Amazon.com Reviews

Updated September 19, 2014
Updated September 19, 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

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1. 194 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. 268 people found this helpful  

    Make sure you know exactly what you're getting into

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

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

    Pros

    The name will precede you. This company can legitimately be called a "Disruptor" and perhaps even a world-changer. Customers love it and it's amazing to watch it all unfold at times. It's a pleasure to be even a small part of that.

    Even low-level employees are given some ownership, more than they might in some other places. Processes like the customer service andon cord demonstrate this.

    Pay is mostly good, with some caveats (see the Cons section).

    You will learn a ton. You'll be put through the ringer, but will emerge stronger for it. It's been said that a year at Amazon = two years elsewhere. That's definitely true. You'll learn business, supply chain, tech, retail, you name it. You're surrounded by smart people who challenge you to grow constantly. That was one of my favorite parts about working here.

    You can bring your dog to the office, dress code is casual, and South Lake Union is a fun neighborhood to work in. Seattle is stunningly beautiful in the summer, too (if you have time to enjoy it, that is.)

    Bezos is one of the few CEOs I've seen who earns the glowing reputation. He's a genius and a visionary. It's exciting to work in his company, though the thought of what will happen when he moves on is also a bit frightening.

    Cons

    "Work-life balance" means different things to different people, so I'm not going to say it's bad here per se. That said, long hours are the norm at all levels across the company, and usually that's required and expected just to keep up. Expect 60 hours as your baseline year round and 70 or more during Q4. You should expect that your time and mental energy for kids, hobbies, etc. will be extremely limited. Plan accordingly. Whether this is a negative will depend largely on the individual; just ensure you know where you stand on this before you sign an offer letter.

    That Amazon is a massive company with tons of smart people at all levels can actually be a huge negative. You might be a solid individual contributor, but so is absolutely everyone else - and you're all fighting for the same attention. It can be very hard to stand out, and you have to ensure your manager and your manager's manager know what value you bring at all times or you're toast. (You may still be toast regardless.) That means politics, backstabbing, and stack ranking do occur, despite some claims to the contrary. People definitely look out for themselves and themselves alone here; it's not a collaborative environment. It's also very easy to get the sense that you are a highly expendable cog even if your contributions bring significant value to the company. Plan to fight for yourself hard here, and be prepared to not get much acknowledgment or praise. Even if you do prove yourself well, know that advancement opportunities are limited. Most transfers in my observation were lateral, with big new hires being external. I've heard that the strategy of many people is to do a few intense years of lateral moves which can then be leveraged into a higher position at another company.

    Compensation is a mixed bag. Salaries are just average, but you get a huge signing bonus and stock which vests in strange increments over four years. Since the average employee lasts less than two years, you will not see most of that stock and you may need to repay some of that signing bonus (usually awarded over two years) if you leave or are pushed out. Raises are very, very small each year - your salary will not substantially increase even with a good review. Most people work startup hours, so their effective pay rate is pretty low. Additionally, the company espouses frugality as a core value. While this can be a positive, it also means they're downright cheap on some things, including hardware. Employee perks are pretty much nonexistent, and that's compared to most big companies and not just the Googles of the world. Benefits like health insurance and 401k match are mediocre at best. No free Prime accounts. No paid parental leave; moms get disability and dads get zip. (As in zero. None.) I did mention earlier that this isn't the most kid-friendly company to work for.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    It's great to work at a place that highly values customer experience, so please keep that up. Work on your compensation - it's not competitive when compared to other tech giants. If I'm going to work as hard or as much as I did, at least I'd get free haircuts and food and massages at Google. Hell, even some paid paternity leave would be a start.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    SDE At Amazon

    • 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 less than a year

    Pros

    It was very laid back and the work was challenging and interesting. Sometimes you had to spend the few extra hours on work, but where do you not? Has a great culture with lots of opportunities for team outings. I was thoroughly surprised at the amount of room there is to grow in aspects of software and hardware development. You own you're projects and are held at a high standard.

    Cons

    Personally there wasn't anything i disagreed with in terms of company values and leadership. Also there was plenty of opportunities for personal growth!

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  4. We want your feedback – Are these company reviews helpful to you?  Yes | No
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    Ok Gets the bills paid

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Amazon.com

    Pros

    They give you plenty of time off...PTO and UPT

    Cons

    HR Doesn't know anything so do your own research

  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great tech job, though on-call kinda sucks

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

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

    Pros

    - Small teams mean that coworkers are friends, fast development, and bureaucracy is minimal. Coordination with other teams just means a short walk down the hall or talking over a divider between rooms.
    - Decent pay and benefits.

    Cons

    developers must take turns being on call. If you're on call, that means if your team's thing breaks at 3am, your pager is going to go off and you get to go fix it immediately. The idea is to motivate developers to write more reliable code, I guess.

    It is possible to get stuck with a bad team. Either people you don't get along with, or a workaholic team that has a bad work-life balance and pushes you too hard.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9. 11 people found this helpful  

    Opportunity like nowhere else

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Software Development Manager  in  Palo Alto, CA
    Current Employee - Software Development Manager in Palo Alto, CA

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

    Pros

    Great place to get things done and grow your resume. You are working with really smart people and have access to a lot of enablers. The culture here enshrines "bias for action" which is your license to cut through the red tape when it gets in the way.

    Cons

    Low titles, lack of performance pay. The appearance of frugality is valued beyond its business benefit. This can make you feel less valued regardless of your salary. Stack ranking encourages people to play the system rather than do the right thing. Negotiate hard before you arrive.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The first few performance reviews here are tougher than they should be and lead to attrition. Managers have to play the system to give promotions and money where they can. Because overall Amazon has been so successful, upper management has failed to recognize the cost of this attrition and how much better performance could be without this problem. We are using up our talent pool and our competitors are skilled at playing up the negative aspects of the culture here.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10. 2 people found this helpful  

    Awesome!!!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Process Assistant  in  Carlisle, PA
    Current Employee - Process Assistant in Carlisle, PA

    I have been working at Amazon.com full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    There are so many opportunities!!! Very customer oriented with always pursuing new ways to be more efficient with frugality.

    Cons

    Lots of changes all the time in streamlining the processes for customer experience....

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Train your upcoming middle managers to be prepared and give them the feedback they deserve (be it positive or negative)...

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11. 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

Worked for Amazon.com? Contribute to the Community!

Your response will be removed from the review – this cannot be undone.