Altera

www.altera.com
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1 person found this helpful  

Great execution, poor innovation

  • Comp & Benefits
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Senior Management
  • Culture & Values
  • Career Opportunities
Former Employee - Member of Technical Staff Design Engineer in Toronto, ON (Canada)
Former Employee - Member of Technical Staff Design Engineer in Toronto, ON (Canada)

I worked at Altera full-time

Pros

You learn a great deal of excellence in execution, good pay and benefit

Cons

Not for someone whose passion is innovation

Doesn't Recommend
Neutral Outlook
Disapproves of CEO

315 Other Employee Reviews for Altera (View Most Recent)

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  1. 3 people found this helpful  

    Company Review

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Failure Analysis Technician in Bayan Lepas (Malaysia)
    Current Employee - Senior Failure Analysis Technician in Bayan Lepas (Malaysia)

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

    Pros

    High basic pay compare to other electronics company and quite flexible.

    Cons

    No bonus, no incentive, no profit sharing, dependant hospitaliztion only covering 90%, always talk about innovation but never improve due to 'old school' mindset influence.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Change Altera work and community culture to a "Great Place to Work"

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2. 6 people found this helpful  

    Controlling, Untrusting, Stifling, Old Fashioned but Trying to Change

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

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

    Pros

    Altera is a relatively stable company for a semiconductor firm, with only a few real competitors. It is in a market that is expanding faster than the semiconductor market as a whole. They have a policy of allowing "rotations" where if you like a different position within the company, you might be able to try it by "rotating in" for a period of time. This is undoubtedly one of the best features of the company, if you'd like mobility. But this seemingly progressive feature comes with a price.

    Cons

    The culture is one that's hard to believe still exists in Silicon Valley in the 21st century. It's stiff, restrictive, controlling, and while not antisocial, certainly asocial. The CEO himself is a former engineer and while perhaps a good businessman, one could definitely say he’s not one to lead the Charge of the Light Brigade. During a year, he may speak to the company 2 or 3 times, and basically tell you to innovate.

    If you believe in the concepts that to be a motivated employee you need autonomy, mastery, and purpose (see Dan Pink's Ted Talk) you'll only find mastery here. There is no guiding social purpose for the company (although there could be), and little autonomy.

    To give you a feel here, If you come from a company that:
    - Has meetings where everyone comes with a laptop
    - People often work remotely or from home
    - There is a large internal social networking structure
    - There is strong leadership and direction from the top on down, especially with any social purpose
    - Instant messaging is a form of intraoffice communication

    then you'll be in for a shock coming here. Don't dare open a laptop in a meeting (if you get one) much less check your smartphone - you could have the person running the meeting stop abruptly and glare at you. There are even signs up warning you of correct behavior in this regard. Talk to old timers about working from home and they'll tell you they're against it. Mention bringing a laptop into a meeting and they'll give you examples of meetings they've been to at other companies (hello Cisco!) where people do that, and they hated it and felt disrespected; the concept of having multiple forms of communication happening simultaneously is not understood, much less tolerated. You'll probably won't get remote access during your first 90 days - arguably a time when you'd like it the most if you're a go getter. Why? No good reason. But, it quite effectively shows you who's in control.

    Getting an email thread going on a topic for collaboration is unlikely. All the older employees have been instructed to avoid Reply All's. An email joke? Forget it. A joke via instant messenger (or Outlook Communicator)? Unlikely. Instant messaging seems to be a fairly novel form of communication; you won't have strangers IM'ing you. Get someone to talk about the company critically - highly doubtful. As a matter of fact, any fun at all while on the job is unlikely. You won't find people laughing, smiling, or much frivolity here. Come in. Focus on your task. Period. Task Masters extraordinaire.

    The IT group is totally controlling. The video conferencing programs will have functions blocked (e.g. So you can't one-click output to YouTube). Same for Facebook video, after all FB is social and you shouldn't be doing that, right? Right. Unless you want to post a video to the corporate FB site! But posting a video would be quite radical indeed as even posting textual responses to company internal or external forums you'd best be extremely cautious. Almost no one does it. Individuals arent allowed to post to forums, only senior vetted managers. There are no company external blogs, or for that matter internal (technically, yes, but they aren't used). There's a Barracuda Internet filter that will stop you from many basic, fundamental web searches. The IT administrator for the internal Yammer site follows _everyone_ which is rather creepy. And there's little company participation in it largely due to the oppressive feeling created by administrators and managers. They've turned off Admin privileges on your PC in the name of security. They push MS Sharepoint to the max.

    You get the picture from the above examples. It's a very closed, controlled, asocial, almost paranoid environment. At least one Phd level engineer with modern mentality recently left due to the stuffy shirt environment. If you don't wear a blue shirt and dark pants, you won't fit in in management.

    That being said, management is trying to change, and has changed a lot recently. They really are trying. New bocce ball courts, volley ball courts have been installed, and they've even painted some of the walls colors (imagine - colored walls!). They are opening up to a degree of telecommuting (manager dependent). The problem is, the social changes aren't directed from the top. They come from individual managers. So, the badly needed social changes are fragmented and inconsistent at best. All this said, it is NOT a BAD place to work. Just be advised of the way it IS. And, there is much future potential if they can get their heads out of the dark ages. Like Google? Not.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Social changes can happen quickly. It is not true that it takes years to make social changes. It just takes the desire and the conveyance of that desire from the top down. I've been at much larger companies where cultural changes happened very rapidly.

    The whole company needs to stop taking itself so seriously. You aren't solving world hunger.

    Be more human.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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