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9 people found this helpful  

Great people, horrible technology

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

I worked at Amazon.com full-time for less than a year

Pros

Intelligent, helpful colleagues. There was not one person there whom I disliked working with.

Excellent hardware provisioning and IT support. I was all setup within a day.

Contemporary building. Good local dining, daycare, petcare... It would be easy to get an apartment nearby and live within walking distance of all necessities.

Nice (easy to update) wiki.

Standard best practices envisioned in the training documentation.

Great opportunities to advance rapidly. If you can tolerate the outrageous inefficiencies and disarray of Amazon, the employee churn alone will advance you quickly.

Alluring sign on bonuses - up to (possibly beyond) double your salary.

Company outlook is good. Amazon has top-notch customer service. They have mastered logistics and they are a logistics company, not a technology company.

Cons

Horrible technology stack. Runtime environments and build tools proprietary bastardizations of their open source counterparts with poor/no logging. In other words: You are always working on a fragile environment that routinely goes down entirely for no apparent reason. Countless hours are burned trying to recover your environment. Tremendously disruptive because there is almost always somebody dealing with their broken environment.

Best practices are not followed:
- There are few tests, and it takes lots of hacking just to get unit tests in place (forget about IT/functional/e2e as they use prod and customers in target regions as their testing ground).
- The teams are seated in open bullpens and tasked with ever-changing-priority duties. There is such a lack of cohesion that any upfront strategy discussed with anybody varies by individual.
- There is no scrum process beyond a quick bi-weekly summary of what you completed.
- Without tests, there is no guarantee that a newly-released version set will even compile. Colleagues get the bad news upon pulling the new bundle into their environment and watching it burst into flames.

On calls. Wear a pager a few weeks a month and be available 24/7 to troubleshoot all high severity issues. Remember the 'testing' approach? The high severity alarm goes off several times a day.

Golden handcuffs: A big upfront sign on bonus paid in full that tapers off over time. Get hired, receive chunk of money, spend it, discover unpleasantries, be financially imprisoned or pay back bonus and depart.

For these reasons, Amazon has earned its reputation as a meat grinder. Developers must be able to deal with spending several days/weeks accomplishing a task that, anywhere else, would be completed in a few hours. Furthermore, the ecosystem is hacks on top of hacks. Not to mention they are eagerly looking for somebody who is willing to migrate Perl to Java.

Advice to ManagementAdvice

Try not to let the schizophrenic nature of this organization affect your wellbeing.

Doesn't Recommend
Neutral Outlook
Disapproves of CEO

Other Reviews for Amazon.com

  1. 11 people found this helpful  

    Know what you are getting into. You will grow significantly at Amazon but you will work very hard to do so."

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

    I have been working at Amazon.com full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    --> Culture & Leadership Principles - The Amazon Leadership Principles are not a mission statement that was developed and then forgotten. We live and die by these principles and they drive our culture... and the culture is pretty great!
    --> Work with super smart, very talented people
    --> Great Global Brand
    --> Jeff Bezos/CEO - Having such a strong CEO is invaluable. He is a genius!
    --> Bring your dog to work
    --> Business who is truly partnered (in most cases) with recruiting. Recruiters are not order takers - we are a part of our business and our experience/knowledge in our field is valued.
    --> You're Never Bored
    --> Fast Paced - makes things exciting and you always feel like the ball is moving forward
    --> Ability to move fast - low bureaucracy
    --> Impact - everyone has the ability to make a big impact on their team, their org, and even Amazon as a whole.
    --> Mistakes are ok - just learn from them and own them

    Cons

    --> Work Life Balance - you will work hard and long at Amazon but you will grow. This is the sole reason I would not encourage a friend to come here.
    --> Comp Structure - stock is compensation. It is not utilized to incentivize people to stay longer term. If the stock value increases, so does your compensation and it can affect your ability to gain more stock come review time.
    --> Politics - though Amazon is not as political as many other large companies, it is political. Particularly when it comes to...
    --> Promotions - often based on favoritism and they are political.
    --> Lack of perks and weak benefits package (for a top tech company) - we struggle to compete with other large tech company benefit & perks packages. We pay for parking, there are no freebies, and there are a lot of things that are just not offered (tuition reimbursement, paid paternity leave, etc).
    --> Limited guidance - Amazon is a very sink or swim culture. You own all of your own learning and will not have much guidance, even as a new person.
    --> Up or out - if you are not growing and taking on more, you will be managed out.
    --> Pace - gets exhausting at times, it's hard to sustain and many people burn out.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Work life balance is important and we lose a lot of great people because of the lack of it. The market is super competitive and it will only get harder to bring in new talent. Our strategy needs to focus more aggressively on retention.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    Cutting edge technology

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

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

    Pros

    Challenging tasks.
    Sharp people to work with.
    You will always be on your toes.

    Cons

    On calls might be sometimes little hectic.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Need more employee feedback

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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