How much do Software Engineers at Amazon make?

Amazon isn’t just some online bookseller anymore. Can you believe this is what the site looked like in July 1995, when Amazon first launched?

Image result for amazon early

You can buy almost anything from Amazon now, from electronics to clothing, ebooks, streaming TV shows and movies, and even web services like servers and distributed databases. How much do the Software Engineers who help build and make the “everything store” make?

Base salary by experience

Let’s break down base salary first by experience level. Amazon titles its Software Engineers differently per level. That mapping is as follows, where SDE stands for “Software Development Engineer”:

Principal SDEL7

The base salary ranges and medians for each level are (note there isn’t enough data for Amazon Level 7 Software Engineers on the Salary Project yet):

L4$106,000 – $130,000$119,750
L5$118,000 – $175,000$144,500
L6$150,000 – $181,000$160,000

The overall median base salary for Amazon Software Engineers is about $145,000 a year. You can see that there’s a clear base salary progression as you “level up”, but also that the salary ranges overlap. This is the case at most companies.

Total compensation by experience

Here’s what total compensation looks like when broken out by level.

L4$135,000 – $206,000$157,500
L5$140,000 – $310,000$215,500
L6$275,000 – $625,000$315,000

What’s interesting here is the upper bound of the range for a L6 engineer: someone makes $625,000 a year in total compensation! Digging into this data point a little more, it looks like this person earns more than $400,000 a year in stock grants, which isn’t completely unrealistic given the fact that an L6 engineer likely joined the company early and got a lot of cheap Amazon stock that has grown a lot in value.

Additional compensation types

Looking at the different types of additional compensation shows that most Amazon Software Engineers earn stock, whereas only some have an annual bonus.

Compensation typeMedianRangeDistribution
Annual Bonus$0 / year$0K – $192K / yr
Stock/RSU Grant Value$48,000 / yr$0K – $444K / yr

Looking at the histograms, and the median, is more informative than looking at the range here because there is one outlier that has a super high annual bonus and stock RSU grant value. This could be a data error, or it could just be a high earner. Regardless, the histograms show that most Amazon Software Engineers don’t earn (or didn’t report earning) an annual bonus, whereas the value of the stock RSU grant they earn every year is more variable. You can hover over the additional salary histograms to see more data on each Salary Project company role page.

Salary by years of experience

Using the data visualizations on the Salary Project, we can estimate about how many years of experience (not just at the company, but overall) it’ll take to get to the next level as a Software Engineer at Amazon. This is just a rough estimate, because your actual level depends on many other factors like your skills, performance, location, even sometimes the relationship you have with your manager.

LevelMedian Years of Experience

There seems to be a pretty large gap in years of experience between L4 and L5 Amazon Software Engineers. Looking at percentiles (25% and 75%) illustrates this gap even more:

The gray bars represent the span between the 25th and 75th percentile of years of experience (for that level), or 50% of the submissions. So, for L4, 50% of the salary submissions reported having between 0 and 1 years of experience: these are likely new graduates. 50% of the submissions for L5 reported having between 4 and 9 years of experience.

There’s a small overlap in years of experience of L5 and L6 Amazon Software Engineers: the individuals with 8-9 years of experience at L5 may be close to getting promoted to the next level.

Closing remarks

There are many other interesting trends you can see on the Salary Project for a particular role at a particular company, like Software Engineers at Amazon. Potentially even more interesting is comparing the salaries of one company against another.

The goal of the Salary Project is to give employees (or future employees) useful and valuable information that helps them make better career decisions. Taking one of the examples above, you can imagine an Amazon L5 Software Engineer with 9 years of experience visiting the Salary Project and seeing that she’s close to the L6 “lower bound” in terms of years of experience, which could help her decide to ask for a promotion and raise. This is just one example of how the data and analysis on the Salary Project can help.

We have more interesting analyses and features planned for the Salary Project, so stay tuned!

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Which one of the ride-sharing rivals pays its Software Engineers more: Uber or Lyft?

Uber and Lyft are the behemoths that dominate the ride-sharing market today. Both rely heavily on software and data to make sure their riders (or food, in the case of UberEats) are able to get to their destination easily.

If you had to guess, which one would you say pays its Software Engineers more?

Median base salary and total compensation

Looking at the overall median pay from Salary Project data, in terms of base salary and total compensation, we see that at first glance, Lyft seems to pay more than Uber:

CompanyBase SalaryTotal Compensation
Uber logo$150,000$258,000
Lyft logo$175,000$310,000

When median additional compensation (stock RSU grant value, annual bonus) is broken down between the two companies, we see that:

  1. Lyft does not seem to give an annual bonus, only stock RSU grants. There were a few Lyft compensation data points that specified an annual bonus amount, but those users were likely reporting their sign-on bonus.
  2. The median value of Lyft’s stock RSU grants are worth more than Uber’s.
  3. At an overall level, both companies seem to give similar additional compensation, summing both median stock RSU value and median annual bonus.
Stock RSU 
Grant Value
Uber logo$20,000$87,000
Lyft logo~ $0$105,000

Let’s dig into the data to better understand what might be going on!

What is the level and pay progression, by years of experience?

We just launched a new feature on the Salary Project: a level progression graph. This graph shows you the number of years of experience employees (or those that have submitted their data to the Salary Project) tend to have at the different levels of the career ladder. This can give you an idea of how many years of experience you might need before you attain a certain level. Below is an example level progression graph for Uber (the actual graph is in the middle of this page):

For Uber, we can see that submissions for the entry level role, Software Engineer I, have a median years of experience of 0, and a 75th percentile of 1 year. Or in other words, 75% of the Uber Software Engineer I data submissions are from employees with 1 year of experience or less.

Let’s summarize the level progression data for Uber and Lyft, along with the median pay at each level, to get a sense of how long it might take a Software Engineer to reach a certain level or pay range.

Uber Software Engineer level and pay progression

LevelBase SalaryTotal
Median Years
of Experience
Engineer I
$110,000 –
$140,000 –
Engineer II
$133,000 –
$200,000 –
Senior Software
$165,000 –
$350,000 –
Senior Software
Engineer II
$192,000 –
$370,000 –

Lyft Software Engineer level and pay progression

LevelBase SalaryTotal CompensationMedian Years
of Experience
T3$130,000 –
$200,012 –
T4$130,000 –
$210,000 –
T5$165,000 –
$352,000 –
T6$190,000 –
$210,000 –

Entry level Software Engineers at Lyft seem to make a good amount more than those at Uber: $130,000 – $147,000, vs. $110,000 – $131,000 just comparing base salary, respectively.

After that / at the higher levels, it looks like base salary and even total compensation are roughly comparable between Lyft and Uber.

It also looks like obtaining the level one step up from entry level might require one or two more years of experience at Lyft than at Uber. So, while an entry level Software Engineer at Lyft makes more than one at Uber, he/she may have to stay at that level longer before getting promoted and moving up to the next pay band.


Uber and Lyft’s pay for Software Engineers seems comparable, after breaking down pay by level / years of experience, as well as base salary vs. total compensation (which includes things like bonuses and stock grants). The two do seem to differ a little in their pay strategy for Software Engineers: Uber gives more bonus, a lower entry level salary, but slightly faster progression to the next level (at least from entry level); and Lyft gives more stock for additional compensation, and a higher entry level salary.

Both companies are competing fiercely for the same markets, and thus the same talent, and their competitive and similar pay structures for Software Engineers is evident of that.

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Does Finance pay Software Engineers more than Tech does? Comparing the salaries of Software Engineers at Google vs. “the Google of Finance”

Image of the New York Stock Exchange

Two Sigma, a quantitative hedge fund based in New York, is colloquially known as “the Google of Finance” because of its startup-like culture and offices. With the Finance and Technology industries increasingly competing for the same Software Engineering, how does the pay compare?

Google Software Engineer salaries and total compensation

Let’s look at Software Engineers at Google first. While their median base salary is $142,000 and total compensation is $243,000, pay varies a lot based on career level and years of experience.

Breaking out pay by years of experience / level

For example, using the years of experience filter on the Salary Project’s page for Google Software Engineers, if you’re an entry level Software Engineer at Google with 0-2 years of experience (most are leveled at L3 in this case), the median salary is about $127,000 and median total compensation is about $189,000.

We also see that if you have 5 or more years of experience in the industry (usually levels L4, L5, L6, or higher), the median salary jumps up to $171,000, total compensation $310,000 at Google, for Software Engineers.

Below is the full picture of what the base salary ranges look like, by level (using the self-reported data that the Salary Project has).

All base salary ranges for a Google Software Engineer, by level.
All base salary ranges for a Google Software Engineer, by level

Breaking out additional compensation

When it comes to additional compensation like annual bonuses and stock RSU grants, the amount that Google Software Engineers earn also depends a lot on level and years of experience.

For entry-level Software Engineers with 0-2 years of experience, the median annual bonus is $19,000 and median stock RSU grant value (annualized) is $35,000.

The annual bonus that entry-level Software Engineers earn at Two Sigma

For experienced Software Engineers with 5 or more years of experience, the median annual bonus jumps up to $32,000 and median stock RSU grant value (annualized) triples, to $105,000.

The annual bonus that experienced Software Engineers earn at Google

Two Sigma Software Engineer salaries and total compensation

How does the pay of Software Engineers at Two Sigma differ?

There are only a handful of submissions on the Salary Project so far for Software Engineers at Two Sigma, but we can still see trends in the data. The median base salary is $170,000 and total compensation is $275,000, about 20% and 13% higher than the two median numbers for Google Software Engineers, respectively. Pay of course varies depending on career level and years of experience so let’s look at that next!

Breaking out pay by years of experience / level

For Software Engineers at Two Sigma with 0-2 years of experience, it looks like base salary is about $145,000-$150,00, and total compensation is about $200,000, which are about 15% and 6% higher, respectively, than those two numbers for a Software Engineer at Google with a similar experience level.

Software Engineers at Two Sigma with 5 or more years of experience have a median base salary of $210,000, total compensation of $407,000. These numbers are roughly 20% and 30% higher than the corresponding median numbers for Google Software Engineers, respectively.

So, for both entry level and experienced Software Engineers, Two Sigma seems to pay a decent amount more than Google.

Breaking out additional compensation

When we break out the additional compensation for Two Sigma Engineers, we see something interesting.

All of the reported additional compensation is an annual bonus. All the Two Sigma submissions on the Salary Project put $0 as the value of the stock RSU or option grants. Two Sigma is a private company, so any stock that employees do get is hard to value, or the $0 values could mean that employees don’t get any stock at Two Sigma.

For entry level (0-2 years of experience) Software Engineers at Two Sigma, the annual bonus is about $40,000 – $60,000.

The annual bonus that entry-level Software Engineers earn at Two Sigma

Experienced (5+ years of experience) Software Engineers at Two Sigma can earn an annual bonus ranging from $100,000 to a whopping $240,000.

The annual bonus that experienced Software Engineers earn at Two Sigma

What’s the verdict?

Does Finance pay better than Tech? Maybe: we only compared one top hedge fund to one top tech company. The real answer, of course, depends on a lot of other factors too, like the location, the specific role, etc. Also, with investment and trading firms like Two Sigma, annual bonuses are often tied to the performance of the company’s trades and investments: so in down years, employees likely get a smaller bonus than in up years. Another thing to consider is that Google gives stock grants, which grow in value over time. Right now though, Two Sigma seems to generally pay a little better than Google does for Software Engineers.

You can do a similar comparison looking at the Salary Project’s data for Facebook Software Engineers. Or take a look at this analysis on the salaries across Facebook, Google, and Microsoft. But it makes sense that more quantitative and programmatic finance and investment firms, like Two Sigma, are competing for the same Software Engineers that consider working for top tech companies, and vice versa.

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Netflix Software Engineers earn a salary of more than $300,000

Ever wonder what Software Engineers at Netflix make? You heard that right: Software Engineers at Netflix tend to earn more than $300,000 a year in base salary. In terms of total annual compensation, Netflix seems to pay its Engineers even more than other large technology companies like Facebook and Google. Sound too good to be true?

All Netflix Software Engineers are titled “Senior Software Engineers”

Netflix structures its Software Engineer career ladder and pay differently than most technology companies. We can use the Salary Project’s data to better understand what’s going on.

At Netflix, all Software Engineers are titled “Senior Software Engineers”, and there isn’t a concept of “level”. Given that, here are the approximate salary ranges for a Netflix Software Engineer, according to the data on the Salary Project:

  • Base salary range: about $325,000 – $600,000, with a median of $380,000.
  • Total compensation range (includes stock RSU grants): $325,000 – $630,000, with a median of $399,000

Netflix Senior Software Engineers only get base salary

The data on the Salary Project suggests that most Senior Software Engineers at Netflix don’t get an annual stock grant, and if they do, it can range from being about $10,000 to $40,000 a year. Netflix seems to give its employees compensation as pretty much all salary, instead of also giving them stock grants and annual bonuses. Other large tech companies (like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, etc.) tend to give employees a lower base salary (relative to Netflix) but also a sizable stock grant.

Total Compensation for Netflix Senior Software Engineers seems to be on the high end of the market

How does total compensation stack up then, versus other technology companies? Comparing a Netflix Senior Software Engineer’s total compensation to a Facebook Software Engineer’s total compensation (for roughly the same years of experience), Netflix pays its (Senior) Software Engineers about 32% more than Facebook does. Using the years of experience filters on the Salary Project, we get the following Netflix vs. Facebook comparison (for Software Engineers with 2-5 years of experience).

Stock grows in value over time though, so even though a median Facebook Software Engineer has a lower total compensation than a median Netflix Senior Software Engineer, the value of the stock that the Facebook Software Engineer receives could be worth down the road.

The base salary for a Netflix Senior Software Engineer also appears to grow a lot for engineers who’ve had many years of experience in the industry. Using the years of experience filters on the Salary Project, we get:

  • 2–5 years of experience: $325,000 – $350,000
  • 6–13 years of experience: $380,000 – $600,000

Also note that the lowest end of the years of experience range, at least given the data on the Salary Project, is two years. This makes sense because all Software Engineers at Netflix are called Senior Software Engineers, and so Netflix likely requires at least a few years of experience for its Software Engineer hires.

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What is the median salary of a Data Scientist versus a Software Engineer at Google, Microsoft, or Facebook?

Using salary data from the Salary Project, we see that the median base salaries and total comp (TC) for Software Engineer vs. Data Scientist at Google vs. Microsoft vs. Facebook are as follows:

Software Engineer

Data Scientist

It looks like in general, Data Scientists have a higher median base salary than Software Engineers. Much of this is likely due to the fact that companies like to look for Data Scientists with experience (and sometimes advanced degrees), whereas there are a lot more entry or junior level Software Engineer positions.

The trend reverse a little when looking at total compensation, which is base salary plus annual bonus plus annual stock RSU grant value. It looks like Software Engineers at Google and Facebook have a higher total compensation than Data Scientists at the same company. At Microsoft, Data Scientists still have a higher total compensation than Software Engineers.

Interestingly, the total compensation for Facebook Software Engineers looks much higher than the total compensation for Facebook Data Scientists.

Comparing the additional compensation data for Facebook Software Engineers vs. Facebook Data Scientists, it looks like while the distribution of annual bonuses is roughly similar, with a median of about $20,000 a year.

The distribution of annual Stock RSU grant value is much wider for Facebook Software Engineers than it is for Data Scientists at Facebook. In other words, Facebook Software Engineers tend to get larger stock RSU grants than Data Scientists, for whatever reason. Concretely, the data on the Salary Project shows that the median (annual) stock RSU grant value for Facebook Software Engineers is $100,000 a year, while for Facebook Data Scientists it is $45,000 a year.

Facebook Software Engineer additional compensation
Facebook Data Scientist additional compensation

Also, Facebook pays the most out of the three in both base salary and total compensation. Facebook is known to offer the highest pay in the market for its Software Engineers and Data Scientists.

Note: this is not an ad to work for Facebook. Besides, money’s not the only thing that matters in life 🙂


What are the salary ranges for a Software Engineer at Microsoft?

Using the Microsoft Software Engineer salary data on the Salary Project, here’s how much a Software Engineer at Microsoft can expect to make, depending on their level of experience.

Base Salary

We can see the following base salary ranges for each Software Engineering level at Microsoft:

  • 59: $111,000 – $117,000
  • 60: $115,000 – $121,000
  • 61: $115,000 – $135,000
  • 62: $128,000 – $128,000 (only one data point)
  • 63: $149,000 – $160,000
  • 64: $177,000 – $177,000 (only one data point)
  • 65–66 (not enough data yet)
  • 67: $230,000 – $230,000 (only one data point)

As you can see, the base salary ranges accelerate upward the higher your level or seniority is. It also looks like the salary ranges at the more junior levels (e.g. 59, 60, and 61) overlap quite a bit.

Additional Compensation

When it comes to additional compensation, Microsoft Software Engineers have a median annual bonus of about $15,000 a year, and a median Stock RSU Grant of about $25,000 a year. This brings the median Total Compensation for a Microsoft Software Engineer to $185,000 a year.

You can use the filters at the Salary Project page for Microsoft Software Engineers to view more details for additional compensation, filtering on location, level, and years of experience.

Understanding a company’s salary ranges helps current and prospective employees understand if they’re getting underpaid, how much to ask for in a raise, and what kind of salary they can expect at higher levels.

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