Amazon - Good work, mediocre work environment. | Glassdoor
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Helpful (18)

"Good work, mediocre work environment."

Star Star Star Star Star
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Culture & Values
  • Career Opportunities
  • Comp & Benefits
  • Senior Management
Current Employee - Software Development Engineer II
Current Employee - Software Development Engineer II
Recommends
Positive Outlook
Approves of CEO

I have been working at Amazon full-time

Pros

Amazon as a company is growing rapidly. It's going into new markets and challenging big players as well as innovating in markets where it's already quite ahead. There is no dearth of choice when you are working at Amazon. There are a number of teams working on different products across all sorts of areas.

The best part is that the work which you do will get shipped.

That's the main thing which I love about Amazon. Software you write will see light of day in say 6 months. That's how quickly things move here. Teams are small and ownership is more. Process is lightweight and will never hinder you. I have never been asked to fill in time-sheets or made to give hourly estimates. People are friendly. Technical arguments are settled based on data and with respect.

Amazon does most of its development in Java and uses a lot of open-source software. This frees engineers to focus on problems rather than re-engineer software which already exists.

Although some teams have poor work-life balance, the ones which I have worked in had no such problems. I have been able to do a 9-5 on most days without any work carrying over to the weekends.

Cons

The rapid growth of Amazon and increasing head counts have put a lot of pressure on the buildings which house Amazon employees. Many Amazon buildings are packed. Seating is cramped and elevator rides can be too close for comfort.

Career growth is hard. Starting developers enter at SDE 1 with a clear path to SDE 2, but from there on out it's hard to get to SDE 3 or above. Employees on immigrant work visas like H1B should know that Amazon does not start your permanent residency process till you hit SDE 2 (level 5). This is where sometimes politics rears its ugly head. You might find really hard working engineers play the game.

Amazon does not give you additional perks if you compare it with companies like Microsoft or Google. Apart from the 10% discount on Amazon purchases (capped at $100) and few team outings you won't get much. Don't expect to get the latest Amazon gadgets for free.

Advice to Management

Fix at least the first two problems listed in the Cons section.

Other Employee Reviews for Amazon

  1. Helpful (2)

    "For beginner's OK. Not for senior people"

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

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

    Pros

    If you are fresh out of college, you can learn a lot in a short time and get the name on your resume.

    Cons

    Long hours, legacy codebase and lack of documentation. Burnt out in a few years.

    Advice to Management

    Focus on a few products and services Spending your energy in so different areas results in mediocre quality.


  2. Helpful (4)

    "Smile on the box but not on the face of the entry level employee. The fulfillment warehouses are Americanized sweat shop"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Pack
    Current Employee - Pack
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Well it's Amazon so work is steady though so steady income & tons of OT come Christmas Holiday. Day one insurance is nice too. You'll most likely bond with your new hire class & meet other really great people that are at the same level as you within your department. The bad/ugly side of Amazon is coming out slowly but surely, ie. BBC, Forbes & Business Weekly have all done undercover investigations & reports on their facilities.

    Cons

    Training doesn't exist I was thrown to the "wolves" in both departments that I worked in, along with my fellow new hires, & was expected (on a curve) to obtain 100% immediately. The pay for what we accomplish on a daily basis is pathetic. To make $11.00/ hour while the average package that is boxed up & shipped out ranges from $10 - $200+ & that's at an average of 1 package per every 60-65 seconds. Health insurance though it's day one to "blue badges" is not all that great. I have never received so many bills from hospitals after paying $150 co-pay upon leaving. There are different options for health insurance & trust me we are not on the low grade plan & we still have paid more out than under any other company's insurance. 85% of the management team consists of recent college grads & they have "Zero" life, management & people skills to be expected to manage teams of 60+ individuals successfully. I have never been treated so rudely, cut off, ignored & had an "education" touted over my head in all of my life up to now. The older more veteran managers tend to be great however Amazon is not their home & usually great promoted from within or find work elsewhere. 85% of the jobs are on a "rate" system which is completely flawed for they gauge the 100% expectation of a mean based of the average high percentage & then lowest percentage rates. This system is flawed because you'll have the seasoned employees "cherry picking" work in order to exceed rate while everyone else struggles to make rate for the only work that is left for others to do is the more challenging/difficult & low numbered items. In certain departments you even have the individuals that are in a non rate position (support role) cherry picking & aiding their personal friends feeding them the good work & giving you garbage. NO DEFINED CAREER PATH, PERIOD. There are so many positions but there is no clear cut "career path" to really aim for. There are positions that one can move into but it comes with more responsibility with no more pay & these positions are usually filled on the "buddy system" more so then someone earning it based off of hard work. No forgiveness when it comes to restroom breaks. We understand you're one of the world's largest on line retailer but if it comes down to "messing" myself or getting the customer their item(s) I'm sorry the item will be delayed but management doesn't get this & either writes up individuals or threatens with write ups. Not every bodily function can be timed out to be during your break/lunch time. Amazon has 4 types of people under the roof; Amazon (blue badge), temp agency (white badge), security & contracted cleaning company (yellow badge). Everyone outside of blue badge is treated poorly by everyone including department managers. It's shameful & degrading to see & hear the things that take place. They are people too that need to earn a paycheck just as everyone else.

    Advice to Management

    Provide better health insurance, training & pay for your employees. Make a different structure to clocking rates & what individuals are doing to keep work fair & even. Hire more within. Just because someone comes to Amazon with a BA does not qualify them as a department manager. I've seen department PA's that don't have a degree be the only reason a department is successful because they're carrying the inexperienced, yet educated, management staff. Understand that we are humans & not a number producing a number. We have children, illness, bodily functions that sometimes take us out for a few minutes if not a full day but that's just part of life. My wife missed her grandfather's funeral due to Mandatory OT & I asked to be pardoned from this OT but was denied due to grandfather in laws were not covered under Amazon bereavement policy (I even advised I didn't want to receive any kind of pay just have the day in order to care for our children). Make a clear defined career path, not just tier one to tier 3 to PA to management if you're lucky. The people I work with are full of life & ideas but as soon as they step into that warehouse & scan their badge to work it's like they become zombies. The work is uneventful, uninspiring & non rewarding top that off with no hope to move/progress into one of the few other roles you offer makes life miserable. Jumping from department to department every quarter is not a career path by the way.


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

See Most Recent

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