Amazon Software Engineer Salary

How much does an Amazon Software Engineer make? Well, there are lots of, shall we say “speculative” answers to this question online. The goal of this page is to cut through the noise and provide the real data based on our experience with 100s of tech negotiations and 1000s of submitted offers. Below, we’ve listed the top of band compensation for multiple Amazon Software Engineer levels. There is also a bonus section at the bottom with info on negotiating Amazon SWE offers.

Amazon Software Engineer Offer Components

  • Amazon base salary:

    base salary at Amazon is fairly standard. The one unique element was that for almost all of 2021 there was a $160K/$185K base salary cap in Seattle/SF
  • Amazon equity (RSUs):

    Amazon's equity vesting schedule is non-standard and heavily back weighted. You will vest equity (i.e. you receive shares) over a 4 year period but only 5% in year 1, 15% year 2, 40% in year 3 and 4. Amazon quotes a specific number of shares rather than dollar value, but you can calculate a decent approximation of the dollar value by looking at the average share price over the past month
  • Amazon signing bonus:

    Amazon has a signing bonus in year 1 and year 2. These are typically much larger than at other companies to make up for the tiny portion of equity that is vesting in year 1 and 2
  • Amazon performance bonus:

    Amazon does not have targets for performance bonuses. You shouldn't factor this into your total comp at Amazon
  • Amazon stock refreshers:

    Amazon stock refreshers are very hit or miss and depend on your manager/team in addition to your own performance. You will almost always receive additional stocks at the end of your initial 4-year grant, but the usual stacking of stock refreshers in year 2 and 3 doesn't typically happen at Amazon


Note: levelling is critical to understanding compensation bands. If you aren't familiar with Amazon levels (which are quite unique), skip to the bottom to read this.

SDE II (L5) Amazon Software Engineer Salary

2021 Top of Band Numbers

Base Salary

$185K

Equity (4 years)

$440K

Yr 1 Signing Bonus

$200K

Yr 2 Signing Bonus

$150K

Reminder: Amazon's level structure is unique and an L5 SWE at Amazon is equivalent to an E4/L4 SWE at Facebook or Google. The top of band numbers are based on SF/NYC pay bands - Seattle will be lower.

SDE III (L6) Amazon Senior Software Engineer Salary

2021 Top of Band Numbers

Base Salary

$185K

Equity (4 years)

$700K

Yr 1 Signing Bonus

$380K

Yr 2 Signing Bonus

$245K

The numbers above are for L6 SWE roles in SF/NYC. Typically SDM roles pay 10-15% higher TC.

L7 Amazon Principal Software Engineer Salary

2021 Top of Band Numbers

Base Salary

$185K

Equity (4 years)

$1.2M

Yr 1 Signing Bonus

$600K

Yr 2 Signing Bonus

$450K

These numbers were clearly above band through the first half of 2021 but Amazon began to adjust bands upwards in November and December.

Amazon Software Engineer Negotiation

So now you've got the comp data, are you ready to negotiate? Not quite.

First off, comp data is constantly changing and Amazon made significant modifications to its compensation approach in 2022. Early 2022 numbers are already coming in higher than the 2021 numbers listed above, and it’s critical to know the full range for each component to optimize your negotiation. Amazon also fundamentally changed how they structure offers with the removal of their artificially low base salary caps. But even more than that, many people think knowing the compensation data is the most important part of a negotiation, but it’s not. You can go tell your Amazon recruiter that you read online the top of band is $X and you want that number, but in 90% of cases that won’t work. So what will?

Companies negotiate when they believe you won’t accept their offer. But, since you just finished a long and arduous interview process with them, they know you are likely to accept the job unless you have higher competing offers from other great companies.

This means you need to create leverage and make it believable that you are considering other options but would prefer Amazon if the compensation is comparable. This sounds easy but quickly becomes challenging if you don’t have other offers or if your other offers aren’t higher than the top of band comp numbers you are targeting.

Assuming you do have a higher competing offer (i.e. above your top of band target) from another good company, the negotiation can still be surprisingly difficult. Amazon has many unusual policies. For example, they by default assume 15% stock appreciation in their offers - though they don't openly disclose it. This means they will claim to have "matched" a competing offer when in fact their offer is much lower. There are multiple rules like this at Amazon, and the strategies that we've found work best to get around them are often not intuitive. In our experience, Amazon's comp team operates like a bureaucracy where through trial and error you can figure out how to reliably turn specific pieces of information (inputs) into your target output.

Amazon Software Engineer Levels

Amazon Levels

L4 (SDE I)

L5 (SDE II)

L6 (Senior SDE)

L7 (Principal SDE / Senior SDM)

L8 (Director)

=

Google Levels

L3

L4

L5

Between L6 and L7

L8

Amazon does not follow industry standards when it comes to levelling, though to be fair many companies take a unique approach. We'd recommend using Google levels as the benchmark. Other companies like Facebook, DoorDash, etc. use the Google system just with different names (e.g. IC5/L5/E5 are the same at those companies). Amazon inflates levels by +1 for more junior levels (e.g. Amazon L4 = Google L3, both are entry level positions). However, this trend breaks at Amazon L7, which is closer to Google L7 than Google L6 in terms of compensation and scope. The 3 other main levelling systems to be aware of are: 1) Microsoft where 65 = Amazon L6 2) Apple where ICT4 is in between Amazon L5 and L6 3) Stripe/Robinhood/etc. where L2/IC2 = Amazon L5.

1:1 Salary Negotiation Support

We've negotiated more than $45M in Amazon offers. Our largest Amazon increase was $970K.

Negotiation strategy

Step 1 is defining the strategy, which often starts by helping you create leverage for your negotiation (e.g. setting up conversations with FAANG recruiters).

Negotiation anchor number

Step 2 we decide on anchor numbers and target numbers with the goal of securing a top of band offer, based on our internal verified data sets.

Negotiation execution plan

Step 3 we create custom scripts for each of your calls, practice multiple 1:1 mock negotiations, and join your recruiter calls to guide you via chat.