FilterSan Luis Obispo, CA
I have been working at Amazon as an intern (More than a year)
The Amazon office in San Luis Obispo, CA has a fantastic intern program which allows students at the nearby California Polytechnic State University to work part time and gain invaluable real-world experience while earning their degree. The position gives interns real tasks which actually benefit the business and allow them to grow rather than 'menial' or meaningless work. Whereas most internship positions for Comp Sci/Software Dev target students in their third year or later, this position targets students who are in their second or even first years, and is structured to allow the intern to grow in effectiveness and responsibility as they complete more classes and gain more experience. After the first summer, during which interns transition to work full time until school starts again, most interns have enough experience to be treated simply as a part-time version of the regular starting software development role, able to tackle the same tasks as any member of a team, albeit at a slower pace due to less working hours. Additionally, interns who stay for a second summer are offered the opportunity to work for Amazon in another location (usually Seattle) for the duration of the summer. This is a great opportunity for interns to explore other opportunities within the company and experience living in a new location.
Working part-time while going to school is a big commitment, no matter the employer. However, Amazon is very flexible with scheduling and always allow you to prioritize school over work.
I have been working at Amazon full-time (Less than a year)
No... nobody is crying at their desk. Work-life balance in my team is pretty good.
Off-hand project management. Within a certain constraint, you can work however you want, whatever you want, and whenever you want.
A lot of smart people around you.
People respect you because you work for Amazon.
Recent large scale hiring brought some mediocre engineers to the company.
Bad onboarding experience. Amazon relies on your team to onboard you. When the team doesn't have a plan, you get in trouble.
I can see that if you are not a top-notch developer, you may struggle with the job. People have high expectations and no one is gonna tell you that you are doing a good job.
NO FREE LUNCH
Advice to Management
Implement a plan to eliminate engineers that are good at white-boarding but doesn't have a clue on real work.
Onboarding... I know you put a lot of resource in it already, but you need more! And a lot more on the team-level.
Come on... give us free lunch!
I have been working at Amazon part-time (More than a year)
Work with smart people
Work you do feels like it matters
Pick your hours
Can take timeoff to focus on school work
Office is laid back
Difficult at first - a lot to pick up and learn
Work can sometimes be tedious
No free Amazon Prime
I worked at Amazon full-time (More than a year)
A lot of opportunities, if you're an overachiever you can find things that need to be done and will be able to make an impact. Amazon also values ownership of the product so, you will be able to take real proud of your work and you will be able to talk directly with people in other teams easily to get things done.
Learning: there are a lot of talks, events, mentorships, video and manual resources at your disposition to become better at what your do.
Team: you'll work with very capable people with deep knowledge in IT who will make you reconsider your approaches. The people is very direct when they say things to you which minimizes the time you spend in discussions. Some people might not like it, but I did. Time is a precious resource so meetings were usually short and direct to the point.
There were also company organized events to mingle and there are always opportunities to have fun like foosball, ping pong or playing humans vs zombies.
The benefits are really good too, with a 6 digits salary + RSU + relocation + signing bonus + medical insurance.
The work-life balance isn't too bad either, although expect to work around 45 hours a week on average + on calls (which in my team, wasn't that bad).
Overall, I feel I improved a lot as a person and professional by working at Amazon. It was the first company I felt really committed to and the core values are really lived at the company. Your experience highly depends on the team you are, but I would certainly recommend to work at the company.
- The offices (at least San Luis Obispo's): since Amazon considers frugality a core value, forget about nice fixtures or beautiful Google/Facebook/(add tech company here) offices. It will be the simplest thing that would make you work there. I had some complaints about the cleaning too: in my almost year and a half, no one cleaned the office's desks.
- The evaluation process and competitiveness: there are things called "goals" that you have to satisfy in order to progress on your career at Amazon. There's also a job description for each of the positions. And there's also feedback from your peers. Besides of that, there's no formal evaluation of your skills or how you meet your manager's expectations. At the end, unless you are a clear overachiever (say, a rockstar), you will fall in some grey area, in which your manager's opinion of you will be the only determinant on whether you stay or not.
At Amazon, you compete against your peers. You might be really good, but if you are below your team's average performance (either technically or what they call "core values" evaluation, ie: soft skills) in your manager's eyes (no additional objective measure), you are a candidate to a PIP. And that happens to an important percentage of Amazon Software Developers every year (I cannot disclose the number).
Advice to Management
Fix the evaluation process to include more objective measures and avoid comparing each dev to their peers.
I have been working at Amazon part-time (Less than a year)
I'm working with really smart people who help me to succeed while taking classes. Amazon has provided me with everything I have asked for to make my development workstation more suited to my needs/desires. I get to choose my own hours.
I have to work in the office. There are less perks than at other companies.
Advice to Management
Continue to make the work environment a place developers want to build a career.
I worked at Amazon as an intern (More than a year)
Great connections, got me very experienced in the world of top-teir e-commerce development in a very short time.
This was an EXCELLENT launching point for my career. But, at least the office I worked in, everything was a little too intense. I simply just didn't have enough hours in the day to get everything done.
Advice to Management
Have a little empathy for your fresh graduates and interns. They put up with way more than you realize at school alone.
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