Ciena Reviews

Updated March 14, 2015
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2.0
22 Reviews
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Ciena President, CEO, and Director Gary B. Smith
Gary B. Smith
106 Ratings

22 Employee Reviews

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  1. Principal Test Engineer

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Software Test Engineer in San Jose, CA
    Current Employee - Software Test Engineer in San Jose, CA

    I have been working at Ciena

    Pros

    Good place to learn new things

    Cons

    low salaries, no RSUs given only to few people.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    should identify real performing people and reward them. Internal candidates should be preferred for vacant positions before opening to external .

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2. Not a great business to be in

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Business Operations in Saint-Laurent, QC (Canada)
    Current Employee - Business Operations in Saint-Laurent, QC (Canada)

    I have been working at Ciena

    Pros

    Flexibility, Salary, WFH, Good people below management level.

    Cons

    always in fear of being laid off. Not about people first. No room for advancement, people always in fear.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Treat your employees with respect!!!!!!!

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3. My first bad job, hope this review helps others, from making a drastic career mistake.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Lead, IT Applications
    Current Employee - Lead, IT Applications

    I have been working at Ciena

    Pros

    Flexibility. Training, if manager approves. Nice enough posh buildings.

    Cons

    Polite and candid way, of explaining the poor quality of work here, on the IT segment, gets tricky. There are few witty ones, not that. But overall, IT architecture, enterprise systems sucks. Surprisingly for a telecom, IT is not sophisticated. Its just about building something overnight, approving/managing/maintaining poor quality offshore solutions; depending on the title of your profile. No growth. Internal politics, favoritism, grapevines rampant. Quite a few of the managers who have been at Ciena for long, are very unprofessional, reviews on how you accept/adapt to management decisions and offshores, rather than on quality of your work.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Internal IT is strength to any company. Respect their observations, facilitate their growth. Offshores can be an operational advantage, but need to be directed/reviewed properly. Giving full control, including Design and Architecture to them, comes at a very expensive cost. Be professionals with corporate ethics. Stick to the positive plans you promise.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5. 2 people found this helpful

    Inventory Logistics and receiving

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Contractor - Anonymous Contractor
    Current Contractor - Anonymous Contractor

    I have been working at Ciena as a contractor (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Very busy with daily scanning, receiving and problem solving issues regarding circuit packs that may be missing in the lab

    Cons

    Not left to do my job without overlooking my shoulder after being in this high tech business for over 30 years with a very strong work ethic and high customer support satisfaction,

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6. 5 people found this helpful

    From Good to Great, Back to Good, then Mediocre, Now Floundering

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior R&D Project Manager in Linthicum Heights, MD
    Former Employee - Senior R&D Project Manager in Linthicum Heights, MD

    I worked at Ciena full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    At its best, Ciena had the best technology, brilliant engineers and a true entrepreneurial spirit. They survived the dot-com bust better than many firms, though there were many layoffs along the way. Still, morale was strong and employees truly trusted the leadership team. Promotional opportunities were available even during tough financial periods. Though bonuses dried up, there was a good employee stock purchase plan and basic benefits were above industry averages. But that was all prior to 2010.

    Cons

    The downfall of Ciena began with the acquisition / merger with Nortel's MEN division. Seems like Ciena sold its soul to make the acquisition work, handing over way too much influence to the Nortel groups. As a result, morale went down immediately for the existing Ciena employees and technology development slowed to a crawl. A transition of the engineering team from a US base to Canada and India continued the deterioration of technology development. In the past couple of years it became clear that the Ciena "classic" leadership team (non-Nortel) had lost their edge and were simply collecting their paychecks (and bonuses and stock grants) and are now hanging in there until something better comes along - or until they are told to leave. Since the Nortel acquisition Ciena still cannot quite make much money, always hovering near break-even. This will likely continue as the stuck-in-their-ways Nortel groups gain greater control of the company and power shifts completely to Canada (look for an inversion by 2016). The HR function had not been stellar the past 5 or 6 years, but has become non-existent since 2013 with a new, UK-based leadership team. They seem to be running HR by reading 10-year old Dilbert comic strips, using every outdated cliché to manage the business. As a result, no one ever goes to HR for help with employee issues - you're own your own. Any job openings at Ciena Maryland's facilities are most likely to replace someone who just got fed up and left. If you are Canadian, then Ciena will be a good place to work: the salary and benefits will be competitive, you won't be expected to perform well, and you can probably stay employed for a very long time as the company disposes of their US resources during the next few years.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    It is well past time for a house cleaning. Probably too late to reverse the move of engineering to Canada and India, so you will suffer with poor technology for the foreseeable future. Operations teams are very over-staffed, especially field service teams. Gary Smith was a great guy and lead Ciena through some really difficult years, but it's time to find a replacement - someone from the outside, not a Nortel guy. The only way to get real profitable is to eliminate the dead wood, as without new products it will be tough to grow sales enough to really turn things around. And see if you can make HR a representative of the employees. Ciena once had a fantastic culture - Joe Chinnici once said it was the closest to Silicon Valley you could find outside of the west coast. See if you can get that culture back. Good luck to you all.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7. 4 people found this helpful

    Marginal Products, Political Environment

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Director Engineering in Ottawa, ON (Canada)
    Current Employee - Senior Director Engineering in Ottawa, ON (Canada)

    I have been working at Ciena full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Commute to work is good. Salary is on the low end for the local area but options outside of Gov't contract work in this area are very limited.

    Cons

    SW is weak, not a differentiator in the market. I feel this opportunity to capture market share is slipping away because Exec Leadership has not acted aggressively. Customer satisfaction with some of the larger carriers has become a significant problem and will likely limit sales growth - this impacts a significant portion of Ciena's revenue stream.

    Politics seem especially virulent among the execs. Probably because we have not hit our margin goals and stock is way down. Reorgs happen pretty regularly, VPs disappear without explanation. Trust level feels low among execs.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Address SW issues with transparency and leadership.
    Gary Smith should take a bigger role in developing a positive culture.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8. 4 people found this helpful

    Great technology & good people but terrible middle management

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Ciena full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Flexible work environment (work from home), best networking technology in industry, decent benefits, visionary CEO. The working level is very collaborative and supportive but that spirit doesn't make it to the senior leadership.

    Cons

    Dead end jobs, zero people development, jerky-herky reorganizations, inexplicable lay-offs, 0% raises in record-brekaing revenue years, little recognition of accomplishments, some horrible senior executives

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Cut the deadwood, not those that produce. Stop using a dart board to make staffing decisions.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9. 1 person found this helpful

    Overall average

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Leadership Role in Hanover, MD
    Current Employee - Leadership Role in Hanover, MD

    I have been working at Ciena full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    Product technology is leading edge. Market position. Partnership with Ericsson opens up opportunities for growth.

    Cons

    Ciena needed infusion of new more mature and savvy talent. Nortel MEN acquisition provided some of that, but also brought with it a culture that had, over the years during the Nortel downturn, self-selected managers, directors and IC's that were too readily compliant with the direction some execs took. The culture had placed a higher value on compliance ("alignment") over real debate and transparency - this lead to very real situations where the company's ability to achieve its goals were undermined.

    My experience was that the issues with culture and transparency went beyond the former Nortel exec leadership to in some specific cases to the senior exec's as well.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    First phase of the company post-integration was to grow revenue, attack costs and try not to die.
    Next phase needs to be centered around a strong people-first approach to push the culture in a direction that effectively identifies and nurtures talent, provides an environment for growth and allow more effective work/life balance.
    Would add that a selective culling of the ex Nortel leadership is probably necessary to drive the level of change that is required for the company to thrive.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10. 2 people found this helpful

    Work environment.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Systems Engineer
    Former Employee - Senior Systems Engineer

    I worked at Ciena full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Great benefits. Most positions and managers have a balanced work ethic. Great technology, though not implemented well, too splintered.

    Cons

    Non-test positions and managers have a better grip on reality. Many ex-cisco test employees and managers, who brought along their 'drag-me-down' mentality that ruined Cisco's work environment. Training is not so great, always behind the curve. Upper management is not involved in the trenches, thus they are mis-lead. HR does NOT want to hear what you really have to say!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Train your employees. Listen and follow your employees advise on improving the work atmosphere.
    Get into the trenches!

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11. Hardware Engineer

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Principal Engineer in Linthicum, MD
    Former Employee - Principal Engineer in Linthicum, MD

    I worked at Ciena full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Salary is competitive. Good co-works. New technology

    Cons

    The upper management does not know what they are doing. Short term focused and all are about making themselves rich.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The board is not doing the job.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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