I Got Fired From Amazon as a Software Development Engineer

Derek Johnson
The Startup
Published in
4 min readJun 28, 2021

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Photo by Christian Wiediger on Unsplash

Working at a FAANG (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google) company is the holy grail for software engineers. The pay is much higher than most realize; you collaborate and work with some of the brightest engineers in the field, and it opens doors for the future if this experience is on your resume. I enjoyed the interview process and even enjoyed talking with my soon-to-be manager. I was excited when my manager mentioned that I would be kicking off a new project and leading a new team. We both knew that I was still a bit junior with only three years of experience to take on the amount of responsibility, but they seemed to trust me, and I was up for the challenge.
Onboarding went smoothly with excellent documentation, and I loved the process. However, things took a quick turn when I discovered that I wasn’t starting a new project or leading a team but instead replacing a rogue developer who was upset and left the codebase in shambles. Customer’s reported new bugs daily, and my manager threw an epic with existing deadlines at me. I usually expect a situation like this when there is a team to help you onboard and support bug fixes while others build features. Still, in this case, I had nothing- no knowledge transfer, no documentation, and an angry manager that was still upset about the previous developer picking up and bailing on the project.

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Derek Johnson
The Startup

Philosopher | AI Engineering | Formally @ Apple & Amazon