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Twitch Engineer Reviews

Updated January 31, 2018
32 reviews

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Engineer

3.0
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Emmett Shear
24 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Great perks, nothing to complain about (in 15 reviews)

  • Great perks: massage, free food, gym subsidy, etc (in 12 reviews)

Cons
  • We're in a unique position and experiencing some growing pains (in 9 reviews)

  • The work/life balance is sometimes non-existent (in 5 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (6)

    "Twitch is a great place, which went through a rough patch"

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

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

    Pros

    - Our biggest problem (at least on our team) is that we have a vision to build systems and tech much larger than today's, and the problem set is hard. It's rare to get to work on technical problems like this as a day job.

    - Amazon honestly is very lenient on us. We get to choose our tech stacks, tools, methodologies, etc. Their approach is not a top down one where you are told which CI system or tool to use. There are teams building support systems, and as an engineer you literally own your destiny and pick the best tools for the job.

    - The amount of freedom we have in terms of proposing projects that actually happen is really good. We have practically no restrictions on equipment and tech resource availability. The amount of freedom to pick and use open source or AWS resources is really, really good. As some one who worked in the past at places penny pinching, or where asking for compute resources were months long requests to finance, this availability makes me super happy.

    - The company does listen to feedback and take it seriously. Management actually cares about people and give priority to this. There has been a lot of movement lately to actually address pain points brought up.

    Cons

    - Office coffee leaves much to be desired.

    - Late 2016/2017 were rough. We suddenly got a TON of external competition from heavy hitters (youtube, facebook). The company went gung-ho on features and catch up, which was hard but necessary. We are in a much better spot today, but it was hard on people.

    - Twitch had a mix of legacy systems from the justin.tv days, along the newer ones. Literally the whole company spent last year a large amount of time to work on the very unsexy problem of cleaning debt. This was also hard on everyone, but we got rid for the most part of massive chunks of tech debt.

    - Some parts of twitch do suffer of "not-invented-here" syndrome. We could leverage more external and amazon's tools, which will free up time to work on other larger technical challenges.

    Twitch Response

    Feb 12, 2018 – VP

    Thank you for your feedback. We are leveraging Amazon (tools/tech) where it's best suited for Twitch and continue to review this on an ongoing basis. Also, we will ensure the Workplace team at... More


  2. Helpful (4)

    "Not perfect, but overall great place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Systems Engineer in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Senior Systems Engineer in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    I've worked at 4-5 large tech companies in the Bay Area, and when I started at Twitch it totally blew me away. The perks were better than most companies I've been at (Snacks, Swag, Gear, Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner), and Twitch had a diverse mix of talent- super smart senior engineers, as well as new interns and college grads. The scale of the stack we run is insane, at a scale that only a handful of companies operate at, including Google and Facebook. I can't speak for other parts of the organization, but my manager is very laid back and gives us a lot of freedom to achieve our goals.

    Cons

    Since I started, things have shifted and many older employees are on their way out as they vest stock. Some of the perks, like swag, have diminished quite a bit, and some frustrating IT processes have made life difficult, either in the name of security or for management reasons. The tech debt has started to catch up with us, and we spend a lot of resources troubleshooting incidents and replacing old systems.

    However- despite all this, I have a very positive outlook on Twitch. We are growing at a rapid pace, and Twitch can deliver insane amounts of video around the world and does this very well. Twitch also has an amazing community and culture that is 100% grassroots, and not artificial and forced like it is at places like Facebook. Also the compensation is good, and you get the benefits of working for Amazon (Stock, etc) without a lot of the downsides that they have. It's the best of both worlds.

    Twitch Response

    Feb 12, 2018 – VP

    "Thanks for your review! Appreciate your thoughts feedback. We are actively working to better our IT processes and systems. I will make sure I share your feedback with our executive team. - Sally... More

  3. Helpful (21)

    "Twitch could be great if it got its act together"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    - Twitch is a great product. Twitch has a massive customer base so you'll get to work on a product that is used by millions daily around the world.
    - Fun people. Generally speaking, the people that work at Twitch are awesome folks.
    - The company isn't too huge so you have opportunities to make an impact.
    - Lunch and dinner provided every day, breakfast three times a week. Food and drink selection is great and the happy hour after All Hands every week is a nice touch.
    - Compensation is pretty good and being an Amazon subsidiary, you'll get Amazon stock.

    Cons

    - Company organization is a disaster. There is so much siloing without a strong overarching vision so everything feels fragmented. I've seen management at All Hands admit not knowing what some of these silos are doing.
    - Bad quality. The website goes down for hours at a time almost once a month. Everyone talks about improving quality but I don't see any meaningful steps being taken to remediate the issues. There are even groups of people in the company that see "quality first" as anti-Twitch culture which is ridiculous.
    - A lack of CTO and strong technical leadership has left Twitch pretty far back when it comes to engineering. Of all the companies I've worked for, Twitch is easily the company that has the most work to do to power up its engineering chops.
    - Career advancement appears to be pretty daunting and challenging. It's not enough to meet all the requirements; you'll need some luck and a manager willing to put in some effort on your behalf.

    Advice to Management

    1. Hire a CTO.
    2. Make plans and stick to them. Stop changing them halfway through. No one appreciates "gut decisions" halfway through implementation.


  4. Helpful (1)

    "Best job of my life"

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

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

    Pros

    - Perks are great
    - Lots of interesting work and projects
    - Leadership has clear and reasonable goals
    - Nice work life balance
    - Coworkers are awesome to work with

    Cons

    - Grew a bit too fast and made some bad hires
    - Some conflicting business goals and metrics across teams

    Advice to Management

    - Raise the hiring bar
    - More Friday happy hours pls :)


  5. Helpful (32)

    "Poor morale; weak engineering culture"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    - Perks in line with other SF tech companies
    - Decent salary and benefits
    - Flexible work schedule
    - Some good people
    - Games? I guess?
    - Nice office if you're in Bush or Sansome. God help you if you're in 2EC.

    Cons

    - Widespread lack of confidence in executive team
    - Employees openly mock CEO
    - Cliqueish
    - No career progression
    - Low diversity
    - Not-Invented-Here syndrome
    - Massive technical debt that's only getting worse
    - Stack is so fragile that any big event of real importance entails a company wide code freeze because otherwise we're guaranteed to go down
    - Reaction to instability is to slap restrictions on engineering teams instead of addressing fundamental architectural and cultural problems ("operational excellence" -- el oh el)
    - HR is unprofessional. Actually included a curseword in a companywide e-mail.

    Many if not most core employees at Twitch, including managers and directors, have never worked anywhere else. It shows. Twitch decided to triple in size before investing in a solid foundation built on tooling, DevOps, quality control, and building an engineering culture.

    Twitch does not have an engineering culture. When most people talk about culture at Twitch, they're talking about the food.

    Writing code is not engineering. A lot of people don't seem to understand this. You want documentation? A knowledge base? Best practices? Mentoring? Some standard kind of bug tracking or requirements management process? Tests? Local development environments? Staging environments? Continuous integration? Forget it. Forget all of it. There's variation here on a team by team basis -- some are better than others -- but that just underscores the point that there's no *coherent* culture across the wider engineering org. It's chaos.

    As a result of this lack of coherence, not just every team but every project ends up spending 60-70% of its engineering effort on deployment, monitoring, alerting, and metrics. Everything is bespoke, and there is massive duplication of effort all around. Every project and every line of code written only makes the situation worse than it already is. God help our skeletal DevOps and systems teams.

    An enterprising individual could write a whole new antipatterns book based entirely on case studies taken from Twitch. The executive team has no understanding of how software development works at scale.

    Advice to Management

    The executive team needs some... adjustment. Product development should be massively slowed down or halted entirely until we aren't going down every other month. We desperately need an empowered CTO who understands how to build an engineering culture. Even with the proper investment and focus, it's going to take a long time to dig out of this hole.


  6. Helpful (4)

    "high paying, good (free) catering, brilliant people, can't complain - type of experience"

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

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

    Pros

    This company has lots great things to offer, way better than previous personal Full Time / Part time jobs in the industry. Just a few to mention: great perks, good in office kitchens / food and drink (unlimited), covered transportation, hiring bonus options, RSUs, great office spaces / equipment and most of all brilliant video / web engineers. A lot of room to grow ( all depends on self )

    The company is innovating the space in many ways and I believe has great potential that I am sure most around the world will see in a short time

    Cons

    People talk about company morale these days.., but I would recommend for anyone try and go work for a company of the same industry out there and compare, - one will be running back to the 'purple parachute' in no time.
    On the other side even giants* have their problems, and probably a lot more in comparison, considering Twitch has gone from a start up to a moderately sized one in just 1-2 years.
    (on the Geo side: San Francisco has it's weather, but not a great city, has lots of problems and food is lacking - comparing to other metro cities in the nation. City is old)

    Yes not everything is perfect, but I see heads of departments are wary and are working on, it trickels down and the differences are made a lot faster than in some other more stagnant env.

    Advice to Management

    - Keep the interaction trickling down between Upper management and general populous.
    - Keep up the reviews and giving feedback
    - Don't forget to celebrate the wins


  7. Helpful (1)

    "Things Happen"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in San Francisco, CA

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

    Pros

    Twitch has a very good culture. In specific, it is very nice that I am able to play video games during work hours.

    Cons

    I do not feel very connected to my team mates. We do not spend a lot of time with each other during work or not during work, so that makes sense. I spend a lot of time with my computer though, we are pretty close.

    Advice to Management

    I think that overall twitch is a great place to work at and I don't really have any complaints for the management.

  8. Helpful (8)

    "Ship good work then get out"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in San Francisco, CA
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    What's great is you will definitely deliver impactful work with brilliant coworkers. Perks are decent (though should be judged as part of the compensation package), you get to watch Twitch all day and be ground-zero at the one of the newest, coolest movements out there.

    Cons

    If you want to progress your career or learn from experienced mentors, look elsewhere. History has shown that Twitch is FAR more likely to promote from outside than from within. It's disheartening and we continue to lose brilliant, good-hearted people as a result. They are the smart ones that took control of their environments by leaving.

    Depending on how stagnant your manager is, prepare to have little to no mind paid to your professional development. Engineering more or less follows Amazon's leveling structure, but with more hurdles. Anecdotally most non-engineers don't have formal leveling guidelines/expectations.

    The HR department has been the worst of my career. When pressed, we're fed empty promises with a smirk. Virtually the entire HR team quit/was fired recently, and I'm wary of the ones that remain. Most do not feel comfortable working with them, let alone trusting them. I'm sorry for you lone decent ones, as the majority have besmirched you.

    Toxic culture around management and executives. Executive reviews often go off the rails and our leaders get petulant real quick. I rarely see genuine moments of humility. Instead its posturing, ego-trips. Also, and I hate to bring it up, but many of them are quite unhealthy, and its reasonable to question their mental/physical capacity to properly lead some of the brightest minds in the industry. Not the shining exemplars you'd hope were at the helm.

    Many of us would prefer Amazon just completely take over.
    If you're still keen on applying, definitely do research into the specific managers you'd be working with. There are some awesome ones, notably from post-acquisition (surprise, surprise).

    Advice to Management

    "Why am I not surprised?"


  9. Helpful (3)

    "Morale is low"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    There are some really good smart people at twitch. Some of the best people I've met in my life. Both genuinely caring and good at their jobs. There are fun and interesting problems that need to be solved.

    Cons

    At some point people just stopped caring about the product, stopped caring about stability. Morale started to suffer, the vision of where to go became unclear. Politics took over, infighting between teams became too much.

    We are either to integrated with Amazon, or not integrated enough. This half and half state is killing the company slowly. We don't have the management or TPM structure to deal with interacting with Amazon. At the same time we don't have the internal tooling teams or structure to not integrate deep into amazon.

    We either need to massively beef up the TPM structure and start adopting Amazon's internal tools and systems. If we don't want to do that then we need to massively increase the size of the devtools and systems teams to better support the company.

    Advice to Management

    Figure out the morale problem. Integrate with Amazon. Address the FUD about Amazon, it is the elephant in the room.


  10. Helpful (22)

    "Zero leadership, whole company in dumpster fire, stay away"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Benefits, while they still last, like massages and snacks
    are pretty good
    Some good people are still around
    Compensation being tied to amazon stock
    Kudos to recruiting/hr for posting 5 star reviews on a regular basis to keep the Glassdoor rating afloat

    Cons

    Twitch used to be a great company to work at. Too bad the CEO and the executive team has turned a great company into a dumpster fire.

    There is no long term vision for twitch. The executive team just care about hitting their numbers, on this meaningless metric called "minutes watched" that doesn't actually mean anything, can be be easily gamed, and doesn't drive value. They're so desperate to hit their goals that they've resorted to shady accounting of minutes. Every single month half of the company gets sucked into these mbrs and wbrs, and while they're good concepts, the goal for these at twitch isn't to actually report what happened, but to write a narrative that changes every single month to pretend we are actually doing great while in reality most things are terrible. This way amazon can be confused while the execs inch their way another month closer to their next vest.

    Zero product vision. Micro-managing CEO. Zero long term thinking or strategy. PMs can't establish their own vision for products, instead they become mere puppets for the CEO, who is far too deep into the weeds. Wish he would give the PMs the freedom to decide the color of a button and instead focusing on actual important things. Incompetent executive team (70% should be fired given the performance of their orgs). Ineffective communication due to the changing requests every week/month. Good people leaving left and right. How this company is still being run this way for this long is beyond me, but I expect significant changes soon.

    Advice to Management

    If you can't do the job, let someone else do it, rather than ruining the lives of everyone around you and the whole company. If all of the products coming out of your org is a complete failure, you should be fired, not own more stuff because of some kindergarten friendship. If you are terrible at hiring and leading people, you probably shouldn't be a VP of anything. If you keep having to fire people in your org, including those you hired yourself, because of one issue or another, maybe you are part of the problem. If you don't have a company strategy, why is there even a chief strategy officer?

    There are plenty of people who are both experienced and willing to step up to steer the ship in the right direction. Do us all a favor and get out of the way. I'm sure you've already conned enough money from amazon to not have to work.