Amazon.com

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Amazon.com Reviews

Updated March 4, 2015
Updated March 4, 2015
1,425 Reviews
4.0
1,425 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Amazon.com Chairman, President, and CEO Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos
1,425 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

1,425 Employee Reviews Back to all Reviews

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  1. 379 people found this helpful  

    Can be amazing for some people, horrible for others

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

    I have been working at Amazon.com full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Amazon is doing lot's of cool stuff...but lots of boring stuff too. There are really well run teams...and very badly run teams. The experience for software managers and engineers is all over the board, from really run low operational load teams to teams where people burn out after a year.

     - Amazon is built, quite deliberately, to be Darwinian. You can generally expect that anyone who's been here for more than 2 years is competent and motivated or they wouldn't have survived. You can count on them as long as your priorities are aligned. There aren't many slackers here, and they don't survive long.
      - We work on so much stuff that there's always an opportunity to find amazing cool stuff to work on (note that it's an 'opportunity', one that you have to pursue)
      - A chance to make a huge difference
      - A place where you can learn a lot about all kinds of things, both technical and about yourself
      - Amazon encourages high mobility - even your manager can't prevent you from moving to another team within 6 weeks (normally, more than a few months under unusual conditions).
      - Your friends and family have actually heard of the place you work and have at least a vague notion of what Amazon does without you having to explain

    Cons

    - You're responsible for your own career progression and finding the places and teams that are doing the stuff you want to do. No one is going to take you by the hand and help you with that.
    - Amazon is built, quite deliberately, to be Darwinian. The strong survive and the weak perish (metaphorically speaking) and the 'bar' is constantly increasing. The level of performance that would have been acceptable five years ago will get you canned today. It's a kind of crucible that'll help you develop a harder edge, if you can survive, that can serve you well in your career and in life, but it's often not a pleasant experience.

    I wouldn't recommend it as a place to work for just anyone.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stack ranking is a horrible practice since it's rife with favoritism. It's also not Amazonian in that it's not data based (arbitrarily designating a certain percentage of employees that must be put on performance management isn't a data driven criterion) and it's not frugal (effectively forcing an individual out of the company in one division who would make the grade in another is either retaining someone who doesn't meet the bar or a waste of talent). The goal is to force managers to actually make the hard decisions about how their team members compare with each other (not everyone can be exceptional), but it has more defects than virtues. Replace it with a common comparison of each person against the bar for their position, based on data. The percentages that are assigned to each performance category will turn out how they turn out, but there will be an evaluation mechanism that's fair and frugal.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2. 115 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.

  3. 9 people found this helpful  

    Amazon has it's ups and downs, and high risk reward, like the Seahawks!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Online Marketing Manager in Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - Senior Online Marketing Manager in Seattle, WA

    I have been working at Amazon.com full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    Amazon is doing amazing things in so many areas: media, cloud, fulfillment, hardware, grocery, Fire/Kindle. The stock growth over time is great bonus too.

    Cons

    Having multiple managers in a short period of time combined with moving between teams, resets the upward mobility opportunities.

    From 3 counts of personal experience (plus colleagues), management failed to take major life changing moments (i.e., birth or a death in the family) into account when allowing for time to celebrate or grieve. Meaning they didn't have a backup plan to cover for employee that was on a leave of absence. So instead of covering, they asked new parent or grieving employee to continue to perform at high level immediately following life changing experiences.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Update Jeff's quote "Work Hard. Have Fun. Make History" to be: "Work like you job depends on it, because if you don't you'll be history".

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    excellent if you just want to make extra money.
    there is room for advancement but mainly with sone type of degree

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Package Sorter in Humble, TX
    Current Employee - Package Sorter in Humble, TX

    I have been working at Amazon.com part-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    It's only four hours of work. The Company has benefits for it's part time employees. Management is helpful. After only 20 days of employment you receive 10 hours of ATO but without pay

    Cons

    The pay is not enough considering to the physical labor that yo will be doing.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    . Need some type of degree in my opinion. And management tends to have their favorites.

  6.  

    I got to learn lot of things working at Amazon and improve myself both technically and professionally as well.

    • 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

    Work culture is very comfortable. Focus is given on getting things done.

    Cons

    Sometimes work can be overloaded making it difficult to balance work and personal life.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Compensation

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    Working with this company has helped me to grow in leadership considerably.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Freight Scheduler in Lebanon, TN
    Current Employee - Freight Scheduler in Lebanon, TN

    I have been working at Amazon.com full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Leadership progression is very high within this company.

    Cons

    The pay as a tier 1 associate is very low compared to any and all leadership positions.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8.  

    Working for amazon has been amazing. You have good days, some have bad days

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Amazon Warehouse Worker in Hebron, KY
    Current Employee - Amazon Warehouse Worker in Hebron, KY

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

    Pros

    Working with amazing management is a plus, I love cvg3 my second time here I been here as smx temp. Came back and got hired on within a month I'm experiencing something's I was taught and learned like problem solve ambassador Full time employee training folks listening to them helping them out this is a great field to learn different techniques amazon use to keep their job running the benefits are amazing.. I never worked for a company that provided you with such great benefits as amazon do.. You can add or change information on your benefits. They even have amazon university if you want to learn about a field at your work just apply.

    Cons

    As I became a problem solver I thought I'd get a raise due to the enormous problems I have to solve everyday I have to work. It can become stressful and will have you as if your ready to just give it up because you feel like you being underpaid for more work you do then an complaining associate that has to receive 300 items to a cart within 30 mins or 120 items within 20 mins it can become overwhelming sometimes but I just push myself through and stick it out.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Just look into problem solving and just give them the correct amount of money they deserve.. Thank you
    Cvg3 rock
    RO

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9.  

    Producer - freelancer

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Producer - Photo Studio
    Former Employee - Producer - Photo Studio

    I worked at Amazon.com

    Pros

    compensates rates well, innovative, unique experience from industry leader ( a plus to have on resume)

    Cons

    competitive, cut-throat, limits freelancers from too much internal information. difficult to be efficient and manage expectations

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10.  

    Lots of walking!!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Amazon.com

    Pros

    Easy work, not too extensive training

    Cons

    Long hours, on your feet the whole time

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11. 2 people found this helpful  

    Amazon Fulfillment - fast pace environment

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Human Resources Business Partner in Coffeyville, KS
    Former Employee - Human Resources Business Partner in Coffeyville, KS

    I worked at Amazon.com full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    Good training, challenging work, able to make decisions and act upon them. Good benefit package. Overall my 9 year experience with Amazon is positive, working in both Operations and Human Resources.

    Cons

    Work/Life Balance for exempt associates is not great. It is understandable that during "peak" (Holiday season) a lot of hours will be worked, but as an exempt associate, and working in an operation that is open 20/hours a day, you can expect to work odd and long hours all year long.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Promoting within is difficult, and when it does happen, compensation is not equal to hiring outside the company.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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