Amazon.com Reviews

Updated July 28, 2015
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  1. Software QA Engineer

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software QA Engineer
    Current Employee - Software QA Engineer

    I have been working at Amazon.com

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Nice company to work with.

    Cons

    I don't see any cons.


  2. Helpful (4)

    You'll enjoy it (if you're up for the challenge).

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

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

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    You will learn and grow at twice the pace compare to other companies. Plenty of training opportunities. Best engineers in the world. Very engaged and hard-working workforce. Amazon's 'Leadership Principles' make sense, are used every day, and are what makes the company tick.

    Cons

    Hard to achieve work-life balance. Not recommended if change of direction makes you dizzy. Getting promoted is harder than in other places. If a manager / executive - expect bigger responsibilities but smaller title compare to other companies.


  3. Helpful (5)

    Below Expectation

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    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)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Huge platform and data to work with. Amazon challenges you on every aspect. Good knowledge sharing process.

    Cons

    Not at all employee centric, no perks at all. Way too frugal, esp for employees.


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  5. Helpful (4)

    Great place to learn and fantastic coworkers, but a draining environment

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    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)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    - Incredibly smart coworkers. You will learn a lot in your time here because there's highly intelligent people to learn from. Your coworkers also tend to have your back - there's a "we're all in this together" sort of vibe. Amazonians are self starters and eager to learn inside and outside the office. It's the best part about working here, hands down. - Lot's going on. There's always lectures or presentations by senior engineers being held. They're very enjoyable and informative, and inspire that you're working for a company with a good head on its shoulders. The leadership is ambitious and trying new things, and succeeding in a lot of them. There's also just so much being worked on here, so the opportunities to work on something new are everywhere. - Culture of accountability. I've heard otherwise on other teams, but generally the people I've worked with are unafraid to admit their mistakes and don't engage in much finger pointing. People are focused on the bigger picture instead of getting wrapped up in the small things. There's a strong culture of customer focus that guides decision making. - Pragmatic lower management. Most of the managers I've worked with have good technical chops, so you don't need to waste your time explaining why what sounds like a small amount of work will actually take a significant chunk of development time. They also don't get caught up in their own agendas. Praise is given where praise where praise is due, and poor practices or sloppy work are rightfully called out. I've really liked most of my managers. - Ownership. Devs get a lot of freedom and say in design choices. You become responsible for your code base and its quality, which can be a rewarding feeling. You'll start to know the important faces of the various teams you work with, and they're usually very accessible. Dev collaboration across teams is generally a positive experience. - Fantastic internships. You'll get to work on something with real impact. Interns don't get the leftovers or throwaway work. And because it's Amazon, it looks great on your resume too. If you get an offer, I'd highly recommend you take it. - Adult perks. This might be a little controversial, but I'm glad the company doesn't waste money on silly things that I don't need. Maybe it's just me, but I don't want the new iPhone or a free Xbox gifted to me, nor do I need little conveniences like free laundry in the office to keep me there longer. I'd rather be able to use my compensation how I wish. Yeah, there's no free Prime, and the employee discount is lackluster. Instead you get stock. And right now, the stock is doing quite well. Were that to change... yeah, maybe a different story. But if you manage it well and remember to diversify every now and then, it's really nice.

    Cons

    TL;DR - I'd give 3 & 1/2 stars if I could, but my personal life and stress levels have taken too much of a toll to justify 4 stars. If you are on the fence about working here, I would highly recommend you take the chance. Just expect to work hard, and to plan your life around your work. It's definitely not for everyone, and after a few years the poor work / life balance has gotten to be too much for me. But you will learn a lot in a short amount of time, and it makes you very marketable in the future. I've also made some great friends here. - First job experience. If you are straight out of college or new to the industry, be ready for a bumpy ride. I found that there was very little guidance and you're left to sink or swim on your own. Those who don't learn to manage themselves do not last. I wish more time was spent training employees in the soft skills needed to do this, especially since so many of our new hires are new to the industry. - Work / life balance. They're good about letting you take time off when you need to, but working late has become the norm. And unfortunately, because it's a younger environment where people have fewer obligations outside work, most are willing to do so and it becomes part of the culture. You will stick out if you're used to regular hours. As far as the presentations listed in the pros? Well, it used to be I'd attend these fairly frequently. Nowadays I no longer bother, I just don't have the time anymore. - Employee retention. I'm not sure what to peg this on, but I'm sure the work / life balance has a lot to do with it. I don't think it's a coincidence that the older engineers or ones with family hop ship, leaving a lot of young, single engineers to keep things running. Few people stay for very long, so there's always new faces needing ramp up time, and usually they're eager to prove themselves and willing to put up with anything. Lack of retention has led to code maintenance being an issue. There are dark corners of the codebase that no one is familiar with that you will likely get paged for and be expected to fix ASAP. Leading us to... - Pager duty. Certainly not as bad as it used to be if the older reviews are scaring you away. They've made major strides on improving upon it, but there's still two major issues. One, there's no real acknowledgement of the time you give up on your weekends or after hours (at least, not anymore) so it's effectively planned overtime. Two, you will get paged for services you have no real knowledge of. It can be a frustrating experience trying to figure out what's going on with code you've never worked on and figuring out who you need to disturb on a Sunday morning. - The stress. Missing a deadline or breaking something in production is a big deal, depending on the team you work for. In my experience, management is pretty understanding, but it's still a lot of pressure because the stakes are so high. Additionally, it's easy to become overworked and burn out if you don't learn to push back. You can expect to constantly have multiple people breathing down your neck to do something, and be put on the spot when one thing goes unfinished because you were prioritizing something else. The other comments I've read about it being Darwinian here are valid. I've had it hung over my head how much I make as rationale for working extended hours. It was exciting trying to "make it" at first, but at this point I just feel drained. - Overburdening. You will have a lot of responsibilities outside of normal software development. A lot. And it's up to you to find the time to do them. The caveat? You will not have the time to do them. You're also left to figure out how to accomplish these additional tasks on your own. There's very little divisioning of responsibilities, and for a long time we had no dedicated resources for QA or testing. Bugs would often slip through because you have a green software dev responsible for such things, who has never had to do them before. In some ways, it's a good thing because you become more well rounded as an engineer. But it also makes it incredibly hard to focus on actually writing software due to context switching and subsequent inefficiency. - Fire drills. Does your team have its next sprint planned out, ready to meet that looming major deadline? Too bad, something somewhere just broke, and you need to scramble to fix it. In all seriousness, this is a major problem, and I feel really bad for the managers who have to plan for this. As a dev, sometimes its fun and engaging to work on something urgent. But then someone has to stay late to perform the fix or monitor the service, and either schedules get finagled or some righteous person picks up the slack. This happens far too often, and makes committing to deadlines a damning prospect. - Lack of perks. I know I listed "adult perks" as a pro, and I do like the stock options, but there's some drawbacks. Yeah, you'll be awarded stock, but you won't see that money for a while because it has to vest. Take the numbers listed on that starting bonus with a grain of salt, and keep in mind you have to work here for a few years to see them. Many don't last that long, and so never do. Additionally, there were attempts to add fun little perks to the office like a masseuse and espresso, but then they would disappear. As for why, I expect it's because they either costed too much or no one had time to actually use them. Not a good sign.

    Advice to Management

    If you want to retain more employees, give them the training they need to succeed here. Appreciate the extra time and effort people spend to keep this place running. Acknowledge that this is a difficult work environment, and those who stay put up with a lot.


  6. Helpful (5)

    No place for life!

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    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 a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Challenging assignments and good learning experience.

    Cons

    1) Unrealistic deadlines which mandates working over time on a regular basis and takes time away from life. 2) Not at all a company for families with kids. 3) Working long hours and taking sick days to cope up with the sickness and stress is a routine here.

    Advice to Management

    Be realistic about the deadlines. Give newbies time to breathe and adjust. Don't expect employees to be married to the job since their personal lives are hugely impacted. Believe in work life balance.


  7. Great place to learn

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    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)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Great place to learn new technologies. You can try different business models. The culture is pretty dynamic

    Cons

    - Poor salary compare to other tech giants. -Dynamic changes in management -Work life balance is poor

    Advice to Management

    They need to control attrition rate. And also they need to throw away the principle called frugality. I want to get a good coffee from my office if my company expects me to work till midnight. Stop being stingy!


  8. Helpful (4)

    leading backwards

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

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Really smart colleagues, decent pay and benefits. The largest scale you'll ever work on.

    Cons

    a corporate that does not value people and middle management that do not lead. I'm amazed it how chaotic and wasteful it is. And how the culture leads to a kind of callous disregard for anything other than self preservation.

    Advice to Management

    Start leading. Start living up to your espoused principles.


  9. A great learning experience

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

    I have been working at Amazon.com

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    It is a good company to start your career, as it would get you in the performance driven get stuff done attitude fast.

    Cons

    Things are run in a different pace, which changes wildly from team to team. There is a lot of opportunity to be a self starter and figuring out your place in the organization: you have to make yourself useful and not wait for others to make you useful.


  10. Great culture but too frugal

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

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

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    I am proud of Amazon products in general. We values engineer who has the highest standard and deliver a good amount of work. I worked with many bright people and great leaders.

    Cons

    Amazon is care much more about customer than the employee. We work hard to get lass pay and benefit.

    Advice to Management

    Getting promoted is difficult and, thus, the level actually means something.


  11. Helpful (4)

    Enjoyable except for on-call

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    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)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Competitive pay, especially with stocks. Surrounded by smart people. I've never run into anyone that was a moron. A couple lazy people, but nobody that was just dense. Working on products people use and recognize. Most everything is home-grown, so if you have a problem with a tool or interface, the code is available to look at and change, or you can track down the person responsible for it. I've experienced a mostly relaxed work environment with bouts of craziness due to deadlines and big projects. It definitely varies by team/manager. They give you a transit card and will reimburse up to $160 per month of parking. I've never heard of layoffs happening ever. The past couple years have been really booming in terms of new employees joining the company. I've seen two people get "managed out of the company" for poor performance. They were both basically given a certain amount of time to find another job before they were fired. Both left with another job. I like the location. Was closer to downtown with one team and now am in South Lake Union. There's plenty of places to eat nearby and lots of new construction popping up.

    Cons

    On-call rotation sucks, there's no two-ways around that. Both teams I've been on have had a one-week per every two or three months, but it still sucks during that week. Some on-call rotations are worse. Once you have 6 or 7 years under your belt and are about SDE III, you can get out of it if you set yourself up as more of an "architect" that works across many teams within an organization. The work can consume you if you let it. I haven't had much of a problem with work-life balance (except around big deadlines and on-call), but I've worked with some people that regularly put in 10-12 hour days. I'm often the last one in and the first to leave, but I make sure to get my tasks done and nobody has said anything about it. Benefits aren't great. Their 401k match is only 50% up to a total of 2% of your compensation. So if you allocate 4% of your paycheck to the 401k, you'll max out their matching contribution. Medical, dental, and vision come out of your paycheck, but it seems cheaper than previous places I've worked. The employee discount is pitiful, 10% off anything sold by Amazon directly, but limited to $100 off per year. Prime membership isn't even included or discounted for employees. None of the other glamorous tech perks are included (free food, onsite facilities, massages, whatever). The break rooms have water and coffee and include vending machines that you have to pay for. High-density seating is annoying, and people are complaining that they don't meet OSHA standards for the number of restrooms available for all the people they've crammed onto every floor. The new buildings going up in downtown (Denny Triangle) should alleviate some of this at least temporarily. The shuttles could run a little more often, especially around quitting time. It's a 12-minute walk to the bus terminal by the convention center, but that shuttle only comes by every 30 minutes or so. They recently added another shuttle route that services that stop specifically, but the two shuttles aren't staggered, so they always end up leaving the campus about the same time, defeating its usefulness. Frugality is a core principle that drives a lot of annoying policies like the lack of cool perks and developer equipment. They've finally acquiesced that developers need two monitors at their desks. Everybody just salvaged monitors left by interns or leaving employees anyway, but now they'll give you one if you ask (they may be providing them by default to new employees, now, but I'm not sure). From what I can tell the compensation lags behind places like Google and Facebook (although is pretty close to Microsoft).

    Advice to Management

    Continue to respect employee's work-life balance preferences. Leverage more international offices to cover on-call responsibilities during US night time. Continue to ignore Wall St and shareholders to do what you think is best for the company in the long run. Perks could be better.



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