Amazon.com software engineer Reviews

Updated September 17, 2014
Updated September 17, 2014
3,507 Reviews
3.3
3,507 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Amazon.com Chairman, President, and CEO Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos
2,429 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

537 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1.  

    Nice place

    • 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 as an intern for less than a year

    Pros

    Quick move , work hard

    Cons

    on call is a pretty hard job to handle

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great company with minimal perks

    • 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 as an intern

    Pros

    Technology:
    It is extremely easy to move laterally between teams and divisions. Because the company is so diversified you will have the opportunity to work on any area of technology you can think of: Web applications, cloud infrastructure, web browsers, tablets, consumer retail (at ridiculous scale), builder-tools, etc. Furthermore, they work in mainstream languages and leverage a lot of open-source software, so the skills you develop will be portable both inside and outside the company

    Customer Focus:
    Amazon is extremely customer-focused. As a result, they are extremely externally competitive. Even as an entry level developer, you will be aware of how your work impacts the customer. This stands in sharp contrast to some other big tech companies with extremely long release cycles. It still has a startup feel despite being a truly massive company.

    Talent:
    Despite having the reputation of having a difficult interview process, not all of the intro-level employees hired right out of college are all that impressive. However, the higher-level employees are all incredibly intelligent, thoughtful, and eloquent. It seems that the evaluation process does a good job in selecting truly outstanding individuals. If you are confident in your abilities, this is a plus (although it is not unique to Amazon).

    Work-Life Balance:
    This varies DRASTICALLY by team. If you are working on load-balancing for the consumer retail site, expect to work crazy hours during Q4. However, you can select any team you would like, and there are plenty of teams where people work standard 8-hour days. On those teams, hours are extremely flexible.

    Cons

    Perks:
    Free bus pas and an occasional team outing, but that is absolutely it. There is no free food, free haircuts, free massages, etc. This doesn't actually bother me all that much, but if you care about perks then you will be sorely disappointed.

    Lack of Transparency:
    Amazon is very tight-lipped about almost everything. Information is disseminated on a need-to-know basis, so don't expect to play with new devices before they are released unless you are working on them or get tons of details on the company's performance. Other than the metrics for your own team, you will know about as much as the public knows.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3. 7 people found this helpful  

    Not great, but not terrible either.

    • 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 a year

    Pros

    Pay is some of the best in the industry for a new grad, up there with Google and MS. Benefits are decent.

    Most teams work normal 40-hour weeks, unless you get unlucky enough to get put on a team with an insane workload or on-call rotation.

    Cons

    The culture hates developers and treats them like second-class citizens. Due to Jeff Bezos's obsession with miserliness (which he mistakenly calls "frugality") you will be given one standard monitor, one slow desktop, and one slow laptop with not enough RAM. If you want anything else, take it from an intern's desk after he/she leaves, or buy it yourself.

    In the same vein, funding to fix "developer pain" issues is non-existent. Could everyone's job satisfaction or productivity be vastly improved by having a few developers work on environment, tooling, or build system issues? Doesn't matter! You can either voluntarily spend your free time working on it, or do without. Actually lots of business-critical internal tooling is maintained this way, by "volunteers". Be prepared for tools you use every day to fall over when whatever random guy maintains them leaves the company! Management doesn't care. All hail "frugality"!

    Your manager will probably technically be a former engineer. But teams are informally run by business people here, not engineers. They love to strong-arm engineering managers into committing to dates for project launches without spending an appropriate amount of time investigating and scoping out the work.

    Oh, and the main reason projects take so long is because given a choice between spending two months on doing something correctly, and one month on some horrible hack that makes it kinda work but convolutes your entire architecture, guess what the non-technical people who run your org will pick EVERY time... It's gotten to the point that we have business code no one understands or is willing to touch, simply by "death by a thousand cuts" with no time ever allocated for refactoring.

    Don't even get me started on the space... I hope for your sake that you get put in one of the new buildings that are "only" normal high-density seating, not Amazon high-density seating. Otherwise, your work environment will sound like a high school cafeteria and be about as productive.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Give engineers what they want! You have a tech employees' survey; actually listen to it, even if it would cost you a bit more money. Giving programmers nice tools and offices would already go a long way towards happiness, and cost you barely anything as a percentage of salary.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5.  

    Good company to work in

    • 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 for less than a year

    Pros

    nice people, many activities, target projects, flexible time schedule, bring pets

    Cons

    large system, hard promotion, no free lunch, hard to park, pay to park.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    Pays well. Depends on your team.

    • 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 for less than a year

    Pros

    Pays 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

    Cons

    The 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.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    Working with Amazon

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

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

    Pros

    Rich technologies and infrastructure is a big plus to move faster and learn at same pace.

    Cons

    Employees not counted, highly competitive environment leads to wrong choice and employees are sacrificed.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Leadership principals are the pillars of success to business, but those often used conveniently.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  8.  

    partly good, partly "OK"

    • 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 a year

    Pros

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

    Cons

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

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    pay more attention to employees, make the, feel valued

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9. 2 people found this helpful  

    Dissatisfying

    • 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 for more than 3 years

    Pros

    None I can think of.

    Cons

    No perks at all. Very very frugal till the point of affecting employee productivity.
    Promotions are not based on how well you perform but based on how other PERCEIVE your leadership abilities. No actual deliverables taken into account.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    Its ok not much exciting

    • 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 for less than a year

    Pros

    Company is doing good financially however sometimes it gets too overwhelming

    Cons

    Not the best place to work if you want to grow.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11. 3 people found this helpful  

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

    • 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 for more than a year

    Pros

    As 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

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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