Google Systems Design Engineer Salaries

Google is a dream company for software engineers around the globe. Its supreme work environment, exciting culture, and rewarding compensations attract thousands of applications throughout the year. Sadly though, less than 2% of engineers who apply make it past the grueling interview process. Thus, cracking Google’s technical interview requires a solid and foolproof prep strategy centered around improving your problem-solving and analytical capabilities. 

Systems Design Engineers at Google are actually software engineers who specifically work on design-focused projects at Google. They are primarily involved in developing the architecture and design for applications, scalable systems, and a wide range of Google’s products and tools. Software engineers who are part of systems design projects need to be adept with concepts in product design and distributed systems and display prowess in programming and coding. 

Considering that Systems Design engineers are essentially software engineers working specifically on design-specific projects, it implies that their compensation ranges and benefits are akin to those dished out to software engineers. Also, the tier levels applicable to design engineers are similar to those of software engineers at Google. 

If you are preparing for a tech interview, check out our technical interview checklist, interview questions page, and salary negotiation ebook to get interview-ready! Also, read Google Interview Questions and How hard it is to get a job at Google for specific insights and guidance on Google tech interviews.

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Here’s what we’ll cover in this article: 

  • Systems Design Engineer Levels at Google
  • Google Systems Design Engineer Salaries
  • Stock Options Offered to Google Systems Design Engineers
  • Other Compensation-Related Benefits
  • Systems Design Engineer Salaries - Google vs. Other Companies
  • Gear up for your Next Technical Interview with Google

Systems Design Engineer Levels at Google

Based on the level of seniority, Google places software engineers under different levels. The roles and responsibilities are starkly different at different levels:

  1. Software Engineer II (L3 | 0-1 year of experience)
  2. Software Engineer III (L4 | 2+ years of experience)
  3. Senior Software Engineer (L5 | Systems Design Engineer I equivalent)
  4. Staff Software Engineer (L6 | Systems Design Engineer II equivalent)
  5. Senior Staff Software Engineer (L7 | Senior Systems Design Engineer)
  6. Principal Engineer (L8 | Director)
  7. Distinguished Engineer (L9 | Senior Director)
  8. Google Fellow (L10 | Vice President)
  9. Senior Google Fellow (L11 | Senior Vice President)

Most design engineers at Google are usually in the L3-L6 tier band. Senior positions are reached through promotions and the number of years spent at Google. If you’re applying for a Director of Engineer position at Google after your stint with a different company, you could be designated at a lower tier-level, although your job title would remain the same. 

Tier-levels usually signify your pay scale and benefits more than anything else. You graduate to higher tier levels through promotions and the employment duration at Google. This means that although Senior Engineering Managers are usually at L7, you could still be at L6 as a Senior Engineering Manager if you haven’t spent the required number of years at Google. 

Related read: Check out these Google Interview Questions to get started with your interview prep. 

Google Systems Design Engineer Salaries

Salaries of Systems Design Engineers at Google depend primarily on the level of experience and the tier level. A systems design engineer at L4 with three years of experience will earn less than an L4 engineer with five years of experience. Let’s take a look at the salaries of Systems Design Engineers at Google.

Related read: Google Interview Guide

Stock Options Offered to Systems Designs Engineers At Google

Google offers exciting stock options, also known as Google Stock Units, to its employees. These GSUs are Restricted Stock Units that come with a vesting period usually spread over four years. The higher the tier level and seniority of the position, the higher the value of stock units offered. Also, vesting periods can differ, contingent on the seniority of the position. Ideally, here’s what the vesting schedule looks like:

Ideally, over four years:

  • 33% of the GSU vests in the first year
  • Another 33% in the second year
  • 22% in the third year
  • The remaining in the fourth year 

Other Compensation-Related Benefits

Google offers a whole bunch of other benefits to its employees. 

Financial benefits

Financial benefits mainly include handsome discounts on a range of Google products for employees, 401k, surrogacy assistance, Roth 401k, and student loan repayment plans. 

Home Benefits

Benefits under this segment include Adoption Assistance, Immigration Assistance, Bereavement Leave, Business Travel Insurance, Paid Vacation Leaves, and Relocation Bonuses. 

Health, Wellness, and Insurance Benefits

These benefits include the following:

  • Free meals at the Google campus
  • Health insurance with a 0% premium
  • Life insurance
  • Disability insurance
  • Dental insurance
  • Vision insurance
  • Maternity leave
  • On-site clinic
  • On-site fitness sessions and a Gym
  • Mother’s room
  • Health Savings Account

Google vs. Other Technology Companies

Google is often known to pay rewarding compensation packages and pays higher than most other FAANG and tier-1 companies. This table will show you a comparison of the average entry-level compensation packages of Google with Microsoft and Amazon to give you an idea of the pay difference. 

As is visible from the table above, Google’s average base compensation levels for systems design engineers are higher than Microsoft and Amazon.  

Get Ready for Your Next Google Interview

Have you started preparing for your upcoming Google interview? If yes, check out how Interview Kickstart has helped 9,000+ engineers land incredible offers at the biggest companies, despite the extremely low acceptance rates at these companies. 

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