Amazon Software engineer Reviews | Glassdoor

Amazon software engineer Reviews

Updated December 8, 2017
1,752 reviews

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1,752 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Area Managers learn a lot in their first two years but it is fast paced (in 432 reviews)

  • It really depends on the individual employees to maintain the work-life balance (in 358 reviews)

Cons
  • Work life balance is not easy to maintain (in 2007 reviews)

  • There is nearly no work life balance (in 424 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "SDE @ Amazon Review"

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

    I have been working at Amazon full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    We work on problems that are dictated by our customers, which is really fun. We scale very quickly, it's not unusual to go from not making any revenue to millions in a year. Great working environment. Good comp.

    Cons

    Frugal. It's a basic corporate environment. There's free tea and coffee but that's generally it. Lots of reorganizations.


  2. "Great company"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Beijing, Beijing (China)
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Beijing, Beijing (China)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Amazon full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Lots of interesting stuff to work on

    Cons

    Pay is low and benefit is limited

    Advice to Management

    Open more opportunities to junior members

  3. "Lot to learn."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Development Engineer in Hyderabad (India)
    Current Employee - Software Development Engineer in Hyderabad (India)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Amazon full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Lot of new projects throughout the year. Get to work on multiple technologies. Build tools and internal frameworks are the best here and makes your work really easy.

    Cons

    Can be a little hectic at times. Work life balance not that good. Not much cultural activities here, monotonous work environment.


  4. Helpful (1)

    "Best three months ever."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Intern - Software Developer Engineer Intern in Seattle, WA
    Former Intern - Software Developer Engineer Intern in Seattle, WA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Amazon as an intern (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Amazing Experience. Great Work Environment.

    Cons

    Everything was great. I never had any complaints.

    Advice to Management

    Nothing


  5. "Software Engineer"

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

    I have been working at Amazon full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Great environment for working and improving

    Cons

    No free meals
    Small working space

    Advice to Management

    N/A


  6. "Software Development Engineer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Development Engineer in Vancouver, BC (Canada)
    Current Employee - Software Development Engineer in Vancouver, BC (Canada)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Amazon full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    You can develop systems that have a huge impact in a millions of users.
    You can learn a lot.

    Cons

    You have to be tick skin to avoid burnout.

    Advice to Management

    Up to now it is very good the relationship with the management.


  7. "Inconsistency, Deceit and Sometimes Awesomeness."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Development Engineer-II in Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - Software Development Engineer-II in Seattle, WA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Amazon (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Compensation is awesome, and only gets better with time.

    Work with very smart people.

    Working in a place that is absurd in scale, forces you to learn new things and stretch yourself.

    I'm told it looks great on your resume.

    If you can make this into a career you will make serious compensation.

    Cons

    If it's not for you, they will let you know.

    The "Leadership Principles" are applied only however it suites the interpreter, if you solo deliver a large complex project a week late, one manager may say that you demonstrated Ownership by managing ambiguity and delivered results, another may say that you failed to deliver results, demonstrating a lack of bias for action as well as a failure to invent and simplify.

    On numerous occasions I've been in meetings, or informed by others of situations where managers are flat out lying to their directors (to buy time to conceal the issue or throw someone else under the bus).

    External Hires come in at a disadvantage compared to their peers at the same level, due to the massive amount of tribal knowledge and proprietary internal tools.

    Pro or Con: As a software developer, you are not just responsible for software, dev-ops/on-call etc, but also deeply understanding the business model, "being an entrepreneur" in your area, which may or may not be your thing.

    The average retention time at amazon is <2 yrs, and the average time you are with any given manager is about 6 months (varies from place to place within amazon but these are the "averages") this makes it difficult to grow your "internal resume" to work towards promotion.

    Desk Crying is still a thing.

    There is a strong culture of separating the performers from the under performers, the better you do the more opportunity you will be given to the areas that you know well. The worse you do the more they will focus on giving you things that you are not good at. This is apparent all the way up to SVP level thinking on how "raising the bar" is supposed to lead to YOY attrition (by design).

    Advice to Management

    Not really sure that management would want things to change, the meat grinder generates cash, has been working and will probably work for a long time to come.

  8. Helpful (5)

    "Mixed Bag."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Development Engineer-II in Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - Software Development Engineer-II in Seattle, WA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Amazon full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    1. Great pay - I've only seen 2 companies (Google & FB) in Seattle offer more than my current total compensation, and while some in the Bay Area do, it's not more after adjusting for cost of living.
    2. Part of an exciting company
    3. Fast-paced
    4. Hands-on experience with massively scaled software.
    5. Very laid back about working from home (although this varies from team to team)
    6. Objective, merit-based analysis for promotions. Not much office politics or nepotism in my org (caveat: I've heard very different things from other orgs)
    7. Good hardware. This was not the case at all before 2015 or 2016. Now almost every dev. has a top-of-the-line MacBook Pro, at least 1 EC2 instance, and an ultrawide monitor (or 2 regular monitors).

    Cons

    1. If you are a new grad hire, they may place you on a team that has nothing to do with your interests or what org you were told you would work for when you accepted the offer. Even if you have 0 experience in that area. I've heard this from at least 10 people. It seems to be common.
    2. Extremely high operational load, especially in Retail.
    3. "Fail fast" approach and unrealistic deadlines have lead to shortcuts being taken, widespread tech debt, and a very serious retention problem. Even the engineers that stay at Amazon switch teams every 2-3 years.
    4. Hardly anything is documented (including widely-used services and tooling). Building almost anything requires constantly engaging other teams, who are often unresponsive or unhelpful. Tribal knowledge is lost when people leave the team (in my first year, 80% of the 20 engineers on my team left - and this is not uncommon). Imagine that you have to write an app using a web framework (AngularJS, as an example) that you aren't familiar with and you must call 5 services with undocumented APIs. You aren't allowed to use any documentation at all, or refer to any books on AngularJS. You do have an IDE, and can contact the creators of the services you need to use. This is exactly what it is like developing at Amazon. It takes the fun out of it entirely, and makes building anything much harder than it should be (compared to using off-the-shelf tools/libraries and documented APIs). Amazon has been lauded for adopting a Service-oriented architecture; what isn't mentioned is that none of the services are documented, even though they have (usually multiple) clients.
    5. Culture is very cult-like.
    6. The company highly values fresh-out-of-college hires. They believe that potential is everything. In software engineering, though, experience can be incredibly important, too. I suspect they prefer college hires because it is much easier to get them to overwork, and they are less likely to have families. College teaches data structures & algorithms, but not software best practices. Code quality is often very poor.
    7. The work is challenging only due to the complexity of figuring out what is undocumented, interfacing with other teams, etc., not the actual coding part.
    8. Very difficult to change any entrenched practice, even if it can be demonstrated to be ineffective and better alternatives are available.
    9. Management is typically very short-sighted. Schedules are determined by when higher-level mgmt wants a project to be completed, and all projects must be completed by the end of the current calendar year. Usually there is little to no input from the actual engineers. All that matters is if the code meets the goal or not, with little if any consideration on whether it is a ticking time-bomb that will be unreliable and require frequent maintenance. Most code at Amazon is not robust, and requires 24/7 oncall coverage for frequent breakages.

    Advice to Management

    Change engineering culture to value high-quality software. Hire more people rather than expecting to get so much out of so few. Coding is fun - people do it for free, they do it after work in their free time, etc. Just remove all the things that take the fun out of it. Reduce operational load by hiring dedicated Site Reliability/Support Engineers and give developers the time to create quality solutions and document their services. I am 100% certain that the current approach is at least 2-3 times more costly in the long-term (>= 1.5 years) than if more time was given during the development and testing phase.


  9. "Internship"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Intern - Software Development Engineer Intern in Hyderabad (India)
    Former Intern - Software Development Engineer Intern in Hyderabad (India)
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Amazon as an intern

    Pros

    Good people
    Nice stipend
    Free Transportation
    Free Food coupons

    Cons

    Nothing as such
    Depends on you team and mentor

    Advice to Management

    Choose mentors for interns wisely. Some people are just not fit for the role.


  10. "Great Place to Learn"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Intern - Software Development Engineer Intern in Seattle, WA
    Former Intern - Software Development Engineer Intern in Seattle, WA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Amazon as an intern (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Flexi-hours, Cooperative colleagues, good pay

    Cons

    No food. Nothing free available. Some days could be stressful (particularly on deadlines)

    Advice to Management

    Great workplace.


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