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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".

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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Finding Your Identity in a Role that Doesn't Quite Fit (while everyone else seems to be growing faster than you)

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

Hey everyone,

I've been abit lost in my job recently and feel disappointed by own performance. I'm part of an infrastructure team, and while the primary force pushing me forward is my personal engineering growth, I can't shake the feeling that the domain itself doesn't resonate with me. That said, being an average l4 I'm not in a position to switch teams.

What's keeping me going is the goal of self-improvement, which is helped from being surrounded by my incredibly talented colleagues, each bringing their unique strengths to the table. For instance, our senior engineer is an incredible communicator, teacher of concepts and general problem solver, another engineer is a coding machine and works extremely hard, and an L4 who joined at the same time as me is very customer-centric. In particular, it was through observing the L4 leveraging his strengths, while almost neglecting his weaknesses (he doesn't care as much about code quality and is quite argumentative) that I felt uncomfortable with my own trajectory. I've been so busy with trying to improve all my weaknesses that I'm now reflecting on whether I should focus on my strengths.

All of that said, I've been here for a year, and I'm struggling to pinpoint where my strengths lie. I'm willing to put more hours than others but for obvious reasons that should in no way be considered a strength (my manager described me as a hardworker, which i don't want to be known as haha). I'm also a very enthusiastic person and very open to feedback, but it leads me to being pulled in different directions. I don't think I can be an engineer that does it all and I think Amazon wants you to focus on your strengths through their conflicting leadership principles (e.g. bias for action versus insist on the highest standards, deep dive versus thinks big). I've been reading this book called Atomic Habits recently and it really focuses on the idea of identity and how that shapes your habits. It seems like everyone in my team has built an identity based on what they're good at, how can I find mine? And are there certain skills that provide higher ROI over others that I can perhaps focus on, given that I don't really have any strengths right now?

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