Amazon Software Development Manager Reviews | Glassdoor

Amazon Software Development Manager Reviews

Updated October 5, 2018
213 reviews

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Software Development Manager

4.5
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Amazon Chairman, President, and CEO Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos
179 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • "Work/life balance seems comparable to other places I've worked - not worse" (in 2438 reviews)

  • "I have no work life balance issues" (in 507 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Featured Review

    Helpful (432)

    "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. Helpful (1)

    "Awesome if you love independence and hate bureaucracy"

    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

    Freedom to take your ideas from inception to execution. Not confined by roles/titles. Very bottom-up culture with decisions driven from recommendations collected from team members. Ever dreamt of running your own business without worrying about funding yourself? - Amazon can offer you that kind of freedom if you manage to convince others with your ideas. You are surrounded by really smart and really nice (most) people that you can learn from.

    Cons

    Not for someone who can't go beyond their role definition. Do it yourself culture that can be frustrating in the beginning .

    Advice to Management

    More investment in diversity recruiting and inclusion programs.

  3. Helpful (1243)

    "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. "Learn and Be Curious at its best"

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

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

    Pros

    1. Provide you the platform to innovate.
    2. Still startup culture that allows you to innovate.
    3. Pressure to innovate but not to keep doing manual tasks.
    4. Work hour flexibility.

    Cons

    I am privileged to work with some of the best leadership in my career so I do not have any cons. Only cons I can think of is that as there are so many custom tools and processes, it gets harder for a new hire to understand eco-system easily.


  5. "Senior Software Development Manager"

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

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

    Pros

    Amazon is a great company to work for. You will be able to change the world and constantly work on cutting-edge technology building great systems that are important to customers.

    Cons

    The operational load can be quite high. AWS believes fully in DevOps, which is generally great, but comes with the downside of periodically working long days and even nights when there are operational events.

    Advice to Management

    Aggressively work to fight operational load. I know management does this, but sometimes loses focus compared to developing features and new capabilities needed by customers. While we generally want to be doing new cool features, when operational tickets are frequently firing, it impacts people's personal lives.


  6. "Amazing company with wicked smart people."

    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

    - This is the first time in my career when I'm surrounded with nothing but incredibly smart and focused individuals.
    - Compensation is well beyond my expectations, and more than suitable.
    - Exciting projects all across the company that keep you interested and focused.
    - Ability to reach customers all across the world with unbelievable new technologies.
    - Ability to focus on the customer without worrying about what the other companies in the same field are doing.
    - Company not worried about failing, know that you can learn from your mistakes and still come out on top.

    Cons

    - Some people are too afraid not to meet deadlines, which at times makes you sacrifice quality for delivery.
    - Depending on which team you're on, culture might be a huge impact on your day to day job.
    - Some managers remain, even though they drive away great employees from their teams just because they deliver results.
    - Proper access to upper management is sometimes not available, and causes problems to the people making things happen day to day.
    - If you don't keep track of your own schedule, you can be working 100 hour weeks without even noticing.

    Advice to Management

    - Focus on the people, make sure that managers are treating their employees with respect and not just using them as "replaceable tools" to throw out once they're burned out.
    - Simplify the promotion process, when someone deserves to be promoted, it should not be a 9 month process, it should be easy to prove that someone deserves it.


  7. "Manager, Software Development"

    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 5 years)

    Pros

    Good technical problems to solve.
    Stock Price has grown well so equity grants are doing very well.

    Cons

    Promotion processes can be harsh on Employee's with random decisions at times.
    Technical bar of employees across the company is on the downward trend.
    Not the best compensation & perks. Companies like Google, Facebook and M$ provide much better compensation & employee benefits.

    Advice to Management

    Make compensation competitive to Google and Facebook.

  8. "Giant software company with lots of arms and legs"

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

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

    Pros

    - first-class software organization
    - peculiar leadership principles, and the employees do breathe and live with them. They are really and frequently used in assessing strategies, products, processes, and people.
    - senior leaders are often right a lot and dive deep
    - lots of internal transfer opportunities and different career choices
    - contrary to a lot external articles, there are a lot of care and support from management, HR, and company level. the benefits are decent.

    Cons

    Extreme frugality: you need to spend time to get lunch outside the office, the coffee in the office is extremely light, workspace is a bit crowded, the IT equipments are pretty basic. Admittedly this is also why Amazon is so successful in keeping the price low.


  9. "Wild Company"

    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 10 years)

    Pros

    If you are aspiring and can drive yourself, Amazon is the best place. Amazon provides lot of opportunities to own, lead and deliver. Even low level engineers are expected to lead projects and issues

    Cons

    Amazon benefits and compensation are not the best in the industry. The compensation concern is taken care by stock growth in last few years but still long it will feel like pie in the sky


  10. "A place for leaders!!"

    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 5 years)

    Pros

    I have been here for 5 years and still feels fresh! Work on a team, deliver products for customers and switch to next team once you have been there enough. This keeps me fresh and excited!

    Cons

    It's difficult to grow after L6.

    Advice to Management

    More roles and growth opportunities for higher levels.
    Keep up with customer obsession and stay away from bureaucracy.