People who left Amazon- Is life better?

Amazon ghks8w
Jul 19 27 Comments

Frustrated with dealing with multiple headcount crunched teams, politics, lack of good management, poor annual increments and the pathetic SDE 2 -> SDE 3 promotion process.
Even if I get good work, the dependent teams or 'promotion oriented architecture' ensure that the project gets more complicated than expected and gets delivered when it's too late.

Is work better for you after you left Amazon? Where do you work and what's better/worse?

YOE 3.5, TC 195k, SDE 2



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TOP 27 Comments
  • Apple f18eh67
    Not voting because it’s hard to say since I haven’t been here long enough to really know. All the things you mentioned except poor annual increments are the same over here but for different reasons.

    Headcount is crunched but it’s partly due to culture and partly due to this org just starting to grow. Teams don’t really exist like they do at Amazon. There’s basically a single owner for everything with others occasionally helping out. It’s up in the air if I’ll end up liking this or not.

    Management seems to function very differently here. It seems that many managers also do IC work and some managers are there just in spirit as the people they manage do most everything themselves. This seems to blend together with the single IC team thing. I don’t mind it as I can function well without direction.

    Annual increments are much better defined here than Amazon. There’s still a pretty wide range of what it will be but from everything I’ve heard refreshers here are better than anywhere.

    Promo process is nearly non-existent. It’s flatter here than at Amazon. ICT4 ranges from a high L4 to a high L6. ICT5 is essentially a principal, most people will never make it. On top of that you can’t see what level other people are which is weird but I get it. In the end though it really means that I’m not worried about getting promoted here. Sure I’d like to get to ICT5 but it doesn’t bother me for now to think about like it did at Amazon.

    One of the good things so far is everyone isn’t running around because things are always on fire. It’s incredibly relaxed here vs what I saw at amazon. Not that it really bothered me over there, I work well in a high stress environment. It’s still nice though to be able to focus on my projects instead of getting constantly reprioritized.

    There’s lots that I do miss about amazon though. All the builder tools turned out to be great. They may have pissed me off all the time while I was there but at least they existed. It was a lot easier to just get shit done there because you basically had all of AWS at your disposal. Oh and the documentation. Documentation at Amazon is amazing and the freedom to read the docs for some service that isn’t even in your org. Over here you have to be approved to sign an NDA just to learn what a code word means.

    I also miss being such an SME in my area. A lot of it I can bring over here but just trying to learn the new, very different architecture without any real documentation sucks. Really makes me feel like a noob.

    Overall, current pay was basically matched and is locked in for at minimum 4 years (though from what I’ve seen there won’t be a cliff). And on top of that I’m not having to put out fires all the time. Things are on a good track for me to say it’s better over here.
    Jul 19 3
    • Amazon ghks8w
      Thanks for the info
      Jul 19
    • Microsoft Tiffany&co
      such a nice write-up. thanks for sharing
      Jul 19
    • Microsoft


      I miss reading design documents. The culture in our group doesn’t believe in writing design documents unfortunately.
      Jul 20
  • Nvidia hibitcoin
    I am no longer attached to Jeff's balls
    Jul 19 2
    • Apple kICY04
      Jul 19
    • Nvidia / Eng denvCoder9
      You are now attached to Jensen's jacket
      Jul 19
  • GE foster
    Never stay with a company more than 3/4 years unless there is hyper growth and you have full support and trust from your boss
    Jul 19 3
    • Visa / Eng Jdmfe
      Boss can be manipulative as well.
      Jul 19
    • Amazon / Eng

      Amazon Eng

      Even so..
      Jul 20
    • Zulily AVXF18
      if boss shows no results - just get rid of him.
      Jul 20
  • Google / Eng iTK
    Couldn't have been happier. I was lucky to get a good team in Google. Usually I tend to get bored after spending 2-3 years in a team, but not this time in G. G definitely has more smart people and better software challenges. At Amazon, people always use to find shortcuts to make this work so that they can get promoted quickly. So even though they had a challenging problems but solutions were always naive.

    From your poll, I see that it's either better or same. Then I would recommend to try other companies. Learn as much as possible in early age. Every company has something different to offer. Moreover most people leave after promotion. Sde2 -> sde3 is uphill battle in Amazon.
    Jul 20 2
    • Amazon / Eng batou
      how about sde 2->sde 3 at G? is it easier at G? what should I do at amazon if I’d like to jump to a *good* team at G? Go an AWS team, or any team at amazon is fine?
      Jul 20
    • Google / Eng iTK
      Any team in A is fine. There is an inherent risk whenever you switch companies/teams. So you need some ounce of luck on your side.

      Getting 2->3 is easier in G because your manager pays very little role in your promotion. You write your own promo doc so it's less political. All you need to do is find a team in G which has good projects.
      Jul 20
  • New oeeL53
    What’s the SDE2 -> SDE3 promotion like? What makes it pathetic?
    Jul 20 7
    • Amazon sysad11
      Yeah unfortunately SDE 3 is drastically different from SDE 2 and they won't increase the salary enough at SDE 2 level as well for someone wanting to contribute and stay at that level.
      Jul 20
    • New oeeL53
      How many YoE generally is required to get to SDE3?
      Jul 20
    • Amazon sysad11
      Jul 20
    • Amazon / Eng doobeep
      Minimum but I think people get there in the 7-10 YoE range
      Jul 20
    • Amazon / Eng zHjkTf
      New grad hires become in 6 years. External hires are around 8+ years. From what I see in past 3 years.
      Jul 20
  • Amazon HangryAzn
    Went to Facebook. Could not be happier. Not the best WLB, but work is fulfilling and coworkers are top notch and decent people.
    Jul 19 1
    • Microsoft zuckme
      Which one has better WLB, Amazon or Facebook? And is this both at Seattle locations?
      Jul 19
  • / Other
    仆街 冚家鏟 Other

    仆街 冚家鏟more
    OP your TC is quite low for sde2, did you recently get promoted?
    Jul 19 1
    • Amazon ghks8w
      Got promoted a year ago. 135k base and rest stocks.
      Jul 19
  • Amazon ghks8w
    Overall it looks like life is either same or better outside Amazon. I asked this question to understand whether it's worth changing team or just switch outside.
    Jul 19 0


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