IBM

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Not a demanding job, but has its headaches

  • Comp & Benefits
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Senior Management
  • Career Opportunities
Current Employee - Software Engineering Manager  in  Chapel Hill, NC
Current Employee - Software Engineering Manager in Chapel Hill, NC

Pros

Lots of opportunities for doing completely different work
Great flexibility -- in where and when work is done, allows easy work/life balance
Supportive direct management
Great tools to get work done remotely
Decent salary, benefits and bonuses
Good recognition for high achievers in the right part of the business.

Cons

Clueless senior management
Too much deadwood in employees and management
No clear direction for the future
Big raises are no longer available
Can get stuck in poor performing businesses and be at risk for losing job through no fault of your own

Advice to ManagementAdvice

Need a vision of what IBM can truly do that will make money (rather than just cut cost to meet profit goals)
Way too many executives
Offshoring is getting to a critical point where we are hurting customers with lack of skills

Disapproves of CEO

Other reviews for IBM

  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great Place to do research

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Graduate Research Intern  in  Hawthorne, NY
    Former Employee - Graduate Research Intern in Hawthorne, NY

    Pros

    Great Research Environment. Great people to work with, and great managers. The research teams all have top-rate researchers, and the managers all seem to know how to run their groups efficiently. I've never worked anywhere where people meet their software development deadlines like clockwork. The work-life balance is pretty good there too - I was in to work on a few weekends and I don't think I saw anyone else in the office.

    Cons

    It may be slightly bureaucratic for silicon valley types used to a start-up culture. Moving up in the company (as well as the financial rewards that come with it) seems to take time.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The company is doing well, but they need to find ways to combat the image that Google is a far superior place to work (I don't think it's true, but that's the perception of many new grads)

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  2. 7 people found this helpful  

    IBM: Okay if you are a superstar, but have an exit plan just in case.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Software Engineer  in  Fishkill, NY
    Former Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Fishkill, NY

    Pros

    If you want to live in the Hudson valley and work as a computer engineer, IBM is basically your only option. If you are very talented as an engineer and a salesman of your ideas and you have a bit of luck, you will get to work on very interesting technical problems.

    Cons

    IBM in the US is shrinking, and as an employee you will compete with your coworkers for survival. Many people have been at IBM for 30+ years. They have survived many layoffs. If you want to keep your job, you need to be better then they are in the eyes of your manager. Being talented and hard working is not enough. You need to sell your ideas to managers. Most managers were talented engineers at one point, but managers are shuffled often, so most manage groups whose work they have a limited understanding of. If you can't explain to your non-technical relative why you are valuable to IBM, you will struggle to keep your job, no matter how valuable you really are.

    There is a constant flow of people who join IBM right out of college and are gone within four years. About half find better jobs because they have IBM on their resume. The other half change fields entirely, or go back to school.

    A manager being laid off is unheard of. Non-managers generally distrust what managers say about layoffs, because managers are invulnerable and so have no empathy. The managers I had took every opportunity to say that yearly ratings were based on your performance and not compared to your pears. In other words, everyone under a manager could get a high rating. This was to fight a persistent rumor that managers can not give high rating to everyone. I believe the rumors are mostly true: A manager could give everyone a great rating, but other managers would question that manager's judgment, so in practice no manager does it.

    One trap to watch out for is moving to a town like Poughkeepsie NY, where IBM is a large chunk of the local economy, when IBM is at a hiring peak. The housing market moves with IBM's hiring or layoffs. If you buy a house when IBM is hiring, and are forced to sell it a few years later when IBM fires many people, the loss you will take on the house could easily be greater then a year's salary. Ouch.

    IBM tends to use technologies that are internal or not the industry standard. Often the IBM way was invented before the industry standard way, and often the IBM way is (or was) better by a small margin. Keep in mind that IBM may not be the last place you work before you retire, and make sure that you learn some skills that will allow you to get a job elsewhere. If you spend ten years at IBM and become an expert in the IBM method of making chips, you may find that you can not pass an interview to get a job making chips somewhere else.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Customers pay a premium for IBM products because those products used to have above average quality. If you invest in the engineering work that keeps quality high, you will be able to keep earning that premium. Management is failing to do this.

    Managers need to be experts in the work done by the people they manage. No exceptions to this rule should be allowed below the VP level.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
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