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Amazon Software Development Manager Reviews

Updated February 12, 2019
227 reviews

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Software Development Manager

4.5
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Amazon Chairman, President, and CEO Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos
190 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. Featured Review

    Helpful (694)

    "An Amazing Place to Work"

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

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

    Pros

    I've been at Amazon for a month now, and I've seen none of the horror stories being communicated to the public, although Amazon is a large enough company that I'm sure there are good pockets and bad pockets. Everyone here is really smart, and wants to succeed both personally, and as a company. People collaborate and help each other, focus on data, and truly focus on the customer. Every company I've ever worked for talks about how important the customer is, but on day 2, they're forgotten. Amazon seems to genuinely focus on what's best for the customer, and it's awesome to be in meetings where people actually bring that up, and make decisions focused on long-term customer satisfaction.

    The opportunities to learn here are literally unlimited, and the opportunity to take on new responsibility is as well. I honestly believe you can be as awesome as you want here.

    Cons

    No cons, so far - seriously. Like I said, I'm sure Amazon has some bad pockets in it here and there, but this is an amazing job, an amazing opportunity, and the biggest thing I have to complain about is that it's a little chilly in our building. I can live with that.

    Does Amazon demand high quality, measurable results? Yes! Is it hard work? Yes! Is it rewarding? Yes! So I'm not calling that a 'con'. Work/life balance seems comparable to other places I've worked - not worse.


  2. "Great company to learn and grow"

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

    I have been working at Amazon full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Smart group of people to learn from on a daily basis. Love the scale of impact individuals can make with their changes.

    Cons

    A few weeks in a year can be brutal in terms of WLB. Compensation and benefits are not the best in the industry.

  3. Helpful (1304)

    "Can be amazing for some people, horrible for others"

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

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

    Pros

    Amazon is doing lot's of cool stuff...but lots of boring stuff too. There are really well run teams...and very badly run teams. The experience for software managers and engineers is all over the board, from really run low operational load teams to teams where people burn out after a year.

     - Amazon is built, quite deliberately, to be Darwinian. You can generally expect that anyone who's been here for more than 2 years is competent and motivated or they wouldn't have survived. You can count on them as long as your priorities are aligned. There aren't many slackers here, and they don't survive long.
      - We work on so much stuff that there's always an opportunity to find amazing cool stuff to work on (note that it's an 'opportunity', one that you have to pursue)
      - A chance to make a huge difference
      - A place where you can learn a lot about all kinds of things, both technical and about yourself
      - Amazon encourages high mobility - even your manager can't prevent you from moving to another team within 6 weeks (normally, more than a few months under unusual conditions).
      - Your friends and family have actually heard of the place you work and have at least a vague notion of what Amazon does without you having to explain

    Cons

    - You're responsible for your own career progression and finding the places and teams that are doing the stuff you want to do. No one is going to take you by the hand and help you with that.
    - Amazon is built, quite deliberately, to be Darwinian. The strong survive and the weak perish (metaphorically speaking) and the 'bar' is constantly increasing. The level of performance that would have been acceptable five years ago will get you canned today. It's a kind of crucible that'll help you develop a harder edge, if you can survive, that can serve you well in your career and in life, but it's often not a pleasant experience.

    I wouldn't recommend it as a place to work for just anyone.

    Advice to Management

    Stack ranking is a horrible practice since it's rife with favoritism. It's also not Amazonian in that it's not data based (arbitrarily designating a certain percentage of employees that must be put on performance management isn't a data driven criterion) and it's not frugal (effectively forcing an individual out of the company in one division who would make the grade in another is either retaining someone who doesn't meet the bar or a waste of talent). The goal is to force managers to actually make the hard decisions about how their team members compare with each other (not everyone can be exceptional), but it has more defects than virtues. Replace it with a common comparison of each person against the bar for their position, based on data. The percentages that are assigned to each performance category will turn out how they turn out, but there will be an evaluation mechanism that's fair and frugal.


  4. "If you're willing to put in the immense effort they will compensate you for it."

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

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

    Pros

    * The compensation is very good.
    * It doesn't lack in opportunities. People use this to move around a ton.
    * The company has great job stability because it's been growing for so many years.

    Cons

    * It's hard to keep the work life balance in check.
    * Engineers are asked to work insane amounts of hours.
    * Aggressive management tactics to manage individuals out of the company.
    * Low movement in upper management because they don't get managed out even when they are poor performers.

    Advice to Management

    Focus heavily on keeping your work life balance in check or Amazon will steel every waking minute you have.


  5. "Challenging, complex, and ever evolving work environment"

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

    I have been working at Amazon full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    You will learn a lot, build skills and grow

    Cons

    Like any other corporate environment, you can become siloed and lose with the trends of the industry


  6. "Software Development Engineering Manager"

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

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

    Pros

    Work hard, have fun, make history. Be proud of our self, the job we are doing.

    Cons

    RUS grand each year related to last year's stock performance as well. The more the stock goes up, the less you get for refresh, not a bad problem, but....


  7. "Software Development Manager"

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

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

    Pros

    You are owner and you will be given full credit if you deliver. LPs are great and they are taken seriously.

    Cons

    If you like tech Amazon give you full opportunity but there is high probability that you might end up compromising your work life balance.

  8. Helpful (1)

    "Great company to work for!"

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

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

    Pros

    Different team has different culture, most run like a complete startup that owns and manages their own services.
    Not too much politics and process.
    Great for growth.
    Many tools to use.

    Cons

    Frugality is sometimes regarded as "being cheap".


  9. "Amazing company and the most driven and smartest of the people"

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

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

    Pros

    - You can learn a lot very quickly in a very short time
    - Surrounded with nothing but incredibly smart and driven individuals.
    - Compensation is well beyond my expectations, and more than suitable.
    - Exciting projects all across the company that keep you interested and focused.
    - Amazon is changing the world

    Cons

    - Can be overwhelming, very steep learning curve
    - Can be difficult to keep up if you are not self motivated


  10. "Stressful sometimes, but you can learn a lot"

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

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

    Pros

    Stable company, great people, be part of company that is changing the world

    Cons

    Depending on the org you join, you might face different levels of bureaucracy