Amazon Technical Writer Reviews | Glassdoor

Amazon Technical Writer Reviews

20 reviews

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Technical Writer

4.7
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Amazon Chairman, President, and CEO Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos
13 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 (1)

    "AWS Tech Writer - No place I'd rather be"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Technical Writer in Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - Senior Technical Writer in Seattle, WA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    The pros to working at Amazon Web Services are that you:
    * Feel like you can make a difference for customers
    * OWN your deliverables and are encouraged to question whether a feature is best for the customer
    * Work with brilliant, driven, customer-centric people
    * Have the ability to work from home regularly
    * Generally work about 40-45 hours/week, even on salary (some exceptions, like re:Invent)
    * Pay is good, but time off is below the industry average
    * Stock has done very well, so stock bonues are great
    * Will get lots of help because EVERYONE is willing to lend a hand, as long as you're doing the best thing for the customer
    * Should have a good mentor to guide you in your new position
    * End-of-year review process is now transparent

    NOTES: Ignore the older comments about the stack ranking. That ended in 2016. Also ignore the "C-list" review. We are constantly raising the bar with our hiring processes. At best, that person had a terrible manager. At worst, they're just lying. And the people blaming Bezos for their personal failures are just unable to take responsiblity for their own careers. Bezos has little to no effect on most of our jobs. It's your manager and their manager that matter most.

    Cons

    * You don't have a cubical. You have a desk and a rolling cart with a dozen other people in a cubical. Invest in some good headphones.
    * Seattle is expensive and the locals hate Amazon for driving up rent prices
    * Sales tax is 10.9%
    * Commute is terrible if you live outside of downtown or SLU. The city raised sales tax to pay for more buses a couple of years ago, and are now cutting routes. Amazon does buy a monthly bus pass for all employees.
    * Benefits: Below-average time off, only 6 holidays, 10% Amazon.com discount is capped at $100, which is now less than a Prime membership, and the 401k match is 50% up to 2% of your income.
    * Be ready to learn new internal tools and processes, and be flexible when they change.
    * Your experience is directly related to your management team. So pay attention when you interview. Choose a position with a great manager and coworkers.
    * You need to be intelligent, ambitious, and hard-working. You won't last long if you just do the bare minimum.
    * The workload ebbs and flows and it's up to you to stay ahead of it so that you're not rushing at the last minute before a release. Though sometimes, there's nothing you can do (re:Invent).

    I can't stress enough how important your manager is.

    Advice to Management

    Set the bar higher for placing someone in a management position. Poor leadership will sink a department or an entire area. If you see a lot of people leaving an area, investigate. I've watched good people leave a service team left and right.


  2. "Great company"

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

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

    Pros

    Well run company, serious about diversity, minimal politics.

    Cons

    High growth/high turnover. Compensation is great coming in the door, not so great a few years later.

  3. "Senior Programmer-Writer"

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

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

    Pros

    Always learning something new
    Management lets me do my job
    Coworkers are smart-as-hell
    We eat our own dog food

    Cons

    Not enough time to everything you want
    Constant pressure to improve

    Advice to Management

    Keep it going
    Listen more than talk


  4. Helpful (3)

    "A great place for Technical Writers/Programming Writers"

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

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

    Pros

    - A growing team - as Amazon adds new web services they add new writers. They don't just throw the new work on our existing writers' plates.
    - A strong editorial support staff - a really good ratio between writers and editors ensures that the technically oriented writers produce good text.
    - An active tools team - they are always working to automate more of the process and improve our tooling to allow us to focus on what really matters: describing complex technology for our customers.
    - Flexibility - we can work from home one or more days each week as long as we get the job done. We also can pretty much set our own hours as either early birds or night owls.

    Cons

    - "Frugal" core principal - writers are in open bay areas (like most other employees) sometimes making concentrating while in the office a challenge. Most use headphones to help compensate.
    - Treated as "second class" to programmers - new 34" wide hi-res monitors that would make writing easier are only available to those with "programmer" in their job title.
    - Amazon provides a MAXIMUM of 3 weeks vacation a year

    Advice to Management

    Frugal should not mean "cheap". Sure, don't waste money, but don't be so draconian when it would mean a significant productivity improvement.


  5. "Innovative, exciting, fun place to work!"

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

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

    Pros

    --Creating, innovating, and inventing are highly encouraged and supported
    --A reasonable amount of time off and/or somewhat flexible hours (SOME groups)
    --Conferences, videos, trainings to help further your career
    --Fun events, such as company picnic, concerts, and film screenings
    --Dogs!
    --Relocation packages (for some positions)
    --Located all around the world
    --Transportation passes

    Cons

    --The company is so big, sometimes you find that you are working on something that another group has already automated, or you duplicate work
    --Wish they had a more comprehensive list of classes (actual courses) that one could take to learn new skills. There are some but they are minimal and mostly geared toward SDEs. (For example, I want to take a class on creating wikis in the new wiki system, which we use for internal content, and there isn't anything yet.) Each service/tool should have a class you can take to learn that skill.


  6. "Very Solid"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Contractor - Technical Writer
    Current Contractor - Technical Writer
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Amazon as a contractor (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Everyone I've worked with has been extremely helpful and competent. The building and area is nice. The job is good, the work-life balance is good, at least in my department.

    Cons

    No on-site parking. I pay $300 per month for parking.
    Too many contractors. Would like to see a lot of these people brought on full time.


  7. Helpful (11)

    "Profit > People"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Technical Writer in Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - Technical Writer in Seattle, WA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    The salary is competitive, and if you stick it out for 2-3 years you can usually collect on a decent stock package. Depending on which org you're in, they're semi-flexible about working remotely, and have great benefits. If you're a self-starter who likes to learn everything they can, you'll have plenty of opportunity to grow here.

    Cons

    The subjective performance review system is demotivating at best, demoralizing at worst. Raises for non-tech workers hover in the 1%-2% per year range even if you get a good review (at least in my experience working there since 2013).

    Also, promotions don't come automatically like they do at other places--- it's not enough to work your butt off and be awesome at your job. Even if you have mountains of data to prove you're worth the promo, you'll never get it if you're not out there shamelessly self-promoting in order to get the attention of those people whose subjective performance review feedback you need.

    That being said, the employees who have the best work ethics and get the most accomplished simply don't have time for a lot of glad handing, which puts them at a disadvantage when it comes to promotions. Unfortunately, the inverse seems to be true as well, where employees who are good at playing office politics and knocking beers back with their bros after work tend to get promoted left and right.

    There's not a lot of diversity, and women especially have to fight harder to be noticed and rewarded for the hard work they do. Not to mention there have been a few issues in my org where women have been harassed by male co-workers, but HR doesn't protect the victims--- they're told it's a "he said, she said" situation.

    Advice to Management

    Do what Adobe did and switch to an objective performance review system. Employee morale and retention improved so much that their company saved money as a result. Maybe with the money saved, Amazon could afford to give its best employees the raises they deserve.

    Provide more training to HR on how to handle situations where people are victimized, especially women. I'm aware that Amazon is working hard to hire more women and break away from the "tech-bro" stereotype that a lot of internet companies demonstrate. Amazon also needs to be able to effectively support those women after they're hired so that they can succeed. I'd be proud to work here if that happened.

  8. Helpful (10)

    "Pretty good until if fell off a cliff."

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

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

    Pros

    Entry level/individual contributors are genuinely good people. High energy, motivated, creative, fun to be around.

    Cons

    Absolutely terrible management culture. Non-existent work-life balance. Review system can be arbitrary and capricious. You can work your butt off on a project, deliver it, and get put on a PIP because someone on a partner team didn't like your work style. In the review meeting, your manager might try to present positive data and get told that it doesn't matter.

    Advice to Management

    Stop already with having peer feedback be the basis of the review model. People's managers should have the greatest say in reviews.


  9. "I had some good times at Amazon."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Contractor - Technical Writer in Seattle, WA
    Former Contractor - Technical Writer in Seattle, WA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Amazon as a contractor (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Most of the people I worked with were extremely nice.

    Cons

    Sometimes the company acts like a start-up even though they are way beyond that phase.

    Advice to Management

    Listen more to your employees.


  10. Helpful (5)

    "A good alternative to Microsoft"

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

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

    Pros

    Downtown Seattle location is very nice
    Challenging Work
    Decent compensation

    Cons

    Poor work environment (open floor)
    EXTREME Cheapness (to the point of not having the tools to do jobs efficiently)
    Insane security requirements and legal involvement
    Hard to hire necessary workers

    Advice to Management

    Recognize that some jobs need quality equipment and sufficient resources.
    Authorize more contract workers