Amazon.com Reviews

Updated August 30, 2015
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5,452 Employee Reviews

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  1. A great place to learn how business and technology work together.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Development Engineer II in Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - Software Development Engineer II in Seattle, WA
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    A great place to learn how business and technology work together. The vision and communication from senior leadership is good. Amazon supports a great work/life balance (depending upon your manager). If you ask, you will get answers and justification for various things from compensation, promotions and career advancement. If you are smart you will be rewarded, do not be afraid to challenge. Amazonians respect smarts.

    Cons

    In some teams the pager duty can be taxing - since developers also must support what they develop.

    Advice to Management

    Better career advancement for software developers.


  2. Helpful (1)

    Thumbs up for Amazon

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Director in Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - Director in Seattle, WA
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    It is one of the most innovative companies on the planet that never sits back and rests. Amazon has a humble approach to everything which I find very appealing in today's world of companies screaming about how great they are. Amazon also has an extremely high hiring bar, and the company is loaded with really smart people. That makes it easy to come to work in the morning.

    Cons

    Amazon is unlike most companies out there, and this can sometimes be a problem for new employees, especially those not right our of school and have worked at other companies. Our culture is a little different, and our priorities are little different.

    Advice to Management

    Keep doing what you are doing-- stay focused on the customer.


  3. Helpful (3)

    Challenging environment with a multitude of opportunities.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Technical Program Manager in Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - Technical Program Manager in Seattle, WA
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Amazon still feels like a startup in someways, in that everything is moving quickly and there are many opportunities to make a difference. I have felt empowered at Amazon to make impacting decisions that at other companies may have been slowed by bureaucracy. Amazon is not perfect; however that results in opportunity for you to fix the imperfections and get recognized. There are many diverse job roles at Amazon and many different business groups and you are able to move to different business groups fairly easily if you perform well in your current role. The people working at Amazon are smart and most seem fairly happy. The company is still growing fast and the total compensation which includes generous stock awards is very competitive.

    Cons

    Amazon may not be the place for everyone. It is a challenging environment and for some job roles the workload can be demanding. The benefits could be better, they are adequate at best. Your annual salary for the first few years can be on the low side (before your stocks vests).

    Advice to Management

    Overall, I feel the company is moving in the right direction. I would perhaps recommend expanding internationally at a quicker pace. Amazon only has websites in 7 countries; however half of the revenue comes from outside of the US. I believe there is opportunity in South America, Southeast Asia and Australia to start expanding operations and building the brand.


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  5. Think like an owner!

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Development Engineer II in Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - Software Development Engineer II in Seattle, WA
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Amazon is packed full of opportunities. There's plenty of space to grow both personally and technically and challenges abound. The real beauty of the place is that individual groups and teams are given nearly full reign in how they operate as long as they produce the desired results. This level of freedom means that those teams which require strict SDLC methodologies to meet high availability requirements can apply those, while teams who do not require as strict of a methodology are also free to explore agile approaches. There are lots of available tools for working in certain ways, but teams are not required to use those tools and are welcome to use others of their own choosing. This freedom keeps the work environment fresh and interesting, even as Amazon has grown into a truly large company. The other aspect of Amazon that is truly rewarding is the "ownership" attitude that is fostered. Not code ownership, per se, but rather company ownership. Any employee is encouraged to think about how the project they are doing improves customer experience, drives down costs, and overall improves the business. Anyone can say "I don't think that this is a good customer experience," and people tend to listen.

    Cons

    In short: Chaos. We haves it. I've personally witnessed complete priority shifts take place in 24 hours. If you are the kind of person who will be upset if the project you were working on for the past 2 weeks (or months) suddenly gets tabled in favor of some super ultra high priority mission, you won't like it here. Personally, this doesn't bother me. Both the tabled project and the new one will generally be interesting, and if the tabled project had a real business need behind it, it will come back around to completion one day down the road :).

    Advice to Management

    I'd mostly say to continue keeping your eyes on the ball. Serve the customer first and all else will follow.


  6. Amazon, great place to work for a huge jump start on a great career.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Development Manager in Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - Software Development Manager in Seattle, WA
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    If you are interested in moving ahead, particularly as an Engineer, it is all in your hands. If you are smart, work hard, put in extra time, you're almost guaranteed to move ahead quickly. Politics don't come into play nearly as much as results.

    Cons

    Amazon is not the kind of place where you would pick a job and work there for 20 years. Amazon expects people to switch jobs every 2-3 years or so, work extra hours, and push hard. If you're happy with just doing your job, the 9-5 thing, it will not generally work too well. Amazon is a good place to work hard for 5-8 years, and then hop into any position you want somewhere else.. or work hard for 10-15 years and retire :) The benefits package isn't all that impressive compared to other companies, but they focus rewards on the financial side rather than benefits / time off.

    Advice to Management

    Senior management is highly respected for the most part. Focusing on benefits (or the perception of benefits) would always be good.


  7. Great pay, low benefits, great environment

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Development Engineer in Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - Software Development Engineer in Seattle, WA
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Small teams encourage start-up-like mentality and working environment. Compensation is top-notch. All teams are limited to some 8-9 people, which allows each person to assume a comprehensive role covering all aspects of software development. The job also gives very interesting technical challenges.

    Cons

    Lack of benefits, health plan is lacking, company is "cheap". Company seems unwilling to spend on equipment, perks, and other niceties to improve productivity.

    Advice to Management

    More perks to compete with your local competitors. While your pay is great, other companies in the area have superior health plans, and the lack of such benefits chase away family-oriented employees, leaving the company staffed with college grads who don't care about health insurance.


  8. Hard work pays off

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Supplier Manager in Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - Supplier Manager in Seattle, WA
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    The place is fast paced and challenging

    Cons

    People work very hard. By very hard I mean damn hard.

    Advice to Management

    don't change a thing


  9. Great company

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Software Development Engineer in Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Software Development Engineer in Seattle, WA
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Good compensation package, no state tax in Washington. Competitive with Google and Microsoft. A lot of exciting teams to work on, which was surprising, especially to those that view Amazon as a "bookstore." Teams are usually small, divided into two pizza teams, meaning that each team can be fed by two pizza. This is nice.

    Cons

    Employees don't get their own offices, which can sometimes make it hard to program. But of course, this is the case at most programming companies, so it's not really Amazon specific. They have no offices in California, so you pretty much have to move to Seattle.

    Advice to Management

    Mixed feelings, some are great, some are so so.


  10. Helpful (4)

    Amazon.com provides the working environment for you to think big and have an impact.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Development Engineer in Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - Software Development Engineer in Seattle, WA
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    At Amazon.com you have flexible work times and the option to work remotely (as long as it is in moderation), and the managers are very supportive. These have been important factors for my performance, since I feel that I am most productive when I work without disruption. In my opinion, the best aspect of working at Amazon.com is the fact that you have immediate impact on customer experience. The projects are usually short (on the order of weeks), iterative and deployments are painless, making it quite easy to innovate and get instant feedback. This also means that you get to work on a variety of projects that stretches you on different levels. Teams are usually small, which fosters team spirit and sense of ownership. You are always judged by your merits. Your opinions are heard, and as long as you can make the case they are most often adopted. Amazon.com, today, is more than an online retailer: it has variety of other services to offer; like Amazon Web Services. This means, there are a large number opportunities to advance your career in a variety of aspects -- without you having to change your company. And, did I mention that you will be working with some of the top engineers in the industry?

    Cons

    Working at a fast-pace company like Amazon.com has some downsides as well. Documentation is scarce and often times out-dated and people mostly rely on the "tribal-knowledge" accumulated over time to get things done. There are ongoing initiatives that address the problem, but I think it is inherent to the agile software development process, which puts less emphasis on documentation and more on delivering shippable software. However, this does make it challenging to troubleshoot a problem (you end up nagging team members, getting frustrated) and also reinventing the wheel sometimes. Amazon.com is a push-to-web type of software (contrast with "shrink-wrap" software, which you are generally off the hook after the project is down, so quality plays a great role), and there has not been much emphasis put on the quality of software until recently. In other words, quality assurance is nascent at Amazon.com, and resources are scarce. I admit that testing a software at Amazon scale is very tough and it is also not easy to find good test engineers. As a result, developers are sometimes asked to take on some QA-specific tasks, which might be off-putting for some. However, I would also argue that this is an opportunity, because there is enough room to try out new ideas and to tailor the process for individual teams' needs. Frugality is a core principle at Amazon.com: don't expect to have access to free drinks / food (except coffe/tea).

    Advice to Management

    I would love to see more frictionless and frequent communication medium between senior management and employees. I sometimes feel like I am not quite sure what kind of impact will my work have in terms of business and future direction.


  11. Work hard, get paid, sleep afterwards.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Financial Analyst
    Current Employee - Financial Analyst
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    It is a fun, fast paced environment. Lots of opportunities to advance with the rotational program which really gets the creative juices flowing and moving between teams. People are highly motivated and want to change the world, very serious about the company mission. Everyone is treated with respect and team environment is great. Relaxed work environment, I can chat with anyone around me and listen to my music, then go out to happy hour after work with some coworkers.

    Cons

    They work you very hard, you're expected to work a ton of overtime. Company isn't growing at breakneck speed of early 2000 so opportunity for advancement is not as big. Very very high hiring bar.

    Advice to Management

    Be more understanding of the work load. They are usually very good managers though, they got there for a reason.



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