My income from being a very good Facebook engineer
Fortunately, in the past few years, sites like glassdoor and levels.fyi have made it very easy to find out average salaries and their ranges. There is only one thing missing – information about how much you can earn if you are really good, for example, you are included in the 1% of the best FB engineers (that is, at the level of about 100 engineers). In this post, I will share my salaries and career advancements to give an idea of how fast you can develop and how the salary will change.
Note: the values presented below do not take into account the growth of shares, that is, if when the shares were transferred to me, their rate was equal to $ 50, and now they are traded at $ 200, then I still use $ 50 to calculate the amounts, then that is exactly how much FB is actually business pays me, and the increase in value became a reward for the risks I took on.
Below I will talk about my career growth and the salary that I received, but if you are only interested in numbers, then here is a table:
Here’s a short version of how I got to E8 and my salaries over the years. There is a short description at the end of the article.
I got a job at FB as an E4 with a base salary of $ 127,000 and an initial share of $ 280,000. Facebook was experimenting with a lot of new products back then, and the company had a bunch of easy-to-implement features. In the first half of the year, I mainly worked as a solo developer who could develop production-ready prototypes very quickly. During this time, I have created 3 new large features / small products. In the second half of the year, all three senior engineers who were working on one of the most important products in our area left for another department, so I told my manager that I could do that product. Because of the importance of the product, in six months the team again had four engineers, and since I was the first, I became the technical project leader.
For releasing three features and building a team of four, I was promoted to E5 and given a $ 32K bonus (10% for the E4 level and a performance score multiplier of 2.5), plus an additional $ 112K royalty.
Total compensation: $ 229 thousand
Although I became a technical manager in the previous half of the year, I really only started working with him in the next year. I wasn’t even in the top 3 on a ten-person engineering team, but I could come up with ideas and turn them into a real product, while still maintaining the team. Together we have released two very successful products, and have also rewritten almost all of our product to be much easier to maintain and develop. Thanks to this, by the end of the year, the team had grown to 10 engineers.
As we continued to make the product more successful and put together a team of ten engineers, I was promoted to E6 and given a $ 56K bonus (15% for the E5 level and a 2.5 performance score multiplier). I was also paid an additional fee of 185 thousand. Thanks to the success of the team and my role in it, I was given an additional 486,000 shares. This share is given in excess of the annual fee and is received by only 3-5% of all engineers in the company.
Total compensation: 304 thousand dollars
I left my previous team and, with two more engineers, founded a new team to rebuild one of FB’s most important products from scratch. For 6 months we have created a working version and received the blessing of the management for further work. We actively began recruiting for the team, and by the end of the year it had grown to 12 engineers. Product development continued, but later it turned out that it was a mistake. We needed to develop it iteratively, not release it on a large scale right away, as we wanted.
I was given a 60K bonus (20% for the E6 level and a performance score multiplier of 1.625) and an additional 200K bonus. Thanks to the developments that we introduced into the new product, I was given an additional share of 860 thousand.
Total compensation: 508 thousand
To make it possible to scale the team, we divided it into 4 separate sub-departments, each of which received its own technical leader. This allowed us to expand our team to over 30 engineers. But this year the award has found heroes. Our large-scale release didn’t go well, and while our product was a step forward compared to the previous version, it definitely fell short of the investment.
I was given a 45k bonus (20% for the E6 level and a performance score multiplier of 1.125). This was the lowest performance multiplier in all years, and this was the first time I entered the “meet requirements” category. No extra share this time.
Total compensation: 775 thousand dollars (due to the increase in the value of shares, in fact, more than one million was indicated on the tax form).
Due to the fact that our departments worked well without supervision, my role was diminished and with four engineers, I founded a new team. In six months we created the first version and received approval from the management for further development. I learned my lessons and this time we graduated quickly. Despite the poor performance, user growth and retention were very good, so we expanded the team to eight engineers.
I was paid a bonus of 47k (20% for the E6 tier and a performance score multiplier of 1.125) and an additional 225k royalty. Considering that we were laying the foundation for the product most of the year, my estimate was lower, but by the end of the year we showed success, thanks to which I was given an additional share of 907 thousand and increased to E7.
Total compensation: 750 thousand dollars
We continued to improve the product and it continued to grow, although it remained small on a FB scale. In parallel, we launched three new products and by the end of the year two of them failed, but one began to show signs of success. Thanks to the success of the first product and the prospects for the second, the team now consisted of 15 engineers and three sub-departments.
I went back to good grades and received a 93k bonus (25% for the E7 level and a 1.625 performance score multiplier), plus an additional 650K bonus. Due to the projected future impact of our work, I was given an additional share of 816,000.
Total compensation: $ 1.1 million
Our product made a real breakthrough this year. It got featured in M-teams (a small group of executives that Zuckerberg consults with) and began to influence Facebook’s overall performance. The team has grown to 25 engineers. We bet on two more new products, one of them failed, but the other showed signs of success. We now had a portfolio of one very successful product, one moderately successful, and one promising.
I was given a 78k bonus (25% as an E7 level and a performance rating multiplier of 1.25), an additional fee of 650K, and an additional 1.2 million shares. Due to the impact of our product on Facebook’s revenue, I was promoted to E8.
Total compensation: $ 1.3 million
Eighth year and beyond
I went on an adventure again and organized a new team of 4 people. We are now still in the early stages of a new product.
This year I was paid a 90K bonus (30% as an E8 level and a performance score multiplier of 1), an additional fee of 840K, and an additional 1.1 million in shares.
Total Compensation for Year 8: $ 1.5 million (due to the increase in share price, in fact, more than two million were indicated on the tax form)
A quick recap over the years at Facebook:
- The first year I learned to be a good engineer
- In my second year, I learned to be a good technical leader,
- In the third or fourth years I started something new from scratch. Although we did not succeed, we learned how to do it.
- In years 5 through 9, I continued to follow the model of years 3 through 4: I started something new, released and improved the product, and then scaled up to make it successful.
- In the early years, my success was influenced by my skills, luck and ability to be in the right place. If three senior engineers had not left the team, then I would not have become a technical manager so quickly, and therefore would have been at least one level lower, and the total earnings in FB turned out to be 25% less
- In the years that followed, it was mainly my ability to find new opportunities and implement them well before others.
- The promotions from E6 to E7 and from E7 to E8 were mostly about building something successful. My implementation might have been perfect, but if it hadn’t been for the success of the product, I wouldn’t have been promoted.
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