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Amazon.com Software engineer Reviews

Updated January 30, 2015
Updated January 30, 2015
4,190 Reviews
3.4
4,190 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Amazon.com Chairman, President, and CEO Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos
2,802 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

856 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1.  

    Okay overall

    • 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 a year)

    Pros

    Highly technical environment filled with smart and nice people

    Cons

    Too much operational work thus less time spent on coding
    Poor work/life balance but it depends on which team you are in

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  2.  

    SDE

    • 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 a year)

    Pros

    Payment is not so bad.

    Cons

    Not so good for a starter.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    N/A

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3.  

    Strong growth and good values, but not the best place to start your career.

    Former Employee - Software Development Engineer I
    Former Employee - Software Development Engineer I

    I worked at Amazon.com

    Pros

    High motivation employees, very good control over development process even from SDE1 role, fast development cycle for a large company.

    Cons

    Easy to work way more hours than you would somewhere else, need to be able to confidently say no and regulate your hours or you'll be in the office 60+ hours a week.

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  5.  

    An honest culture

    • 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 as an intern (less than a year)

    Pros

    Internships: You work with highly competent people. They do good work and are willing to help you learn.
    Location: Seattle is beautiful with entertainment aplenty there. Amazon and interns organize plenty of events as well.
    Pay: is good

    Cons

    Culture is results-oriented, so if you can do your work in 6 hours, then awesome. If you're barely keeping up at 11 hours a day, might need to up that to 12.
    Somewhat overwhelming to self-indoctrinate the leadership principles, be highly effective at them, and also complete a project on time.
    Mentors have their own stuff to handle. They may be extremely helpful, they may be busy with their own projects, or they might be inaccessible. Don't be surprised to encounter all 3.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Make sure mentors are available all throughout the internship and don't have too much on their own plate (i.e. mission critical project that they're a key stakeholder on)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6.  

    Decent work environment

    • 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 (more than a year)

    Pros

    Can be good to work on products that have such a huge customer base. Despite being such a big company, a lot of the teams are still relatively small.

    Cons

    On many teams, i've heard the work-life balance can be terrible. It seems like a lot of people here burnout pretty fast. Largely depends on your team though. Career-wise, there aren't too many positions within the Software Engineering career path. The majority of the engineers get to either the SDE 1 or SDE 2 level before they leave.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7. 3 people found this helpful  

    Can be good, but highly dependent on the team

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

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

    Pros

    Ironically, the best perk for me is being able to bring my dogs to work. On my team, we've got a solid codebase to work from, a fantastic manager, amazing coworkers, and even our interns can create products that are seen by millions of people. Being able to work on really highly visible projects that have a significant impact is awesome. There is some *really cool stuff* to work on, and a lot of interesting problems to solve.

    Cons

    Amazon doesn't really give a feeling of warm fuzzy caring for its developers. Makes sense, since the profit margin is pretty low and we have to make it up in volume, but the lack of perks and decent developer hardware makes us feel kind of unloved at times ("frugality" is even one of our core leadership principles). I try to think of it as making us morally superior to companies that splurge on pampering the developers, but I do get jealous on occasion.

    Also, depending on the team... there can be a lot of obnoxious interference from business managers, randomization, and terrible codebases (we're moving away from Perl as the main language for website templating, but it's not happening nearly fast enough.) And sometimes teams are just meatgrinders - Amazon has a hard time hiring enough to keep up with project growth, much less to keep up with maintenance and OE. I'm also not a huge fan of future-vesting stocks in the place of actual money for bonuses/part of salary.

    Neutral Outlook
  8.  

    Interesting work with very capable people

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

    I have been working at Amazon.com

    Pros

    I interned at Amazon for 12 weeks and found the work culture awesome. Many people are willing to help you. A lot to learn.

    Cons

    My team was a relatively laid back team but other interns mentioned there work at Amazon can be quite inte intesne

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    They have a very nice training program.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    Good learning experience; too much politics.

    • 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 a contractor (more than a year)

    Pros

    Amazon is a great place to learn and grow. At least my team encourages this fully. Many teams encourage you to find where you fit best after you start with them (in case you get bored Amazon would rather keep you around and place you somewhere else than let you go). Amazon workers have a wide variety of ages, experiences, and personalities.

    Amazon teams are small and run like independent start ups. They report up the chain, but are largely autonomous. They can create their own tools, make their own decisions, give away tools, re-write everything to use a different language. Do whatever they want as long as its giving value to Amazon as a whole. I know of only one case where a team was disbanded because it was (at the time) not worth the money put into it. None of the engineers were sacked they were simply put on other teams.

    Continuous deployment. Amazon (with a few special exceptions) promotes continuous deployment of software. I often deploy deltas for the project(s) i'm working on 5+ times a day.

    Cons

    Far too political. It is difficult to move up at Amazon because so much of it is politics. Does your boss like you enough? Have you developed the right connections across the company? Can you write a 20 page document that explains exact situations that you've accomplished each of the Amazon goals and tenants? There is little reward for the code you've written, problems you've solved, and ideas you've offered unless you have the connections and can write the stories.

    Too much operational overhead / reactive problem solving. Amazon keeps its teams small. This is good, but also bad. Too often we are stopped from working on our current projects and deadlines in order to respond to operational burdens and to react to an idea that someone had. A security fix here, a customer request there, January review season, and other things that I cannot give details about. As a professional Software Engineer, I want write code. Not review documents. I don't mind flushing out bugs and responding to feature requests. I just don't like being told to do so immediately at the expense of other deadlines.

    It goes a bit without saying you need to be good at socializing and communicating. It is not good enough at Amazon to be (one of) the best member(s) of your team. You have to be great at talking to other people. This is not a place for the shy, quiet hard worker. Delivering results isn't enough.

    Compensation package is oddly distributed. I would rather get an even amount of stock each year that I work here, but you get 80% of this part of compensation in your 3rd and 4th year. This is unlike most other tech companies, and is targeted at retaining employees. However the better way to maintain employees might be to reduce the politics.

    Frugality. One of Amazon's tenets is being Frugal. I understand the reasons behind it, its not just to save the company money, but also to inspire deeper thinking and looking for new solutions. But Amazon could do a little more to make its employees more comfortable. Nicer computers, snacks, even periodic lunches. Small things I know, but they help bring employees together just as well as they make them happier.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Try to reduce the politics. Its ridiculous. Some people are great programmers, but terribly shy. That shouldn't bar them from being promoted or moving up. The idea of having two seasons where you can potentially get promoted a year is also ridiculous. When a person earns it they should receive it. It would probably be less work for management if they didn't have to go through 100 documents 2 times a year, and instead did 10 documents every now and then.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    A big company with several opportunities

    • 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 3 years)

    Pros

    - The emphasis on being agile like a startup provides a great learning experience for junior developers
    - Amazon being involved in so many space you can usually find a job in a domain of your choice
    - Many teams are intentionally small which allows you to play a bigger role and be more productive

    Cons

    - The company being too dynamic there is lot of churn in employees. If your manager changes, you need to prove yourself again which can be demotivating after few years
    - Delivery goals for some teams can be too aggressive and might cause burnout.
    - You have to manage your own career.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    - Pay attention to individual employees

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    Infinitely better then defense contracting.

    • 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 (more than a year)

    Pros

    Technologically current.
    Management listens.
    Work with people who are outstanding in there field.
    Great food trucks in the area.

    Cons

    I get stressed easier then most and it sometimes has an affect on me.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    My manager is very proactive in making sure we're taken care of. If you're up all night with a page he'll tell you to stay home and get some rest. It's great having a manager that you know has your back.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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