Amazon - Overall good company to work for | Glassdoor
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Helpful (2)

"Overall good company to work for"

Star Star Star Star Star
  • Work/Life Balance
  • 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
Approves of CEO

Pros

Amazon is a fast paced environment that allows one to learn a lot from developing large scale software. The company does care about it's customers. You can often end political arguments by focusing on the customers. You will work with a bunch of smart workers who are very talented. The work life balance is decent, but it also depends on the team you are on. The senior management has been pretty good at listening to people below them, and giving the workers the proper support they need. Senior management also has a pretty good idea of how to progress the team for the future.

Cons

The biggest down side is carrying a pager around. Depending on your luck of the draw, you could be working on holidays. Some teams within the company are not as responsive to taking ownership. i've also seen many talented SDE 2's that have worked at Amazon for many years that have not been promoted to SDE 3. It seems that jump is a huge roadblock for the SDE career path. The health benefits are not that great when compared with some other companies. Also, the company's only perk is a 10% discount towards Amazon.com purchases up to a total savings of $100 a year. Even if one of the company's core value is frugality, this is too frugal.

Advice to Management

For the most part, i believe in the senior management at Amazon. They are fairly approachable, and you also feel you can escalate an issue to them and have them actually listen. The senior management also does a decent job of giving praise when the individual has done something to deserve the praise. That type of recognition is always good to have.

Other Employee Reviews for Amazon

  1. Helpful (8)

    "Could be great, but management treats employees like crap"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Unix Systems Engineer in Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Unix Systems Engineer in Seattle, WA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    You'll learn a lot and its a growing environment. I used to get really frustrated about the focus on frugality and the not-invented-here and build-it-over-buy-it mentality there. However, seeing how the rest of the work does IT, I'm good with the frugal approach and building it and doing work. Most people out there do IT via spending money on products to expand the domain of the IT manager, without any focus on the business, and without any metrics for success -- Amazon is the opposite fo that. Everything needs a cost justification and its difficult to build empires without any competency.

    The topgrading environment is actually good in some ways because it does eliminate a lot of the people that you have to put up with at other jobs who are totally useless. The bar raising interviews and stack ranking does actually mean that you might be working with a bunch of other decently talented people rather than trying to drag a department along single handed.

    I usually get bored at a company after 2-3 years, but I stuck with Amazon for nearly 5 years before getting bored with it because it was growing so fast (grew from managing 400 servers to 30,000 servers in 5 years). At some point, though, I'd learned most of the lessons dealing with scale, and that exposed the fact that I simply didn't like working for the company or the upper management (Bezos in particular).

    Cons

    Frugality get taken to an extreme. It leads to bad decision making if the payoff cannot be measured. If you simply argue that a technology will be able to be leveraged in the future and is forwards-looking it will go nowhere with upper management (although Bezos gets to make bets like that, but the engineer on the ground doesn't get to make that kind of call). Also, the focus on frugality leads to lots of turnover with the employees as they get treated like replaceable cogs.

    The topgrading environment is also a little abusive. It doesn't allow for someone who is simply doing a necessary job and doing it well to stay in that job, a lot of good people have been chewed up and spit out by Amazon, which increases churn. They would also do well to relax the focus on topgrading without abandoning it completely.

    Advice to Management

    If you'd spend 1-2% more on your employees to keep them happy and treat them less like replaceable cogs it would vastly help with retention. Upper management agonizes over retention and them implements policies which alienate the employees. They wouldn't need to completely abandon their whole philosophy of frugality -- they don't need to replace all the door desks and bring in aeron chairs. A little bit of a budget focusing on retention would go a long ways though.

    Since Bezos will never go for that, though, the best you can hope for is a chopper crash that he doesn't walk away from...


  2. Helpful (2)

    "Fortune 500 .com"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Seattle, WA
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Entrepreneurial opportunities within company, the CEO and some of the SVPs are the very best, no red tape, smart people, stock, brand.

    Cons

    No career path or mentoring, middle management is very tactical, below average benefits (401k and health).

    Advice to Management

    Too much of optimizing for optics, hold people more accountable for results, look at what was promised and delivered in previous year's operational plan while looking at next years. Improve health benefits and 401K, identify and mentor performers.

There are newer employer reviews for Amazon
There are newer employer reviews for Amazon

See Most Recent

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