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Amazon Software Development Engineer II Reviews

Updated December 10, 2018
326 reviews

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Software Development Engineer II

4.2
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Amazon Chairman, President, and CEO Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos
252 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • "Work/life balance seems comparable to other places I've worked - not worse" (in 2517 reviews)

  • "I have no work life balance issues" (in 523 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (1)

    "Awesome place to work when you are ready for a no nonsense place to work the pays accordingly"

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

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

    Pros

    They treat their engineers with respect,
    Pay them well,
    Give them plenty of freedom,
    First and foremost they care about their customers, they aren't obsessed with being the "cool" tech company.

    Their only expectation is that you perform to the level to which you are compensated.

    Cons

    Some people get very passionate about their work which can lead to unnecessary friction at times
    You really are a saleried employee, they expect your best and you to work till the job is done... Which means don't over promise or you will be working overtime.


  2. "Overall positive experience"

    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
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    -Decent pay
    -Quality work
    -Latest tech
    -Work life balance - a choice

    Cons

    -Appraisal system is broken. Instead of candidate's merit, it depends in how the manager is portraying the candidate's work. An incompetent SDM can easily screw-up the candidate's career.

  3. Helpful (1)

    "Great culture, but technology is a couple steps behind"

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

    I worked at Amazon full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    * Great culture: even though it's a big company, it operates more like a bunch of small startups/teams with a good degree of autonomy in each team and for each team member. Furthermore, employees are encouraged to move between teams if they don't feel like their current team is a good fit; Amazon views this as beneficial for both the employee and employer. So if you don't like your current team you have a great deal of latitude in finding one you do like -- and good managers will actively seek out good employees to pull onto their projects.

    * Great pay, if stock options are taken into account.

    * Path to success: if you like Amazon and are good at your job, opportunities abound for career advancement and taking on higher-responsibility/higher-paying roles. And if you don't like your new role they will let you change (back) to another role as long as you are suited for it.

    Cons

    * Aging technology platform: While AWS is pretty close to the cutting-edge, in 2017 many of Amazon's own internal sites and platforms do not actually run on AWS, instead using a suite of older build tools and technologies that feel very dated by today's standards. Progress is being made at the company to change this, but I know myself and many other developers have sometimes had to sink inordinate amounts of time into dealing with obscure and low-value issues with the build tools, such as being forced to manually deal with software dependencies that have little to nothing to do with the actual product that their team is working on. This represents a huge tax on the whole company's development efforts.

    Advice to Management

    Maintain a strong focus on keeping the company's technical foundations healthy. Failure to do this represents one of the more significant threats to Amazon's long term viability from a technical platform perspective.


  4. "Upward move for my career"

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

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

    Pros

    Amazing work (comiXology)
    Awesome Work Location (Times Square NYC)
    High Base Salary
    Large Signing Bonus Year 1
    Large Signing Bonus Year 2
    RSU's of Amazon
    401K Matching

    Cons

    You need to adapt to the Amazon way and throw away a lot of conventional wisdom, which feels a bit abnormal at first
    401k takes 3 years to vest

    Advice to Management

    Thus far things seem to be managed very well at Amazon


  5. Helpful (8)

    "This review is freely given in return.. for nothing provided by the company in question."

    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
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    I've had great management throughout my career here. I feel that my management does a good job at setting me up to get promoted( nothing yet though.. but it looks promising), as well as being supported when I've had problems to work around ( both personal and professional). I've had my opinions respected and given the option of what projects I want to work on. It's been a continual process of learning new skills and technologies, as well as learning more about effective writing and personal skills. I don't feel overworked and my management has never told me that they feel I need to work more. There are a lot of opportunities to grow and learn new things. If you get tired of your team or your job and you want to try something else, cross team transfers happen reasonably often, and I've seen co-workers try out the management track and succeed, or decide it's not for them and move back to tech.

    Despite being a larger company, there is a lot less bureaucracy than you would expect. You need a small number of machines to test something, typically approval is automatic. ( as you need more bureaucracy creeps back in with budgets and hardware planning).

    Promotion's are progressively becoming a show x skills/abilities, get to next level , as opposed to a more get x people to vouch for you process, at least at the lower levels, which makes it fairly clear on what you need to work on to get promoted.

    There is always a new shiny thing being rolled out to make service development better ( faster, cheaper , more operationally stable), but it also takes time to ramp up on it.

    Cons

    Constant learning is occasionally stressful.

    You are surrounded by very competent smart people and if you focus too much on judging yourself against them, instead of just focusing on how you can learn and grow, It's easy to feel inadequate.

    It's easy to feel like you can't take break to watch some internal educational videos and learn new things. But you just have to consciously make time for such things.

    Now that I've been here long enough,my vests aren't granted as far into the future, so even if the stock keeps on growing, I'm not going to earn as much from the vests unless I hold onto them :(.

    The OP1/OP2 planning process has meant in the past that if you want to get something done that's non trivial and it's not on a teams roadmap, unless you can justify that it's more important that what they are doing, it can take a while ( next planning cycle + when planned in that cycle).

    So much of internal tech is using AWS that If I ever left amazon, I'd probably be best suited to be an AWS consultant.

    Advice to Management

    I would suggest encouraging employees to take advantage of the internal learning opportunites.


  6. "Nerds solving problems"

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

    I have been working at Amazon full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Strong talent; Big dreams; Supportive teammates

    Cons

    Hard to institute change unless you are working on a leaf team


  7. Helpful (4)

    "Disorganized Mess"

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

    I worked at Amazon full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Smart, driven coworkers
    Minimal corporate b.s.
    Solve real scaling problems.
    Good pay.

    Cons

    Everything is always on fire.
    There is absolutely no quality control.
    There is no real management.
    You will not have time to write actual software.
    There are a large number of checked out, incompetent or otherwise harmful senior devs camping on stock bonuses.
    If you want it done right, you will have to do it yourself to the tune of 80+ hours a week.

    Advice to Management

    Fire people aggressively if they aren't doing their jobs. If you don't have the data to do that, hire more managers. The ratio of managers (in all positions) to devs should be much higher than 1:10

  8. Helpful (2)

    "Not everyone's cup of tea"

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

    I worked at Amazon full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    interesting problem spaces, dynamic environment, excellent focus on customers

    Cons

    aggressive environment, bad work-life balance


  9. "It's a big company."

    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
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    I really like the people I work with. It's a bunch of college grads that are new to the city, so we go bowling every week, sometimes skiing during the weekends, and have a ps4 in our team area where we would sometimes take breaks.
    In terms of work, we all cooperate, and nobody works alone. If there is a guy left behind, there is always a mentor who helps.
    You also get paid a lot more than it looks like based on your stock.

    Thought I should give a positive review out since I like my job.

    Cons

    Being in a big company means you may not have the same experience as I do.
    Being in a big company also means you are more tied into business decisions from management rather than your own software decisions.

    Advice to Management

    Protect us from upper management requirements?


  10. "Great place to work. Fast moving."

    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
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Fast pace working environment. Work on latest new technologies. Many different fields are available to find work in. Provide great working environment.

    Cons

    Need to work under pressure for match up with the fast pace working environment. No finance provided for further studies like MBA etc.

    Advice to Management

    Provide break and encourage to further study. (MBA etc.)