Amazon.com Reviews

Updated 24 October, 2014
Updated 24 October, 2014
3,697 Reviews
3.3
3,697 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Amazon.com Chairman, President, and CEO Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos
2,534 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • You can definitely learn a lot in short spam in Amazon as they make you work a lot (in 115 reviews)

  • Density of talent: Some really smart people spoiling their careers here (in 336 reviews)


Cons
  • Company is not at all sorry to screw people's work-life balance for itself to excel (in 605 reviews)

  • There is literally no work life balance inside this company (in 139 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    unique place to work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Amazon.com as a contractor

    Pros

    uniqueness, great business plan / ideology

    Cons

    lack of real organization, communication

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    ask yourselves the reason of high turnouts on hiring/firing

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2. 2 people found this helpful  

    Work hard yes. Have fun, yes. Make history, I hope!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Software Development Engineer II in Vancouver, BC
    Current Employee - Software Development Engineer II in Vancouver, BC

    I have been working at Amazon.com full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Nice atmosphere, good and qualified colleagues, and good principles. I get to work on interesting projects and to decide how to do them: from design to implementation, we do it all ourselves. Some teams work on exciting projects, others work on necessary projects. Less thrilling, but still huge amounts of data or money flows through our software, and it's gratifying to know we make a difference.

    Cons

    Your career seems to be entirely in your hands, and some bars seem pretty high.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3. 3 people found this helpful  

    Ownership culture, interesting technology, and a bright future

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Software Development Manager in Vancouver, BC
    Current Employee - Software Development Manager in Vancouver, BC

    I have been working at Amazon.com full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Amazon is an amazing company - I haven't seen anything like it. It's a place where you're encouraged to "Think Big" while still having to focus on the details and deliver results. There are truly incredible people working here, and it's easy to reach across the organization and benefit from their knowledge. This is a company where displays of true ownership are rewarded. If you see a problem or an opportunity, don't wait for someone else to give you permission to look at it - go and see! Sure, you shouldn't go off for two weeks working on something new without telling anyone, but management is open to hearing about ideas about what needs to be done.

    The Vancouver office is a "remote" office in that it's a few hours away from the corporate HQ in Seattle, but the culture here is very much Amazonian. The leadership principles are consistent across the company (although occasionally open to interpretation), and as we continue to grow the office feels more and more like a "1st class" Amazon office every day.

    Amazon has had a bad reputation about operational load, but I can only speak to my own experience - the load is minimal. It is very rare that someone on my team gets paged because of an issue, and almost always that takes place during business time. Having the team handle operations, instead of sourcing it out to a dedicated support team, instills a strong quality ethic in the team and as a result the software is of much higher quality.

    Cons

    Amazon is great place, but it's also a huge and varied place. Your Amazon experience will depend largely on two things - how much of a self-started you are, and what team you're on.

    There are a lot of opportunities, but you need to reach out and grab them. Very little will be spoon-fed to you unless you are at the lowest levels, and even then there is an expectation of motivation and initiative (or "bias for action"). Waiting for the action to come to you is not a successful strategy, be it interesting projects, new technologies, promotions, or anything else.

    Amazon is relatively decentralized, meaning that it's up to each organization, division, and even manager to run their group the way they want. Sometimes things will be circumstantial - inheriting a legacy system, etc. - but often a manager's or organization's policies will greatly impact how much you like work here. Luckily, people are relatively free to move around within the company, so unhappy teams will bleed developers to teams with better reputations.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Handling a company that's growing as rapidly as this one is difficult. I think you are doing a good job, but one way of improving would be to be more transparent as to how things in the employee survey are handled. Many of them ARE getting handled, but it's not always obvious how.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5.  

    Varies by team and "frugal"

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Amazon.com as an intern

    Pros

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

    Cons

    Frugal 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 ManagementAdvice

    Better management practices for interns and employees. Some software engineering practices.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6. 5 people found this helpful  

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

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Software Development Engineer II in Vancouver, BC
    Current Employee - Software Development Engineer II in Vancouver, BC

    I have been working at Amazon.com full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    High 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 ).

    Cons

    Excessive 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 ManagementAdvice

    An eye for an eye... in other words, make sure employees get just rewards for their efforts.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    Interesting place to work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Operations Leadership Intern in Mississauga, ON
    Former Employee - Operations Leadership Intern in Mississauga, ON

    I worked at Amazon.com full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Fun place to work
    Lots of other responcibility and freedom

    Cons

    No a very good grounding process to learn what to do

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8. 3 people found this helpful  

    Meh

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Software Development Engineer II in Vancouver, BC
    Current Employee - Software Development Engineer II in Vancouver, BC

    I have been working at Amazon.com full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    High hiring bar ensures smart teammates

    Cons

    Everyone is overworked.
    Ops load is pretty high.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Dont set aggressive deadlines

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9. 3 people found this helpful  

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

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Vancouver, BC
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Vancouver, BC

    I have been working at Amazon.com full-time

    Pros

    For 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.

    Cons

    Good 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 ManagementAdvice

    Invest a bit more in employees

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10. 2 people found this helpful  

    Work Hard, Play Hard

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

    I worked at Amazon.com

    Pros

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

    Cons

    Minimal 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 ManagementAdvice

    If 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.

    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO
  11. 236 people found this helpful  

    Can be amazing for some people, horrible for others

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

    I have been working at Amazon.com full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Amazon 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 ManagementAdvice

    Stack 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.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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