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Twitch Software Engineer Reviews

Updated March 20, 2018
28 reviews

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Software Engineer

2.5
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Emmett Shear
23 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • The perks are great; free food, snacks, bar (in 15 reviews)

  • Free food great people nice place (in 14 reviews)

Cons
  • We're in a unique position and experiencing some growing pains (in 10 reviews)

  • Because of mandates from upper management pushing a product or idea because they think it will drive minutes (in 8 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (9)

    "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 (1)

    "Good work life balance but lower salary compared to competitors"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Engineer L5 in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Software Engineer L5 in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    1. Good perks. Complementary food, snacks, juices..
    2. Flexible work from home policy..
    3. Great work culture in many orgs
    4. Great work life balance..

    Cons

    1. Salary is lower compared to other competitors in the area. It's difficult to live and work in SF at this salary.. ppl in Seattle get kinda same salary.. if Amazon stock stops appreciating, employees are screwed with such low bar of salary..

    Advice to Management

    We need at least 50k increase in salary caps.. Seattle salary cap plus few grand won't work in SF..

  3. Helpful (13)

    "Stay away from this company"

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

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

    Pros

    Home to many gamers. If you are into video games you can easily find someone who plays the games you like. Twitch offers perks that are similar to any other tech company, however these perks are getting worse and worse.

    Cons

    The problems really start at the top of the ladder. There's way too many inexperienced directors who are only in those positions because they were pre-acquisition. Twitch really should have hired these people from outside. Another issue internally is racial bias. Yes, while we claim to support diversity and inclusion, it is pretty obvious that the white male is superior in this company when put side to side with people of color. I want to be clear that it isn't intentional racism. It is the fact that most of the people who hold higher positions are white males and white males naturally see other white males as superior.

    Another con is the lack of job promotion opportunities. Managers seem to be very easy on promoting somebody from L4 to L5 just to inflate their stats about their supposed promotion numbers. L5 to L6? good luck with that. You're better off at a different company if you want that to happen. L6 to L7? yeah that's only happened to one person in the entire company the past few years. For those without context, our levels are L4-L7 where L4 is a new grad hire and L7 is a staff engineer. So if you see yourself as an L5, just turn around and use Twitch's offer as a way to negotiate with other companies.

    Lastly is the way directors run the company. They are very narrow minded and are clearly inexperienced. They are way too black and white on something. The way they talk makes it seem like it is always either one thing or the other. If this then that. They think when any single person complains about something, it is invalid because it is just "a few people speaking very loudly". If they have not heard feedback from a good amount of people it is not a problem to them, but rather a few outlier individuals having a uniquely bad experience.

    Advice to Management

    News flash to the directors: many people are afraid to escalate issues because of the power gap between you and them. So of course you haven't heard anything. It is YOUR job to identify these issues without needing people to specifically tell you via some feedback form or in person. Us employees don't like complaining because we don't want to lose our jobs. We are submissive to you guys so please treat us better without us having to ask and fight hard for it. We want Twitch to succeed just as much as you do.


  4. Helpful (13)

    "Twitch has lost it's way"

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

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

    Pros

    Don't need to work hard
    Perks are on par with most
    Amazon stock is the best

    Cons

    - Vesting schedule is horrible
    - HR team is the worst of any team I've encountered
    - Morale is miserable
    - The pre-acquisition people don't care and are burning the place to the ground before they exit with their cash
    - Too focused on stopping negativity on social media than fixing the reason people are being negative

    Advice to Management

    Make wholesale changes to HR leadership before the company implodes. Find a way to break free of the compensation structure that ensures a 2 year exit for most.


  5. Helpful (26)

    "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.


  6. 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 :)


  7. Helpful (35)

    "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.

  8. 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.


  9. Helpful (9)

    "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?"


  10. Helpful (4)

    "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.