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6 people found this helpful  

A solid company run by competent people, but I wouldn't recommend to others

  • Comp & Benefits
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Senior Management
  • Career Opportunities
Current Employee - Software Development Engineer
Current Employee - Software Development Engineer

I have been working at Amazon.com

Pros

Super-smart and very competent coworkers make it a great place for driven people to work. The CEO is not afraid to take risks and invest for the long-term, and all of the senior management are superb. The pay is relatively high, and it is possible to find a good work-life balance with some effort and setting of boundaries. Amazon runs a tight ship, which means there's always work to get done, but it also means a developer has a wide scope to do far more than write code, from helping to make business decisions to managing projects.

Cons

Burnout takes hold quickly for many employees, leading to high turnover in some departments. Amazon loves to celebrate all the new people who have joined since the last company meeting, when most are just replacing others who have left. Finding a good manager to work for is the key, but you can expect a new manager every six months to a year, which means you'll inevitably end up working for someone you don't like.

The company used to be fun to work for when it was younger. Amazon now only hires the best of the best, which seems to have driven out all the interesting people on its way to become a well-oiled corporate machine. The average age of the company is still very young, and Amazon likes ambitious new college graduates. For those a little older, learning new skills to stay relevant in the company is something you'll have to do on your own time and money.

Pager duty is a major pain. Smaller teams can expect to be on-call at least one week per month, while larger teams spread out the pain longer. Getting paged in the middle of the night for a high-severity problem that take eight hours of investigation to fix is enough to drive many to quit.

Advice to ManagementAdvice

They've got great vision for the company. My favorite quote from Bezos is that, "advertising is the price you pay for a mediocre product", and that by treating the customer right, word of mouth makes a much more effective way to grow the business. The company has become a haven for the some of the smartest developers in the world to work at. However, Amazon needs to focus more on growing smart people for the long-term rather than treating them as disposable talent.

Doesn't Recommend
Approves of CEO

Other Reviews for Amazon.com

  1. 3 people found this helpful  

    Not an engineering-oriented company

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Software Development Engineer  in  Seattle, WA (US)
    Current Employee - Software Development Engineer in Seattle, WA (US)

    I have been working at Amazon.com

    Pros

    Part of something big and generally good - Amazon is truly a customer-focused company that has brought some real value to the marketplace. Ability to have large-scale impact in your work: stuff I've worked on has been deployed on hundreds of machines and handled $100 MM+ in business. Colleagues are smart, pragmatic and get things done. The colleagues here are some of the best that I've worked with in nearly 10 years in the industry.

    Cons

    Operational overhead - if you're lucky you will be on a newer team without much operational overhead. Most likely, you'll be spending a significant portion of your time dealing with operational issues (pages, data backfills, investigating production alarms, resolving issues with other teams, etc).

    Work-life balance is hard to maintain.

    Very little professional development - aside from the internal speaker's sessions, there are few opportunities for professional growth and development.

    Email - I have grown to despise Outlook more than ever before. How can people read this much email?

    development process - some teams do agile, some operate in a chaotic code-and-fix mode. There's little support for best practices across the company. If you are coming from outside and have done some reading/practice in software engineering processes, this place will feel like a gigantic step backwards.

    HR - there is essentially no human resources department in this company. For almost all questions you'll be talking to an email alias.

    ridiculous upper management escalations - seriously, do you need to critique form layouts when they've been designed by a UI expert? And your background is in what, again?

    internal build tools and frameworks - outdated, can be frustrating, little documentation

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    If you want to reduce long-term costs, invest in some support for your engineering teams. Building a true engineering culture is tough, but worth the investment.

    Approves of CEO
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    Amazon is a great place to work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Software Development Engineer II  in  Seattle, WA (US)
    Current Employee - Software Development Engineer II in Seattle, WA (US)

    I have been working at Amazon.com

    Pros

    A challenging problem space with a lot of opportunity to develop interesting and complex problems. It is a company filled with great people with good ideas who have a passion for developing software. The compensation is good and competitive. The work life balance is excellent. Telecommuting is welcomed. Hours are flexible.

    Cons

    Infrequent on-call duty for operational support. Poor knowledge sharing within the company. Outdated platforms and technologies in use. Occasionally, the need arises for late night support work. The operational burden of owning software is a both a plus and a minus for the company.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Continue pursuing a long term customer focused approach.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
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