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AO Engineering Compensation Bands

As of August 2021

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If you are wondering how to think about the banding levels below, please check out Levels.FYI — the way we think about our levels is quite similar to the market, and Google / Facebook / etc. use similar terminology to describe their levels of seniority.

Eng Bands

NameSalary (Zone 1)Salary / Equity trade-off**Equity range
L3
$115,000
+/- $5,000
12,000 options (~0.1%)
L4
$140,000
+/- $10,000
30,000 options (~0.25%)
L5
$165,000
+/- $15,000
40,000 options (~0.35%)
L6
$180,000
+/- $20,000
75,000 options (~0.65%)
L7/L8
>$200,000
+/- $25,000
>100,000 options (>1%)

** Our bands are fixed, but we do allow for flexibility between salary and equity, allowing a candidate to optimize for more cash or more equity (as long as the overall "total rewards" compensation is in line with bands).

Description of Each Level

L3: An entry level engineer who has a strong understanding of engineering principles, but perhaps is still building experience applying them to real-world problems.
  • ability to work on well-defined tickets within existing features and systems, and be accretive to the team's output within the first couple of months
  • working with more senior members of the engineering team to execute on projects
  • learning and applying the team's tools and best practices
  • experience and comfort with our languages, or the ability to pick them up relatively quickly
  • a commitment to quality output, including knowing when to ask for help
  • an eagerness to learn, develop, and grow as an individual contributor
L4: An engineer that can work independently without (much) oversight. While many folks who succeed in this role have a few years of experience, there is no hard threshold for who meets this bar.
  • comfort with data modeling, debugging, testing, web app engineering
  • smart estimation and managing oneself
  • ability to handle on-calls and issues
  • shipping clean code with documentation, and handling occasional code reviews
  • areas where they are developing depth of functional knowledge
L5: A seasoned member of the team, who can not only work independently, but can mentor / coach junior or entry-level engineers.

In addition to the requirements of Band 4, a successful candidate would have:

  • an appetite for mentorship and knowledge dissemination (an appetite for people management is purely optional)
  • a deep understanding of reliability principles and scalability
  • baked in testing and documentation in everything they build
  • the ability to write strong tech specs and software design docs
  • an interest and ability to interview and evaluate engineering candidates
  • areas where they're considered a topic matter expert
L6: A senior member of the technical staff of the team (and organization overall).
  • This person would often be an expert on not just a feature but entire facets of the product. They can understand business problems intimately, and turn them into a specific engineering strategy by working closely with product and design teams (often through multi-month projects)
  • Can juggle multiple projects of varying complexity. Can design and architect complex systems that power meaningful aspects of a product. By definition, a successful engineer at this level materially changes the direction of product (and maybe even the company)
  • They are shaping the engineering culture and are setting the standard for how the rest of the org operates; they are someone that other members of the engineering team look up to and try to emulate.
  • L7/L8: Offers at this level will be quite rare; this would effectively make you the most senior IC on the AbstractOps engineering team, and would be suitable for candidates who have previously been the architect of world-class systems, built companies as CTO, etc.

Important: if you are in a different "zone" (cost of living) your base salary will be adjusted accordingly (equity remains the same no matter where you live on the planet).
  • Zone 1 is our base salary zone. It includes San Francisco Bay Area and New York City.
  • For Zone 2, please apply a 10% reduction to the above base salaries: Boston, Seattle, Washington DC, Los Angeles in the US; London, Sydney, Dublin, Hong Kong, Copenhagen, Singapore abroad
  • For Zone 3, please apply a 15% reduction to the above base salaries: Chicago, San Diego, Miami, Portland in the US; Paris, Amsterdam, Tokyo, New Zealand, Toronto, Vancouver abroad
  • For Zone 4 and beyond, there will be a 20-40% reduction (we'll happily discuss this with you, but it's based on objective adjustments we can point to online, which we hope you agree is fair).
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We try to be fair and transparent with compensation, in order to avoid back and forth and negotiation. After all — if we materially changed our compensation based on negotiation, it means we gave you a low-ball offer to begin with! That said, we recognize that people have personal situations with different cash needs; we're happy to discuss trading off cash and equity, as long as overall compensation is still in line with our bands.