineers, slightly more granular but not really. L3 is smaller, than the levels sort of “bridge” Amazon’s. L5 is senior, L6 staff, L7 senior staff, L8 principal, L9 distinguished, L10 fellow at Google. Meta is pretty similar but are weird about leveling, seems to top out at 9, say senior at 5 but it’s murky. Management I don’t have extensive knowledge of, but Meta it’s pretty similar to Amazon at L6/M1, M2 senior, D1 director, D2 senior director, then there’s… 2 levels of VP. Google is similar. L7 senior, 8 director, 9 senior director, 10 VP, 11 SVP.
How small is your company in terms of engineering headcount? If there's less than 500 people in the engineering org, it probably doesn't make sense to have the same level structure as Big Tech since their ladder has so many levels.
I joined Course Hero back in 2015 when it was only 20 engineers with no levels. Over time, the company grew to 100+ engineers and introduced a basic version of engineering levels, which might make more sense for you. Here were the levels:
On the management side, it was just:
To better understand the responsibilities of engineering IC levels in particular, check out this playlist: [Taro Top 10] Understanding Engineering Levels
Here's the breakdown of IC levels for Meta for those who are curious (Google will be exactly the same except for L4 being terminal there instead of E5). The difference from Amazon is that Amazon's levels start becoming very wide at L5 [SDE 2]. This is why Amazon SDEs starting from the higher-end of SDE 2 will generally get up-leveled when they switch companies.
For the most part, Big Tech companies (both the old guard with FAANG and the new era IPOs like DoorDash, Airbnb, and Pinterest) will follow this leveling matrix. The letters may be different and the number might not start at 3 (e.g. Stripe starts at 1 and Airbnb starts at 7), but the compensation, expectations/scope, and title will be the same.
If you want to learn more about E6+ engineer archetypes, I recommend this thread: "What does a path to staff look like in a coding-heavy environment?"
If you want to learn about how Big Tech works in general, check out this masterclass: [Masterclass] Should You Work At FAANG? - What Big Tech Is Like For Software Engineers