Everything about tech levels and job hierarchy among Google employees
If Google is heaven, its engineers are treated as Gods. But, one can be easily bogged down by the hierarchical structure at Google. Here's all about job levels at Google. In general, job levels at Google are denoted by the letter L followed by a number, so L5 means Level 5. Now, within tech specifically, employee levels are denoted with the letter T followed by a number, so T5 means Level 5 in Tech.
Employee levels at Google on the Technical Ladder
Tech roles start from T3. This is an entry level and is also known as Software Engineer II Level. Fresh graduates without any work experience are hired at T3. While T4 (Software Engineer III) is awarded to fresh Ph.D. holders, T5 (Senior Software Engineer) is awarded to T4 employees who demonstrate capabilities to lead a small team and design complex systems.
This highlights how coveted engineering positions are at Google
T6, or Staff Software Engineer, are the employees who lead large teams, and T7, or Senior Staff Software Engineer, leads multiple large teams. T8 (Principal Software Engineer) are employees at the Director-level who also possess technical depth. T9 or Distinguished Software Engineer falls in the Senior Director-level, T10 or Google Fellow in the VP-level, and T11 or Google Senior Fellow in the SVP-level.
Google has become a big bureaucratic organization despite itself
However, things are a little more nuanced at Google. While the abovementioned hierarchy was on the Technical Ladder, the same holds true for a parallel-running Engineering Management Ladder. This is how it corresponds with the levels: T5 is Eng Manager I, T6 is Eng Manager II, T7 is Eng Manager III, T8 is Eng Director, T9 is Senior Eng Director, T10 is Eng VP.
You can be an engineer-manager but remain on Technical Ladder
While promotion on the Technical Ladder is measured by technical complexity and project depth, promotion on the Eng Management Ladder depends on project scope and impact and managerial abilities. You can also intersect; be on one ladder and perform the job roles of another.
Lastly, Project Managers at Google run their own parallel hierarchy
This is how the leveling goes: T2 is Associate Product Manager I, T3 is Associate Product Manager II, T4 is Product Manager I, T5 is Product Manager II, T6 is Product Manager III, T7 is Senior Product Manager, T7.5 (a special, exclusive level) is Group Product Manager, T8 is Product Manager Director, T9 is Senior Product Manager Director, and T10 is Project Manager VP.
Levels determine compensation
According to reports, the company has a Google Engineering Hiring Committee (HC) that sets the levels of new recruits. Based on the candidate's tech job level, the reviewers also determine his compensation.