The Terminal Software Engineer Level
In Big5: Microsoft, Apple, Google, Amazon and Facebook, the software engineers are assigned a level so that they can work hard, and be promoted into next levels in the career ladder.
See this from levels.fyi
The Terminal Level means that you can stay in that level comfortably if you enjoy doing so. You don't get fired if you can't achieve to next levels.
However, some entry levels such as E3 in Facebook and L4 (SDE I) in Amazon, if you can't progress to next levels within 2 years (or 18 months), it means you are not good enough and you will likely be dismissed for low performance. In Amazon, they will PIP you out (Performance Improvement Plan).
The SDE II (Level 5) in Amazon, or E4 in Facebook are good (terminal level) for engineers who do their job but don't like being a team lead - or mentoring other junior SDEs. It really depends, some people enjoy but others don't.
Your line-managers will usually talk about the Personal Career Development (or Your Ambitions to Career Development) in your weekly 1-to-1 meetings or the annual performance review meeting. In Big IT/internet companies it usually requires filling quite many big forms in order to get promoted to next levels.
What is your career level?
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