Amazon has six different levels of job titles and accordingly salary structure. Every company in the technology industry is based on a tier-based salary structure. The higher a person is on the tier, the higher the salary. Amazon too has different salary tiers depending on the disparate job titles. So how much can you earn at Amazon as a Software Development Engineer or SDE? Let’s see the descriptions of Amazon Software Engineer Levels.
Amazon has six levels for a Software Development Engineer, and every SDE level has salary compensation. Amazon’s salary compensation structure is divided into Base salary, Bonuses or yearly payouts, and restricted stock units or RSUs. Additionally, Amazon also offers numerous benefits, from health insurance to transportation benefits.
Steps to become a software engineer at Amazon
- Step 1: Mandatory Pre-requisites or Educational Qualifications
It is necessary to have the educational qualifications that Amazon is looking for in a candidate. First, a candidate needs to have a Master’s or Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or any related field.
Check out the basic qualifications that are required for applying as an SDE II at Amazon:
- Bachelor’s in Computer Science or any related degree
- A work Experience of at least a year
- Proficiency in any one of the languages such as C, C++, Java, and more. Now, this solely depends on the specific project that they are recruiting a candidate for.
- Knowledge of data structures, algorithms, and object oriented-design
- Sometimes knowledge regarding big data tools is also required like Hadoop, AWS-Lambda, etc.
- Knowledge of Software development life cycle, testing, build process, and code reviews. All of these are a must-know for a candidate.
- Excellent communication skills, ready to take on any task and dealing with complexities, problem-solving skills, Mentoring SDE 1 engineers to enhance their skills.
- Any latest technology knowledge is also handy, like Machine Learning, databases, UI, and more.
- Step 2: Work Experience
A candidate with or without work experience is hired at Amazon. It is to note that the requirements vary from one specific role to another. You could be a fresher and work at Amazon. Moreover, campus recruits are hired enormously by Amazon. For fresher candidates, it is significant to have coding or any extraordinary skills that make them stand out. It is advisable to get work experience as you will be well-prepared for the typical IT environment. Even if you don’t, make sure to have an explicable set of skills.
- Step 3: Job Opportunities as a Fresher/Student
Amazon calls out to all the brilliant minds across the globe by providing opportunities for students in roles that include Software Development Engineer (SDE), support engineers, and so on. Amazon offers both full-time opportunities as well as opportunities for the students and allows them to work in teams such as Amazon workspace, finance, devices, etc., Need help browsing opportunities for students? Access the direct link here: https://www.amazon.jobs/en/business_categories/student-programs
- Step 4: Apply through various online portals.
Apart from Amazon’s official online job portal, applicants can also apply for the role of SDE from other websites such as indeed.com, jobapplications.net, jobcase.com, LinkedIn. The direct link for websites is listed below:
- Step 5: Look for a referral.
There is nothing more paramount than to reach the interview stage of Amazon. So here’s what you need to do:
- Find a friend/colleague that works in Amazon
- Find the jobs that you are interested in and send the links to your friend.
- Send-in your resume as well along with the job postings link
- Using the internal tool, your friend or colleague will refer you, and you will soon receive an email.
- HR’s will scan your profile and set up an interview.
- Next, the interview process is broken down into an assessment, interview at the campus, and team matching, all of which are explained by HR during the initial call.
Assessment: The assessment will be online and will be a coding challenge hence, brush up your coding skills well.
On-Site Interview: It is nothing but you will be called for an interview at the Amazon office.
Team Matching: HR will send your resume to different teams, and whichever manager is interested in hiring will again ask for a short interview.
Referrals help you skip those long candidates waitlists and streamline the process further. Therefore, if you have friends working at Amazon, get a referral right away.
Hierarchical Structure of a Software Engineer at Amazon
From college recruits to experienced professionals anyone can join Amazon if they have the required skills. Below is the hierarchy of software engineers at Amazon. There are a total of 6 software engineer levels at Amazon, and as an engineer climbs the ladder on the levels, the salary varies accordingly.
- Amazon Software Engineer Level 4 (L4): SDE I-Entry Level – SDE 1 or junior engineer is a fresh hire at Amazon. Therefore the experience of an SDE 1 is less than one year. Usually, they are college recruits and have no experience whatsoever. Their roles include working with senior engineers. They also participate in evolving the design and architecture of the products owned by the specific team the SDE 1 works for. It is necessary to maintain excellent product quality, and also provide viable technical direction to the technical team.
- Amazon Software Engineer Level 5 (L5): SDE II – The College recruit after gaining a handful of experience is promoted to SDE II after an experience of 2-3 years. So an SDE II is an engineer who has been with Amazon for quite some time now. SDE II level engineers have gained experience with large codebases as well as architectural experience. As an SDE II engineer at Amazon, gets to work on the implementation of key features of a product and be a part of their launch as well. A wide range of technology is used by SDE II engineers like AWS ElasticSearch, Lambda, and so on.
- Amazon Software Engineer Level 7 (L7): Principal SDE – Principal at amazon refers to a position higher than Senior. Principal SDE at Amazon signifies an experienced programmer. It is one of the job profiles at Amazon that are highly paid and also a very competitive one.
- Amazon Software Engineer (Senior principal Software Engineer) – L8 – Employees at Level 8 at Amazon are directors. It is a highly competitive level, and Amazon does not necessarily hire randomly at this level.
- Distinguished SDE (L10) – Level 10 SDE at Amazon could be a CTO (Chief Technical Officer), Vice President (VP), or distinguished Engineers that hold the sole responsibility of creating software like Kindle, or AWS (Amazon Workspace). These might also include engineers that might have worked before at Microsoft and are now a part of Amazon. It should be noted that after level 7 only a few people are at level 8 or level 10.
Initially, a majority of Engineers will be working at lower levels. It requires consistency, persistence, and hard work to reach those higher levels.
What does a software Engineer at Amazon do?
Amazon is known for its fast-paced culture. It is not like any other product company making you wonder what task should I do next? It is cardinal for software engineers and Amazon to prioritize, communicate, and execute project plans, roadmaps. The engineers also need to work with the technical team to define the technical requirements and execute implementations in agile methodology. It is necessary to provide operational excellence on deliverables and also world-class customer service. Amazon trains the software engineers to think of problems far ahead of time that a customer might face and also work on their solutions.
Salary Structure of Software Development Engineers at Amazon
Below is the Salary structure of Software Development Engineers at Amazon. Amazon’s salary Structure looks somewhat like this:
- 1st Year: Base Salary (BS) + Yearly Payout + RSU (5 percent)
- 2nd Year: Base Salary (BS) + Yearly Payout + RSU (15 percent)
- 3rd Year: Base Salary (BS) + RSU (40 percent)
- 4th Year: Base Salary (BS) + RSU (40 percent)
As we can see, there are three main components of Amazon’s salary structure:
- Base Salary
- Yearly Payout
- ASU’s or Restricted Stock Units
Owing to the structured salary compensation, every employee at Amazon has a base salary of USD 159,000 if the employee is at level 4 or higher. RSUs are nothing but stocks offered by Amazon to its employees. For the first two years, all employees at Amazon receive bonuses, and after there are no bonuses instead of RSUs. It should be noted that an employee does not receive these stocks immediately but at the end of the vesting period.
The bonuses or yearly payout offered are sign-on bonuses offered to employees for year 1 and the succeeding year. They are offered along with the paycheck, hence it is just an additional salary for the first two years.
|Level||Base Salary||Yearly Payout||RSU||Total|
|SDE I||USD 1,24,226||USD 19,061||USD 21,119||USD 164,406|
|SDE II||USD 152, 057||USD 14,964||USD 60,530||USD 227, 551|
|SDE III||USD 161,375||USD 9,721||USD 158,478||USD 329,574|
|Principal SDE||USD 165, 467||USD 40,867||USD 434,933||USD 641,267|
The above refers to the complete salary structure of SDE’s. The information has been quoted using the levels.FYI
Salary Structure Comparison Between other Big Techs and Amazon
If we compare the salary structure of other big techs with Amazon, here is what we find out.
As it can be seen from Google does not have an entry-level, instead, it hires for SWE- L3 straight away whereas SDE I for at Amazon is level 4. The salary structure is lower than Google but higher than Microsoft.
Benefits of Working at Amazon
Amazon is a kind of big tech company that offers its employees not only monetary compensation but other conducive benefits as well. Apart from a handsome salary, the employees are also offered numerous other benefits like dental insurance, health insurance, transportation benefits, and more. Moreover, Amazon provides an added advantage to its employees in that it has a dog-friendly workplace. Yes! It is true; they are not recalcitrant towards the pet. You can bring it to your workplace for a day or two. Amazon also offers its employees a 401(k) plan, a retirement and investment plan. Contributions towards the 401(k) are deducted from a employees’ check and invested in funds of the employee’s choice.
But wait there’s more. Listed below are the benefits offered by Amazon to its employees. Let’s glance over them and get an insight about the same.
- Insurance and Leaves – Amazon provides its employees dental, vision, life, insurance, health insurance, along with pet insurance.
- Paternity and Maternity Leave – Ten weeks maternity leave and four weeks paid leave before the birth six weeks of paternity leave. It is only for employees that have been with the company for at least one year.
- Paid Leave – The paid leave at Amazon is divided as follows:
- 0-1 years: 16 paid leaves
- 1 year: 21 paid leaves
- ≥ 6 years: 26 paid leaves.
- Health Savings account worth USD 1000 every year.
- Life insurance up to USD 500,000, which is equal to twice that of the base salary of employees.
- Transportation Benefits
- Company Shuttle service
- Transport Allowance
- Regional Transit System Regional – Compensation for regional transit
- Other Allowances:
- Relocation Bonus: Amazon provides a bonus of USD 10,000 along with immigration assistance.
- Employee Discount: For all Amazon Employees it provides a discount of 10 percent on all purchases up to USD 1000.
- Adoption Assistance
- Phone Bill Reimbursement
Monetary benefits kept aside, Amazon is all about promoting a positive work culture. Hence, it leaves no stone unturned in providing its employees the benefits and catering to their needs. All of the above elicit how favorable Amazon would be for working.
Now that we know the several salary levels, and benefits that are offered by this big tech, it is pretty evident that Amazon is the right place to work. Not only has Amazon given its employees the workspace to grow, but also reinforces a positive work culture. From a recruit to highly experienced ones the benefits are innumerable. As a fresher one can expect a total 150k compensation, however, it increases as the person gains experience.
All-in-all it is a great place to work in, where employers value their employees and vice versa. From health benefits to maternity leaves and a favorable employee discount, employers can all be availed here. Amazon values its employees and allows every employee to work with the best of technology. These are not restricted to software Engineers alone. Every employee is given a chance to make the project as their own and show sincere dedication for the excellence of the same.
- Is it worth working at Amazon as a Software Engineer Developer (SDE)?
Yes, Amazon is indeed the best place to work. With a decent entry-level package, employees are also given bonuses as well as Restricted Stock Units or RSUs. You do have to work hard but it’s all worth it. Additionally, the benefits that Amazon offers apart from monetary compensation make it a go-to place to be a workplace.
- How many hours does a software engineer developer (SDE) at Amazon have to work?
The usual timings are a minimum of 7-hours, but it entirely depends on you and your deadlines. If you are a hard worker and want to push the timings further, there are scenarios wherein employees leave at 11 or so. There is no restricted timeline, one can leave anytime he/she desires. Getting deliverables submitted on time is necessary, hence extending the working hours twice or thrice a week as usual.
- Is it hard to get an SDE job at amazon?
It isn’t hard but it isn’t easy either. Getting a job at the big techs is always tough, but if you strategize and put your resources to use effectively it isn’t impossible. Besides, at the end of the day, it is your skills that matter, making you stand out from other candidates. Try getting referrals from employees working at Amazon. It is the easiest way to skip the long candidate lines and get ahead of others.
- How is the interview process at Amazon?
The interview process at Amazon consists of 3-4 rounds. You will be given an overviewing of the same during the call with HR. An online assessment, followed by an on-site interview, plus a team matching session is what the interview process of Amazon entails.
- Are SDE’s paid well at Amazon?
Yes, it is seen from the salary structure above that numerous benefits are offered to all the employees. A Software Engineer at the initial level has a base salary of USD 124,226 plus a bonus and RSU. After two years the bonus is not paid, instead, the employees are rewarded in the form of RSU or restricted stock units.
- Who pays more Google or Amazon?
It is difficult to predict the salary structure of Google as the salary levels are completely different at both these big techs. According to the data at the level.FYI the SWE II has a base salary of USD 131,022. For a detailed analysis of the salary structure at Google, please access levels.FYI.
- What is the overall experience of working at Amazon as an SDE?
As per the reviews from different software engineers working at Amazon, the overall experience as an SDE has been a pleasant experience. SDEs get to work on disparate technologies, expand their skills, and handle situations on their own. Also, the salary package is good, with added benefits, so there are no regrets there.
- Is there a funeral Leave Policy at Amazon?
Yes, Amazon does offer its employees a funeral leave policy. Leave of 3 days is granted to the respective employee to attend the funeral/ make funeral arrangements.
- Does Amazon pay its employees if they quit?
No, Amazon does not pay its employees for the accrued unused leaves. The policy stands even if the employee has left the company on good terms or/and in case of a termination. Although Amazon does have a “Pay to Quit” policy, which entails that full-time associates who have been with Amazon for at least a year can quit in exchange for USD 5000. Also, once you quit there is no joining Amazon back again.
- What is the highest-paying job at Amazon?
Initially, all engineers join as SDE I or SDE II at Amazon, and the salary structure is as listed above. But as you gain experience, the salary structure increases as well. Listed below are some of the highest-paid jobs at Amazon:
- Senior Engineer Manager, Principal Software Engineer
- Principal Software Development Manager,
- Senior Software Development Manager and so on.
- How can I join as a fresher or freshly graduated at Amazon?
See, Amazon does not necessarily hire fresh graduates, with no experience whatsoever. To join Amazon, you certainly require an explicable set of skills that are listed above. Not only will this give your recruiter an idea about the skills you have but also will streamline the process of team matching.
It is cardinal that as a fresher, you know algorithms, data structures, any one of the programming languages like C# or Java, etc. Getting an interview call does not end the process. There are a total of 3-4 rounds to get hired at Amazon. It is necessary to have outstanding coding skills to join as an SDE at Amazon.