STEM+Arts Career Profile – John Kendall


John Kendall
Current: Software Development Engineer at Amazon



John is currently working with Amazon as Software Development Engineer, a role in which he has helped develop Platform for Amazon’s Developer Publishing API using Java, revamped Mobile Responsive Developer Portal Landing Page (, served as mentor for an intern that resulted in his successfully receiving a return offer, created threat model for Developer Portal’s Notification Service and resulted in successful security review.

iUrban Teen recently interviewed him for the iUrban Teen Newsletter.


iUT: What is your current role at Amazon and what does it entail?

JK: I’m a Software Engineer within Amazon’s Appstore. In this role, I develop features for the platform and pre-login experience on In addition, I serve as my team’s scrum master, coaching my team in its agile development processes.

iUT: What’s your background and how did it lead you to what you’re currently doing?

JK: I received my B.S.E. in Computer Science at the University of Michigan, College of Engineering. Prior to Amazon, I was a Software Engineer at Microsoft, working on experiences for the HoloLens, Microsoft’s Mixed-Reality device.

iUT: What advice would you give our teens about being an engineer, getting into your industry, or being an entrepreneur?

JK: My advice would be to seek out internship and workshop opportunities at the major tech companies. I know Google and Microsoft have established programs for high school students. Amazon is working on having a high school internship program next summer.

I would also look into the LEAD Engineering Program:

iUT: What is the most fun thing about your job?

JK: The most fun thing is the coding. I get excited about making features that have measurable business impact on people around the world.

iUT: What interests you about being involved with iUrban Teen?

JK: I’m interested in getting more underrepresented students exposed to the wonders of software. I didn’t start coding until college, and I wish I started earlier.

iUT:  Can you share something about yourself that isn’t well known?

JK:  In 2010, I lived in Hong Kong for 4 months. I was there for a study abroad program at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and it was one of the best times of my life.

iUT: Is there anything else you would like to add?

JK:  Software Engineering is hard. Most startups fail. If you pursue software, you will fail along the way, so don’t be afraid of failure.

Along the same lines in basketball, Michael Jordan once said: “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”