How to Get an Analytics Job at Amazon

When How to Get an Analytics Job interviewed Jay Sueno, he had just landed a role working for Amazon as an analyst.

I am now an amazon employee, so my interview with amazon was fruitful and led to an offer as a data analyst!

When the interview took place Jay spoke to us from Encinitas California, he is now in Seattle working for Amazon. This is what he had to share with our viewers about the experience that led him to land this job.

Jay emphasized the importance of networking to find someone at Amazon that can give you a referral. Although it’s also super important to show that you’re highly knowledgeable in your area of expertise, that unfortunately is not always enough. Jay sent five or six applications and only two of them got him a response. It’s difficult to get a response from the recruiters at Amazon since there are hundreds, if not thousands of applicants for a single role.

Jay shared that when he was younger a professor advised that he should be meeting five to ten people a day in a business setting. Of course, especially with Covid-19, that is more likely to happen online. There are lots of opportunities to achieve this through mediums like Twitter, LinkedIn, or Clubhouse.

“The first thing I want to just emphasize to the students today is to network as much as possible”

Jay got his first interview through an internal referral, he made it to the second round of interviews but unfortunately was told he wasn’t quite the right fit. He did not get that job, but Jay kept persisting until finally, someone noticed him. That someone, was an old colleague of Jay’s who had become a product manager for Amazon and had noticed he had interviewed for Amazon. She was really impressed with what Jay was doing at the time as he was working hard, hustling, and interviewing. She offered him an interview for a data analyst role and was later offered the job.

At Amazon, if you get hired via a referral and you fill in that person’s name as the referral source the person who referred you often gets a bonus.  Therefore, giving a referral is an incentive for them that helps you too. If you are on one of these networking sites, whether that’s Twitter, Clubhouse, or LinkedIn, and see an Amazon employee you should reach out to them and let them know you are interested in or looking for a role as a data analyst or a business intelligence analyst and ask if you can talk to them about it. If you are interested in a particular role, you should have the job posting and everything ready for them. Make it as easy for them as possible since these people are taking time out of their day to help you out. At Amazon, you don’t need a cover letter, but you should have your resume and portfolio ready for them.

So, what does this type of networking actually look like?  When networking you do not need to be aggressively in contact with all these people, but you should at least manage somewhat of a real relationship with them. It’s all about finding some common interests and using those common interests to open the conversation and keep in contact and then over time you never know what could come to fruition from those relationships. The person that hired Jay at Amazon was someone he had known for about 12 or 13 years. They had been friends at one point in college, but he never imagined that she would be the one to reach out to him and offer him an interview. Jay says, “you can network in all aspects of your life”. He shared how he loves surfing and how one of the reasons he chose to study data science came about while he was surfing with his friend. His friend talked about being in a master’s degree program for data science and Jay asked what data science was. His friend replied, basically you can work on your computer from home and then surf, and jay thought that sounded awesome. Jay did further research, and it piqued his interest so he decided to pursue data science.

After some research Jay enrolled in the Data Science and Visualization Boot Camp at UC San Diego Extension. He speaks highly of the program and says it’s where he learned the basics of python, tableau, and SQL. Bootcamps can be very expensive for some people, but they are a great way to get a start on your data science or analytics journey. A Bootcamp provides the structure and support that many may not be able to achieve when learning completely on their own and helps keep you accountable.

Jay also realized that as co-founder of MamaP, a business that makes earth-friendly alternatives to everyday products such as bamboo toothbrushes, he had access to tons of data he was managing. Jay was already in charge of MamaP’s digital marketing and e-commerce before he had any education in analytics, and he was able to tap into that to get more experience with real data to uncover valuable insights and create value for his own business. Having his own business also provided Jay with a strong business acumen that he was able to leverage when interviewing for analytics roles.

Although having strong business acumen is a good skill to have as an analyst Jay shared that for an analytics job at Amazon, having a solid background in SQL is super important. Amazon uses SQL to query data so it’s necessary to know how to use it. Python is another skill that Jay emphasized, not just for Amazon but for any data role at a large company.

“ Python is really important, it’s another general skill that can be used in all facets of business but for data analysis, it’s becoming the language to use, in my opinion.”

Jay also added that learning Tableau for visualizations can also help you land a role because it helps show that you can communicate your analysis and ideas visually to customers and stakeholders. Another general skill Jay mentions is exploratory data analysis (EDA). It’s important to have a general methodology for looking at data when it’s first presented to you and knowing how to clean it and break it down to set it up for uncovering insights.

Link to watch the full interview on the How to Get an Analytics Job YouTube channel: