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I’m concerned that I’m not socialized correctly to operate in a Big Tech company.

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Incoming Mid-level engineer [L4] at Google2 years ago

I’ve only worked at startups and non-tech companies, but I’m joining Google next month. How can I make sure that I meet all expectations as an L4? When it comes to talking to my manager, how should I frame the conversation?

  • Just ask something generic like “What are my expectations as an L4?”
  • Ask for more specifics like how much code to write
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    Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    2 years ago

    One of the benefits of Big Tech is that expectations for each level are pretty standardized. I’d look at the expectations for an L4 engineer in your domain, and talk through that understanding with your manager.

    • Looking at others on your team really helps. Schedule 1:1s with them, but also look through their change lists to understand the kind of code they’re writing and the code review comments they leave.
    • Phrase the conversation with your manager as to what’s beneficial for the team. Start with the team objectives, and then ask how you can best plug in.
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    Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero, PayPal
    2 years ago

    I think you can do both. Read the Google SWE career matrix and then ask your manager for high-level guidance after that.

    After you get the high level rundown from your manager, work with them to break it down into specifics that are more concrete. Here are more specific things you can do:

    • Find a stellar code change from an L4 or even L5 engineer that you can emulate in terms of quality.
    • Get an example of a project that was recently shipped and with sufficient L4 scope. Understand what the L4 engineer did to merit a strong performance there, either leading the entire project or working on a substantial chunk of it.
    • Figure out a picture of what a sufficient performance on each of Google SWE's performance axes looks like in terms of comprised activities for an L4.
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