AO Engineering Compensation Bands

As of August 2021


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**
+/- $10,000
25,000 options (~0.35%)
+/- $10,000
35,000 options (~0.50%)
+/- $15,000
50,000 options (~0.70%)
+/- $25,000
75,000 options (~1.10%)
+/- $30,000
105,000 options (~1.50%)

* 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).

** Percentage ownership is based on current share count (fully-diluted shares outstanding); it does not account for expected dilution from already-issued SAFEs.

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).

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.