Amazon.com

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Amazon.com software engineer Reviews

Updated Jul 24, 2014
All Employees Current Employees Only

3.5 699 reviews

87% Approve of the CEO

Amazon.com Chairman, President, and CEO Jeff Bezos

Jeff Bezos

(530 ratings)

69% of employees recommend this company to a friend

Review Highlights

Pros
  • You will learn a lot while working at Amazon that will be useful for the rest of your career(in 98 reviews)

  • Density of talent: Some really smart people spoiling their careers here(in 302 reviews)


Cons
  • Company is not at all sorry to screw people's work-life balance for itself to excel(in 535 reviews)

  • There is literally no work life balance inside this company(in 123 reviews)

700 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews
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    2 people found this helpful  

    Generally satisfied Amazonian here...but I can only speak for my team

    Software Development Engineer (Current Employee) Seattle, WA

    ProsAs mentioned in the title, I've only worked on one team at Amazon, and it is in the context of a new/secret project, so I'm not sure my experiences are representative of the company as a whole. That being said:

    - Fast pace
    - Plenty of responsibility
    - End-to-end project ownership
    - Smart co-workers

    Cons- Not the most "positive vibe"
    - Collaboration with other teams can be a bit adversarial (I guess this is a slightly less vague example of my first con)
    - Work environment: open work space (lots of interruptions), frequent moving (on a rapidly-growing team, anyway), dearth of conference rooms
    - Focus on code quality tends to lapse severely in the face of totally arbitrary deadlines -- and isn't usually accounted for at all during planning

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

    14 people found this helpful  

    Good work, mediocre work environment.

    Software Development Engineer II (Current Employee)

    ProsAmazon as a company is growing rapidly. It's going into new markets and challenging big players as well as innovating in markets where it's already quite ahead. There is no dearth of choice when you are working at Amazon. There are a number of teams working on different products across all sorts of areas.

    The best part is that the work which you do will get shipped.

    That's the main thing which I love about Amazon. Software you write will see light of day in say 6 months. That's how quickly things move here. Teams are small and ownership is more. Process is lightweight and will never hinder you. I have never been asked to fill in time-sheets or made to give hourly estimates. People are friendly. Technical arguments are settled based on data and with respect.

    Amazon does most of its development in Java and uses a lot of open-source software. This frees engineers to focus on problems rather than re-engineer software which already exists.

    Although some teams have poor work-life balance, the ones which I have worked in had no such problems. I have been able to do a 9-5 on most days without any work carrying over to the weekends.

    ConsThe rapid growth of Amazon and increasing head counts have put a lot of pressure on the buildings which house Amazon employees. Many Amazon buildings are packed. Seating is cramped and elevator rides can be too close for comfort.

    Career growth is hard. Starting developers enter at SDE 1 with a clear path to SDE 2, but from there on out it's hard to get to SDE 3 or above. Employees on immigrant work visas like H1B should know that Amazon does not start your permanent residency process till you hit SDE 2 (level 5). This is where sometimes politics rears its ugly head. You might find really hard working engineers play the game.

    Amazon does not give you additional perks if you compare it with companies like Microsoft or Google. Apart from the 10% discount on Amazon purchases (capped at $100) and few team outings you won't get much. Don't expect to get the latest Amazon gadgets for free.

    Advice to Senior ManagementFix at least the first two problems listed in the Cons section.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    Pays well. Depends on your team.

    Software Development Engineer (Current Employee) Seattle, WA

    ProsPays well.
    They cover housing for you, bringing your intern salary to about 100k if full time.
    Opportunity to learn a lot.
    Flexible work schedule. (can come in late. can work from home. can leave early if you need to)
    Tons of smart people
    Employees care about the customer
    You get full disclosure on your performance
    real work as an intern - your team will give you a project to work on that they had on the back-burner but still want done

    ConsThe pros are largely universal. The cons will depend on your team.
    If you have a great team, you'll have a great time. If you have a crappy team, you'll have a crappy time. I'm basing this off of what I know about my team versus what other interns told me about their teams.
    Either way, you'll need to be assertive. Ask questions. Get help when you don't know something. General rule is spend 30 mins trying to figure something out. Then if you haven't, go ahead and ask a someone with more experience.
    Your project may not be defined. You will have to get it defined. (i.e. figure out what you have to do for it to be complete). It can be hard to communicate with superiors as an intern, assuming you have little prior experience. A thought I basically had "I am inexperienced. I do not want to annoy anyone. I'll just try to figure this out on my own." This is incorrect. Your boss will know that already. Go ahead and don't be shy and you'll avoid lots of the problems.
    You may have to work longer hours depending on your project.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

  1. We want your feedback – Are these company reviews helpful to you?  Yes | No
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    partly good, partly "OK"

    Software Development Engineer I (Current Employee) Seattle, WA

    ProsA lot of talented highly skilled people
    Non-trivial projects
    ability to develop, enhance skills, learn

    Consoncall: hard to maintain life-work balance due to oncall
    minimal company benefits

    Advice to Senior Managementpay more attention to employees, make the, feel valued

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

     

    Good Learning Experience, But can be hectic

    Software Development Engineer (Current Employee) Palo Alto, CA

    Pros- Great compensation
    - Good opportunity to learn a lot in a particular area of software development
    - looks good on resume

    Cons- Depending on the team, work-life balance can be virtually non-existent. This is highly dependent on the manager
    - No perks such as free food, drinks, etc in majority of Amazon (In the palo alto office, we do get free snacks and drinks)

    Advice to Senior ManagementStop being so dam frugal, improve the perks to match other tech giants.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
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    • No Opinion of CEO

    5 people found this helpful  

    Employees are a commodity

    Software Development Engineer (Current Employee) Seattle, WA

    ProsPay is competitive with other tech companies.

    ConsFrugality will drive you up the wall (takes an act of congress to get a 2nd monitor, no perks to speak of). Tools are complicated, frustrating, and slow. 4-year refresh cycle on already underpowered laptops. Lots of people constantly stressed to the limit with oncall duty and unrealistic expectations.

    Advice to Senior ManagementShow that you value your employees by placing value on their time. Spend some money to make employees more productive, and the investment will pay for itself quickly.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
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    • No Opinion of CEO

    3 people found this helpful  

    Imbalance work-life; super frugal; customers and then products are more important than employes' lives

    Software Development Engineer II (Current Employee) Seattle, WA

    ProsInteresting projects; lost of technical challenges;

    ConsSuper frugal; can be mean; working space is small; you will need air to breath; PCs, keyboards, monitors, mices are low-quality and cheap things; You have only 1 monitor for working only. Even coffee cups don't have lids or insulators. Managers ask you about your progress on projects all over the time.
    High bar-raiser, difficult promotions

    Advice to Senior Managementwords to reduce frugality. care more about personal and family lives.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
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    Learned a lot about engineering and work/life balance

    Software Development Engineer (Former Employee) Seattle, WA

    ProsYou work with smart nice people. There is definitely cutting edge technology in some groups. Amazon won't crumble anytime soon

    ConsWhat group you are in drastically impacts your work/life balance, the interest of the engineering, your ability to advance, etc.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
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    • Approves of CEO

     

    SDE II

    Software Development Engineer II (Current Employee) Seattle, WA

    ProsGood people - some of the best I've ever worked with
    Fun work environment
    Great tech
    Great technical problems.
    Great infrastructure

    ConsBad benefits - almost zero perks for employees.
    Lots of people burn out - you must learn to say no!
    Needless, short-sighted frugality

    Advice to Senior ManagementMake time to resolve technical debt

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

    1 person found this helpful  

    Software Development Engineer

    Software Development Engineer II (Former Employee) Seattle, WA

    ProsGreat People. Lots of interesting projects and teams to join. I never had to deal with politics (although I'm sure my managers did).

    ConsOn-call support and development environments that take an eternity to setup. Sometimes it seemed like I could never get anything done between configuring a new service or dealing with on-call support.

    Advice to Senior ManagementGet rid of on-call.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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