Amazon Software Development Engineer II Reviews | Glassdoor

Amazon Software Development Engineer II Reviews

Updated February 15, 2019
337 reviews

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Software Development Engineer II

3.9
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Amazon Chairman, President, and CEO Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos
260 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • "Flexibility & Work/Life Balance" (in 607 reviews)

  • "You will learn a lot in this place" (in 555 reviews)

Cons
  • "Work-life balance is tough sometimes" (in 2599 reviews)

  • "I have no work life balance issues" (in 536 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (5)

    "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. "Great People, smart process"

    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

    Very smart people in the team; great communication and overall process; openness to new opinions and change.

    Cons

    Somewhat blurred understanding of review process and goals.

  3. "They want the best, not the best of the best"

    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
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Amazon has a relatively low bar compared to other companies on this level (Google, Facebook, even Microsoft). They offer decent compensation in recent years considering the rapid growth of their stock price, although that's not lasting anymore. They do cool stuff and they are always looking for new areas to explore.

    Cons

    1. They offer very little compensation adjustment once you join. Year over year salary growth is less than 2 percent. Good performance is not rewarded whatsoever.
    2. Due to the relatively low bar, product quality can be uneven across the company.
    3. Their offer will shrink significantly as their stock price stopped growing. They have a low ceiling on base salary too.
    4. No lunch, parking has a waitlist of more than 1 year. Not much team building culture.
    5. Hard to get other teams to commit to stuff sometimes.

    Advice to Management

    Focus more on how to keep your existing employees.


  4. Helpful (2)

    "Good Pay No work life Balance Internal Politics"

    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
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Amazon full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Pay is good
    Brand Value
    AWS Tech Stack

    Cons

    Bad Management
    Politics
    Does not treat employee as a human
    Too frugal
    Stock options are spread over long years
    Too many internal tools

    Advice to Management

    treat employee as a human


  5. Helpful (3)

    "Avoid Amazon and save yourself 12+ hours each day"

    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

    1. Smart people overall
    2. Reasonable pay if you ignore the fact that you work 12+ hours a day (sometimes even more than that).

    Cons

    1. No work-life balance - I've worked 12+ hours each day in Amazon. There were a couple of months that I even worked for 14-16 hours a day + weekends.
    2. No growth opportunities.
    3. Poor benefits compared to other top tier companies.
    4. Managers aren’t in Amazon are not to be trusted –
    Your manager will tell you anything to make you join his team and make you work harder. But from my experience managers in Amazon aren’t on your side. For example: During my 1.5 years in Amazon I had 5 managers (yes, 5!). The first manager was the one that recruited me. Back then Amazon gave me an SDE 2 offer although I was a senior in some other leading company. That manager together with his director, told me not to worry. They told me that Amazon give sde 2 to almost everyone, but then they promote senior people after 6-12 months. Shortly after I joined Amazon I discovered that there was no truth in these claims (even if you ranked high as I did there was absolutely no chance for that to happen). In fact, 3 months after I joined my first manager already left so that promise faded into the air.
    5. Unbelievable amount of politics -
    As I described managers in Amazon aren’t to be trusted. They are all about slaving their employees so they can move up the ladder faster. After a year in Amazon I came to my 5 (and last manager) and asked him about the promised promotion. My last manager told me that in Amazon, if you want to get promoted, you need to “play the politics”. You need to find ~6 engineers to support you. Later on the same manager told me in one of our 1-1s that in order to get his support for my promotion, I need to kill one of my side project and give it to him so he can present it as his own initiative.
    There is also a lot of politics on the peers level (which I won't describe here).
    6. Lack of diversity – yes, unfortunately that also exist in Amazon. My division had a clear preference for engineers that came from a certain country. All of the managers and senior engineers in our division came from that country. I personally didn’t think it’s a coincidence.
    7. Pay is only reasonable if you ignore the fact that you work 12+ hours a day. In fact, strong engineers can find way better offers at every other leading company pretty much.


  6. Helpful (1)

    "Work Hard, Play Harder!"

    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

    Work involves continuous challenges, each pushing you to learn new things and innovate. Any field you have on your mind and want to get into, Amazon has it. The easy to switch work culture makes it easy to explore ample options.

    Cons

    Amazon thrives on being customer centric. Given that customer comes first, if your team provides live support, be ready to be paged off hours for help. As long as you are customer centric too, you wont mind it :)


  7. Helpful (1)

    "Good place for growth."

    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

    Smart colleagues all around, good growth opportunities!

    Cons

    Teams can be a bit isolated.

  8. Helpful (1)

    "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.


  9. 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.


  10. "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