What it was like to work at AWS in South Africa - two former employees

Jan

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What it's like to work at Amazon in South Africa

Amazon has been on a recruitment drive in South Africa, hiring thousands of people in customer support and various technical roles.

MyBroadband previously spoke to three people who gave different perspectives about their experiences applying for jobs at Amazon.
 

Sinbad

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Seems to be very geared towards help desk / customer service roles.

Wonder what it's like to be a senior technical account manager... (they're headhunting me for this)
 

Rocket-Boy

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"Ultimately, if you work at AWS for one week, our source said, it is bound to change your life."
For better or worse I guess, these kinds of companies dont care what happens to employees, they are used the American systems where they get to abuse staff with little recourse.
 

Rocket-Boy

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Seems to be very geared towards help desk / customer service roles.

Wonder what it's like to be a senior technical account manager... (they're headhunting me for this)
Probably horrific based on my experience in enterprise MSP. Any form of client facing account management takes a huge beating and needs a very thick skin.

Having said that I have a good mate who absolutely loves working for Amazon and he really has thrived in the company. It just seems to be about being the right type of personality more than anything else.
 

Messugga

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Seems to be very geared towards help desk / customer service roles.

Wonder what it's like to be a senior technical account manager... (they're headhunting me for this)
Anybody remotely valuable are taken care of exceptionally well financially, but they want their pound of flesh. A friend of mine started at Amazon in Cape Town as a developer at the age of 24. 8 years later he has retired with permanent residency in the US.
 

KleinBoontjie

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"Ultimately, if you work at AWS for one week, our source said, it is bound to change your life."
For better or worse I guess, these kinds of companies dont care what happens to employees, they are used the American systems where they get to abuse staff with little recourse.
I some times get very jealous of all those naive people, working for these large corporate companies. Wish I could believe in all those propaganda they spew towards all the employees, just so that I can have a false sense of enjoying my work and mediocre salary.
 

cguy

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Anybody remotely valuable are taken care of exceptionally well financially, but they want their pound of flesh.
This is what I’ve seen too.
A friend of mine started at Amazon in Cape Town as a developer at the age of 24. 8 years later he has retired with permanent residency in the US.
The 15x stock growth over that time is probably a big part of that, although one can do really well regardless (not retiring in 8 years, but if one does well, most will have the option to retire after about 20 years in the US, where they are (or earlier in many other places).
 

Messugga

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This is what I’ve seen too.

The 15x stock growth over that time is probably a big part of that, although one can do really well regardless (not retiring in 8 years, but if one does well, most will have the option to retire after about 20 years in the US, where they are (or earlier in many other places).
For sure. His signing bonus was R500k in stock which he could sell after five years. He kept it. He got other bonuses as well for patents and such. He's a frugal guy so doesn't need much to be comfortable in terms of lifestyle, and I think he just got tired of the work.
He ended up doing a sabbatical for a year initially, but that never ended. Now he simply pursues hobbies.
 

cguy

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Seems to be very geared towards help desk / customer service roles.

Wonder what it's like to be a senior technical account manager... (they're headhunting me for this)
Comp looks to be around 120k GBP/year. Goes up to 160k for staff level and 300k+ for principal, but the pyramid is pretty narrow at that point.

The experience will probably be the best you can get and benefit you enormously even if you choose to walk out after a few years.
 

Hamster

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So in short:
- high pace environment
- has onboarding process
- experience depended on manager
- company code/principles to work by

Nice. I'd like to work for a company like this one day.
 

Messugga

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Comp looks to be around 120k GBP/year. Goes up to 160k for staff level and 300k+ for principal, but the pyramid is pretty narrow at that point.

The experience will probably be the best you can get and benefit you enormously even if you choose to walk out after a few years.
Any tips on getting in? I'm told references work wonders. Preparing for my UK jump and although my current employer has fantastic opportunities from a personal growth perspective, they can't reasonably compete with GBP salaries and our UK offices have a non-poaching agreement.
 

cguy

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Any tips on getting in? I'm told references work wonders. Preparing for my UK jump and although my current employer has fantastic opportunities from a personal growth perspective, they can't reasonably compete with GBP salaries and our UK offices have a non-poaching agreement.
You mean that your company has UK offices, but won’t pay a UK salary, because you’re considered an SA employee working remotely in the UK? That really sucks.

Once you’re there it probably wouldn’t be hard to get an interview with their UK offices with your background. (A lot more red tape if you’re trying to get a visa, relocation, etc). I would even try all the other big tech companies - you may get multiple offers.
 

Messugga

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You mean that your company has UK offices, but won’t pay a UK salary, because you’re considered an SA employee working remotely in the UK? That really sucks.

Once you’re there it probably wouldn’t be hard to get an interview with their UK offices with your background. (A lot more red tape if you’re trying to get a visa, relocation, etc). I would even try all the other big tech companies - you may get multiple offers.
Yeah it's pretty funny actually. I'm providing oversight of advanced analytics globally but I'm employed at the SA office. UK is a separate legal entity and internal transfers don't fly. Lots of politics and whatnot.
 

NarrowBandFtw

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to be fair, support staff are always going to be treated like shyte, regardless of the company

more hours, more tickets, go, go, go, it is the exact same thing in the online gambling industry and likely in most places

but, I have heard too many horror stories from engineers and engineering managers at Amazon to think the slave driver mentality is limited to support staff over there

hard pass
 
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