By now, my loyal readers should know that I’m a programmer for Amazon. Just over a month ago, I started on the Amazon Silk team. It’s a talented team of hard-working engineers at an amazing company. We’re a team that’s growing quickly, and we’re in desperate need of smart programmers. Here’s why you should apply to Amazon:

  • Excellent compensation and benefits. I have to confess that I have something of a mercenary streak. So I won’t beat around the bush and just say that Amazon pays very, with compensation philosophy that fairly balances cash, stock, and bonus. One of the best aspects of this is that Amazon doesn’t give you stock options. They give you actual stock. I’m basically of the opinion that stock options are an amateur-hour scam, and so I’m happy that when my Amazon stock vests, it’s mine.
  • An unbeatable corporate culture. Many corporations have “Corporate Virtues” or similar. Handy sappy phrases they put in press releases more for PR impact than to act as guiding principles. Amazon is the only company at which I’ve worked where those principles are taken seriously. Amazon has an amazingly customer-centric culture that values ownership and inventiveness and rewards accomplishment.
  • A career path for engineers. Many tech companies has two positions for programmers: Programmer and Senior Programmer. The difference being that the senior programmer threatened to leave at one point. Amazon, on the other hand, is a company that’s been built almost entirely engineers. It’s a company that understand that programmers are craftsmen and they have unique interests, talents, and areas of specialties. They also understand that programmers don’t stop growing at the mythical 5-year mark. So at Amazon, there’s a complete engineering path, going from introductory level SDE I positions all the way up through Distinguished Engineers. Each level is well-defined, without being constraining. The company encourages you to develop your skills and improve your craft, and they reward that improvement with increased responsibility and freedom.
  • Nerf Wars Several of the guys in this video are on Silk now. Work with some of the best Nerf Marksmen in the software industry.
  • Complete mobility. Amazon understands that programmers have diverse interests and tend to appreciate novelty and interesting new problems. Which is why Amazon encourages people to switch teams and job roles on a regular basis. Many programmers switch teams every year or so. I only spent thirteen months on my initial team, and when the chance came to apply to join the Silk team, it was as easy as letting my manager know. Even international transfers are available, as Amazon has developers all across North America, Europe, and Asia.
  • Be the worst person in the band. Pat Metheny, the legendary jazz guitarist, once said that the secret to his success was that he always made sure he was the worst guy in every band he was in. That goes for any art and any craft, programming not excepted. I often feel like I’m the worst guy in the band. I can tell you honestly and without hyperbole that I work with some of the smartest programmers in the world. I’ve learned more in fifteen months at Amazon than I learned in four years of college and four years of diverse industry experience. There’s no better place to learn and sharpen your craft, and to get to know some of the brightest technical minds in the world.
  • Kegerator. Amazon’s official motto is “Work hard. Have fun. Make History.” They definitely take all three parts of it seriously. And part of having fun is things like having a Kegerator in kitchen.
  • No, seriously — Make History. Amazon solves problems that no one else in the world has solved. There aren’t many places in the tech industry where you can do that. On the Silk team, we’re rewriting what it means to have a browser in the era of cloud computing. We’ve had great success so far, but we’re only just getting started. We’re going to make history and we want smart, hard-working engineers to help us do that.

So that’s the hard sell. If you want to learn more feel free to drop me a line in the comments or shoot me an email. If you want to apply, you can email me your resume at aabrown@amazon.com.


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