From its humble—if forward-thinking—origins as an online bookstore, Amazon has evolved into an e-commerce and web-services monolith. So pervasive is the company’s reach that mere rumors of its future plans are enough to force other companies to change course. It regularly helps redefine product categories, including e-commerce and cloud.
While Google took the top spot on virtually all of Dice’s Ideal Employer lists, Amazon made a strong showing. Among developers, programmers, IT service management, and project-management specialists, for example, it placed second (behind Google); it ranked just as high among Generation X’ers and Baby Boomers, although it came in third behind Google and Microsoft among Millennials.
Most tech pros would assert that having Amazon on your résumé is a good thing, especially if an employee participated in a cutting-edge project while there. For example, someone who worked on the Alexa team would probably have little trouble landing a gig at another company working on A.I. or digital assistants. “I have two friends that [work] at Amazon, and since they’re taking over cloud technology (AWS) I would like to get into the company early to get the right skillset,” is how one Dice survey-taker described their affinity for Amazon.
“The future is AWS, cloud computing, and machine learning, etc.,” another said. “They have everything in them.”
Amazon is also famous for its hard-charging workplace. Two years ago, The New York Times published a lengthy piece documenting an “unrelenting pace” and ultra-driven managers. But blog postings and reviews on job sites such as Glassdoor paint a somewhat different story: while some current and former employees have described Amazon as a burnout factory, others have enjoyed the challenge. (Soon after that Times piece appeared, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos encouraged employees experiencing “shockingly callous management practices” to report them to HR.)
At its core, Amazon seems to appeal to those tech pros who are self-starters. “You’re responsible for your own career progression and finding the places and teams that are doing the stuff you want to do,” one current employee wrote on Glassdoor. “No one is going to take you by the hand and help you with that.”
Amazon’s high ranking as an Ideal Employer highlights an interesting facet of the survey: some 90 percent of survey respondents picked a company other than their current one as an Ideal Employer. Breaking things down a little more, some 75 percent of respondents chose a company other than their current or past one as Ideal. In other words, a lot of the people who chose Amazon have never worked there; they’re selecting it based on reputation as a world-beater.