31 Tech Skills That Amazon Wants on Its Pandemic Hiring Spree

It’s no surprise that companies specializing in e-commerce have profited immensely during the COVID-19 pandemic. When it comes to these companies, though, perhaps none have enjoyed greater success than Amazon, which has seen demand for products spike since lockdowns began in March. According to a recent New York Times article, Amazon has hired 427,300 employees since January, bringing its total workforce to 1.2 million people.

And those numbers might not show the total extent of Amazon’s hiring. As the Times helpfully points out, that 1.2 million doesn’t include the 100,000 temporary workers hired to deal with the usual holiday surge; nor does it account for the 500,000 delivery drivers who work for Amazon’s contractors. Once you begin adding up those numbers, Amazon starts approaching Walmart’s 2.2 million employees.

Some 85 percent of Amazon’s employees work in the company’s warehouses and operational centers. It’s also hiring quite a number of technologists—but what skills is it looking for? For an answer, we turn to Burning Glass, which collects and analyzes millions of job postings from across the country. Specifically, we wanted to look at Amazon’s tech hiring from January through October, which captures virtually the full extent of the U.S. pandemic thus far. Here’s the list of the top 31 skills appearing in Amazon-related job postings:

As you might expect from tech-related job postings, “software development” comes in first place. That’s not surprising—from maintaining the core e-commerce experience to building out new functionality for voice-activated Alexa devices, Amazon always needs technologists who can build new services and maintain legacy code. 

When it comes to programming languages, Amazon is also interested in technologists who can effectively work with Java, Python, and C++. That should likewise come as no surprise, considering those are three of the most popular programming languages around. SQL is also key to know, since much of the tech work at the company involves wrangling huge datasets.

If you’re applying for a job at Amazon, familiarity with Amazon Web Services (AWS) is also an absolute must. Fortunately, Amazon offers tons of AWS-related documentation and certifications, which might allow you to stand out if you’re competing in a crowded field for a cloud-related position. Certifications may also come in useful if you’re applying for a job in one of the company’s more cutting-edge areas, such as machine learning or artificial intelligence (A.I.). 

The other big question is where Amazon is hiring. As you might expect, the bulk of open tech positions are in Seattle, where the company is headquartered, and in New York City, where it has been aggressively snatching up office space. Silicon Valley is also big, as is Washington, D.C./Northern Virginia, home of Amazon’s soon-to-be-completed massive “HQ2” complex.

But it’s also important to note that Amazon is hiring technologists in a variety of locations, from Texas to Wisconsin and from Portland to Pittsburgh. And as with many other tech companies (notably Google and Facebook), there’s every chance that Amazon will adopt a more flexible stance when it comes to remote and flexible work—especially if you have particularly sought-after skills. If you’re curious about working for this tech giant, chances are good that there’s an opportunity for you right now.