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Amazon Software Engineer Reviews

Updated May 23, 2018
1,891 reviews

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Software Engineer

4.1
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Amazon Chairman, President, and CEO Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos
1,292 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • Work/life balance seems comparable to other places I've worked - not worse (in 2255 reviews)

  • No work life - personal life balance (in 466 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Excellent company to work for (if you get the right team)"

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

    I worked at Amazon (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Team autonomy , work-life balance, salary, benefits

    Cons

    Experience will vary depending on the team you work with


  2. "Software Development Engineer Intern"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Intern - Software Development Engineer Intern in Seattle, WA
    Former Intern - Software Development Engineer Intern in Seattle, WA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at Amazon as an intern (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Interesting project, smart coworkers and lots of things to learn. Opportunity to gain insight into one of the largest and most used cloud computing systems in the world.

    Cons

    Benefits are a bit stingy, office is cramped and work environment is generally sub par compared to other tech companies.

    Bad work life balance.

    Advice to Management

    Spend more money on investing in your employees. Food, welfare, anything. Stop hoarding the money to yourselves.

  3. "Software Engineer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in West Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in West Seattle, WA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

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

    Pros

    Interview process is easy and straighforward, the stock price is keep increasing so even if you didn't get a big pkg during the interview you will still get enough money

    Cons

    amazon didn't have a good hr system, you will be fired anytime with any reason, be prepared to be the best in your team or you will be in danger.

    Advice to Management

    Overall it is a good company, but you need to know if you are really fit this company. The profit is not very good


  4. Helpful (16)

    "A place where builders can build… against all odds"

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

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

    Pros

    * Smart people, if you choose the right team. So don't go by "sexy" tech, just a good manager, good engineers and good business team.

    * Decent pay. Less than other big companies, but more than smaller ones, especially considering the stock part (you have to be patient to get it)

    * Interesting technology. The scale of the systems is astonishing, and the design patterns and practices for distributed systems an engineer can learn are invaluable. But don't expect it on the lower levels of the software (see cons).

    * There are opportunities to learn business side of things, soft skills etc, if you are up for it and have a good team. You kind of need to understand the business and the customer to be competent in what you are building. Less so for tech stuff (see cons)

    Cons

    * Software Development Managers are hit and miss. Only some people are truly great and iconic (I am lucky to work for one, but that's last 3 years out of 7). Amazon figured out how to hire engineers well, but they seem to not do such a good job with managers. They do get the training, so over time some get better. If they want to.

    * Despite the number of truly smart engineers and hackers in the best sense of the word, there are a lot of folks who got CS degree & basic experience but require oversight, mentoring and time to grow. This ratio is not favorable for more experienced SDE2/3 engineers (there are teams who are exceptions to this).

    * Business management is hit or miss. Predominantly male and bro (I am male too), often falling into alpha-male mode of decision making, occasionally attracting poor actors who throw an entire organization into a doomsday project for a couple of years, claim the delivery, get their bonus, and then move to, say, AWS with no consequences when the product quietly flops and dies 1-2 years later.

    Don't get me wrong, I understand the idea of "failing fast" and trying new things, but it pains me to see when potentially good ideas are implemented haphazardly, without proper UX upfront work, without talking to prospective end customers, using a ton of cowboy coders and poor design (both UX and technical). Sometimes Amazon gets so lucky that the customers like their product despite the poor initial quality, giving the company enough time to improve it. It shows from the customer perspective, Amazon seems to be perpetually in the niche of "this is not Apple, but convenient enough for me to use it until somebody else makes a better version of this product".

    * Software is pretty poor on the low level. There are a few brilliantly designed systems, but the rest is a mess of startup-like code, half of which is deprecated and is written to meet short term business goals. SOA architecture but interactions between services are not thought through. Not many engineers know the big picture from tech and business standpoint. There is a constant pressure on the business (which directly translates to engineers) to take shortcuts and ship fast, because everyone else does.

    To give credit to Amazon, they tend to go through multi-year phases of chaotic expanding and then cleaning up, but it comes at the cost of engineers surviving through supporting (oncall) the crappy systems and having no resources (or knowledge) to fix them after the business finally says "ok, now we are truly losing money and people on this, let's fix it up please?"

    I am oncall this week and I was up till 5AM fixing things on Saturday night, only to hit the wall when another system didn't do what I expected. Neither of 3 other people from other related systems and respective support teams which I contacted knew which action need to be taken and whose system should be responsible for fixing the issue. As I said, in my experience only few engineers have deep understanding of the systems they own. The rest are struggling with crappy code, poor/no documentation (Amazon SDE/SDMs are kind of perversely proud of not documenting things) and passing the buck until they hit the person who knows the answer expected from them.

    * Lots of internal software which is built poorly where an open-source system would be better. "Not invented here" syndrome. There is no excuse for that, because improving / scaling up the open-source systems would be less costly than building poor internal clones. And better for the rest of the world.

    Bottom line - if you come to work here, you need to have integrity as an SDE or SDM. You need to be a self-starter and probably a bit workaholic. You need to be opinionated and confident enough to voice concerns and propose ideas, but also a good listener and open to ideas of others. You need to own your projects and be willing to drive them, be the squeaky wheel and demand that things are done in a long-term sustainable way. If you get a good and supportive manager, and smart business people, you will make things better. If you are an experienced engineer and plan on only following what you are told to do by your boss, please go somewhere else.

    If you are a beginner SDE - you will learn, but be prepared to take ownership for advancing your career, putting extra time outside of work to learn new things and not rely on your manager for it (because chances are, your manager won't do it very well).

    Be prepared to understand the agreements you sign, especially the part which says that Amazon can claim anything you code, design or ideate, even outside of workplace.

    Advice to Management

    Invest in UX designers and processes and you will save a lot of pain to your customers. Any product I use - Alexa app, Amazon mobile app, retail website has a constant trail of sub-par quality and problems, which should be glaringly obvious to a good UX and IX designer. Create mechanisms to ensure your business PMs utilize market and UX research more, before spending money on building random ideas and seeing what sticks. Focus more on internationalization of the product catalog, supporting long-tail items and accessibility of the website and apps.

    Raise the hiring bar on SDMs or provide them training and time to become better. Keep the team sizes small, with team areas of responsibility clearly defined. Make SDM university or something, just don't drop them into work unprepared - it really kills their subordinates' experience.

    Fix incentives for business teams to think short-term: "how to we grow our business X% next year". Create incentives to invest enough in the long-term initiatives, take risks, but make them know and use the UX talent for goodness sake.

    You waste a ton of money due to: open seating and "high density seating", lack of meeting rooms (esp. dedicated ones), poor conferencing tools, using Outlook and a naive expectation that every employee will do a good job re-inventing a system of self-time management.

    Oh yeah, and fix the 401k problems.


  5. "Intern at Amazon Web Services"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Intern - Software Development Engineer Intern in Washington, DC
    Former Intern - Software Development Engineer Intern in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Amazon as an intern (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Challenging project
    Helpful team
    professional growth
    new technologies to work with

    Cons

    no much intern activity expecially in DC area


  6. "Software Development Engineer I"

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

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

    Pros

    Fast growing and learning environment

    Cons

    Too much competitive environment and politics


  7. "Workaholic and no life!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Engineer-II in Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - Software Engineer-II in Seattle, WA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    * AWS is the N1 of web services
    * Seattle is a nice city

    Cons

    * Everyone here is a workaholic. No balance between work and life.
    * They hire a lot and then, they fired

    Advice to Management

    Pays attention to your team, not all the member have the same necessity.

  8. "Very Very Driven"

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

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

    Pros

    This is the place where employees can make things happen and affect outcomes. The culture allows you to as high as required to solve your problems as long as you have data. Most of the work is highly critical and VP level visibility is common

    Cons

    It is a very Darwinian work place; there is constant change and resetting of direction to the extent that real progress is slowed down; everybody is always in "every man for himself" fight mode. You need to develop a militant mindset to thrive here.

    Advice to Management

    Add collaboration to your leadership principles - you are not getting to your destination alone


  9. "Good place to work"

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

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

    Pros

    Nice pay, good benefits, great working environments

    Cons

    None that i could think of

    Advice to Management

    Keep doing your job


  10. "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