National Instruments Reviews

Updated May 31, 2015
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National Instruments Chairman, President, and CEO James J. Truchard
James J. Truchard
11 Ratings

Pros
  • Work/life balance is encouraged (in 97 reviews)

  • The people are generally brilliant and the work environment is healthy (in 69 reviews)

Cons
  • Work-life balance can be tough depending on what area you work in (in 14 reviews)

  • Organizational structure and consensus culture are huge roadblocks in the decision making process (in 17 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

17 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (3)

    College graduates, beware.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Programmer Analyst in Austin, TX
    Former Employee - Programmer Analyst in Austin, TX

    I worked at National Instruments full-time (Less than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Work life balance is the only Pro. If you are ambitious and have career goals don't come here.

    Cons

    You don't get enough work and you don't get paid well at all. Upper management is completely favor based and your efforts are not recognized at all. They hire all college graduates for less pay. Programmer Analysts are not treated well at all. I heard life of a Software Engineer in R&D is a bit better.

    Advice to Management

    Please consider increasing pay. Please identify your employs work and most importantly make sure they have enough work. One can only prove his/her worth if there is enough work assigned.


  2. Helpful (11)

    Compensation is poor

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Product Marketing Engineer in Austin, TX
    Current Employee - Product Marketing Engineer in Austin, TX

    I have been working at National Instruments full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Casual work environment with relaxed dress code. On site cafeteria.

    Cons

    The pay is way below average. New grads should not be fooled by all the hype centering around the casual work environment. Although this is true, the low salaries and lack of raises are also very true. If you truly feel you are the best and brightest, you should go elsewhere.

    It's easy to get promoted and take on more responsibility, but pay increases barely keep up with rising cost of living in Austin if they even occur. Also, the annual bonus is a joke...it doesn't even cover half of a monthly mortgage/rent payment.

    Advice to Management

    Compensate. Compensate. Compensate. You can attract the best and the brightest, but you should also focus on retaining them.


  3. Helpful (3)

    Technical Sales Representative

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Technical Sales Representative in Austin, TX
    Former Employee - Technical Sales Representative in Austin, TX

    I worked at National Instruments full-time (More than 10 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Job stability. Decent start pay and great benefits. Great learning experience.

    Cons

    If you do not have a 4 year degree, you will go nowhere. Marketing is the place to be. Butt kissing is the key to success here. Honest work and performance count for little. No raises for a few years. appear to be dumbing down the professional service NI used to offer their customers by the Technical Sales department. Customers complaints are unheard. And somehow, management thinks it's the Representatives fault for not conveying the new structure to the customer. They do not want to hear that the customer wants to speak to their loyal service provider, that has been supporting them over the years, directly.
     This used to be such a great company. Lack in monetary compensation was offset by happy customers, perks, respect from management and comfortable work environment.

    Advice to Management

    Your Buddy system is crippling the quality that NI is known for and will continue to deteriorate even further. I certainly hope Dr. T realizes this drastic mistake and does something for the people that love him and have been with him for years. Expect more of your experienced people to leave.


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  5. Helpful (21)

    It's 99% hype. Don't fall for it.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Austin, TX
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Austin, TX

    I worked at National Instruments full-time (More than 5 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    If you are laid back, shun responsibility, lack ambition, and would rather drink beer at work than use your wits and talent to create quality work, then you have a home here. Kick your feet up and slack on.
    There are nice amenities on campus.
    Free Kool Aid for interns and fresh outs.

    Cons

    The number one problem is management. They are mainly inexperienced children with no experience outside of NI.
    The number two problem is pay. You'll start off average. You'll stay there.

    Employees are not valued as skilled professionals, and are paid that way. Why? Because at NI, they mostly aren't.
    "Best and Brightest" is a catchphrase only. You dont' get or retain 'best and brightest' with poor pay and keggers on the patio.
    The 'culture' they claim everyone loves is attractive to kids and slackers. Serious professionals will grow tired of the childishness. Being underpaid while watching your company spend money on deck parties is frustrating.
    Nepotism - oh yes. This is a consequence of "culture" over talent. BTW you'd better be a college football fan, UT or A&M in particular, or you will have no chance of sucking up enough to be buddies with one of the good ol' boys. No one else exists. If you aren't spending Saturdays with your manager during football season, you are a 2nd class citizen going nowhere.

    Ignore all the good reviews from interns and freshouts who have been there less than 3 years. It isn't their fault - they are clueless to the ways of the rest of the world. The good ones leave.

    Advice to Management

    Get fired and replace yourselves with experienced managers from outside the company.


  6. Helpful (15)

    Talk a big game about employees, but doesn't match reality

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Austin, TX
    Current Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Austin, TX

    I have been working at National Instruments full-time (More than 8 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Interesting work and you can learn a lot. It's a good place to start a career. They have covered parking and an on-site doctor and gym. The pay is decent, unless you consider how much overtime you have to work, and then it's really not so great.

    Cons

    Work/life balance is very poor. Regular overtime is expected. My manager calls me on a regular basis on weekends and asks me to work. We frequently have weekends where the entire team is expected to work saturday and sunday. This can happen for multiple weeks in a row. Emails frequently go out on friday afternoons telling people they need to get extra work done over the weekend. People are constantly checking emails from home, and you will see emails going from 12pm at night and then again at 7am in the morning. While I find the pay satisfactory in general, it's quite a bit less than other companies that work you to the bone like this.

    Upper management is ultra conservative and constantly paranoid. They are in a constant state of panic about the company performing poorly, even though the stock seems to be doing pretty well. As a result, there are many salary freezes and promotion freezes. And you are constantly told you have to work lots of overtime to help out because the company is in such big trouble. You will be inundated with pep talks about how the company is going to go bankrupt if you don't work constantly at a very high intensity.

    Health benefits are slashed more and more every year while the out of pocket expenses go up. Vacation time and 401k matching are sub-par compared to other companies.

    They recently laid off all manufacturing in Austin, and I'm seeing engineering being outsourced as well. R&D hiring is rapid in foreign countries, while Austin is in an almost continual state of hiring freeze. They recently cancelled plans to build a new building for Austin employees, so it seems they are not foreseeing much expansion in Austin anytime soon.

    Bottom line is they talk a lot about how it's such a great place to work and how the culture is so great and you have great work/life balance, but I find few of those things to be true in reality. Everyone is constantly fed the company line that it's a great place to work, and many people take it at face value and never realize that it's much better elsewhere. Most employees are hired straight from school, so they're just excited about having their first job and really don't know any better and assume everything there is as great as they're told it is.

    Advice to Management

    Management is beholden to shareholders. Cutting costs is the bottom line. I could offer advice about treating employees better and not working them so hard that they are in a constant state of burnout, but unless I'm a wealthy shareholder you're really not going to listen.


  7. Helpful (7)

    Too much politics and subtle racism

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Austin, TX
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Austin, TX

    I worked at National Instruments full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    You get to work with cutting edge instrumentation tools. Most of the teams are friendly and great to work with

    Cons

    Pathetic pay. Management is mired with favoritism. Don't bother working here if you are not a native Texan. This does depend on your team though.

    Advice to Management

    Get rid of old schoolers and increase your pay. Stop hiring Freshers to do the work of experienced programmers


  8. Helpful (3)

    Not a place for an experienced individual without a bachelors degree

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Technician in Austin, TX
    Current Employee - Technician in Austin, TX

    I have been working at National Instruments full-time (More than 10 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Easy place to work, Very Flexible hours. Seven hour days are typical

    Cons

    The goal is to hire the best and the brightest and pay you 95% of the radford average.Many managers are very young and clueless. If you have experience and know what needs to be done, You can expect to have to convince a very young manager and gain consensus from the politically connected masses. Consensus building is king, Actual leadership is frowned upon.

    Advice to Management

    Managers are so afraid of making a mistake they require tons of data to make a simple decision and are typically paralyzed by their own analysis.


  9. Helpful (6)

    Consensus-driven, but really CEO-driven, culture prevents change and decision-making

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

    I worked at National Instruments full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    NI has a very laid-back atmosphere and the company promotes work-life balance.

    Cons

    The company shuns experienced hires, especially if you do not have an engineering or technical background. As someone with many years of experience, I felt I had to prove myself all over again, which was exhausting.

    There is a spoken desire to embrace change and do things better, but it is not followed up by action or empowerment. The lack of leadership and authority to drive change is astounding. Every meeting was slow-motion churn to nowhere. Decisions would finally get made after months of deliberation and consensus-building and then the CEO could overturn them in a second. There is no focus or prioritization - everything is important.

    The pay is terrible and the benefits aren't that great. The laid-back atmosphere doesn't make up for the lack in pay and the inability to drive meaningful change.

    The company focuses on recruiting college grads, so the more experienced people are outnumbered by new grads with no experience.

    Management seems blind to the world outside NI and to non-customers.

    Advice to Management

    Focus on the customer, not on yourselves. Stop playing favorites with just the same handful of people. Get out of your NI bubble and benchmark against other technology companies. Make experienced hires feel welcome and empower them to lead. Prioritize.


  10. Helpful (4)

    Must drink the koolaid to succeed here

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

    I worked at National Instruments full-time (More than 3 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Flexibility, fun environment, great co-workers, beautiful campus, decent cafeteria

    Cons

    Salary stinks, benefits are mediocre, promotions and job changes are for people who suck up to the right people, Managers can be very inexperienced leading to a lot of favoritism and an extreme lack of professionalism. Definitely not a "best place to work" (NI pays to be included on the fortune list of best places to work)


  11. Helpful (4)

    Great place to work unless...

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Austin, TX
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Austin, TX

    I have been working at National Instruments

    Doesn't Recommend
    Approves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Smart top-level management
    superior products
    progressive in terms of growth
    no "layoffs"
    excellent recession adaptations

    Cons

    "Great place to work", unless..
    you are in less-than perfect health
    are older
    have outdated skillset
    you have health issues

    Never mind how long you've worked at or how loyal you are to NI, expect to be screwed over the second you cease to be a "super" performer.

    If you have a disability, unless it SHOWS, you can forget about accommodations.
    You will be treated like a lying malingerer and driven out of your job, with insulting bad performance reviews to trump up their false claims.

    If you are not a drinker, you will become an outcast. So many "perks" revolve around drinking.

    Work-life balance? Forget it! Best place to work? Are you kidding me??

    Advice to Management

    Not everyone who is good at their job should be promoted to management. People leave managers, not jobs. PLEASE take any complaints against mgt seriously. A bad manager can ruin an otherwise dedicated and superior employee.
    HR is not your friend if you find yourself in difficulty. They will "say" all the right things, but "beware". Mgt will find ways to ruin your reputation that have nothing to do with your actual job performance if they feel you are no longer a "good fit".
    One's value to the company is very quickly reduced to nothing if you are less than 100% healthy, young and full of energy.
    Too much focus on young, healthy employees who have few work-life balance problems!!



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