Case Studies

Tom

Tom
Software Development Engineer
Amazon Development Centre London

Responsibilities: I work in the team who are developing Amazon Instant Video for third party devices. I've done a lot of work on developing programs to gather performance metrics on our applications and I'm also responsible for keeping track of our team's development kit as well as ordering and building new kit.

Skills: Being a programmer, my skills have increased hugely in just a few months. Being in amongst a talented group of people who are willing to help is particularly beneficial.

Projects: LOVEFiLM and Amazon Instant Video for third party devices.

Magic Moment: Just two months after joining and with just an hour's notice, I demonstrated some technology I'd been working on with the team to some of the most senior people in the global Amazon business.

Amazon in three words: Fun, Challenging, Quirky.

Harry

Harry
Software Development Engineer
Amazon Development Centre Scotland

Responsibilities: I work on a system which processes the Amazon product catalogue to find interesting and useful relationships between products. These relationships power many retail website features which ultimately help our customers find what they want more easily. I'm responsible for finding potentially useful data-processing techniques (mostly from research papers) and applying them to our dataset to improve the quality of our inferred relationships.

Skills: I have learnt a lot about software engineering in a team, machine-learning/data processing at very large scale, natural language processing, good experimental method, statistics, web design (for internal tools), and lots more. Everyday there's a challenge, so you learn a lot and often.

Projects: AutoRip (An Amazon.com system which gives customers free digital copies of the music CDs they bought) and the expansion of Amazon into different countries.

Magic Moment: Working with my team to build an exciting app at an Amazon Instant Video Hackathon, winning a Smart TV as a prize.

Amazon in three words: Customer-obsessed, Ambitious.

Susana

Susana
Network Engineer
Amazon Data Services Dublin

Responsibilities: I belong to the team responsible for inter-cluster network connectivity. We own the Firewall infrastructure supporting the Amazon.com retail website, and take care of Partner, Whispernet (Kindle) and an important segment of Corporate Network. We make sure these are operating properly; we proactively work on any kind of issues that could negatively affect our customer's experience, constantly adapt our network design to the large scale of Amazon and new technologies available and quickly react to any problems related to these network spaces to mitigate any issue.

Skills: Amazon is VERY different to any other network I have worked with. The large scale of the network is unique, and it has opened up different ways of approaching how I work day to day and how I see networking in general. I have gained more in-depth experience in routing protocols, firewalls, programming and general networking. Working in a culturally diverse environment also makes working at Amazon a nice experience.

Projects: I have worked on several projects, but the most challenging was upgrading the global firewall fleet, improving the connectivity experience for several services.

Magic Moment: Deprecating the troublesome Seattle Firewall infrastructure and seeing our new firewalls take traffic.

Amazon in three words: Fast, Learning, Challenge.

Colin

Colin
Senior Software Engineer
Amazon Development Centre London

Responsibilities: I work in the platform team at the Development Centre in London, specifically focused on purchasing. I deal with a lot of architecture /design on projects and the documentations for this. I do a lot of defining tech and best practice, conduct design reviews etc. I'm still hands on in the code too! Mentoring more junior engineers is a large part of my role; this includes activities such as code reviews. In between all of the above I just about find time to do a lot of interviewing for the business for engineering positions too.

Skills: Over my 8 years at Amazon I've developed really broad engineering skills and I also have interaction with our customers meaning I act as a technical bridge across many of the distinctive positions we have here at Amazon from Product Manager to TPM to Architect/Designer to Programmer.

Projects: I work in the platform team, specifically focused on purchasing.

Magic Moment: Watching Jeff Bezos live on Oprah for the launch of Kindle, for which I was the lead Engineer on e-book ingestion.

Amazon in three words: Fast paced learning.

Daniel

Daniel
Software Development Engineer
Amazon Development Centre London

Responsibilities: Making sure that our products look good, are delivered on time, work in different countries, make sense to customers and are fun to use. Right now I am focused on doing this for film and TV on the internet.

Skills: My computer science background provides the essential web, programming and database skills but the most valuable skill is talking to the people you work with. This lets you keep on top of what's going on and share your ideas. Also, you can always find the right person when you need a hand.

Magic Moment: Watching my mum register for LOVEFiLM on the Kindle Fire she got for Christmas using technology I built.

Amazon in three words: Everything You Want.

Jakub

Jakub
Software Development Engineer
Amazon Development Centre Scotland

Responsibilities: My team is responsible for the personalised and dynamic campaigns on our websites around the world: "New for You", "More Items to Consider", "What Other Customers Are Looking At Right Now" etc.

Skills: I have learned a lot about building high performance systems that operate reliably across the world. I have also learned a lot about split-testing, trying a new campaign design with a control and treatment group to find out which campaigns our customers respond to best. Working with developers across Amazon and within my centre has also improved my communication skills.

Projects: I have worked on several projects that have 'won' split tests and have improved the customer experience for Amazon customers across our websites, including the amazon.com homepage.

Magic Moment: Pressing the 'start' button to push the code I wrote to 50% of Amazon's customers and seeing the effect of that on Amazon's business.

Amazon in three words: Make a difference

Lukasz

Lukasz
Systems Engineer
Amazon Data Services Dublin

Responsibilities: In our team we take care of DynamoDB, RDS and Redshift services. Every day we make our service faster, more reliable and more efficient by implementing process automation to the fleet consisting of tens of thousands of servers. We design, implement and deploy to production tools which make our products better and customer experience smoother.

Skills: Working with such smart people is an honor and great opportunity to improve your own skills in a very short span of time. Being a part of the operations team in such huge environment means that we use all of our skills, including networking, databases, operating systems, coding in low and high level languages and debugging all the time. This allows us to react in a rapid manner and prevent problems from happening rather than fixing them when they arise.

Projects: Database Instance Heat-map - a tool that lets us improve the customer experience by identifying how resources can be utilized better without investing money. Coming next is a project that aims to fully automate complex and very custom deployments of our rapidly expanding products in a constantly growing environment.

Magic Moment: These happen every day when you have a chance to work with such smart and friendly people.

Amazon in three words: Professional, Smart, Innovative.

Niall

Niall
Systems Engineer
Amazon Data Services Dublin

Responsibilities: My team is responsible for managing the fleets behind Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and all of the other websites run by Amazon. With a small team, we run on tens of thousands of servers, a feat that would not be possible without automation, so we spend plenty of time writing tools to help us manage this incredibly large number of servers with the least possible effort. Our job is to keep the website up and running - if there's a problem on the website, then one of us is already on a conference call somewhere working to fix it.

Skills: When you're working at scale, you learn to automate from the start - doing things manually doesn't work. You also learn how to assimilate complex architectures and pinpoint problems quickly. Finally, you learn to explain this to people who may not have all of the context that you have.

Projects: Swift - allows clients call a single service to get data from multiple sources of fleet data. Muswell - dynamic usage measurements for the Amazon websites.

Magic Moment: The day the architecture clicked, and I was finally able to answer not only the questions that I had in my own mind, but the questions that other people were asking me too.

Amazon in three words: Large, Fast, Fun.

Reg

Reg
Senior Designer
Amazon Development Centre Scotland

Responsibilities: I work at Amazon's Development Centre in Edinburgh where I am responsible for all aspects of design including user experience/interaction design, visual design and user testing.

Skills: My role requires a broad range of skills. Obviously I need design skills such as UX, visual design and understanding of colour and typography. I need to stay up-to-date with a broad range of industry tools. Team-working, prioritisation and time management are equally important because I have to work with diverse teams across the company and balance my time across a wide variety of projects.

Projects: Right now I'm working on innovative ways to improve the way we present recommendations and trailers for Amazon Instant Video. I'm designing advertising creatives for mobile apps. I'm also working on an exciting new product for our movie business.

Magic Moment: In my role every day can be exciting, as my work is seen by Amazon's 200 million active customers around the world. However, a particular highlight for me was visiting Seattle for the first time to participate in an Amazon Design conference and learn more about the exciting work that's going on across the company.

Amazon in three words: Challenging. Team. Fun.

Luiza

Luiza
Network Engineer at Amazon Data Services Dublin

Responsibilities: I am a Network Engineer in the Edge team. Our role is to design, engineer, install, scale and operate the network fabrics between both the EC2 Substrate and the Website to the Amazon Border Network.

Skills: Routing protocols (OSPF , BGP ) , TCP, Cisco IOS, JunOS.

Projects: Scaling the Edge Layer in Singapore Datacenter, Mitigating OSPF Availability Risks, Capacity Planning on the Edge.

Magic Moment: Completing my first big project - upgrading a datacenter in the US ahead of a major launch.

Amazon in three words: Challenge, Innovation, Fun.