Palantir Technologies

www.palantir.com
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2 people found this helpful  

Fun, friendly, fulfilling, high expectations.

  • Comp & Benefits
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Senior Management
  • Culture & Values
  • Career Opportunities
Former Intern - Forward Deployed Engineer in Palo Alto, CA
Former Intern - Forward Deployed Engineer in Palo Alto, CA

I worked at Palantir Technologies as an intern (less than a year)

Pros

- Very fun atmosphere and people. Lots of exciting events and weekly traditions (pizza night, ultimate frisbee, Halo, etc.)
- People are mostly friendly, happy to see you.
- Great mission that everyone's working for.
- Everyone is super willing to help you out if you have a problem. I would IM people I'd never met but whose names I found on the Wiki and they would answer my questions right away.
- They don't waist your time with administrative stuff.

Cons

- Very high expectations. People often work long/hard hours. People seemed to be a little fearful of keeping their jobs.
- The older engineers were hard to approach in person, didn't seem interested in making friendships (at least with interns). I often felt like they thought I was wasting their time and that my questions were dumb.
- There's an attitude that some may find to be "elitist" that most of the employees and executives often give off.
- Some, if not many, engineers didn't seem super enthused about the mission. Some seemed to just be there because it was a job, or because it was fun.

Advice to ManagementAdvice

- Limit the amount of times you say "we're the best." Don't say/imply that you're perfect. You have your flaws and difficulties (mostly code-based) like every company does.
- Be more approachable. Don't always be in a hurry everywhere.

Recommends
Positive Outlook
Approves of CEO

98 Other Employee Reviews for Palantir Technologies (View Most Recent)

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  1. 3 people found this helpful  

    Palantir is awesome!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Forward Deployed Engineer in McLean, VA
    Current Employee - Forward Deployed Engineer in McLean, VA

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

    Pros

    Choosing to work at Palantir has been the best career move of my life. I liked my old job, but I love Palantir! I do work long hours, but when you really enjoy your work the time flies by.

    Having worked at Palantir for a while now I can tell you that a lot of the people that are griping about not being integrated quickly are because it's a high speed and challenging work environment. Most people coming into the DC office are not familiar with the flexible work environment that Palantir provides. Nor are they familiar with how things work at a fast moving company with streamlined oversight.

    At Palantir the only barrier to success is you. Sure you are given left and right limits, but really you control your own destiny at Palantir. I love this and try to seize every opportunity I can, however it is not necessarily easy to adjust to this type of environment. I think this is where some of the frustration from other reviews comes from. In my experience I did not truly "get it" until after 6 months of hard work.

    The personal growth I have gained at Palantir has been invaluable as well; in three years I have noticed so much personal growth in my professional skills. This is because I feel like I have been given the opportunity to do a lot of things that I would have never had the chance to do anywhere else.

    Even with all of the awesomeness of personal growth, career development, and working with awesome people, you also get some fantastic perks which you can read about on the website.

    Cons

    Palantir is so different from a lot of companies that it is often hard for people to adjust. This in turn can cause friction with people that don't adjust well to change.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep doing what your doing!

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2. 7 people found this helpful  

    Challenging, purposeful work in a great environment

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Palo Alto, CA
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Palo Alto, CA

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

    Pros

    1. 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.

    Cons

    1. 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 ManagementAdvice

    Of 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.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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