Amazon.com Reviews

Updated August 3, 2015
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  1. Amazon review

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

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Smart people Develop stuff that actually goes places and affects lots of people Teams do a decent job of self organizing

    Cons

    Compensation could be better Getting stuck under a bad manager is really problematic Stressful Scale presents large and annoying problems

    Advice to Management

    Be more willing to negotiate compensation Take individual contributor reviews of managers more seriously Stop with the stack and rank Be more transparent about personnel changes


  2. Good Place to work

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

    I worked at Amazon.com

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Location is very good and people there were very friendly

    Cons

    Employee get less benefit in terms of Amazon prime or free lunch.


  3. 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.


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  5. 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.


  6. 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.


  7. 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.


  8. 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.


  9. Helpful (18)

    Caught in the Gears

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

    I worked at Amazon.com full-time (More than a year)

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

    Pros

    You will learn. A lot. This company has some of the most challenging, most exciting, most technologically engaging problems I have ever had to solve, and I learned an amazing amount in the time I was there. You will find something in their culture to value. The principles of leadership are impressive, and the way they interplay with each other actually informs how the company operates.

    Cons

    Your employment will be a blessing or a condemnation depending almost entirely on the team for which you work. I was in Builder Tools on the deployment engine team, and in two-and-a-half years my life was hell. I was forever understaffed, overworked, and unsupported. My manager provided no coaching, no guidance, and no support except on performance "reviews" which were almost entirely full of new information. He was forced out of management, but not before ruining my chances of keeping my job. When I brought the matter up to HR and said I was being unfairly treated, their direct answer was, and I quote, "if we did something about this, we'd set a precedent of letting employees dispute their reviews, and then we couldn't manage." After that, I had no interest in fighting for my job, since it was clear the company had no interest in fighting for me.

    Advice to Management

    Stop the churn. Yes, you need to raise the bar over time, but you do so by actually caring about your SDE1s, instead of scooping up more college kids into the hopper to be run through the machine. Fix your recruitment process. Most of your new hires are college applicants, which means they don't know what it means to be well-treated by a company yet, which means when you don't treat them well they don't have anything against which to compare. Promote internally. It's easier to leave the company and come back a grade higher than it is to get promoted. Valuing your customers at the expense of your employees is not customer-obsessed; we shop here too. MAKE SURE "EARNS TRUST OF OTHERS" and "VOCALLY SELF-CRITICAL" is a full peer to "IS RIGHT, A LOT."


  10. Needs better leadership

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

    I worked at Amazon.com

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

    Pros

    Pay, perks, people,company polices, products

    Cons

    Mangers, sales, work life balance


  11. 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!



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