Is it wise to go to Amazon with my unorthodox career?

Jan 16 21 Comments

I'm in my early 30's, and entered tech relatively late. Prior to current job at Boeing I was a Microsoft orange badge vendor as my first tech job. ~3 YOE. Current job is somewhat dull and I'm not really learning anything, but WLB and benefits are amazing. Seriously like ~30 hrs a week.

I own a townhouse, have a long term gf, 1 cat, 1 dog to consider. Amazon pays way more in raw salary but my benefits blow amazon's away easily.

I just want to know from others, if someone with this background should chance it at Amazon, realistically I can make SDE1 with another 2 months of leetcode, but I have no delusions of being able to last there over 2 years without getting PIP. I can't work super long hours like I could when I was 24, and I'm worried that I'll look bad compared to young college grad willing to take the abuse.

Obviously WLB will take a hit, I expect it to be tough, know I'll get chewed up and spit out. My hope is that I'll learn more than current role, and this will be better for my career long run. Worst case scenario is I just sit on my ass and turn complacent ...

Or should I avoid Amazon altogether and try to target other companies? Some people say it's for the young, uncommitted with few responsibilities, that's what worries me more.

Any insight is appreciated, thanks

TC: 110k

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TOP 21 Comments
  • Amazon Jeb fezos
    Don't listen to everyone , if you can adjust on WLB , you will learn a lot. My skills have drastically improved after joining amazon . The dog eats dog culture here will force you raise your bar. Once you have learned enough you can look else where
    Jan 17 3
    • Amazon Jeb fezos
      Then you should go for it , probably switch to Microsoft after year or so to balance out work-life balance
      Jan 17
    • Amazon Jeb fezos
      Just to tell you , I also came from another big company which had awesome wlb but low pay.
      I barely had to work like 15 hours in week to complete my sprint tasks.
      But that also throttled my learnings.
      Jan 17
  • Amazon wjnwbxcu
    Boeing dude, do NOT go to Amazon. It's a terrible place to work at, besides it doesnt pay that well.
    Jan 17 1
    • Boeing aemg38
      OP
      It probably pays way more than Boeing.... I know it will be stressful but I hope it will open doors to better opportunities if I can tough it out 1-2 years.

      Can you comment on benefits? I listed Boeing benefits Ina comment above. I guess it doesn't matter if I don't plan on staying too long. Boeing is just boring and I feel like a second rate engineer...
      Jan 17
  • Amazon / Eng randomguy7
    Most people aren’t working crazy hours at amazon, only during the death march to reinvent. It’s also really easy to change teams. You wouldn’t come here for the 130k or whatever sde 1s make, your come here because you hit sde 2 in 2.5 years or less and make 170.
    Jan 16 3
    • Amazon / Eng randomguy7
      Sde 2 is not hard, the bar is super low nowadays. Sde 3 is where it is still hard (although easier than it was in the old days)

      Why not leave on good terms, try something new and go back if you don’t like it?
      Jan 16
    • Boeing aemg38
      OP
      So what I currently bring to the table skill wise - master of git, I use react/typescript and develop 70% front end with 30% back end (they call us full stack) on a bunch of java spring services. I've got chops to grind out user stories for two week sprints, and we try to do TDD using the normal frameworks. Im getting decent at LC medium problems (honestly the easys are harder for some reason). But outside of web dev stack type work i haven't done much, I've contributed to Microsoft open source .... Glad to hear making sde2 is reasonable if you do the work well. As for going back....Boeing is a dumpster fire right now and I don't think they'll be hiring any externals for a long time. There's like 100 benched devs from unfunded projects trying to jump onto mine lol
      Jan 16
  • Microsoft / Eng ChinaBorn
    I'd walk over to A if I can keep my door open at B.

    Side note: How are you benefits better than Amzn? Care to elaborate?
    Jan 17 2
    • Boeing aemg38
      OP
      We get 3% of base match to 401k immediately for free, and then match up to 9% on top of that.

      12 week mat leave for fathers and mother's, free onsite gyms at most facilities, and they'll pay for other fitness memberships.

      100% tuition reimbursement - I started my second bachelor's in CS while I was contracting at Microsoft, when I joined Boeing they paid for the rest of my degree.

      Very generous PTO, and we're legally not even allowed to put in over 40 hrs or they HAVE to pay you overtime.

      Healthcare is stellar, I'm on the University of Washington full coverage plan and it costs maybe 10 bucks a month...

      I'm not sure what amazon's benefits actually are, but I've searched on blind and from the existing posts they seem very minimal.

      There's also no such thing as PIP if you can count that as a benefit...unfortunately what makes Boeing a great place to work is also a huge weakness as we have many people just coasting along. There's no stress and a ton of beauracracy, which certain types like.
      Jan 17
    • Microsoft / Eng ChinaBorn
      Amzn benefits suck vs what you have. Remember you have just two weeks PTO in your 1st year and 6 (yes just six) holidays.

      No paternity leave for the first year and then it's 6 weeks for the dad.
      Jan 17
  • Apple ajshdgf
    Don’t worry too much about it. I’d suggest you to give it a try and if for some reason you don’t like it move on. Always remember that you can do it!!
    Jan 16 0
  • Oracle chodraj
    From how you've described it I think you have already made up your mind. Go for companies with better WLB. You'll be miserable at Amazon and will keep thinking of the good old life you've left behind.
    Jan 16 3
    • Oracle chodraj
      If you can take it for 1-2 years then yeah go for it. It will definitely look good on resume.

      What about moving back to Microsoft? I don't think it's harder to get into it compared to Amazon and it has same rep as Amazon. Maybe even better now with new leadership and great stock performance.
      Jan 16
    • Boeing aemg38
      OP
      I would love to, it's my #1 pick honestly. I had an initial screen recently and totally bombed the 3 question coding screen so I didn't even make it to the in person hiring event. I was told that was for sde2 though. Another co-worker of mine had better luck and only had 1 phone interview question with an easy question for SDE1, he's leaving my team in two weeks... I'm far more ready now I was, I just don't want to burn all my chances. Aren't I on like a 6 month wait now since I bombed it?
      Jan 16
  • Boeing aemg38
    OP
    Thanks, think I'll go for it!
    Jan 18 0
  • Amazon bellbabust
    If you’re feeling like you aren’t being intellectually challenged and are willing to step out of your comfort zone, you can easily catch up after a couple years at Amazon.
    Jan 16 0
  • New
    Malta7

    New

    BIO
    Switching from commercial real estate to tech to become a software engineer. Enrolled in a second BS in Software Engineering and going through a coding bootcamp
    Malta7more
    I can’t speak to Amazon because I’ve never worked there. I work outside of tech right now and I see many people working ridiculous hours (many times 6-7 days a week at 10+ hours away + long commutes) and they’re still married. Happily? Not sure. But they’re alive and doing it for >3 years.

    As an uninformed outsider, seems like you can stay 1-2 years at Amazon and get some great exit ops if you can maintain the mentality that it will eventually end.

    Again, take other’s advice over mine as it pertains to what it’s really like. I’m speaking from the perspective of someone outside of tech (hopefully not for long)
    Jan 16 0

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