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What Does an Amazon Software Development Engineer Do?

Posted on 
August 30, 2021
Dipen Dadhaniya
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About The Author!
Dipen Dadhaniya
Dipen Dadhaniya
Engineering Manager at Interview Kickstart. A passionate and versatile web developer packed with full-stack development skills and a curiosity to explore computer languages.

Landing a job at one of the FAANG companies is only possible after battling against thousands of competent candidates. A way to have the upper hand in the competition is by knowing the rules of the game even before entering the ring. Amazon, like other companies, has an exhaustive set of interviews lined up for the posts of Software Engineer, Software Developer, Engineering Manager, and Tech Lead. Every interview has been designed in a way that the upcoming round would be a level higher than the preceding one.

If you are preparing for a tech interview, check out our technical interview checklist,  interview questions page, and salary negotiation ebook to get interview-ready! Also, read How hard it is to get a job at Amazon and How to get Software Engineering jobs at Amazon for specific insights and guidance on Amazon tech interviews.

Having trained over 6,000 software engineers, we know what it takes to crack the toughest tech interviews. Since 2014, Interview Kickstart alums have been landing lucrative offers from FAANG and Tier-1 tech companies, with an average salary hike of 49%. The highest ever offer received by an IK alum is a whopping $933,000!

At IK, you get the unique opportunity to learn from expert instructors who are hiring managers and tech leads at Google, Facebook, Apple, and other top Silicon Valley tech companies.

Want to nail your next tech interview? Sign up for our FREE Webinar.

In this article, we will cover:

Amazon Software Development Engineer Roles and Responsibilities

Amazon Software Development Engineers have a variety of roles and responsibilities to fulfill. The responsibilities are:

  1. Participating in creating, designing, and implementing internet-scale systems and services. 
  2. Participating in defining the security, scalability, and low latency of processes. 
  3. Working with cross-functional teams to deliver on-demand projects. 
  4. Breaking down complex problems into simple, manageable solutions.
  5. Delivering and supporting multi-tiered software applications and software tools. 
  6. Understanding the limitations of a system and working on its rectification. 
  7. Innovation of new products for customers by interacting with fellow Amazon employees. 

A Day in the Life of a Software Development Engineer at Amazon

A typical day in the life of an Amazon Software Development Engineer includes:

  • Reading of emails followed by updating the sprint board regarding the tasks completed the previous day and elaborating on what one will do today. 
  • Adjusting or refining previously made code and sending it for code review.
  • Stand-up — a 15 min discussion with colleagues on a particular topic.
  • Rest of the day is filled with coding, code reviewing, and multiple meetings.

Note that this routine would vary according to the level of SDE at Amazon. 

What Does Amazon Look for in SDE Candidates?

The friendly and innovative work culture at Amazon makes it one of the most desired workplaces amongst employees. Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, describes an ideal candidate for Amazon as:

  1. Someone who has unique ideologies and is open to new ideas.
  2. A person with distinctive skills, interests, and potential to be a superstar in the field of technology. 
  3. An individual who is well-versed with Amazon’s leadership principles and can strengthen the fundamentals of Amazon. 

Minimum Qualification for Amazon Software Development Engineer Interview

If you are planning to apply for the Amazon Software Development Engineer interview, it is important to have the minimum qualifications laid out by the company to minimize the chances of rejection. 

The basic qualification to apply for Amazon Software Development Engineer: 

  1. Candidates must have a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in Computer Science or a related field. 
  2. In-depth knowledge of one the programming languages: Java, Python, or C++
  3. Strong fundamentals of object-oriented design, algorithm, and data solving. 
  4. A previous internship at an IT company will be an added advantage. 

Software Development Engineer Interview Process at Amazon

Amazon coding interviews are extremely difficult to crack, as the questions asked belong to a wide range of topics and are specific to Amazon. One can crack this complex interview with proper preparation and the right guidance. 

Wish to crack your next tech interview. Sign up for our FREE Webinar.

All FAANG companies have an elaborate interview process. The journey of securing a place in these companies is tough and exhaustive. There are five main stages of the Amazon Software Engineer interview process:

  1. HR recruiter call: After the resume is shortlisted, you will get a call or a mail from the HR recruiter. The recruiter will understand your profile and ask questions related to it. After this interview, an online assessment will be shared. Online assessment is compulsory in the process of selecting interns and freshers; however, sometimes, experienced professionals are also required to undergo this assessment.
  2. Phone Screening: This 45-minute round will involve basic technical questions and behavioral questions based on Amazon’s leadership principles
  3. Video Interview: This round will last for 45-60 minutes and will cover the questions related to coding, system design, behavior, and in-depth questions on previous relevant experiences. 
  4. The Loop: Amazon’s on-site interviews are called The Loop. They have over 2-9 interviews in succession. The number of interviews will depend on the level of position you are applying for. 
  5. Receiving the offer: After interview rounds, your references will be checked, and you will be offered a job. 

Read Amazon Interview Process Guide for more details. You can also sign up for our FREE Webinar to learn more. 

Amazon Software Development Engineer Interviews —  Freshers vs. Experienced Candidates

  • Amazon has a higher bar when it comes to hiring Software Development Engineers in comparison to other tech giants. There is also a great difference in the level of difficulty in the interview process for Fresher and experienced professionals. 
  • The fresher interview is based on understanding the knowledge of the candidate about basic data structures and algorithms
  • On the other hand, the interview process for experienced professionals is mainly focused on the individual’s prior experience and working knowledge of the subject matter. The experienced professional will be further scrutinized based on the level the candidate is applying for.

Amazon Software Development Engineer vs. Software Engineer

As a Software Development Engineer at Amazon, one will be responsible for building software that would be feasible to use across different computers. Amazon Software Development Engineers are at times required to invent, build or break a system to make them faster and more cost-effective. They would also be required to design application components and codes from scratch.

On the other hand, a Software Engineer has a much broader scope of work. The Software Engineer will be responsible for applying software engineering principles to the process of designing, developing, and maintaining software. They are also required to consider the system architecture while creating data pipelines. 

However, both the Amazon Software Development Engineers and the Software Engineers are expected to multitask in an ever-growing environment effectively. They are provided with an opportunity to influence Amazon's renowned technology and leave a mark on the lives of millions of customers. 

Recommended Reading: Software Engineer Job Levels at Amazon

Amazon Software Development Engineer vs. Front-End Engineer

You already know what the SDE role at Amazon entails. The Front-end Engineer role at Amazon is quite specific in comparison. Here’s what a Front-end engineer is responsible for:

  • As a Front-End Engineer at Amazon, one would be required to build various feature-rich websites and mobile applications. Website or mobile frameworks like React, React Native, Vue, iOS/Android can be used to build the application’s layout. 
  • At times the Front-End Engineer will also be required to work with backend APIs and services to enhance the interactivity of the application. 
  • One of the major responsibilities of an Amazon Front-End Engineer is to create an innovative user experience for advertisers. 
  • As a Front-End Engineer, the employee will be involved in every aspect of the project- right from the inception of the idea to the actual development and execution of the technology. The ultimate goal of active participation in the process will be to meet high standards of performance, scalability, and reliability of the product. 

Did you know? Amazon Front-End Engineers’ salary is estimated to be around $149,485 per year. The total compensation offered to an Amazon Software Front-End Engineer is $42,359 more than an average US Front-End Engineer. 

In order to clear the Amazon Front-End Engineer interview and be placed at the reputed company, one needs to have mid-level coding knowledge. The ability to convert complex word problems into simple data structures and algorithms will only be possible with strong fundamentals and frequent practice. 

To nail Front-end Engineering interviews at Amazon and other FAANG companies, enroll for Interview Kickstart’s Front-End Engineering Interview Course.

Tips to Crack the Software Development Engineer Interview at Amazon

Amazon simply does not want to hire people who cannot prove their worth to the company. Jeff Bezos once said, “I’d rather interview 50 people and not hire anyone than hire the wrong person.” 

Here are a few tips to help you prove your worth:

  • Practice, don’t memorize. Many candidates go with the approach of memorizing a few interview questions and think that they have prepared for the interview. But, this is not the best approach. There’s a high probability that you’ll face an unseen question during the interview, and you might find yourself grasping at straws. The best way to prepare is to understand the concepts and come up with an approach to solve problems.
  • When solving coding problems, the solution you provide must have minimum time and space complexity.
  • Listen to the questions carefully and ask clarifying questions.
  • Think out loud, so the interviewers are able to know your approach to the answer.
  • In some cases, the recruiter might inform you of the names of your Loop interviewers. You can look up their profiles on LinkedIn, check out their domain, and expect questions from that domain.
  • Prepare a list of questions that you can ask at the end of the interview. These can be related to the role, the team, or the company. Here are a few examples:
    What do you enjoy the most about working for Amazon?
    How can I help resolve some challenges that Amazon is facing today?
    What will define success in my job position?
    What will be my roles and responsibilities on a typical day if I am hired?

For more tips, check out How to Prepare for the Amazon Onsite Interview in 2 Months

Nail the Amazon Software Development Engineer Interview

To get placed as a Software Development Engineer at Amazon, one needs a strategic plan and a well-planned schedule. Interview Kickstart is here to smoothen this tough path of achieving your dream job. 

Since its inception in 2014, Interview Kickstart has helped over 6,000 engineers achieve their dreams. With our exclusive courses, we empower engineers to get better acquainted with the intricacies of their chosen field and provide them with the right guidance to clear tech interviews at reputed companies. At Interview Kickstart, we have courses that holistically prepare you for an interview. 

Want to learn more? Sign up for our FREE webinar on How to Nail Your Next Tech Interview.

Last updated on: 
September 25, 2023

Dipen Dadhaniya

Engineering Manager at Interview Kickstart

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