Amazon - Great people, horrible technology | Glassdoor
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Helpful (15)

"Great people, horrible technology"

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

I worked at Amazon full-time (Less than a year)

Pros

Intelligent, helpful colleagues. There was not one person there whom I disliked working with.

Excellent hardware provisioning and IT support. I was all setup within a day.

Contemporary building. Good local dining, daycare, petcare... It would be easy to get an apartment nearby and live within walking distance of all necessities.

Nice (easy to update) wiki.

Standard best practices envisioned in the training documentation.

Great opportunities to advance rapidly. If you can tolerate the outrageous inefficiencies and disarray of Amazon, the employee churn alone will advance you quickly.

Alluring sign on bonuses - up to (possibly beyond) double your salary.

Company outlook is good. Amazon has top-notch customer service. They have mastered logistics and they are a logistics company, not a technology company.

Cons

Horrible technology stack. Runtime environments and build tools proprietary bastardizations of their open source counterparts with poor/no logging. In other words: You are always working on a fragile environment that routinely goes down entirely for no apparent reason. Countless hours are burned trying to recover your environment. Tremendously disruptive because there is almost always somebody dealing with their broken environment.

Best practices are not followed:
- There are few tests, and it takes lots of hacking just to get unit tests in place (forget about IT/functional/e2e as they use prod and customers in target regions as their testing ground).
- The teams are seated in open bullpens and tasked with ever-changing-priority duties. There is such a lack of cohesion that any upfront strategy discussed with anybody varies by individual.
- There is no scrum process beyond a quick bi-weekly summary of what you completed.
- Without tests, there is no guarantee that a newly-released version set will even compile. Colleagues get the bad news upon pulling the new bundle into their environment and watching it burst into flames.

On calls. Wear a pager a few weeks a month and be available 24/7 to troubleshoot all high severity issues. Remember the 'testing' approach? The high severity alarm goes off several times a day.

Golden handcuffs: A big upfront sign on bonus paid in full that tapers off over time. Get hired, receive chunk of money, spend it, discover unpleasantries, be financially imprisoned or pay back bonus and depart.

For these reasons, Amazon has earned its reputation as a meat grinder. Developers must be able to deal with spending several days/weeks accomplishing a task that, anywhere else, would be completed in a few hours. Furthermore, the ecosystem is hacks on top of hacks. Not to mention they are eagerly looking for somebody who is willing to migrate Perl to Java.

Advice to Management

Try not to let the schizophrenic nature of this organization affect your wellbeing.

Other Employee Reviews for Amazon

  1. "Broken management structure"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Amazon does an excellent job at hiring talent out of college and the onboarding process makes you feel like a part of the company and a bigger team.

    Cons

    The management structure is broken. Amazon doesn't know what kind of company it really wants to be and there is not enough structure or attention paid to development unless you are one of the "Pathways" MBA hires. They have created a culture of "Have" and "Have Not" among their management teams.


  2. "Amazon Warehouse Associate"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Indianapolis, IN
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Indianapolis, IN
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Amazon full-time

    Pros

    Above average pay for warehousing work.
    Average Medical

    Cons

    Work Life balance
    Flexibility for people who have had major life changing events in there lives.

    Advice to Management

    Over all management Depending on the person can be a great asset. And team members are your best tools.

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

See Most Recent

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