Amazon is undergoing a significant transition at the moment. After decades at the helm of the company he founded, CEO Jeff Bezos is stepping down, to be replaced by Amazon Web Services head Andy Jassy (Bezos will remain as executive chair of Amazon’s board). Fueled by enormous revenue, the company is pushing further into cutting-edge arenas such as artificial intelligence and cloud infrastructure.
At such a pivotal moment, it’s worth asking which technology skills Amazon wants from its job candidates. To answer that question, we can turn to Burning Glass, which collects and analyzes job postings from across the country. And as with other tech giants, it’s clear that Amazon wants technologists with some pretty broad-based skills, including Java, C++, Python, and project/product management. Let’s take a look at the full list:
There are a couple key things to point out here. First, if you want a technologist job at Amazon, you must have a grasp of Amazon Web Services (AWS). AWS has evolved into a sprawling platform, and various Amazon jobs will no doubt want you to master specific aspects of it. Fortunately, there are many training avenues. When it comes time to apply for a job at Amazon, possessing AWS certifications can sometimes help you stand out in a crowded marketplace, especially if it’s a cloud- or networking-based role.
Over the past few years, Amazon has also driven hard into machine learning and A.I., thanks in large part to the continuing popularity of its Alexa digital assistant. Other companies, most notably Google and Apple, have been doing their best to improve their competing A.I. offerings, putting pressure on Amazon to make Alexa a smarter and more useful product. As a result, if you’ve mastered core machine-learning and A.I. concepts, chances are good that you can find an Amazon job that leverages those skills.
Amazon and Work-Life Balance
Of course, anyone applying for a job at Amazon has to wonder about the work-life balance. The company has a reputation as a hard-driving workplace, particularly among certain teams and projects. Five years ago, The New York Times published a blockbuster piece that described the internal culture as “bruising,” with long hours, challenging goals, and backstabbing among colleagues.
At the time, Amazon pushed back hard against the Times story, arguing that many of its sources were unfairly biased. Today, fans of Amazon will argue that it’s no more demanding than other big tech firms, including Google and Netflix. Nonetheless, chatter about the company’s work-life balance has persisted.
In a new survey by Blind, which anonymously queries technologists about key issues, 90 percent of Amazonians thought that work-life balance would improve under the leadership of Jassy, who helped turn AWS from an interesting idea into a cloud-services behemoth. Every CEO leaves a unique stamp on their company, and Jassy has a huge job ahead of him—not only is he tasked with maintaining Amazon’s growth and keeping employees productive, but he must also deal with a number of looming issues, including anti-trust concerns.