Palantir Technologies

  www.palantir.com
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61 Employee Reviews (View Most Recent)

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  • Culture & Values
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6 people found this helpful  

Challenging, purposeful work in a great environment

Software Engineer (Current Employee) Palo Alto, CA

Pros1. First and foremost, Palantir is working on some of the hardest and most important problems in the world. Working on these is both intellectually stimulating and extremely rewarding.

2. What initially drew me to the company, and what keeps me here today (in addition to 1 above), are the amazing people who work here. They're some of the smartest people I know and also some of my best friends. It's a great environment to work in, learn in, and enjoy life in. Also, there's a no a-hole policy, meaning we don't hire people we wouldn't want to work with on a daily basis, so everyone is someone you can easily enjoy working with and being friends with.

3. Meritocracy: the best idea wins, even if it's proposed by an intern. Seniority and experience will likely give you the ability to have better ideas, but it doesn't mean you're always right.

4. Lack of politics: similar to 3, you don't have to "know someone" or be a "senior engineer" or whatever to move up in the company or get your ideas heard.

5. Transparency: I ask a question, I get an answer. It may not be what I wanted or expected to hear, but will be the truth.

6. At Palantir, I have a chance to grow as an individual and take on leadership roles in a variety of ways. My primary responsibility is writing code to solve hard problems, but this past summer I mentored several newcomers and have been heavily involved in our recruiting efforts for quite a while. It's like a choose your own adventure where the transitions are based on your career goals and how you want to grow.

7. Decentralized decision-making and individual ownership: everyone owns pretty large portions of the codebase, and decisions are made at the level of project teams, not by "senior management" (which is hardly even a thing at Palantir). Sure, we have people who help drive the vision of the company and products as a whole, but like all of the people in leadership positions here, they're less controllers and decision-makers and more resources to help you make the biggest impact you can and solve the most important problems as effectively as possible.

8. Experimentation, agility, and investment in the future: Nothing is sacred here. Deleting code can be just as important (or more) than writing code. We're not afraid to try things out and discard them if they don't work. Process is a tool you refine and hone to serve you, not something you're a slave to. We're willing to be wrong and learn from it. Which may cause some short-term pain, but in the long-term it's well worth it.

Cons1. Growing pains: Palantir is growing very, very fast, which is both good and bad. It's hard to keep up with all the new things that are happening constantly, and it's hard to get to know all the new people starting continuously. And a lot of people are really tired of all the recruiting we have to do. I happen to like it, but that's just me. We're also running low on people who are interested in taking on leadership positions, which means our current leads get overworked and we have to look externally to hire new leads. Still don't know how that's going to turn out.

2. Working in challenging environments: This is really less of a con and more of a reality of working on the most important problems we can find in the most important places. When your deployment lives on a classified network or even just contains sensitive data, it can be a PITA to diagnose and fix problems.

3. No consumer product: It's really hard to explain what we do to people. Especially non-technical people. Work at Facebook or Amazon? Show mom the website. Palantir? Not so much. Most people here aren't much bothered by this, but it is kind of lame.

4. Occasional lack of direction for projects: Sometimes when you're working on something completely new, there will be times when you just...aren't really sure what to do next. We have great ways to get feedback from customers and our Forward Deployed Engineers, but that can take time during which projects can stall, which can be frustrating.

And now for some things that others might see as cons, but I don't

1. Work-life balance: people work really hard here. Really, really hard. I'm here 60+ hours a week usually (though not all of that is time spent working). However, I don't have any set hours. I can come in whenever I want as long as I'm getting things done. And I really like the work, so it's not really an issue for me. Plenty of people have families and work more "standard" hours while the younger crowd tends to come in later and stay later. And there's no vacation policy, so if I need a break, I can just take it, again provided I'm getting done what needs to get done.

2. Compensation: Salaries here are pretty low by Valley standards, but the equity more than makes up for it. Of course, this becomes less true over time, but as of now, it's still very true. Also, the other benefits are great, including 3 meals a day, 5 days a week (plus lunch Saturdays!). Though honestly, people who are primarily financially motivated would probably be less likely to find Palantir a satisfying environment than someone like me who is more motivated by purposeful work and learning from other awesome engineers.

Advice to Senior ManagementOf course, I've already talked with "senior management" about this, but there is such a thing as growing too fast, and we have to be careful not to do so. When I was an intern 3.5 years ago, the whole team was my "mentor". Nowadays, new people have to share their one mentor with 1-2 other new people. It's necessary, but it makes it harder for new people to meet and learn from those who have been around for a while and really feel welcome and important in the company.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

    6 people found this helpful  

    Palantir is the absolute hardest, and most rewarding job I've ever had

    Forward Deployed Engineer (Current Employee) McLean, VA

    I have been working at Palantir Technologies full-time for more than a year


    Pros: In my nearly two years with Palantir, I'm certain that I've had a much bigger outcome on the impact I worked in government for seven… Cons: The work - both in volume and in degree of difficulty - is intense. Not only are we always trying to make something improbable happen… Advice to Senior Management: Keep up the focus on making everything we've done so… Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company… More
    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

    2 people found this helpful  

    Rock solid team doing great work

    Engineer (Current Employee) Palo Alto, CA

    I have been working at Palantir Technologies full-time for more than a year


    Pros: - Almost all employees are extremely competent, friendly, and have a great attitude. The "No A-hole" policy works. - The software and the team are… Cons: - There have been some growing pains as the company expands rapidly. It's starting to feel less like one big happy family and more… Advice to Senior Management: Keep up the trend of reaching out to employees to hear their concerns, and don't be afraid… Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company… More
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