Software engineering managers face a tough job: They must wrangle teams of software engineers to deliver products that work, and hopefully do so in a way that’s on-schedule and within budget. At some of the nation’s largest companies, these software products also operate at considerable scale, adding immense complexity to managers’ workflows.
Given those challenges, what are software engineering managers paid at some of the nation’s largest tech companies? For an answer, we can turn to levels.fyi, which crowdsources compensation information at a variety of companies (and for a variety of roles). While crowdsourcing isn’t the most scientific way of determining this data, the numbers generated by levels.fyi generally align with that of other sources, such as Glassdoor.
Let’s start with Microsoft, where software engineering managers might find themselves overseeing the development and maintenance of one (or more) of the company’s cloud-based products. Microsoft generally hires software developers and engineers who are skilled in Microsoft Azure, Microsoft C#, SQL, Python, and other popular programming languages, although the needs obviously shift from project to project. Managers must have a grasp of those skills, as well.
Oracle is locked in fierce competition with SAP, Microsoft, Amazon, and other firms for business customers. Building enterprise software at enormous scale requires enormous talent, and Oracle is clearly willing to pay for that—although it should be noted that levels.fyi doesn’t include bonuses for some software engineering management tiers.
Amazon has profited immensely during the COVID-19 pandemic, and has plowed resources into solidifying its presence in a number of markets, including cloud computing and consumer hardware. That plethora of projects requires software engineering managers who can keep everything running smoothly on tight deadlines. As you can see from the following chart, Amazon stock is an increasingly major factor in managers’ compensation as they ascend through the ranks:
What can we conclude from these charts? It’s clear that, at the largest tech companies, stock really matters when it comes to overall compensation. Indeed, that might be what most differentiates pay at smaller companies from the giant ones; the former can’t offer thousands of shares of stock that’s rapidly increasing in value. For software engineering managers, though, that stock and cash comes in exchange for a lot of hard work.