Aquilent Reviews

Updated February 20, 2015
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3.1
45 Reviews
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David Fout
27 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1. 1 person found this helpful

    Great for those who make it

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

    I have been working at Aquilent

    Pros

    - Flexible
    - Competitive pay
    - Good benefits
    - Standard systems and processes
    - Consistent growth
    - Strategic vision
    - High profile in market
    - Multiple contract vehicles with gov
    - Good people

    Cons

    - Management culture is focused on projects, not people. Projects never fail, people can fall through the cracks.
    - You only work one project, if you and PM or client don't work well together, it can complicate your future with the company.
    - Culture at HQ office tends to align with project teams structure, work function or tenure. People can view this as being 'cliquish.'
    - You may work off-site in less then optimal conditions on legacy equipment and software.
    - HQ office needs renovations.
    - Hard to affect organization-wide change without having multi-year tenure.
    - Your mileage may very.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Find a way to manage people not just projects
    Make a new website - stop using stock photos
    Invest more money in workers, their tools, and office equipment
    Deliver internal trainings with self-service model

    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2. Consider if there is a contract to help your career... stepping stone, not a long term home.

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

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

    Pros

    Great Benefits!
    (Paid for my education and certifications.)

    More flexible than most organizations when it came to letting people sit on the bench between contracts.

    Cons

    No career growth or internal mentoring.

    No formal process or means for staff to develop their skills that enable them to move between projects. Managers (particularly non-billable execs) more concerned about billable hours than helping employees advance their career or find their passion.

    Even when facing extremely high attrition rates, senior management tends to drink its own bath water rather than looking in the mirror.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The struggle to retain senior HR leadership is an issue and needs to be addressed. Your c-suite is missing a Chief Human Resources Officer.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3. 3 people found this helpful

    Haggle for a high wage

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Technical Consultant - Web Development in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Technical Consultant - Web Development in Washington, DC

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

    Pros

    Great team members, lots of leave time, lots of company get togethers. The ability to work remotely or from home. Very flexible hours.

    Cons

    If you work on a client site you don't feel part of the company. If you switch roles, they don't adjust your wages to reflect the new responsibilities. Upper management doesn't seem to care if you are underpaid. Wages can be wildly different for the same role. Your wage depends as much or more on your ability to negotiate a good starting rate than on your actual abilities and qualifications. Head quarters seems very clique-ish and if you work at a client site it is hard to fit in with people at head quarters.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Review salaries locally as well as with in your company roles. There are HUGE discrepancies with ranges of over $75,000 difference in the same roles/job functions. You need to try harder to make your employees feel like they are part of your company when they are exclusively on a client site. You have your values that you claim to adhere to... adhere to them and treat your employees better.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5. Awesome Place of Employment!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Lead Business Consultant
    Current Employee - Lead Business Consultant

    I have been working at Aquilent

    Pros

    Career growth
    Flexible Schedule
    On-site Gym
    Caring employees

    Cons

    Nothing I can think of.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6. Great company!

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

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

    Pros

    Aquilent is an awesome company that takes care of its customers and looks out for their employees. Great culture! Smart and consistent growth.

    Cons

    Very few. Continue to grow and listen to your customers and employees. Virginia HQ would be nice.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7. 3 people found this helpful

    Kind of a crapshoot: can be decent for a short while, more than likely will just be frustrating.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Technical Consultant in Laurel, MD
    Current Employee - Technical Consultant in Laurel, MD

    I have been working at Aquilent full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    There's a lot of really great people at this company, and your ability to be around them can really make or break your work experience. They seem to hire heavily based on personality, and the upside is that I haven't really worked with anyone here that I don't actually like and get along with very well. They have been an enormous bright spot in my stay here, and they are the reason I took this job in the first place (my interview really hit all of the notes I wanted to hear about caring about the quality of work environment).

    Pay's okay (it seems largely dependent on your ability to negotiate your own starting salary). They certainly have a flexible work schedule and a really relaxed corporate HQ environment, provided you are not supposed to be at a client site. I think the company's going to be having a rough next 6 months while they experience some growing pains, but overall, this certainly comes across as a pretty stable company. Health insurance and 401k options are pretty solid.

    Cons

    It's a body shop, however much they may argue that they are not. It's really odd: some positions are effectively permanent (some people are stuck on projects with no possibility of advancement for years), and yet others are never ending revolving doors. Overall, they almost never seem to promote from within so your ability to actually move up in any way beyond a simple title bump and maybe bringing in an extra 4-5k for it seems extremely limited. There's a huge degree of variability in how busy you will actually be as an employee: everyone seems to either be stuck in neutral or ramped up into high gear. This can be a very frustrating environment to work in, even when you are surrounded by good people.

    Management is poor, and the unstaffed HR of VP position for the last year has meant that resource management has been a complete joke. Part of the problem that they have with staffing positions, particularly development roles, is that there is actually no real understanding in management and HR as to the nuance of certain development tasks.

    Speaking as a developer, most of the work is pretty dull too: it's 90% WCMS work, usually in poorly maintained environments that require a lot of clean up, with all the frustration that comes with the very traditional "hurry up and wait" mentality that is endemic in government contracting. Seriously, developers: almost no one in this company really understands what you do. Most of your work will be things you probably could have been doing with your eyes closed 15 years ago. Some of their more interesting projects, they can't keep funded. Aquilent is also loathe to ever push back on a client request, which is a frustrating environment to work in when most of your client contact points are non technical people who have little understanding of what they are asking for.

    Aquilent can be a great place if you're on the right project (usually one that lets you stay in Laurel) for maybe 2 years, but I'm hardpressed to think of a reason even under the best of circumstances to stay longer than that. There are some really great people in important positions (PMs, tech leads), but by and large even they end up being really stymied by the fact that Aquilent is a bit cheap, and unwilling to push back on unreasonable client requests. The lack of advancement opportunities, and the complete lack of control you have as an employee over what sorts of projects you would like to work on means that you can very easily feel like little more than a line item on an account director's balance sheet, and you will be treated exactly like that.

    There's also a complete lack of company wide development standards. Big portions of your work will be devoted to cleaning up old code (some that Aquilent has written) because there is generally a very poor QA and testing process on most work. If you are looking for a shop that does test driven development, and really knows and emobides best practices as a whole, this is not it.

    For me personally, coming here has been probably a negative move for my career. I've been moved around more times than I care to think about in the last year and I've spent most of my time onboarding and offbaording projects rather than actually doing work. Generally, I feel like my skills have deteriorated, and certainly if I had known that this was 90% WCMS work, I would not have taken a job here. My interview was a little bit misleading (not intentionally so, it just feels that because almost no one who interviewed me knows about differences in types of development, that I got sold a bad bag of goods as a result), and this isn't unheard of. Aquilent does seem to have a reputation for hiring LAMP developers and then fitting them into boring WCMS cleanups in 15 year old content management systems. Developers be ware.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Hire and keep a VP of HR. Your company culture is very fragmented and is not being disseminated at client sites well, which means that over 2/3rds of your company feels like they work more for their client than they do Aquilent.

    Hire people for the skills you actually want: if you want a drupal developer, hire a drupal developer, don't overstaff a team with 3 full time positions worth of people who don't know drupal when you could just hire one guy who knows the CMS well who could handle everything.

    At least consider hiring from within. Lack of advancement, particularly in non development positions is responsible for a very high turnover. Development roles only feel like they have a shot for advancement, because no one really knows what's involved in them so once the company finds a developer they like they're loathe to get rid of them, ever.

    Vertical business units are ridiculous. if you're going to do this, you need to have a much more transparent and open resource management system, because right now employees are largely left to fend for themselves to find their next project when their current one ends, or risk being let go because no one at Aquilent really tried to make a spot for them anywhere. Similarly, you need to have some kind of stability for employees that you can't really seem to place anywhere for more than a couple of months at a time. HR does not have a handle on this currently.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8. Work until you drop......

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

    I worked at Aquilent full-time

    Pros

    Smart engineers, free coffee, social events.

    Cons

    Stay way. Management only cares about maximizing billable hours. On some contract expect to work 60-70 hours a week! You will get emails and tasks over the weekend and expect to reply immediately. Customer / client will call you directly. Clique culture that belittles anyone that disagrees. Too much internal politics. If client does not like you, management will force you out. Executives don't seem to care and/or understand what is really happening.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Learn difference between management and leadership. Listen and apply your core principles.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9. Unbelievably, the worst company I have worked for in my life!!!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Technical Consultant in Laurel, MD
    Former Employee - Technical Consultant in Laurel, MD

    I worked at Aquilent full-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    Work from home
    Pool table
    Lounge area
    Fruits delivered daily
    Cool social functions

    Cons

    If you notice that my "Pros" had nothing to do with my position, there's a reason for that. The issue with Aquilent is that there are Sr. managers who think they are technical who don't know how the products they commit to the customer works. A previous review stated that the company does not know how to say "no" to the customer is an understatement. Aquilent will waste resources to accomplish the customers goal even if it doesn't make sense.

    Beware of the people that current Aquilent employees claim as "Very Smart". I have had a run in or two with these people and I will say "Not the sharpest tools in the toolbox". The people referenced are in higher positions which means if you are in a technical role, your opinion will not count. if they tell you that they value all opinions, then assume they are misleading you (how would you determine if they were misleading you?). If you want to understand the company and how they operate, ask HR about the turnover rate that many people have stated here in reviews, and ask why. Also, in your interview ask any of the technical people to explain their process for development (how do you deploy code, what tools do you use and if they are currently incorporated into the environment) or just simple tests. Understand (fully) what your daily tasks are and what you are committing to when you get an offer. If interviewers can't explain to you what your daily activities are like, then ask to speak to a person that deals with the day-to-day.

    As a manager, there should be a vision of what your plan for your group for the next 6 months. If you get a technical interview, ask your potential manager "How do you see your group in the next 6 months", "How many people do you have on your team", "What has your group accomplished in the last 6 months" and if you don't like the answers to these questions dig a little more until you get satisfied/unsatisfied answers. I wish I had a review like this which would have prevented me from accepting the position. My assumptions is that most people that have been at Aquilent 5+ years that they have just accepted doing just the minimum amount of work and get paid a decent salary (they have accepted the foolishness).

    Lastly, if your gut tells you that the people in front of you are misleading......STAY AWAY or you will regret it and will be writing your story on glassdoor as well. Don't let the "Best company to work" title make you feel that the environment is different.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Management does not need to get involved currently, but the HR group needs to step up and find out why people are leaving and fix the problem. Managers are not capable of fixing the problems because they don't engage in Manager-Employee conversations and this is a huge problem because the reason there is a high turnover rate is because HR doesn't get involved and do what's necessary which is remove people that are ineffective from management. HR, have an anonymous survey go out to all of your employees and ask specifics about what they would change in their job. Also, send that same survey to you managers and see if the results are consistent.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10. Developers Beware!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Technical Consultant in Laurel, MD
    Former Employee - Senior Technical Consultant in Laurel, MD

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

    Pros

    competitive salary, decent benefits, profit sharing, fun activities, telecommuting, flexible schedules

    Cons

    Job security, high turnover, inconsistent management styles and effectiveness, location (Laurel), management has no idea what development teams are up to, HR has no clue about how to retain or place people; they just rubber stamp the management power clique

    I was laid off due to lack of ANY Java (or any other) software development. The company is throwing a lot of effort into its cloud support, so it should be a good place for cloud system admins. It's also a good place for CMS and UX folks. But developers beware because it's slim (to no) pickings.

    Working at Aquilent is exciting in that it's a crap shoot – if you land a project that is interesting and lasts longer than six months, things are great. I learned a lot on the few good projects. More often, I was stuck with some lackluster project employing obsolete technology or put on the bench where you wait wondering if the company will find something for you to work on.

    My first project was a disaster; our prime basically “fired” Aquilent, although in all fairness, the prime was a joke, but you would think Aquilent would have vetted them a little better. It lasted a couple of months and then I was on the bench. Welcome to Aquilent! Then some decent and not so decent projects came along, culminating in a two year project that was great. (Two years is an extraordinarily long project for this company.) After busting my butt for two years, it ended and according to HR and upper management, all development work had dried up and I was back on the bench. I was told the bench was “strong” and not to worry. Then one day out of the blue, I was told to pack. First time I have been laid off in a long career.

    They have fairly aggressive schedules, which management likes to cloak as “agile”. All of Aquilent's contracts are with the government and we all know how agile the government is.

    Aquilent does not invest in its people. If they have a project for you, you are safe and everyone is happy. Otherwise, they let you go and with little notice. Doesn't seem to matter how long you have been with the company.

    Managers above line management need to be much more in touch with the people doing the actual work. Their only connection with the workers is through the almighty schedules.

    Company tries to be hip with hip parties and hip pool tables and hip “refresh” zones, but under the hip facade is another federal contractor that struggles finding it's niches and goes with what it thinks is the latest big wave (cloud) instead of sticking with tried and true development work.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get your heads out of the Cloud. Get some BD people who know how to get work. The company was started on development work and needs to figure out how to get it again. Pad your bench and make it more comfortable because too many of your folks spend time on it.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11. Great Place to Work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Solutions Architect in Laurel, MD
    Current Employee - Solutions Architect in Laurel, MD

    I have been working at Aquilent full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Great people to work with and good opportunity to learn a lot of new things if that is something that you are interested in. Really great people and the company cares about you.

    Cons

    The company wants to grow, but the people at the top don't really understand how to make that happen

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

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