Comments

  1. From the article:

    “They had a ton of jobs listed (568 as of this posting). I looked through them, and they were all for C++ and Linux. Some of them were for Java and Linux. But they all had Linux on them”

    This is why you should really expand your skillset beyond MSDN. The MS development tools are really beginning to look like Legacy Borland stuff. I was sure I would find something cool when I subscribed to MSDN professional late last year after having used Linux only for development for 2-3 years, and I found nothing. Just more fun house pseudo VB crap.

    You can say I am biased all you want but I still spend $1500 USD on the subscription. I DID want to find something of value. :(

  2. From the article:

    “They had a ton of jobs listed (568 as of this posting). I looked through them, and they were all for C++ and Linux. Some of them were for Java and Linux. But they all had Linux on them”

    This is why you should really expand your skillset beyond MSDN. The MS development tools are really beginning to look like Legacy Borland stuff. I was sure I would find something cool when I subscribed to MSDN professional late last year after having used Linux only for development for 2-3 years, and I found nothing. Just more fun house pseudo VB crap.

    You can say I am biased all you want but I still spend $1500 USD on the subscription. I DID want to find something of value. :(

  3. I used to work there and I interviewed many DBA candidates in my time. I don’t know how Justin got hired, though. I saw some red flags in what he wrote. But Amazon had hundreds of positions open, so it’s understandable.

    One other thing he doesn’t mention is the figure of the “bar raiser”. The bar raiser is a technical person as well, but focus on culture fit and the so elusive ability to “think outside the box”, whatever that means.

    One thing the bar raiser must do is make sure that the person being hired would be placed at the top half of the people in his team (meaning everybody thinks the new guy is better than half of the team he’s going to work in). I’m not sure if that’s still as important today. Amazon changed a lot in the last few years and some of the original values have been replaced. For instance, at Amazon you were actually supposed to challenge your manager and any manager that pulled rank would find himself/herself in trouble with the team and their superiors. There’s even an award for those who dared to defy management (as long as the stunt worked, of course). But by the time I left the office politics had changed a great deal.

    I also saw some red flags on the way some of his interviewers behaved. This concerned me: “Because when the next interviewer showed up, he said ‘What you got there looks great. Thanks for your time.’ and then he left.”

    That’s ridiculous. That interviewer just phoned it in, didn’t he? Amazon must be slipping.

    But I can say a few things about work at Amazon:

    – Don’t read that 21 dog years book and think you know Amazon. That guy went for humor.

    – Work at Amazon is amazing if you are a geek: large systems, low latency tolerance, short upgrade cycle.

    – Work at Amazon is stressful. Get ready to work endless nights and weekends. We had a joke that when we said “It will be done on Monday” we actually meant it would be done until 11:59 PM on Monday. That’s not for everybody and it was part of the reason I left.

  4. I used to work there and I interviewed many DBA candidates in my time. I don’t know how Justin got hired, though. I saw some red flags in what he wrote. But Amazon had hundreds of positions open, so it’s understandable.

    One other thing he doesn’t mention is the figure of the “bar raiser”. The bar raiser is a technical person as well, but focus on culture fit and the so elusive ability to “think outside the box”, whatever that means.

    One thing the bar raiser must do is make sure that the person being hired would be placed at the top half of the people in his team (meaning everybody thinks the new guy is better than half of the team he’s going to work in). I’m not sure if that’s still as important today. Amazon changed a lot in the last few years and some of the original values have been replaced. For instance, at Amazon you were actually supposed to challenge your manager and any manager that pulled rank would find himself/herself in trouble with the team and their superiors. There’s even an award for those who dared to defy management (as long as the stunt worked, of course). But by the time I left the office politics had changed a great deal.

    I also saw some red flags on the way some of his interviewers behaved. This concerned me: “Because when the next interviewer showed up, he said ‘What you got there looks great. Thanks for your time.’ and then he left.”

    That’s ridiculous. That interviewer just phoned it in, didn’t he? Amazon must be slipping.

    But I can say a few things about work at Amazon:

    – Don’t read that 21 dog years book and think you know Amazon. That guy went for humor.

    – Work at Amazon is amazing if you are a geek: large systems, low latency tolerance, short upgrade cycle.

    – Work at Amazon is stressful. Get ready to work endless nights and weekends. We had a joke that when we said “It will be done on Monday” we actually meant it would be done until 11:59 PM on Monday. That’s not for everybody and it was part of the reason I left.

  5. @3

    “I don’t know how Justin got hired, though.”

    You don’t know how hard it is to find qualified programmers then. I’m not saying Justin is qualified. By his own admission he did some light MFC(cough…. um cough, cough, phlem cough) programming in college, and the job was java and Linux framework based.

    I would love to see some MSDN tools guy start to try to figure out GNU make. That would be amusing. They could make a whole survivor series based on Microsoft guys trying to figure out how to use vim, emacs, GCC, gdb and Linux and it would be hilarious. I would laugh non stop at the hilarity.

    I did notice one thing, eBay invited me to the dev conference in Boston in early June and Amazon never sent me anything about their developers conference. We are also Amazon API members. That strikes me as cheap for a publicly listed multimillion dollar corporation.

  6. @3

    “I don’t know how Justin got hired, though.”

    You don’t know how hard it is to find qualified programmers then. I’m not saying Justin is qualified. By his own admission he did some light MFC(cough…. um cough, cough, phlem cough) programming in college, and the job was java and Linux framework based.

    I would love to see some MSDN tools guy start to try to figure out GNU make. That would be amusing. They could make a whole survivor series based on Microsoft guys trying to figure out how to use vim, emacs, GCC, gdb and Linux and it would be hilarious. I would laugh non stop at the hilarity.

    I did notice one thing, eBay invited me to the dev conference in Boston in early June and Amazon never sent me anything about their developers conference. We are also Amazon API members. That strikes me as cheap for a publicly listed multimillion dollar corporation.