BB vs PE Offers: Data Engineer

faangs's picture
Rank: Monkey | 45

Currently working in FAANG as a Data Engineer, got headhunted and received 2 offers. Both roles are London based therefore tempted to swap over (given growth and London compensation in FAANG is not great vs US).

Offer 1: BB (think GS/JPM/MS), Data Engineer role (Associate). The domain area is not really 'finance' (e.g. FX, Options etc) but is interesting enough for me. I think it is middle office.

Offer 2: 'Top 10' PE fund (>$30bn), Senior Data Engineer role. Work seems more varied, probably higher impact / seems more 'front office' as the insights could lead to acquisitions etc.

(Offer 3: Another FAANG, Data Engineer role -- not keen on this option as it seems more of the same).

Base compensation at both is roughly equivalent (not sure about bonus, it is discretionary in both cases). Both roles are the 'first technical person in the team' with a clear path upwards.
Both use the same technical skillset so have roughly equivalent growth from that perspective.

The BB has an advantage of brand name, and relocation to US opportunities longer term. Given this is my first role "out of tech" it may be a good option. I don't plan to leave London long term, but 1-2 years abroad would be nice or even bi-annual trips (which is on offer).

The PE firm has an advantage of the manager being ex-FAANG and PE being pretty backwards with tech so I could quickly add a lot of value here.

I'm happy with my life and job area in general with no plans to do anything else (i.e. move out of Data Engineering) in the future. My goal is to work hard, move up, make good comp and live a comfortable life.

United Kingdom

Comments (22)

Feb 23, 2020

Highly Suggest you take PE over BB.

There's more growth in quant PE than trading and you'll get better along with ex-FAANG folks when talking about infra without worrying about legacy codebases

Feb 23, 2020

It is not really a 'quant PE'. It is more just a technical role within a PE fund.
Is the BB a bad choice though?

Feb 23, 2020

Look, I was interviewing with Blackstone PE that had some great talent and working on interesting problems that I felt were newer than pricing products or trading. So I'm drawing from that experience. (I'm a markets guy so it was hard for me to leave for PE)

They had top notch tech and knew wtf they were doing. Basically they are either trying to monetize a company's data or come up with creative ways to value assets or risk. Highly suggest you ask around.

At a bank, there are a lot legacy systems and fighting with other departments for ownership/pushing to production whereas at Blackstone, it was "done"

Feb 23, 2020

Would you be willing to share the offer numbers?


Feb 24, 2020

I prefer not to provide exact numbers but both are 100k+ GBP base. I am not sure about bonus for either. Was told PE firm is 30-40% typically but I guess as nothing is written into the contract i.e. is discretionary.

Feb 24, 2020

Cool, those are fairly high numbers, especially for the BB associate role! I assume you know, but typically associate is more of a mid-level role, and vice president typically maps to senior.

I've heard of GS giving high-ish bonuses for tech folks (even in non-revenue generating roles!), but haven't heard too much of the other 2.

If I were you I would pick the PE firm. No matter what they will promise you, tech in IBs tends to be quite slow-paced and there are lots of annoying processes which will reduce your velocity.


Feb 24, 2020

My friends who work in tech as SWE/Data stay in tech. I would suggest looking at Quant firms instead of bb/PE? In my experience in speaking with tech people at bb/PE is that their department is basically an afterthought and systems are outdated. If wlb and pay are your top priorities then stay in faang (tech in banks and PE don't pay anywhere close to faang and it doesn't help your resume one bit)

Feb 24, 2020

I have found a few differences/myths:

  1. In the US, the FAANG offers are the most competitive. In the UK, they are not as good relative to the financial industry or even US FAANG offers. For the same role, same level, my colleagues in the US earn 2-2.5x more than me in total comp which is plain unfair but it is what it is. Unless you want to move to the US (which I don't) you will never see that level of comp outside of finance.
  2. SWE is definitely highly paid than DE (even in the US) in general. I have no ambition to move to a SWE role/career though. SWE positions are sponsored in general for a US transfer, DE and other roles tend not to be.
  3. There are plenty of outdated/internal tech in FAANG also. I've worked at 2 FAANG's and I use their cloud services more 'outside' the firm than I did inside the firm.
  4. The issue with quant firms is they tend to want people with financial experience and/or hardcore SWE level Python skills (which I don't have). Also, many are just sweatshops (e.g. Citadel). Hence it is not a fit for me personally. That said, many also want your Masters completed, and I'm only mid way so again not a fit.
  5. The BB/PE offer is 40%+ my total comp at the moment in base. Even if I don't get a bonus it is better than what I get now in the UK. When I interviewed at another FAANG, they were offering the 'maximum' level in the band 10% lower than what I get now.
  6. You can reach a 'terminal' level in tech and stay there forever. The BB at least gets me to VP level (i.e. managing engineers) and then I can come back to tech as a DE manager for example. It is very hard to get this level of experience internally; it all depends on manager/team/etc rather than actual talent.

I will finish my Computer Science Masters this year, and then can always come back to tech if I don't like finance? Why wouldn't a BB or similar help your resume coming from FAANG? As someone who has interviewed dozens of DE's at FAANG, I see people with all sorts of experience get into DE roles (though I am biased for UK recruiting) so long as you pass the interviews / have the skills. I am not doing a 'different' role really - just in a different company - so I don't see why it would be a blocker to my career.

Feb 24, 2020

Understood. In the US NYC specifically tech roles are really weak at banks and PE, so i was thinking it was better for you to stay in faang. If you're doing the same work, getting a pay bump, and will be able to get back into faang then go for it.

Feb 27, 2020

Anyone happy for me to PM the PE firm name and get your opinion?

Mar 13, 2020