TripAdvisor

  www.tripadvisor.com
  www.tripadvisor.com
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15 people found this helpful  

Lots of smart people, but you'll probably get bored after a year or two

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

I worked at TripAdvisor

Pros

Everyone in engineering is extremely sharp and capable. This is a great place to get some hands on web development experience on a large and complex site. You will be writing server-side code that must scale to handle millions of requests, not just CSS/javascript when I say web development. The engineering philosophy is to encourage all engineers to handle all layers in the stack so you will be writing CSS and javascript though, in addition to backend code. This cuts both ways. It's really interesting when you're starting out because you will learn a lot and feel a great sense of ownership over the entire project you're working on, but after a while you might decide there are parts of the stack that you'd prefer not to work on...

My compensation was pretty good when I started and I got a nice merit raise after a year.

Your engineering co-workers will be fun to work with and more than willing to pull their weight. I didn't encounter any dead weight while I was working there. The hiring process seems to do a good job filtering out under-qualified and under-performing candidates.

Cons

The interviewing process is very heavy on algorithms and data structures questions which might make you believe that those are the kind of problems you'll be encountering on a daily basis. This really isn't the case. Trip needs to hire really smart people because there is a very large, 10+ year old codebase and often times a project will require making changes/additions to parts of this complex web of interconnected classes. Basically, it helps to be a genius if you want to read the code and understand it.

The interviewing process also serves as an excellent weeding out mechanism, but many of the recent grad hires don't really have any real coding experience so the maintainability of the code they write leaves something to be desired.

The reality of working here as an engineer is that because they want you to work on the entire stack for every project, you will be writing a non-trivial amount of CSS and javascript. At first, if you're like me and really never did that kind of work before, you'll learn a lot, but after a while you might get tired of trying to a page element around the page and making the styles look correct in IE6. There are some projects that are heavier on this than others and your mileage may vary based on the group you're on. After a while if you realize there are parts of the stack you'd like to avoid, it becomes difficult to avoid them. Changing groups is something that is discussed as a viable option, but it's pretty difficult from what I saw. Your manager might try to take these preferences into account, but you will not be able to escape IE6 display bugs if you're in a group work on any user-facing code. If you're completely opposed to doing any client-side work don't work here, or make sure you're being hired into a group that never does live site work.

The management hierarchy is flat (but growing taller), which means that your chances for advancement aren't super-promising. You can see some people being groomed, shaking the right hands and playing the politics correctly to be promoted into the lower management layer. I wasn't striving to be a middle-manager in a 100+ person engineering dept. and if you want to stay on the coding side of the fence there aren't really many places to go. They hire startup-minded people so churn is inevitable.

If you're smart (and you are if you get hired here), you'll probably be intellectually challenged for a year or two, learn a lot, and write code that millions of people will use daily, but after that you will probably get bored and want to move on. The nature of the skills they help you develop makes you well-suited to work at a startup because you've worked on all parts of the web development stack and you're now familiar with lots of the non-engineering aspects of creating and maintaining a profitable web site.

Approves of CEO

196 Other Employee Reviews for TripAdvisor (View Most Recent)

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  1. 3 people found this helpful  

    Enjoyed My Time at TripAdvisor

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Temp in Newton, MA
    Former Employee - Temp in Newton, MA

    I worked at TripAdvisor

    Pros

    Lunch is provided 3 days out of the week!
    Benefits are good from what the full-time employees said.
    Great people to work with.
    Casual dress code.

    Cons

    The computer I used while at TripAdvisor was terrible always shutting down.
    As a temp your not always included in the events and informational meetings.
    I didn't have orientation so I didn't get the background on the company.
    I wasn't offered a full-time position at the end of my contract.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    When someone is a temp don't refer to them as an intern.

    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO
  2. 9 people found this helpful  

    Accomplished a lot but there is a lot of favoritism

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Newton, MA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Newton, MA

    I worked at TripAdvisor

    Pros

    In general, coworkers are dedicated and smart so it's a place where you can learn from others. The pace is very quick but that means you get a lot done so you always have a feeling of accomplishment and are always busy. There are opportunities to do more or take on special projects or additional responsibilities. The engineering group in general is wonderful to work with in any capacity. The free lunch is a nice fringe benefit. I think it can be good place if you're young and you want to work on a known product to get some work experience at a fast paced company and if you have a good manager.

    Cons

    Although you will accomplish a lot because of the fast paced environment, you are always asked or expected to cut corners which gets tiring especially when cutting out features means a poor product in the end that isn't what is needed. Also, every project has to be justified by numbers so if there is a project that needs to be done but the numbers don't back it up, it will probably get shot down.

    One of the big issues at the company is that there is a lot of favoritism that goes on. This results in individuals being promoted because are liked by upper management because they did one thing well in the past or have become friends with the right people but they don't actually have the skills to be a people manager or to lead a team. This means that some managers overseeing their teams as a vehicle to make himself or herself look good to the higher ups while the individual team members careers are completely ignored. Also the favoritism can also be quite blatant as there are some coworkers who get away with doing very little because they report to a friend. Unfortunately the favoritism does lead to low morale which is ignored because the manager doesn't want to deal with the issue at hand in a constructive mature manner.

    There is very little praise and recognition if you're not someone's favorite or aren't constantly selling yourself, even if it means stepping on other coworkers, so you will never get recognition or any sort of praise for doing a great job on something or going the extra mile. I think this leads to the feeling and perception that managers and above don't care about individuals.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop promoting within just because someone did their job well for awhile and stop allowing friends to promote friends. Managing people is a skill and needs to be learned so train folks on that skill or hire people who actually know how to manage (as in look out for and support) their team members.

    You have some very smart people there, especially the ones who do the day-to-day tasks that do the behind the scenes work. You should be doing what you can to keep them. Free lunch is not enough.

    Speed only means you get a lot done but it's not good quality. Quality does matter in the end so let the engineers take the time to build good thought out products once in awhile.

    Please address the favoritism that is right in front of you. It can be outrageous at times and leads low morale.

    No opinion of CEO
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