Amazon Software engineer Reviews | Glassdoor

Amazon software engineer Reviews

Updated July 27, 2017
1,583 reviews

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  1. "Think like an owner!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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.


  2. "Great pay, low benefits, great environment"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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.

  3. "Great company"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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.


  4. Helpful (4)

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

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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.


  5. Helpful (1)

    "Great tech company with limited bureaucracy."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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

    There is little bureaucracy and a relatively flat hierarchy. Many members of senior management have a technical background and are very intelligent. They are also open to ideas and respectful of other employees. One of Amazon's corporate values is frugality which usually leads the company to avoid and cut unnecessary spending such as fancy furniture for senior management, or expensive benefits packages for niche groups. Amazon is a relatively efficient, fun, profitable company to work for.

    Cons

    The on call schedule can be a serious burden. It limits the ability to make and keep commitments outside of work at times and can be a drain on an employee's family. They are also starting to lose their young, lean company feel. Process sometimes trumps results.

    Advice to Management

    Continue to focus yourselves on the technology and the people that create the technology. Avoid the temptation to allow corporate fat and excess.


  6. "N/A"

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

    Pros

    * Very hospitable working conditions
    * Great people and management
    * Exciting projects to work on

    Cons

    * Benefits aren't as great as larger companies, but very good overall
    * The Frugality motto can sometimes go a bit too far

    Advice to Management

    N/A


  7. "Fun but not for everyone"

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

    Pros

    There is a lot of freedom, and the sense of ownership is really valuable. Groups are small and usually pretty nimble. Logic usually prevails rather than politics. The customer focus feels nice, and the scale things operate is great. There is always more to learn on both the technical and business fronts, and you don't have a multi year personal backlog then you've got blinders on. If you like a challenge then it is a pretty nice place to work.

    Cons

    There are a reasonable number of "taxes". Things that need to get done that are pushed top down. While only a few per year, they can end up consuming a good chunk of time. This causes a lot of rework between the many small teams.

    Advice to Management

    Encourage more learning and bottom up leadership. Maintain the risk reward trade off value, and try not to lose sight of what makes our environment fun and fosters innovation. There is already a lot more we could get out of employees that we do not simply because the energy has dissipated away and no one is really bothering to stir things up.

  8. "Way to go, Amazon."

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

    Pros

    Great vision with great people.

    Cons

    Not so good benefits. No paternity leave.

    Advice to Management

    Doing good!


  9. Helpful (1)

    "Amazon Interview briefer."

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

    Pros

    One of the best technology companies to work for.Best Te

    Cons

    You have to remain on-call at times to handle tech-support issues.

    Advice to Management

    none.


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Amazon is a great place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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 challenging problem space with a lot of opportunity to develop interesting and complex problems. It is a company filled with great people with good ideas who have a passion for developing software. The compensation is good and competitive. The work life balance is excellent. Telecommuting is welcomed. Hours are flexible.

    Cons

    Infrequent on-call duty for operational support. Poor knowledge sharing within the company. Outdated platforms and technologies in use. Occasionally, the need arises for late night support work. The operational burden of owning software is a both a plus and a minus for the company.

    Advice to Management

    Continue pursuing a long term customer focused approach.


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