Amazon.com

  www.amazon.com
  www.amazon.com

Amazon.com Software engineer Reviews

Updated December 17, 2014
Updated December 17, 2014
3,945 Reviews
3.4
3,945 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Amazon.com Chairman, President, and CEO Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos
2,672 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • You can definitely learn a lot in short spam in Amazon as they make you work a lot (in 118 reviews)

  • Density of talent: Some really smart people spoiling their careers here (in 352 reviews)


Cons
  • Company is not at all sorry to screw people's work-life balance for itself to excel (in 636 reviews)

  • There is literally no work life balance inside this company (in 145 reviews)

More Highlights

823 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1. 65 people found this helpful  

    A huge diverse high tech company with all sorts of stuff

    Current Employee - Software Development Engineer in Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - Software Development Engineer in Seattle, WA

    I have been working at Amazon.com full-time

    Pros

    Disclaimer: My opinions reflect that of an SDE in Amazon. Seems like some operational job functions are very tough.

    I have read through some of the other Amazon reviews and it seems to me that everyone has a very different experience! This is so true. Within the same team, you can have both workaholics and slackers coexisting and coworking together. I think I am more of the balanced type as I try to stay sane. The Amazon experience is basically the entire spectrum and it is what you make it out to be.

    Pros in Amazon certainly excludes great benefits, but compensation is competitive. Free food means average quality free coffee, once in a while free pizza for lunch where it is a working lunch, and free beer and finger food in special events. We get a free Orca card to take any bus in the Seattle area for free. $160 per month subsidy for office parking, which is better than nothing. Downtown monthly parking goes for about $200 per month. 401K contribution is 50% of what you put in, where you can put in max 4% of your salary. Not so great. Staff cafeteria food is average and not at all cheaper than outside food, or could be even more expensive. It is hard not to complain about the cafeteria. Vacation days are ok but note that there are no sick leaves. They count as part of your 5 personal days per year. Listing the benefits of Amazon is like listing the cons and not the pros.

    Work life balance seems to be ok for the most part, and seems to be individually-driven. No one will tell you that you have to come in at what time and stay till what time. I have team mates working every night and weekend, and others getting in at 10am and leaving at 5pm, all in the same team. Managers will focus on your project deliveries instead of how much time you spend working. If you work 40-hour weeks productively, you can definitely outperform someone who works 60-hour weeks but don't deliver stuff. Working less than 40 hours per week is somewhat common, but I can't say how many people are working how long. The view on work life balance is a bit skewed. All it comes down to are the managers and what they think. Projects are always never-ending but I have found that deadlines are very realistic and reasonable, without counting your nights and weekends. Getting some slack time once in a while is probably a sign of a healthy work environment. Everyone needs a break.

    On-call really really sucks. Basically all it comes down to is having SDEs double-duty as support operations engineers. Note that on-call does not improve the code quality of any team in any way. The on-call experience is particularly bad because you are using services from some other team, and their code is of low quality and fails for the wrong reasons. If the managers had given more time to up the quality, there would not be so many problems. Software is usually delivered with a tough deadline with code that meets the minimum quality bar and never gets improved for the next few years. The code review process does not seem to help improve the code but it really obstructs developers from making great changes as unconventional things will not pass code review in clumsy minds. Innovation and excellence are not the name of the game in Amazon. Searching through the Amazon code base is usually not going to turn up quality code that you can actually reuse.

    Integration is the name of the game in Amazon. You will need to spend a lot of time to figure out how to integrate your code with another team's services. Whether these other people are cooperative is a hit-or-miss. I have found that most people are responsive and helpful, but there are also quite a number of jerks who are out to make trouble for everybody. It is not easy to work across teams but the experience is mostly positive.

    Amazon is a huge behemoth and is hiring people like there is no tomorrow. This reflects well on a good growth momentum but also is worrying that the company is not turning much profit. If the company does not make money, where is our bonus going to come from? You can see new faces around the Amazon building almost everyday! Downside is that we are taking in a lot of average to above-average engineers and being an Amazonian SDE certainly does not share the same reputation as the top names. Amazon is a huge mixed bag of some very talented people and some very dumb people. I think the world is not turning up enough SDEs and the only way is for quality to go downhill.

    As an SDE, expect to spend most of your time talking, writing emails and documents, and maybe around 20-30% of your time coding. In most of the teams, you can work on interesting projects, but probably not revolutionary ones. Note that Amazon is a very down-to-earth company and the work is very down-to-earth as well. You will work on real things that people have actually requested for, and that people will start using as soon as you are done. Work is challenging but not to expect highly technically complex stuff. Most of the work has to do with solving everyday problems. To me, this seems to make sense because I have ever tried working on experimental projects before elsewhere and I did not feel it was a good use of my time.

    Internal mobility is a key strength of Amazon, and I am not sure which company has done better than Amazon in this aspect. Internal moves are easy. You only need to stay in your team for a year before moving to a different team. There is no easy way to tell which team is a good team to move to because they all have their different pros and cons and people and coming and leaving all the time!

    Seattle is by much rumour an easier place to live than the Bay area.

    Overall Amazon is a tough but yet sane place to work. The flexibility of this company is really its core strength. You have the freedom to excel as much as you want and also to slack as much as you want. Bummer. You shouldn't be slacking!

    Cons

    Beware of bad managers and horrible team mates. They are not specific to Amazon but they do exist in Amazon.

    I have to admit that Monday is usually a blue day at Amazon and it is very tough to look forward to getting into office. I don't know anyone in Amazon who looks forward to getting in on Mondays.

    Be realistic about SDE requirements. Coding skills are good to have but they are not the most important part of your job. I think we are hearing the same thing from every company.

    Medical coverage is average or below average. Expect to pay about $60 per month for singles and about $240 per month for families. $240 per month for families gives you $3000 in medical fees before you have to pay (more) anything out-of-pocket.

    SDE advancement is unreal difficult. They have about 6 levels total, SDE 1-4, then Senior Principal Engineer, and finally Distinguished Engineer. The number of SDE 1s and 2s are huge. Trying to get to SDE 3 seems to be all-of-a-sudden extremely difficult, but not impossible. So this essentially means that if you come to Amazon as a fresh grad SDE, expect to get about only one or two promotions in your entire career, which obviously is quite a lame expectation and reality. You will probably do much better in your career advancement anywhere else.

    Employee retention is horrible. I am not sure why the philosophy seems to be trying to undercut existing employees and then hire from external sources. Management all say that they are trying to retain people, but actions don't seem to suggest anything better. Rumour has it that annual pay raises are horrible. This basically mean that either you are a superstar in the company before they will try to retain you, or if you are smart you should not stay in Amazon for too long.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The thing about thinking long-term is getting more and more worrying as the company has not turned a tidy profit and is trying to conquer the world with its lofty expansion strategies. I don't know what kind of secret recipe management is cooking but seeing the company not making much money never feels comfortable.

  2. 4 people found this helpful  

    Freedom and fast pace. Good tech. Management can be better.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Software Development Engineer I in Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - Software Development Engineer I in Seattle, WA

    I have been working at Amazon.com full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    You can run your own agenda inside this company, there's a lot of freedom to try new ideas. There's a plethora of technology experts and internal services that enable you to build great things. There are tech talks all the time by senior engineers. If you have your own agenda, this is the place to go.

    Amazon has built a great software toolbox for its own internal operations. A lot of tools are aimed at analytics. This is a data-driven company and the toolbox is there to empower this thinking. I really love that aspect of Amazon.

    I haven't had any bureaucracy problems here. This is a lean company and logistics are very high-performing. IT support is fast and effective.

    In Amazon, there's freedom, and that freedom is backed by the leadership principles. You can find them on the company's jobs website. This culture is extremely empowering. They ask you to be a leader, in writing. If you like to do so, you feel backed by the company's culture from the very first day.

    The buildings are functional and comfortable. You can bring your dog, and there are kitchenettes in every floor. I like my workplace, it's just right for me.

    The office culture looks cold. You don't talk to people unless you need to (including saying hi). This was shocking to me the first days, but now I got used to it and I'm starting to think that it's better to maintain focus.

    Cons

    Rather than a "con", this is the counterpart of the pros: everyone is busy running their own agenda, and so you need to care about yourself. In particular, you need to be able to back your decisions with data, solid arguments, or evident results.

    Now, something that I really don't like is that my boss has been breaking a lot of promises and it looks like he doesn't care about it. That's something plainly bad. I just cannot trust my boss' word.

    The food in the cafeterias is rather expensive.

    Be ready to negotiate your salary. They will definitely try to save money. Don't undersell yourself.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Don't make breaking promises a policy and give your reports the time they deserve.

    Maintain the data-based approach for measuring people's contribution. It's good and fair.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    Your experience is based solely on your team, I got lucky

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Software Engineer Intern in Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Software Engineer Intern in Seattle, WA

    I worked at Amazon.com full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Felt like I had a lot of real-world impact. My manager was one of few that knew how to treat interns as intelligent people, and gave me quite a bit of flexibility for my project. I'd recommend it in order to grow a career in the future, as I learned a lot.

    Cons

    Some perks would have been nice. Most tech companies offer this, and Amazon tries to drill into your head that frugality is key. While the compensation was nice and I'm not one to demand all of the silly things Google offers, if there was a daily lunch served, this would have made a big difference in my experience as an intern (not having to stress about cooking food everyday = better intern experience = better conversion rate).

    Team also wasn't the most social one around, but hey it gave me more time for relaxing on the weekends I guess.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Find the right balance for your interns. Most of my friends were overworked. A difficult project can be rewarding, but it's gotta still be in scope for a college student who is still learning.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  4. Is this helpful? The community relies on everyone sharing – Add Anonymous Review


  5.  

    SDE intern

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Software Development Engineer in Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Software Development Engineer in Seattle, WA

    I worked at Amazon.com

    Pros

    Great place to work. People are so nice and helpful, you'll learn a lot. Atmosphere is so good, we hangout after work, work load is not that heavy, but work you do is interesting! Salary and Corporate housing are awesome!

    Cons

    None. Perfect place for interns.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6. 2 people found this helpful  

    company with good technology but poor compensation

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Software Development Engineer in Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - Software Development Engineer in Seattle, WA

    I have been working at Amazon.com full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    smart people, flexible hours, best cloud infrastructure in the world.
    Overall very talented people working with each other, especially AWS has some of the best calibers in the industry.

    Cons

    poor compensations, on-calls duties, management sometimes don't know what the heck they are doing.
    Compensation is a joke compared to other competitors in the industry. For the amount of work that people do, at least have some respect and pay them properly!

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7.  

    Good for starter

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Software Development Engineer in Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - Software Development Engineer in Seattle, WA

    I have been working at Amazon.com full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Fast-pace, cutting edge technology, the company-wide training and on boarding program is very good for junior dev. The company has a very unique way to do business.

    Cons

    Work life balance is bad, not recommended for someone with a family and kids.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8. 7 people found this helpful  

    High salary and low everything else

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Seattle, WA

    I worked at Amazon.com full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Amazon pays well. You will also learn how to be assertive (aggressive) about your opinions, how to work type-A politics, and how to debug difficult code.

    Cons

    Amazon has some insane turnover. A little more than 1 year after I left, most of the people I knew there on LinkedIn have switched companies. It's not because those companies are great, or pay well - it's just because when you've been at Amazon for a year or two, your attitude tends to be "I don't see how it could get worse than this."

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Treat your employees like human beings and they might stick around a bit

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
  9.  

    Worked in AWS. It was a very good learning experience. The team was very open and supportive.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Software Development Engineer in Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - Software Development Engineer in Seattle, WA

    I have been working at Amazon.com as an intern (less than an year)

    Pros

    Good Compensation
    Seattle is a lovely place
    The management is rather open to your ideas
    You get the freedom to work the way you want

    Cons

    Work life balance is a little skewed to the work side

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    Learned a ton in a short period of time

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Software Development Engineer I Intern in Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Software Development Engineer I Intern in Seattle, WA

    I worked at Amazon.com (less than an year)

    Pros

    Great opportunity to learn how to build and ship fast.
    You will experience customer obsession in every part of product development.

    Cons

    The culture was not as open as I had expected.
    Work/life balance does not exist in most teams.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11.  

    Intern

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Software Development Engineer I Intern in Irvine, CA
    Former Employee - Software Development Engineer I Intern in Irvine, CA

    I worked at Amazon.com

    Pros

    The experience / dynamics of working on a team in real life on a real project

    Cons

    As with all companies this large, bureaucracy

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

Work at Amazon.com? Share Your Experiences

Amazon.com

 
Click to Rate
or

Your response will be removed from the review – this cannot be undone.