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9 people found this helpful  

Boring

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

Pros

Good pay, talented & fun coworkers, flexible hours, work from home, wide selection of food trucks at lunch time

Cons

This was a developer position, and I barely got the opportunity to program, and when I did it was mind numbingly trivial. I worked in Retail Systems, and they are mostly bogged down in trouble tickets and constant feature requests from the business side, leaving little time to actually develop software. Furthermore, the paranoia about losing money leads to aversion toward software change, which means the code-base is a monstrous pile of incremental changes accumulated over the years. Almost no documentation, and I frequently would hear sentiments that documentation or comments would be a hindrance-- since that would mean having to maintain the documentation or comments in parallel with the code (this might have just been a cultural aspect of my team). There seems to be a revolving door for young developers, as well as people jumping around from team to team, so teams' know-how deteriorates to the point where there are large portions of code that no one is familiar with. And yet, you have to support that code when you are on-call. If you aren't familiar with on-call, it means getting paged at any time of day when there are problems with the software. You might be thrown into a scenario where you are responsible for Amazon ordering being down, and the problem lies in your team's software, but you aren't familiar with that part of the code. You will probably just have to relay this to your team members-- which is fine-- but needless to say it is stressful.

I was promised to eventually get the chance to do some real software development, but perhaps not for a year or more. If you are in it for the long haul, maybe it could be okay. I didn't care about the money, and it didn't make it worth letting my career stagnate for 2-3 years waiting until I was senior enough to do maybe have the chance to do some real work.

Advice to ManagementAdvice

Slow down feature requests, and realize that technical debt and software cruft are a serious detriment to the companies future, and drives away talent who would prefer to design and innovate in a way which would secure a better future for the company. Treat your employees better-- the "customer obsession" and "frugality" mantras alienate employees to the point where they feel like customers come before them.

Doesn't Recommend
No opinion of CEO

Other reviews for Amazon.com

  1.  

    Fast growing company with room for advancement

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Onsite Medical Representative  in  Columbia, SC
    Current Employee - Onsite Medical Representative in Columbia, SC

    Pros

    Multi-billion dollar company that is relatively new. Plenty of room to climb the corporate ladder. They count two years of Amazon experience as a bachelors degree.

    Cons

    Corporate BS, but hey, what job doesn't have that

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Free health insurance

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2. 16 people found this helpful  

    It will be a hard slog, and if you start at the wrong group you're in big trouble

    • 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

    Pros

    - Cutting edge technology (at least in some groups)
    - Excellent tooling/infrastructure for SDEs. Good (not too burdensome) processes.
    - Smart engineers
    - Good pay and decent benefits
    - Stock doing well so RSUs can be worth a lot (if you join at a low point in stock price).

    Cons

    - Terrible oncall in almost every group. You will get very little sleep. All manner of abuse of employees is justified on the basis of Customer Obsession (employees are not treated as 'customers').
    - Software quality is often sacrificed by managers to meet deadlines and blame for failures placed on engineers (so the only way for a SDE to deal with a sev-2 is to kiss that long weekend goodbye and at least show you are working on the problem).
    - Turnover rates in some groups are very very bad, particularly some platform teams. Managers last less than six to twelve months (these folks typically leave Amazon because you can't transfer internally before 12 months are over). If you are an SDE, forget about stability and continuity.
    - As AWS becomes successful, the platform teams are getting political at the manager/sr. manager levels. The organization runs on fear. You don't know when you'll get thrown under the bus. It's less of an issue at the SDE level.
    - Expect to beg for productivity software and decent quality laptops/computer peripherals (or buy your own). This applies across Amazon.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    - Don't create a bureaucracy. Maintain a flat org structure like Google.
    - Hire managers who write code around 10% of their job (these type of people tend to spend less time playing political games).
    - Give developers some breathing room to be creative, and work on hobby projects to expand their horizons.
    - Create dedicated operations teams to reduce oncall burden.
    - Don't overwork engineers and managers and tell them they are fortunate to be working for a company like AWS. It won't make up for sacrificing your best years with family, or getting divorced, or losing your health. I've seen people going through all of these things at platform teams in AWS, due to the politics, stress and fear.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
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