Cubic

  www.cubic.com
  www.cubic.com
There are newer employer reviews for Cubic

 

Small division, big company, good oportunities among the penny-pinching.

  • Comp & Benefits
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Senior Management
  • Career Opportunities
Current Employee - Principal Systems Engineer in San Diego, CA
Current Employee - Principal Systems Engineer in San Diego, CA

I have been working at Cubic

Pros

CTS is a small division, so you can learn about a tremendous domain. Some of the things I've touched in the past 12 months have been contactless credit cards, PCI compliance, prepaid debit cards, inventory systems, data warehousing and virtual hosting. It's thinly staffed, so if you're motivated, you can easily get assigned to do new things.

Cons

This is a small division of a large company. Some corporate edicts make sense, many do not. Employees are driven by timecards, down to 15 minute increments. When there is lots of work, these are easy to deal with-- you have a primary project, and that's what you charge to. When work is slimmer (like now) it's tougher. Lots of managers want accurate estimates... but give you no charge number. CTS does very little R&D-- everything is paid for by customers. So what you work on is limited by the customers vision, which can be shortsighted.

Advice to ManagementAdvice

Decide on R&D projects to work on during downturns. You're going to have to pay for your salaried employees anyway, might as well have them doing things that will make or save you money 6 months down the road. Come up with a licensing model for equipment and backend software. It shouldn't be free. Decide that support and maintenance is a priority and staff and allocate resources appropriately. Our customers know the quality of our support, and that's why they won't pay for it.

No opinion of CEO

96 Other Employee Reviews for Cubic (View Most Recent)

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  1.  

    Good starter company.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Systems Engineer in San Diego, CA
    Current Employee - Senior Systems Engineer in San Diego, CA

    I have been working at Cubic

    Pros

    Everyone agrees cities need more public transit. CTS does exactly that, by providing the means to funding public transit. That means the current systems are maintained, and justifies expanding older systems.

    Cubic is a great company for the neophyte or the old fox. The neophyte will get lots of learning opportunities about technical matters, office politics, and the dirtier side of engineering. The old fox gets good benefits, and only needs COLA raises.

    There are quite a few superb people, especially on the technical side. On the management side, you've gotta appreciate them for their Machiavellian nature and flexible moral fiber.

    Cons

    For the technical person who's been there awhile, you'll get small raises, and work on LOTS of legacy systems. CTS has been putting in systems for over 30 years, and if you've been there awhile, you'll get to work on some of these that were cutting edge-- 10 to 20 years ago.

    Most new proposals are done as "This is the same as [insert previous project]!" and budgeted accordingly. No time is given to doing in depth estimates beforehand. Customers demand all-inclusive fixed-price bids, so when the work actually comes in the door, you're almost guaranteed to lose money.

    I've worked on a number of projects where it was sold at a loss-- so we're told-- "come up with some cost savings, we're 5 million in the hole!"-- and we hear this in the kickoff meeting!

    PM's are encouraged to save money, often at the expense of the company. If there's a way to come up with a bubblegum and baling wire design that'll only work this one time, they'll do it. And then it'll be sold to another project with no additional engineering time, guaranteeing problems for the next project.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Look for a business model that'll work in this decade, and does not assume customers fall over themselves to buy overpriced spares or media. Actually provide good service to the few customers that have signed service contracts.

    Disapproves of CEO
  2.  

    Cubic, a good old fashioned San Diego company.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Engineer in San Diego, CA
    Current Employee - Engineer in San Diego, CA

    I have been working at Cubic

    Pros

    The company is involved with a boad range of different technologies. You don't end up doing the same thing time and again. The people are great. There is a lot of knowledge around and the culture is to share not hoard knowlege.

    Cons

    It often seems that decision makers seem to get stuck on old ideas and business practices, it is hard to convince management to try new things. At the same time decisions are made by management against the advice of experienced workers, and these decisions often prove costly.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    If a project is behind schedule the worst thing you can do is decree that some development is "good enough" and force things forward. That will only cause things to be delayed more later on. Take the schedule hit and get things done the first time. Also, let the developers tell you how long it will take them to accomplish something, and get more than one opinion. Make the schedule development process more scientific to reduce your error. Hire summer interns. Young inexperienced people are willing to come in and work hard on uninteresting but necessary tasks. It is a win win. They get experience and the company gets hard work on the cheap.
    Do we really need so many VPs? All those hefty salaries have to effect our bottom line.Maybe taking a chunk out of the management side of our proposals would help us win some more.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
There are newer employer reviews for Cubic

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