ATTENTION: This is a big article. One of a prospective intern’s biggest threats to success is time-waste. If you’re in a time crunch and prepping for a rapidly approaching interview, skip to the sections that are most relevant to interview preparation (Application, Cycle Structure, Prep). Good luck!
Amazon has revolutionized the way we shop. I never really understood the importance of Amazon.com until I got to college and made a free Amazon Student Prime account. Since then, I realized why this company was one of the Big 4 of tech. I buy almost everything, even food during the coronavirus pandemic, through Amazon now. I knew for a while that interning at Amazon would be one of the greatest learning experiences of my life.
There’s no feeling like opening your email and seeing those first few words of the offer letter. Whether you’re currently applying or already in the pipeline, this article will help prepare you to maximize your chances of becoming and succeeding as an Amazon intern.
There are multiple ways to apply to Amazon:
I went with route #2. You’ll definitely want the referral from someone you know and not just someone you connected with on LinkedIn and never met. If you don’t have an Amazon employee in your network, option #3 may yield better results than option #1.
When you apply, make sure you have a solid resume. One way to improve it is to follow the tips on Nick Singh’s article for engineering resumes. A more general tip for both engineers and non-engineers is to have it reviewed by someone who has landed a role similar to your dream role.
For the first 2 rounds, it’s a good idea to brush up on your data structures and algorithms coursework.
When it comes the final round, you will have 1 hard or 2 easy/medium programming questions. The focus here is clear communication of your problem-solving process as well as how your algorithm will work. You won’t need to run your code against any test cases, but will need to manually step through it and verbalize the algorithm’s steps.
In my personal experience, a website called LeetCode.com made a world of difference. They have a feature that allows you to filter questions by company. It will require purchasing their premium version. I did 2-3 questions from their Amazon list per day in the 20 days leading up to my final round interview.
If you need additional help structuring your interview answers, I’ve written another article on answering technical questions.
A few hours after my interview, I received this email:
For a few minutes, it was a mix of emotions: joy, excitement, surprise; the list goes on. I couldn’t believe that months of preparation had finally paid off! After telling my friends and family the good news, I read the rest of the email. This was simply a congratulatory email. The actual offer came 3 weeks later. Here’s how Amazon’s SDE intern offer is structured:
My only issue with the post-acceptance recruitment process is that I did not know my manager’s name until 5 days before starting. I also didn’t learn anything about my team or project until my first week at Amazon. This experience has been different for my other friends who interned as SDE’s here.
From day one, I didn’t just feel like an intern; I felt like an Amazonian. During the first week, I went through SDE Bootcamp. My classmates included Engineering Managers and TPMs.
My team was amazing. We worked on integrating PillPack, which Amazon had acquired the summer before for $753 million. It was definitely a unique software engineering experience since we were building an entirely new product rather than modifying something already in production. In addition to being extremely knowledgable, everyone was very friendly. I ate lunch with my team almost every day. My manager was always supportive of me and often chided me for focusing too much on my growth areas during self-reviews. My mentor was my biggest advocate and fiercest critic. He made sure I could back up every design decision I made. It’s safe to say I would not have received my return offer without him.
As for my project, I built an RPC service in Java. It had a REST-like API that allows other applications to call upon it to get information on healthcare products. It’s called in the background when the user wants to look at orders that they’ve placed.
I interned at Amazon’s South Lake Union Campus. It wasn’t until I explored the city that I realized how much of South Seattle is Amazon-owned.
Seattle has so much to explore:
This list has just a few places to get you started. I loved exploring the city. Most of my friends would consider this list puny compared to the number of places they visited. Even so, I had a blast!
Another thing I really loved about Seattle is how clean it is. In San Francisco, the streets can be pretty horrific, considering it holds records for amounts of human-waste per public square foot. As you get closer to the docks and more “touristy” areas in Seattle, this changes, but the streets around my apartment and office building were spotless and routinely cleaned. This also makes Seattle a very dog-friendly city.
My SDE internship at Amazon was one of the best summers of my life. In one summer, I learned to live on my own, experienced a new city, and assisted a tech giant in entering a new market. I guarantee that you will have an amazing experience and learn a lot no matter where your internship takes you. Best of luck in your journey!
These are the top 3 tips I would give to ANY Amazon intern, regardless of your role:
I hope you enjoyed reading about my experience! If you need any further clarifications or help, feel free to email me: