Joining a technology firm like Google is a dream for many. It represents the pinnacle of big tech companies. Google is everywhere in our lives, having built products such as the well-known Gmail, GSuite, and, of course, Google Search. It’s no wonder so many software engineers aspire to work for the company. Combine that with a Google software engineer salary that boasts a six-figure range.
Compensation is often top of mind for any software engineer. Every job needs to pay the bills and some jobs do that better than others. With a job at Google, you’ll have no trouble earning a good salary. But, the question remains: what salary can you expect to earn at Google?
In this guide, we’re going to discuss Google salaries software engineers can expect. We’ll explore how much engineers earn, what benefits they get, and how compensation differs between different seniority levels.
Google Engineer Levels
Google, like many big technology firms, uses a tier-based system for compensation. Big firms often use this approach because their hierarchy is larger. Having a scale system also ensures that everyone at similar levels within the company earns a comparable salary.
To understand how much you can expect to earn, it’s important to know the Google software engineer levels. There are nine software development job titles at Google, which are as follows:
- Software Engineer II (L3 | 0-1 year of experience)
- Software Engineer III (L4 | 2+ years of experience)
- Senior Software Engineer (L5 | Manager I equivalent)
- Staff Software Engineer (L6 | Manager II equivalent)
- Senior Staff Software Engineer (L7 | Senior Manager)
- Principal Engineer (L8 | Director)
- Distinguished Engineer (L9 | Senior Director)
- Google Fellow (L10 | Vice President)
- Senior Google Fellow (L11 | Senior Vice President)
Most engineers at Google work in the lower brackets of the hierarchy. According to some former software engineers at Google, it’s very difficult to get promoted beyond the Staff Software Engineer level. This could be due to the scarcity of jobs so only the so-called cream of the crop gets promoted.
Google Software Engineer Salary
The average compensation you’ll earn as a software engineer at Google will depend on your experience and tier-based level. If you get started as an entry-level software engineer, your average total compensation will naturally lean toward the lower end of the scale. As you accrue experience and earn promotions, you can expect to earn a higher salary.
Google is definitely one of the top technology firms in terms of compensation. At lower levels, the compensation is equivalent to that offered by many other firms. But when you consider the higher levels, it’s clear Google favorably compensates their top-tier workers.
Below are the average salaries you can expect to earn at Google by level. We’ve also included the estimated calculation of their bonuses and stock options.
|Level Name||Total||Base||Bonus||Stock (/yr)|
Data sourced from Levels.fyi.
Salary data was not made available for levels L9 to L11. Needless to say, one can immediately recognize that the salaries earned by Google software engineers are impressive at every level. To help you better understand these compensation packages, here’s a breakdown of their components:
- Base compensation. This refers to the standard salary you earn. It’s the initial rate of compensation you will earn per annum.
- Bonuses. These are offered to software engineers at Google on an annual basis and can vary from employee to employee.
- Stock. Stock refers to the stock options given to you by Google. We’ll talk more about this in the following section.
All of these data points add up to create your total compensation package.
Google Software Engineer Stock Options
The stock options for Google software engineers are varied. Like in many other Silicon Valley technology firms, Google software engineers are issued Restricted Stock Units (RSUs). The company uses these to compensate employees through company shares.
RSUs are subject to a four-year vesting schedule at Google. Each year, 25 percent of your stock is vested (roughly at a rate of 2.08 percent per month). This means you will unlock 25 percent of your stock each year.
Google sometimes refers to its RSUs as Google Stock Units (GSUs). In addition, the vesting schedule for RSUs/GSUs can vary depending on the number of shares you receive. For instance, if you earn less than 32 GSUs, your stock will vest annually. If you earn between 64 and 159 GSUs, your stock will vest quarterly.
Benefits of Working at Google
Do those salaries impress you? Would you believe there’s more to the Google engineer salary package than just cash bonuses and stock options? Well, as a software engineer you will also be eligible for a range of benefits, some of which are unique to Google.
For instance, Google provides a subsidized on-site chair or table massage to their employees. The company also provides employees and their families international personal travel year-round.
What’s more, Google software engineers receive $500 after the arrival of a new baby. This seeks to help employees take care of house cleaning, diaper bills, and other related expenses. Other benefits are standard among big technology firms. These can be divided into a few different categories.
These are the three main benefits offered to Google employees:
- Insurance and wellness benefits
- Transportation benefits
- Home, financial, and other benefits
Insurance and Wellness Benefits
|Paternity Leave||12 weeks|
|Paid Time Off||15 days to start; increases to 20 days after working for the company for four years and to 25 days after that|
|Maternity Leave||18 weeks|
|Free Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner||5 days per week|
|Regional Transit System||—|
|Bikes on Campus||Used to navigate around Google headquarters and surrounding areas|
Home, Financial, and Other Benefits
|Phone Bill Reimbursement||—|
|Fertility and Adoption assistance||—|
|Mega Backdoor Roth IRA||—|
|401(k)||50 percent match available on all contributions up to $9,500; Google will match the greater of either: (a) 100 percent of your contributions up to $3,000 or (b) 50 percent of your contributions up to the $9,500 maximum.|
|Employee Discount||Varies between 5 to 15 percent off Google products|
|Surrogacy Assistance||Reimbursement of up to $40,000 for fees|
With all of these considered, it’s clear that working at Google leads to significant benefits.
Google vs Other Technology Companies
How does Google fare when compared to the salaries at Microsoft and salaries at Amazon? That’s a good question. The below table includes comparisons between the compensation packages offered at Google and those offered by Microsoft and Amazon. This will help you determine which firm you can earn the highest salary:
|Google vs Amazon Salary||Entry-level||$179,000||$153,000|
|Google vs Amazon Salary||Second level||$256,000||$213,000|
|Google vs Amazon Salary||Third level||$343,000||$312,000|
|Google vs Microsoft Salary||Entry-level||$179,000||$156,000|
|Google vs Microsoft Salary||Second level||$256,000||$170,000|
|Google vs Microsoft Salary||Third level||$343,000||$218,000|
Google offers one of the most attractive compensation packages in the technology industry. As an entry-level engineer, you’ll command a significant salary. What’s more, as you gain experience at Google, your salary and other compensation options like stock grants and bonuses will increase.
But salaries only make up part of the equation. You’ll also receive benefits like tuition reimbursement, a favorable 401(k) policy, and free meals five days per week. If you’re thinking about working for a big technology firm, Google is certainly worth considering.
As a Google software engineer, you’ll be responsible for developing cutting-edge technologies that influence how users, well, use the platform. Google, above all else, is an engineering company. This means that you, as a software engineer, will be at the core of everything that Google builds and releases to the market.
Very. To express it in numbers, Google’s acceptance rate translates to only 0.2 percent. Because of the endless perks it provides, Google is extremely selective when it comes to hiring. It’s also worth noting that Google receives a large volume of applications every year, prompting the company to set the bar high for recruits.
Yes. Google recently announced the lifting of the degree requirement for aspiring job seekers. This means that you’re eligible to apply at Google with or without a degree. Google is only one of the many other companies that have started prioritizing experience over academic pedigree. This has made Google accessible to candidates who may have graduated from bootcamps or taught themselves.
Google, at its core, is an engineering company. So it’s only natural for the company to be filled with engineers who specialize in various fields. Foremost is the software engineers who develop complex software systems. Then there are the test engineers, security engineers, sales engineers, product managers, and so on.
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