Amazon.com

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Amazon.com Reviews

Updated Jul 23, 2014
All Employees Current Employees Only

3.3 3,262 reviews

85% Approve of the CEO

Amazon.com Chairman, President, and CEO Jeff Bezos

Jeff Bezos

(2,275 ratings)

64% of employees recommend this company to a friend

Review Highlights

Pros
  • You will learn a lot while working at Amazon that will be useful for the rest of your career(in 98 reviews)

  • Density of talent: Some really smart people spoiling their careers here(in 302 reviews)


Cons
  • Company is not at all sorry to screw people's work-life balance for itself to excel(in 535 reviews)

  • There is literally no work life balance inside this company(in 123 reviews)

3,262 Employee Reviews
Relevance Date Rating
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    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
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    • No Opinion of CEO

     

    Varies by team and "frugal"

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsSeattle is great. Housing was good. Pay is very good. Great relocation team.

    ConsFrugal means fewer and lower quality perks. Some of things we were given fell apart. Mostly importantly experience varies greatly by team. A bad team means a very bad experience, as you are yelled at and overworked. Overwork is the culture. You will miss traditional software engineering practices, as often release is more important than quality- disproportionately so and scope creep is out of control on some teams. Recruiting is slipshod, they disappear for weeks at a time.

    Advice to Senior ManagementBetter management practices for interns and employees. Some software engineering practices.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    • Approves of CEO

    5 people found this helpful  

    Challenging work and smart people all around. No perks. High turn over rate.

    Software Development Engineer II (Current Employee) Vancouver, BC

    ProsHigh hiring standards mean you will be surrounded with smart people. Easy to transfer to other jobs inside the company. Good stepping stone as a means to reach nerdvana ( Google, Facebook, Apple ).

    ConsExcessive overtime without compensation. Difficult to schedule vacations. Poor scheduling of projects. Favouritism. Below average pay. Benefit plan is average. Promotions are difficult to get and the pay raise is very low. Expected to perform at new job level for a full year before promotion will be considered. Two years at Amazon is considered a very long time.

    Advice to Senior ManagementAn eye for an eye... in other words, make sure employees get just rewards for their efforts.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    Interesting place to work

    Operations Leadership Intern (Former Employee) Mississauga, ON

    ProsFun place to work
    Lots of other responcibility and freedom

    ConsNo a very good grounding process to learn what to do

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    • Culture & Values
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    3 people found this helpful  

    Meh

    Software Development Engineer II (Current Employee) Vancouver, BC

    ProsHigh hiring bar ensures smart teammates

    ConsEveryone is overworked.
    Ops load is pretty high.

    Advice to Senior ManagementDont set aggressive deadlines

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    3 people found this helpful  

    Take Google's engineering scale, mix Apple's customer satisfaction focus, and you get Amazon

    Software Engineer (Current Employee) Vancouver, BC

    ProsFor an engineer, not excited about the roller-coaster ride in a start-up, it cannot get any better than Amazon. You will get to work of technologies that need to scale to cater million if customer, and hundreds of million requests made by these customers. With AWS as backbone, and working with tons of in-house and open source technologies, you will gain invaluable experience, which ensure both technical and financial growth. The companies motto of being frugal and passing the saving to the customer will ensure you always come up with the right engineering solution to problem.

    ConsGood pay, but not a lot of extra perks. Limited financial growth at the company, but it prepares you for good financial growth outside the company.

    Advice to Senior ManagementInvest a bit more in employees

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    2 people found this helpful  

    Work Hard, Play Hard

    Software Development Engineer (Former Employee)

    ProsThey work you hard, which occasionally leads to burnout, but the work tends to be quite interesting, which makes the whole process satisfying.

    ConsMinimal perks, frugal is an understatement, but occasionally it's to the point of penny pinching. Depending on your team, there may be as little as no team building type activities, though I've heard tales of other teams that do beer and boardgames and pizza quite frequently

    Advice to Senior ManagementIf yo have a budget to spend on your team, spend it! It's there to make sure your team is working in tip top shape. It may not seem like much but when there's a little bit of tangible gratitude for the work we've been putting in, it's quite uplifting.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    140 people found this helpful  

    Can be amazing for some people, horrible for others

    Software Development Manager (Current Employee) Seattle, WA (US)

    ProsAmazon is doing lot's of cool stuff...but lots of boring stuff too. There are really well run teams...and very badly run teams. The experience for software managers and engineers is all over the board, from really run low operational load teams to teams where people burn out after a year.

     - Amazon is built, quite deliberately, to be Darwinian. You can generally expect that anyone who's been here for more than 2 years is competent and motivated or they wouldn't have survived. You can count on them as long as your priorities are aligned. There aren't many slackers here, and they don't survive long.
      - We work on so much stuff that there's always an opportunity to find amazing cool stuff to work on (note that it's an 'opportunity', one that you have to pursue)
      - A chance to make a huge difference
      - A place where you can learn a lot about all kinds of things, both technical and about yourself
      - Amazon encourages high mobility - even your manager can't prevent you from moving to another team within 6 weeks (normally, more than a few months under unusual conditions).
      - Your friends and family have actually heard of the place you work and have at least a vague notion of what Amazon does without you having to explain

    Cons- You're responsible for your own career progression and finding the places and teams that are doing the stuff you want to do. No one is going to take you by the hand and help you with that.
    - Amazon is built, quite deliberately, to be Darwinian. The strong survive and the weak perish (metaphorically speaking) and the 'bar' is constantly increasing. The level of performance that would have been acceptable five years ago will get you canned today. It's a kind of crucible that'll help you develop a harder edge, if you can survive, that can serve you well in your career and in life, but it's often not a pleasant experience.

    I wouldn't recommend it as a place to work for just anyone.

    Advice to Senior ManagementStack ranking is a horrible practice since it's rife with favoritism. It's also not Amazonian in that it's not data based (arbitrarily designating a certain percentage of employees that must be put on performance management isn't a data driven criterion) and it's not frugal (effectively forcing an individual out of the company in one division who would make the grade in another is either retaining someone who doesn't meet the bar or a waste of talent). The goal is to force managers to actually make the hard decisions about how their team members compare with each other (not everyone can be exceptional), but it has more defects than virtues. Replace it with a common comparison of each person against the bar for their position, based on data. The percentages that are assigned to each performance category will turn out how they turn out, but there will be an evaluation mechanism that's fair and frugal.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    • Approves of CEO

    209 people found this helpful  

    Make sure you know exactly what you're getting into

    Marketing (Former Employee) Seattle, WA (US)

    ProsThe name will precede you. This company can legitimately be called a "Disruptor" and perhaps even a world-changer. Customers love it and it's amazing to watch it all unfold at times. It's a pleasure to be even a small part of that.

    Even low-level employees are given some ownership, more than they might in some other places. Processes like the customer service andon cord demonstrate this.

    Pay is mostly good, with some caveats (see the Cons section).

    You will learn a ton. You'll be put through the ringer, but will emerge stronger for it. It's been said that a year at Amazon = two years elsewhere. That's definitely true. You'll learn business, supply chain, tech, retail, you name it. You're surrounded by smart people who challenge you to grow constantly. That was one of my favorite parts about working here.

    You can bring your dog to the office, dress code is casual, and South Lake Union is a fun neighborhood to work in. Seattle is stunningly beautiful in the summer, too (if you have time to enjoy it, that is.)

    Bezos is one of the few CEOs I've seen who earns the glowing reputation. He's a genius and a visionary. It's exciting to work in his company, though the thought of what will happen when he moves on is also a bit frightening.

    Cons"Work-life balance" means different things to different people, so I'm not going to say it's bad here per se. That said, long hours are the norm at all levels across the company, and usually that's required and expected just to keep up. Expect 60 hours as your baseline year round and 70 or more during Q4. You should expect that your time and mental energy for kids, hobbies, etc. will be extremely limited. Plan accordingly. Whether this is a negative will depend largely on the individual; just ensure you know where you stand on this before you sign an offer letter.

    That Amazon is a massive company with tons of smart people at all levels can actually be a huge negative. You might be a solid individual contributor, but so is absolutely everyone else - and you're all fighting for the same attention. It can be very hard to stand out, and you have to ensure your manager and your manager's manager know what value you bring at all times or you're toast. (You may still be toast regardless.) That means politics, backstabbing, and stack ranking do occur, despite some claims to the contrary. People definitely look out for themselves and themselves alone here; it's not a collaborative environment. It's also very easy to get the sense that you are a highly expendable cog even if your contributions bring significant value to the company. Plan to fight for yourself hard here, and be prepared to not get much acknowledgment or praise. Even if you do prove yourself well, know that advancement opportunities are limited. Most transfers in my observation were lateral, with big new hires being external. I've heard that the strategy of many people is to do a few intense years of lateral moves which can then be leveraged into a higher position at another company.

    Compensation is a mixed bag. Salaries are just average, but you get a huge signing bonus and stock which vests in strange increments over four years. Since the average employee lasts less than two years, you will not see most of that stock and you may need to repay some of that signing bonus (usually awarded over two years) if you leave or are pushed out. Raises are very, very small each year - your salary will not substantially increase even with a good review. Most people work startup hours, so their effective pay rate is pretty low. Additionally, the company espouses frugality as a core value. While this can be a positive, it also means they're downright cheap on some things, including hardware. Employee perks are pretty much nonexistent, and that's compared to most big companies and not just the Googles of the world. Benefits like health insurance and 401k match are mediocre at best. No free Prime accounts. No paid parental leave; moms get disability and dads get zip. (As in zero. None.) I did mention earlier that this isn't the most kid-friendly company to work for.

    Advice to Senior ManagementIt's great to work at a place that highly values customer experience, so please keep that up. Work on your compensation - it's not competitive when compared to other tech giants. If I'm going to work as hard or as much as I did, at least I'd get free haircuts and food and massages at Google. Hell, even some paid paternity leave would be a start.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    • Approves of CEO

    2 people found this helpful  

    Generally satisfied Amazonian here...but I can only speak for my team

    Software Development Engineer (Current Employee) Seattle, WA (US)

    ProsAs mentioned in the title, I've only worked on one team at Amazon, and it is in the context of a new/secret project, so I'm not sure my experiences are representative of the company as a whole. That being said:

    - Fast pace
    - Plenty of responsibility
    - End-to-end project ownership
    - Smart co-workers

    Cons- Not the most "positive vibe"
    - Collaboration with other teams can be a bit adversarial (I guess this is a slightly less vague example of my first con)
    - Work environment: open work space (lots of interruptions), frequent moving (on a rapidly-growing team, anyway), dearth of conference rooms
    - Focus on code quality tends to lapse severely in the face of totally arbitrary deadlines -- and isn't usually accounted for at all during planning

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    • Approves of CEO

    14 people found this helpful  

    Good work, mediocre work environment.

    Software Development Engineer II (Current Employee)

    ProsAmazon 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.

    ConsThe 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 Senior ManagementFix at least the first two problems listed in the Cons section.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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