Switching roles even if it means looking outside AMZN?

Amazon movingup
Jul 24, 2018 13 Comments

Before I joined Amazon I was writing automation code, APIs and sample Android apps for security, metrics, and quality assurance. Joining Amazon as a QAE was exciting because it's a huge company and during the interview they told me they had concrete plans to write automation. However, a few days after I joined my peer left and confirmed they had no automation. My manager said that they had automation but didn't know where it was (the 2 people that wrote it got offers as software engineers externally.) Slowly, a coworker in a new team and I have been writing automation, but as QAEs our top priorities are back-to-back releases, maintenance and other quality items. Nonetheless, I still would love to write more code on a daily basis. I've spoken with my original manager and she's always said that she's never seeing anyone move from QA to SDE and rarely some had moved to SDET.

Now I'm working on a career path that will take from 8 months to 2 years to transition to SDET. I think that's too long and too pessimistic.

A month ago I started re-reading my computer science text books and then went on a burner interview and did very well and got an offer. The base salary would be higher but my TC won't be, plus one of the interviewers was very stressed out and was complaining about "production" issues being out of control... hmm, red flag for me.

I would really love to stay within Amazon (San Francisco Bay Area) but I heard that it's better to have a good external offer before even attempting interviewing with a different team to give you the negotiating power. For how long do people usually prepare? Is 1 month enough?

Not sure how others have handled transfers. Any thoughts?

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TOP 13 Comments
  • Amazon movingup
    OP
    No. I’m allowed to write as much automation as I want.

    The problem is that I have to do it in my spare time at home and on weekends. My wife is not liking me working over 60 hrs/ week on a regular basis.
    My current role requires me to focus and deliver on releases not automation. Automation is always in the back-burner or next-next sprint (i.e. won’t fix batch).
    Jul 24, 2018 3
    • Amazon bananamaan
      Lol at being allowed to work on what you want in your spare time. You can spend that time on another job where you are allowed to write code, start a company and write code etc. You are obviously in a wrong role in a team where you can't switch to a role you want to. You need to transfer ASAP, internally or externally
      Jul 24, 2018
    • Amazon xkcd
      Sorry.. By allowed I meant having time prioritized into your normal schedule.
      Jul 24, 2018
    • Amazon movingup
      OP
      Yeah, that's why I took today off to evaluate my options and come up with a plan.
      Jul 24, 2018
  • Amazon movingup
    OP
    No. I’m not good at interviewing. That’s why I need to prepare.

    Also, I don’t want to be jumping around companies. My team is really cool. Everything is fine except the lack of coding portion of my role. My peers have the same problem.
    Jul 24, 2018 4
    • Amazon bananamaan
      You do a burner interview with no leetcode and get an offer with not much lower TC? Sounds like you are pretty good.

      The fact your current team is cool doesn't help you when it comes to career progression if there's no possibility of doing more coding. I would look for a transfer, internal or external. Jumping is normal. No one will question your jump from a QA to SDE even if it's been less than a year at your previous role.

      Think long term, what will help your career more, staying longer or Amazon as a QA or doing actual SDE work?
      Jul 24, 2018
    • Amazon movingup
      OP
      Well, I got lucky with the interview here it's what happened:
      When I joined my team my first task was to manually extract some data and generate sign-off reports. So, I saw this could be easily automated and wrote a small Java utility. I setup an Apache Tomcat server to render my reports. I used a priority queue in my algorithm to maintain my top metrics (During the interview they asked a problem easy to solve with a priority queue, so I got lucky there).

      I was already working with Android. So, I started learning iOS on my spare time and contributed to the team. Those concepts were fresh in my mind because I had just learned them. (I got lucky again.)

      Previous to Amazon I worked in security (user authentication). So, the new role requires knowledge on authentication technologies. Again, I got lucky there.

      Anyway, that gave me confidence and hope that I can go back to coding.

      BTW, I'm a immigrant. I can read and write English fluently, but when I open my mouth you'll notice that thick accent.
      Jul 24, 2018
    • Amazon bananamaan
      Sounds like you have self confidence issues. Your rationalizing your good performance at interviews to luck. You're fluent in English but have thick accent? So does 80% of SDEs at Amazon. It won't affect your chances of getting an SDE role.
      Jul 24, 2018
    • Amazon movingup
      OP
      Yeah. That’s why I want to prepare and take a few interviews before making a big decision.
      Jul 24, 2018
  • Amazon bananamaan
    How would external offer help with internal transfer?
    Jul 24, 2018 0
  • Amazon movingup
    OP
    I get nervous during interviews, so I need it for interviewing preparation/practice. Confidence.

    I’m reading that if you are rusty don’t interview for the job you really want until you are very confident. And I would really love to stay within AMZN.

    Also, if the new team says “no“ and things get awkward with my current team then I’d have a backup plan.
    Jul 24, 2018 1
    • Amazon bananamaan
      If you are good at interviewing, why not get an SDE offer at another major company now instead of waiting 2yrs? There are many companies which pay as much or more than Amazon and have better culture. Why do you want to stay at Amazon so bad?
      Jul 24, 2018
  • Amazon xkcd
    Your issue is that you aren't being allowed to write enough automation as a QAE, yes?

    Not specifically that you aren't an SDET yet right?

    Send me a pm if internal transfer is of interest.
    Jul 24, 2018 0