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Amazon Career Development Videos, Forum, and Q&A

Grow Your Tech Career at Amazon

Amazon.com, Inc. is an American multinational technology company which focuses on e-commerce, cloud computing, and much more. Headquartered in Seattle, Washington, it has been referred to as "one of the most influential economic and cultural forces in the world".

How to deal with more responsibility in the team and grow as a leader?

Mid-Level Software Engineer [SDE 2] at Amazon profile pic
Mid-Level Software Engineer [SDE 2] at Amazon

I joined Amazon for my first tech job as an SDE I and was able to promote to SDE II after 1 year. Fast forward to 9 months after promotion, My onboarding buddy who has been here ever since the team was founded is leaving. I ended up being the SME for one of the team's projects that makes a lot of $$$, which means a lot of eyes are on it. Although we do have a couple SDE IIIs on the team, they've been more focused on other equally important projects and don't have too much knowledge on this one. I'm starting to feel the weight of the extra responsibility as I often get pinged for escalations, have a lot more say in meetings, and invited to meetings for the roadmap of this project. There was also a recent reshuffle in the Product side and I've become their go-to guy for anything related to this project.

Having joined the industry less than 2 years ago, I kind of feel like things are really moving fast and I'm a bit overwhelmed to be honest. I was still thinking on how to increase my technical depth after promotion, and I'm not even sure if this is a good situation to be in or not. But at the same time, I do want to overcome this and perhaps turn this situation into a growth opportunity.

In my forte review, there were many comments on the expectation of me evolving into a mature leader for the team and this feels like an opportunity to work on that. I'm kind of confused on what direction to take at the moment. What would be some things I can do to make the most of this opportunity and grow my leadership skills? I feel like before all this happened, I was focusing on growing my technical skills and didn't really pay atttention much to the leadership side.

This might be a vague question, so I just wanted to see if anyone has been in this situation and have any advice on how to best navigate this or share similar experiences

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Should I go to a pre-seed startup or a mid-size non-tech company?

Entry-Level Software Engineer [SDE 1] at Amazon profile pic
Entry-Level Software Engineer [SDE 1] at Amazon

I have two offers and am having trouble deciding which one to take

Company A: Non-Tech company with ~1500 employees. They have a cloud computing division to manage their infrastructure

  • Position: Cloud Engineer (AWS)
    • Work would involve provisioning AWS infrastructure, performing maintenance, upgrades, optimizations, migrating environments to the cloud, etc
  • Base Salary: 135k
  • Bonus: 10k (if performance is met)
  • Location: New Jersey
  • Work Style: 2 days in the office

Company B: Pre-seed stage startup (2 - 10 employees)

  • Position: Software Engineer
    • Work would involve building new features for the startup including categorizing and ranking trivia questions by difficulty, etc
  • Base: 110k
  • Relocation: 5k
  • Equity: 1%
  • Location: Los Angeles
  • Work Style: 2 days in the office
  • Founder Background: Used to work in Big 3 consulting. His/her last position was scaling a Series A startup
  • Pre-Seed funding: $2 million
  • Targeted seed funding: $3 - $5 million
  • Traction: The app was launched 5 months ago and has acquired 45,000 users. The business used to be a marketplace and that's when they raised their pre-seed round ($2 million). Now the business is a trivia app for college students

What am I looking for?

  • I'm not sure. My top preference is career progression/learning ability and given I don't have a family the startup option does make sense, however ...
  • I greatly value stability
    • I've been through the tech interview process for many iterations now and it is really tiring to have to start over every year due to internships/bad-culture/layoffs/potential startup failing
    • Being unemployed for ~10 months now, I would say the majority of my interviews were for startup companies so I feel that getting an offer at a non-startup company is more rare/valuable (maybe?)

Any thoughts are appreciated. Thank you!

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How to write wiki type documents effectively?

Mid-Level Software Engineer [SDE 2] at Amazon profile pic
Mid-Level Software Engineer [SDE 2] at Amazon

Background:

Being pressured to deliver at high speed all the time, my team doesn't seem to value wiki type documentation a lot.

When starting a project/feature, we often have a high level design doc & design meeting to talk about high level infrastructure, and we make key trade-off decisions together as a team. If we are lucky, we get another low level design doc & meeting focused on sequencing of actions & interaction between class level objects.

We rarely seem to go back to our initial design doc after initial design phase of a project to update them and explain the actual final product we built and maybe some additional design decisions we made during implementation.

As a result, documentations are kind of dead after facilitating the initial design review. For legacy projects, high quality docs are extremely hard to come by and most just rely on reading large amount of code to understand how things work (nothing wrong with this but I think high quality documentation can save lots of time here).

I understand we don't want to boil the ocean and write everything in painstaking details, but we should at least have enough to help people understand responsibility of services and contract between them.

Questions:

  • Could you share your view on this topic and how you find your balance?
  • Do you believe it's always worth it to go back to documenting after finishing a project/feature and update it as if you are explaining it to someone new to the team/project?
  • Could you share any resources we might already have on this topic as well?
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How to stand out when applying for ML engineering positions at high-profile companies?

Senior Software Engineer at Taro Community profile pic
Senior Software Engineer at Taro Community

Hey everyone,

I'm a senior ML engineer (~4.5 years exp) working at a medium-sized company. My educational background is a BSc and MSc in computer engineering from a not super fancy university in Europe. I wrote a few papers during my university years and as a result of hobby projects, but these were published in mediocre conferences (so not Neurips/ACL-level).

I tried applying to a few ML engineering jobs in the past couple of months (Spotify, Apple and Amazon) but did not hear back. I searched through Linkedin to see the backgrounds of ML engineers working at these companies in my area just to get an idea of the situation. My impression was that a vast majority of these people went to top-tier universities (significant number of people have a Phd), interned at FAANG during their university years, wrote (or contributed to) papers in top ML conferences etc.

I know that ML engineering positions are very competitive at these companies & also the market is very tough now in general, but it got me wondering:

What should someone like me work on to increase my chances of joining one of these companies as a ML engineer? The patterns I see from people working there is hard to achieve at this stage in my life as:

  • I already have a MSc degree and doing another one at a better university does not really make sense
  • Since I'm working as a senior engineer, I don't know if applying for internships positions (even if it's FAANG) is a sensible choice
  • Writing top-tier papers is incredibly time consuming and hardly possible with maintaining a full time job. To be honest, I tried to do this in the past (since I know publications at top-tier conferences matter a lot in these situations), but it really affected my personal life. This is almost like trying to do two full-time jobs, which messed up my WLB.

Some things I was thinking about focusing on that could help me stand out:

  • Writing technical blogposts to our company's engineering blog.

  • Apply to meetups or conferences as a speaker.

  • Certifications (I was thinking of something like or )

  • Focus on promotion to staff/principal MLE. It may be easier to step into a higher tier company by down-leveling.

  • Keep trying to do research/writing papers as a side project, but need to figure out how to do this without burning out.

I honestly don't know if the above sound sensible, so I'd love to hear your opinion on this or if you have any additional ideas.

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