2 Years at Amazon, 0 Achievement. How to Handle Interviews?

Jun 7, 2019 41 Comments

I joined Amazon 2 years ago fresh out of college as an SDE-1. Unfortunately, I am not a good fit. My skills (both technical and soft skills) were just not up to par, and only 3 months in the job I already had a gut feeling that I wouldn't succeed at Amazon. I was constantly filled with fear of getting fired. However, this is my first full-time job, and I was also concerned about my visa issues so I had no other option but to work harder and improve.

I managed to drag out this experience to 2 years with the help of my manager who gave me chance after chance. However, for the past 2 years I have achieved 0 in my job. I know I deserve to be fired, and I am trying to prepare for interviews now.

For the past 2 years, I have not delivered any meaningful project at all. Now I have nothing to list on my résumé, and I don't know what to say in behavioral interviews. I was never assigned any meaningful project. All I have done in my job is some trivial ops work -- renewing SSL certs, repurposing hosts, security patching, etc... , and don't think I can list them in my résumé, nor can I tell them in an interview.

Now I feel like a huge fraud, having 2 years experience at Amazon but with 0 actual achievement. Can anyone offer me advice on what to do?


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TOP 41 Comments
  • Amazon broke&dumb
    You just described 50% of SDEs in the retail org, except that they won't admit it like you do.
    Jun 7, 2019 3
    • Amazon / Eng batou
      probably 80% of junior engineers at Amazon are in this situation?
      Jun 7, 2019
    • And the rest are already in pip 😂
      Jun 7, 2019
  • Facebook cochococho
    Oh look at this. An engineer that is self aware and doesnt blame the system for everything going wrong at work!
    Jun 7, 2019 0
  • New / Eng

    New Eng

    Keep cashing those Checks bro.
    Jun 7, 2019 0
  • Amazon ChivalryAF
    Learn how to bullshit in interviews. In fact, the more you learn to do this, the more you’ll increase your TC. Hell, even apply for an SDM role!
    Jun 7, 2019 4
    • Amazon npYz41
      He meant bs that you worked on larger projects. Study those projects and prepare for design. Leetcode is standard anyways
      Jun 9, 2019
    • Amazon ChivalryAF
      This woman or man gets it! ^^
      Jun 9, 2019
  • Amazon / Eng GoodOmen
    Join a startup. Fortunately for me I had 5 YOE before joining Amazon. I was surprised realizing many of the guys who came straight out of college to Amazon know very little about fundamental principles, patterns, and design. Amazon makes SDEs really good at doing SRE work.
    Jun 7, 2019 5
    • Airbnb / Mktg Jonny555
      This is great advice. You’ll get a crash course, have the opportunity to prove yourself, get pulled in a lot more directions — go back to a big company for double the money in 3 years.
      Jun 7, 2019
    • Square / Eng Tom@Jerry
      Startup is a great place to learn stuff, but the pay is nonexistent....
      Oct 10, 2019
  • New aias
    If your manager doesn’t trust you it might be part of why you didn’t get meaningful work. To keep in mind next time. You’re still in a good spot. Interview and put on the spin - also a skill - and you’ll be fine.
    Jun 7, 2019 2
    • Amazon ,..
      It's not that my manager doesn't trust me. It's me failing at earning his trust. I've built myself a poor track record of delivery.
      Jun 7, 2019
    • Bloomberg


      Bloomberg LP
      The fact that you can even acknowledge that, is a great thing. Now try to be more critical, why did you build that poor track record? Are your peers performing better? If so, why? Why are you failing to deliver? Is it your technical knowledge? If it is then you should work on that, I’m sure Amazon provide some sort of e-learning for their engineers?
      Jun 7, 2019
  • Amazon leetboy
    You definitely have meaningful work you've done in the past two years. You just have to do some thinking about the impact of your contributions, and articulate that impact to your interviewer.

    Just because you don't think you achieved much at Amazon, doesn't mean other employers will have the same opinion.

    If you're not able to salvage your career at Amazon (either by clean slate on a new team, or by understanding where your gaps are on your current team and taking steps towards improvement), I would focus heavily on LeetCode and constructing narratives of the work you did at Amazon so that behavioral questions are not a problem.
    Jun 7, 2019 0
  • Salesforce bookwar
    Did you write any tools? Any QA work? Any automation? Bug fixing? Bug investigation? You probably have a good understanding of AWS so that's something to work with. A software dev with a good understanding of operations is pretty useful. 2 years out of college is still pretty new. You've got tons of years left to figure out where you fit.
    Jun 7, 2019 3
    • Amazon / Eng GoodOmen
      🤦‍♂️EC2 is a VM...oh boy.
      Jun 7, 2019
    • Amazon doomsday1
      I'm non tech and the ec2 being a vm is a bit concerning
      Jun 7, 2019
  • Facebook Transforme
    It's beyond refreshing to see a humble post on Blind, among all the TC boasting and dick size posturing.

    Given your self-awareness, accountability and refusal to use excuses, I predict a very successful career ahead. If you can find motivation somehow.
    Jun 7, 2019 0
  • Citrix Systems / Eng peda
    Dude that’s the story of most engineers. I am sure most Sde’s feel same. I too feel the same. But guess what ? Leet your way out. I jumped 🚢 with not much on my resume and now after jumping feel the same thing. So don’t worry, and try to add in value to the work you are doing. Think how has it helped your product as a whole. If you had not done that security patch then what would have happened. Try to qualify that and do some sugar coating. !! You will breeze through. For really system design stuff do grokking 😬
    Jun 7, 2019 0


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