Why work in FAANG?

You might have heard some people say the only reason to join a FAANG company (which stands for Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google) is to improve one’s CV. That the work there is dull and mainly consists of ‘passing Jsons from one API to another’. That you have to suffer through a couple of years at Google and then start a career of your dream somewhere else. And in case the job is already good enough, you tricked the system by skipping a step on a career ladder and saved some time!

That’s the language often used by those rejected by Google.

It’s worth asking oneself why this ‘line’ in the CV is so important. Why are so many companies ready to pay twice as much salary to a former Googler or ex-Facebook employee in comparison with other candidates? The reason is that the probability of this employee to have an impact of 3x of a regular employee is pretty high.

FAANG companies are obsessed with effectiveness and impact. They diligently consider, document and teach best practices of Software Engineering.

In case some tools slow down the development, they are either being improved or replaced by new ones. The improvement might be needed for anything: either a database or a task tracker, internally developed version control system or a programming language. Sometimes these kinds of internal products are open sourced allowing other companies to use the tools. This way a FAANG engineer becomes a person that is never quite happy with the way things are and is constantly looking for ways to improve the world they live in.

FAANG engineers also learn to ask the right questions, they dive into the problem that the person is trying to solve rather than just doing what they’re told. They are not just Python Developers or Angular Programmers but Engineers that are able to choose the right tool for each problem or task. They are good at dealing with ambiguity and know there are loads of things they don’t know. They regularly process waste amounts of information and data to define the best solution for the problem or to identify the most pressing or impactful problem that’s worth solving at the moment.  

FAANG companies promote a culture of transparency and an infinite loop of feedback. If you don’t like your task, speak up. There is always an opportunity to find a better task or a better team.  

When negotiating the compensation for the job offer, most of the companies offer salary review once or maybe twice a year based on your performance. The trouble is that more often than not criteria of what’s deemed to be a “good” performance are not well defined. This means that when you don’t discuss the remuneration with your manager on a regular basis and don’t bring offers from other companies from time to time, the salary increase will often barely match the inflation. As a result, people that devoted 5 or 10 years to the same company tend to have a salary much lower than recent hires.

The situation in FAANG level companies is radically different. A well formalised performance review conducted every half a year defines changes in the remuneration structure including a bonus and the salary increase. A detailed feedback with things to improve and things that work well, a personal development plan are also discussed and are being followed up by the line manager.

Best of luck!