Amazon.com Reviews

Updated September 16, 2014
Updated September 16, 2014
3,498 Reviews
3.3
3,498 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Amazon.com Chairman, President, and CEO Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos
2,424 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Good opportunity to learn a lot in a particular area of software development (in 101 reviews)

  • Density of talent: Some really smart people spoiling their careers here (in 306 reviews)


Cons
  • Company is not at all sorry to screw people's work-life balance for itself to excel (in 540 reviews)

  • There is literally no work life balance inside this company (in 125 reviews)

More Highlights

1,147 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1. 188 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 for 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. 1 person found this helpful  

    Operations Leadership Intern

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Operations Leadership  in  Indianapolis, IN
    Former Employee - Operations Leadership in Indianapolis, IN

    I worked at Amazon.com as an intern for less than a year

    Pros

    -fantastic, growing company with unbelievable leadership development. You're thrown straight into the fray and have to sink or swim. If you can make it, you'll make a fortune in a very short amount of time. Love and die by the leadership principles

    Future employers love seeing Amazon on a resume. Got interest from many companies after internship who previously wrote me off.

    Cons

    Very physically demanding. No sitting and it can be very difficult to motivate those around you.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stay in touch and empathetic with associates at all times. They rely on you.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    personal growth, amazing technology, independence - but for a price

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

    I worked at Amazon.com full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    If you want to work on a huge distributed system with a lot of independence Amazon is a great place. Every team acts like a small start-up and has a lot of freedom. You will learn very quickly and get a lot of responsibility. There is no bureaucracy or processes which get in your way, so you will be able to decide on your own (with peer guidance) and build quickly. I was amazed every day how complex and challenging things I can do and how much I learned.

    If you want to have an interesting job where you can grow and do not mind to work hard you may be willing to accept that Amazon is not perfect. Yes, there are few companies which are equally interesting and have a better culture and perks, but it's much easier to fail interviews there - you know, the prettiest girl in town may be fussy like hell. Not that it's trivial to get to Amazon, but it's for sure easier.

    The unique knowledge and experience that you will get in Amazon is priceless and worth all the disadvantages described below. You will not learn distributed systems just from books and Amazon is a perfect place to do it. And there is a chance that you will fall in love with the company and stay there for long. If not, what you learn will significantly increase your chances to get a much better job.

    Cons

    There is a lot of stress and pressure, so many people around you will be overwhelmed. For the same reason personnel rotation is very high, so knowledge is constantly being lost and you are expected to live with that.

    The recruiter who contacts you at the beginning determines which team you will be in for the first year, you have very little to say about that. So ask about it at the beginning and try to find a different recruiter if you do not like what the team does.

    There are basically no perks, free food, raises or bonuses in Amazon as it operates on low margins and invests all profits. That make it very frugal. Assume that the salary & stocks which you get at the beginning is what you will receive for few years. In your office you will find all that you need, but it will not be a pretty place which you want to show to friends.

    In most cases you will be expected to be accessible by phone at any time as you are responsible for your systems to be always up and running. On-call duty takes 7 days every 6 to 9 weeks, you will not be able to code or travel during the weekend when you are on-call.

    Do not expect too much guidance from managers, often they have little technical skills.
    Your colleagues will be intelligent, but often quite competitive.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop putting so much pressure on lower management, it propagates down to the bottom and destroys morale.
    Emphasize the value of a team instead of worshiping individuals.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Approves of CEO
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great place for internship

    • 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 as an intern for less than a year

    Pros

    colorful life in Seattle, well-paid salary for interns

    Cons

    very little annual bonus

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    Good And Bad, But Overall Okay

    • 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 for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Great company.

    a). Amazon is perhaps one of the best companies when it comes to interesting projects. Almost includes all areas you can think of. It's leading in cloud computing and also releasing new devices yearly. Tons of challenges. Great leadership from Jeff Bezos. I like where this company is headed.

    b). Amazon has an official dog policy that allows you to bring your dog to work on a daily basis which is really cool.

    c). Paid time off 6 days. Pretty good. 3 sick days. Okay.

    Cons

    a). In terms of compensation, average base salary, great sign-on bonus, lame stock bonus over first 2 years(4 years allocation ratio of your stock bonus: 5%, 15%, 40%, 40%) then it's better. No cash bonus ever after the sign-on bonus though. You also won't receive any stock bonus on your first performance review, either. Last but not the least, their salary bump is minimal compared to other IT companies.

    b). No perk at all. You want free food? Go elsewhere. You want free parking? Go elsewhere. You want office? Go elsewhere.

    c). No green card for immigrant SDE1s because you are not valuable to the company. SDE2s will get theirs going after half a year of service. Although exceptions can be given from time to time. And usually managers understands it and will help you.

    d). Oncall experience is different significantly from teams to teams. Cannot say much about that. My team is mostly okay. But I have heard horrible stories, and I am not planning to experience those.

    e). People move very frequently. Promotion can be a problem when your manager keeps coming and going and nobody has a set of continuous datapoints of you.

    f). 2 weeks of vacation in the first year. Then 3 weeks starting from your second year. 2 weeks is well below IT company standard. Although they kind of making up for it by adding 9 extra days(6 PTO + 3 sick days)

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Grant green card for immigrants immediately. Add perk. Those will help you keep your employees from moving.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great work experience at Amazon.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - NAFC Workers' Compensation Manager  in  Phoenix, AZ
    Former Employee - NAFC Workers' Compensation Manager in Phoenix, AZ

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

    Pros

    Great flexibility in work hours for management, telecommuting options, base salary and opportunities for new innovative ideas.

    Cons

    Some drawbacks are the number of associates assigned to each area manager to supervise (Too many), lack of standard work and protocol in many job areas, very high turnover, and over reliance on technology in some instances.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8.  

    Chaotic, challenging, often fun

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

    I worked at Amazon.com full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Amazon offers a lot of freedom to try new things, make your own judgment calls, and prove yourself. You can do basically anything, as long as you can prove its worth to the company.

    Cons

    Management isn't well organized - your career at the company is basically defined by how well your management chain likes you (and each other). The flexibility they offer can come at the cost of no limits to the working hours or effort required, and you may find yourself working around the clock just to meet the deadlines.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Use employee turnover and low satisfaction scores to identify problem areas where employees are being overworked or mistreated by their managers. Make the long-term value of employees as important as short-term gain.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9.  

    Fast paced, lots of cool stuff to learn, working with smart people.

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

    I have been working at Amazon.com full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    I have learned, and continue to learn, a lot of exciting, fun, and cutting edge technology. Amazon Web Services is at the forefront of Public Cloud Computing and as such is inventing tomorrow's services and capabilities. Almost everyone I've encountered is willing to share their knowledge and experience. Even though Amazon.com is a company of over 100,000 employees, AWS feels like a startup with high energy, excitement, and buzz.

    Cons

    Although I'm not too adversely affected by this in my particular role (I travel a lot and am not in the office much), I can see that many people struggle with work/life balance. I don't honestly know whether that's a company characteristic or simply due to people wanting to accomplish more than can in a reasonable number of hours per week.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I have just recently learned (here on Glassdoor, and elsewhere) that Amazon employs annual stack ranking of employees. That's beyond appalling. This Jack Welch inspired system makes some sense in the abstract, but the actual requirement for managers to drop the bottom x% (by a necessarily subjective assessment) is a lousy practice.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    Sticks to their consistent culture

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Customer Service Associate  in  Kennewick, WA
    Former Employee - Customer Service Associate in Kennewick, WA

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

    Pros

    It's easy to be recognized for skills beyond what your job description states, and have them be nurtured. Mobility always seemed like a possibility in any position.

    Cons

    Commitment to frugal culture led to poor working environment. Desks were cheap, supplies were cheap, and very little flexibility for comfort costs.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    Unique corporate culture that either does or doesn't work for you

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

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

    Pros

    Many growth opportunities. Work with some of the brightest and best around. The culture, if you buy into it, has a lot going for it. If you're not onboard with the culture you won't make it.

    Cons

    Can be difficult to keep your head about water. A lot of fast paced projects that change very little in the overall juggernaut of Amazon.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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