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Amazon Reviews

Updated June 28, 2017
3,613 reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • Work life balance is a challenge (in 1724 reviews)

  • No work life balance around the holidays (in 376 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (2)

    "Burnout is likely"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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
    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    The people you will be working with are amazingly clever. The "bar raising" approach they bring to interviews really has done a lot to keep the employee base competent.

    You will be building software used my hundreds of thousands of people.

    Cons

    My only real problem with Amazon was the massive time drain and how it ate into my personal life outside of "work hours"; 60-70 hour weeks were the norm. The team I was on owned a very high profile though and others didn't seem to have this problem. I suspect that this was a perfect storm of my own tendency toward working a lot, a manager that always wanted more, and the company culture -- maybe if you are a bit better at separating work and life or the team you're interviewing with is a bit more slack you won't have the same burn out I did.

    Just a note: I lived across the lake which meant an additional 1.5 hours each day on the bus. While it is more expensive in the city it's probably worth it in the end. After Amazon was done with me those hours on the bus were pretty valuable.

    Advice to Management

    None


  2. Helpful (2)

    "Great Experience (Amazon years = Dog years), Superb Colleagues, Plenty to Improve"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Seattle, WA
    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Scale -- Amazing opportunity to have exposure to large-scale ecommerce, website, infrastructure. Truly the most top-notch security folks I have seen anywhere.

    Solid Company -- I believe that Amazon has a good, solid core business and that Jeff truly does have vision.

    Amazing colleagues -- Some really smart, good people that I have loved to work with. Exceedingly competent software development overall.

    Vacation -- stay there long enough (7+ years) and you'll get a decent amount of vacation.

    Cons

    Compensation -- get the best comp package you can when you start, because you won't get much thereafter and everything will be based on that. If you luck out with a good manager that will fight for you, you may have a chance. Otherwise, the only way to get any decent raises is to get really well known and a lot of senior management to think on you favorably (without making any enemies) so that when your name comes up in a ratings review meeting.

    Reviews -- feedback/actual performance and compensation are unrelated. Promotions are fights requiring significant documentation and a boss that likes you and a boss that likes your boss.

    Management is generally very hit or miss -- a good manager can make all the difference in the world and a bad manager can be only mildly damaging at best. Employee recognition (especially for non-software developers) is nonexistent unless your particular manager cares about it. As with many larger companies, the individual group you are in makes a huge difference.

    Advice to Management

    I have to agree with the succession planning for Jeff suggestion in another comment was right on. Find senior execs, who are actually passionate and interested in the company, the products, and all aspects of technology.


  3. Helpful (1)

    "Good long-term approach and great focus on customer"

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

    Pros

    The company provides a lot of opportunities to work on various projects and interact with different groups. In addition, it is fairly easy to move around to different groups. The results of your projects are very visible and you will have the opportunity to interact with management. The company has a very long-term approach and seems to be well positioned for the future.

    Cons

    The hours can be long. Because a sizable portion of the business happens around holidays you might not get these off. Additionally, management can be prone to micromanage its employees. This is very frustrating at times and can suggest that there isn't a lot of trust placed in employees to make decisions.

    Advice to Management

    Put more trust in employees.


  4. Helpful (1)

    "Know what you're getting into"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    It's a well-respected company, and a lot of exciting things are happening. I think the company has a good long-term outlook

    Cons

    Pager duty (and supporting software 24/7) as an SDE. Having to coerce other teams into helping you with things. Documentation is lacking on pretty much everything, so there is a lot of frustration starting anything new.

    Advice to Management

    For the most part I think senior management is doing well, and leading the company in a good direction.


  5. Helpful (5)

    "Good place to learn, must have thick skin to stay long-term"

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

    Pros

    good career growth with exposure to a high-success way of doing business. Great to focus on the customer rather than on stock share prices.

    Cons

    Limited performance feedback.....senior management tends to focus on the negatives rather than providing praise for job well done. The pace is intense, so those seeking quality of work-life balance should be forewarned.

    Advice to Management

    Spend time developing others and letting them fail without fear of blame or public humiliation. Failure teaches us more than success, so allow people to fail gracefully now and then.


  6. Helpful (1)

    "Hire the best, and then empower them to make the company great"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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

    The company hires really smart people and create a great product that really focuses on the end user.

    Cons

    Micromanagement is pervasive through out the company. This appears come from the top down of diving deep. There appears to very little trust that the smart people they hire can make the right decisions.

    Advice to Management

    Learn to trust the people you hire.


  7. Helpful (2)

    "Fortune 500 .com"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Seattle, WA
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Entrepreneurial opportunities within company, the CEO and some of the SVPs are the very best, no red tape, smart people, stock, brand.

    Cons

    No career path or mentoring, middle management is very tactical, below average benefits (401k and health).

    Advice to Management

    Too much of optimizing for optics, hold people more accountable for results, look at what was promised and delivered in previous year's operational plan while looking at next years. Improve health benefits and 401K, identify and mentor performers.


  8. "amazon.com slow and steady"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Product Manager in Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - Product Manager in Seattle, WA
    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Would have been a great career opportunity for advancement, however we are all aware of the great crash of 2008 and the impact this is having on consumers. Hence this is a tough year to be in retail and a time when most management are fearful of making investments. However, this could also be a time of great opportunity for visionary leaders who are willing and able to invest with an eye on the future. How will American consumers buy post this crash, online of course! Hence Amazon needs to position herself to lead in this future. In fact, feel responsible for driving, creating and innovating to bring this future to past. Other positives, great location, awesome discount on website products and opportunity to learn about retailing

    Cons

    Not a technology company and doesn't invest like one. Given the current opportunity post recession, Amazon is in a strong place financial cash flow wise, to make investments in technology today that will bring leadership tomorrow. Of course, this is not throwing money at any project but to search for the key ones to invest in and require deep thinking while requiring the frugality in execution that is in the company's DNA.

    Advice to Management

    Invest more for future result.


  9. Helpful (1)

    "A great place to bootstrap your engineering career, but don't stay too long"

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

    Pros

    Very strong IT engineering, lots of extremely smart people, plenty to learn, interesting tech challenges. Minimal formalism, engineers often have direct contacts with their business customers. Generally, there is very little balance, practically everybody I've met in different parts of organization were true professionals.

    Cons

    Lack of formal testing organization. Production support is performed by developers (pager rotation), you'll often get paged in the middle of the night just to find out that something broke somewhere having nothing to do with what you are supporting and people have no clue whom to page. Engineers don't last long (many leave in 1-2 years), turnover is pretty high. Benefits are rather mediocre for a large company.

    Advice to Management

    Treat engineers more humanely, been bullish and plain rude offends people.


  10. Helpful (4)

    "Great customer experience, but can be stressful to work."

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

    Pros

    Customer orientation and innovation. Customers love our site and they keep coming back. It really pays off when you see a ton of compliments from customers about a product/offering. Also, having smart and driven people working around you helps develop your thinking on different aspects of the task.

    Cons

    Due to extreme detail orientation and micromanagement, people are continously stressed. Every task is urgent and cannot wait, hence making your day-to-day life miserable. People do not respect your schedule, priorities or even health. Also people management/development is not prioritized, while everyone is more interested in getting the job done. It is very normal that you will come home with a headache and thinking about the lenghty to do list for the day after.

    Advice to Management

    Needs to work on people management skills for middle-upper management.


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