University Corporation for Atmospheric Research

www.ucar.edu
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Suggestion for improvement

  • Comp & Benefits
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Senior Management
  • Career Opportunities
Current Employee - Software Engineer in Boulder, CO
Current Employee - Software Engineer in Boulder, CO

I have been working at University Corporation for Atmospheric Research

Pros

Work that contributes to society. People who, for the most part, try to do the right thing. The ability to work relatively independently, depending on circumstances.

Cons

Stovepiping between functional groups. An over reliance, in some situations, on the supervisory structure as opposed to a more sophisticated approach that considers both supervisory and project management activities.

Advice to ManagementAdvice

The supervisors in some groups think their group is organized functionally when, in fact, the groups activities have a more matrixed structure. If project-managers were included in the decision-making processes that affect them, then the groups would be more efficient, productive, make less risky decisions, and have higher morale. The supervisors appear to have a blind-spot in this area and behave as if they were unconsciously protective of their power.

Recommends
Approves of CEO

13 Other Employee Reviews for University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (View Most Recent)

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  1.  

    Good place to work in a good city

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Summer Intern in Boulder, CO
    Former Employee - Summer Intern in Boulder, CO

    I worked at University Corporation for Atmospheric Research

    Pros

    Decent pay, decent benefit, boulder is a really great city and the work schedule is very relaxed. Opportunity to do research as well as development.

    Cons

    Job prospect largely dependent on government grant which can be somewhat finicky sometimes, also the cafeteria is ridiculously expensive. High living expenses.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    You should spend more money on supercomputing research, there is no sight of NCAR when it comes to top 500 listing. Without sufficient computing power, there'd be no research.

    Recommends
  2.  

    UCAR needs to institutionalize cross-divisional support

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Boulder, CO
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Boulder, CO

    I have been working at University Corporation for Atmospheric Research

    Pros

    The employees are, in general, intelligent and dedicated. The work environment is (at least in my sector) relatively low in stress. The work is challenging and benefits humanity. Also, it's possible to become a master of all trades (at least in my sector) due to the amount of work that needs to be done and the paucity of bodies to do it.

    Cons

    Speaking as a software engineer, the organization has not institutionalized support for software engineering as much as it has for science (I suspect this is also true in other areas). For example, there are many instances of scientific "joint " (i.e., cross-divisional) appointments, which allow for cross-divisional communication and a concomitant increase in scientific productivity. Such institutionalized support is lacking in software engineering. To their credit, senior management is aware of this problem, but their attempts to fix it rely, for the most part, on extracurricular work by volunteers --- work that is neither compensated, nor, for the most part, valued by supervisors (with foreseeable results). As a result, there is little leveraging of software practices amongst the divisions, little synergy, and, consequently, lower productivity than what might otherwise occur.

    In a similar vein, one's supervisor is, for the most part, expected to be one's mentor. This can work well for those fortunate enough to have a knowledgeable supervisor whom one respects. There are cases, however, where the person being supervised is more technically knowledgeable than the supervisor --- with foreseeable results.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Look into institutionalizing orthogonal structures for the support of things like software engineering (and by "institutionalizing", I don't mean volunteer committees). Besides working for supervisors on one or more projects, one should also have a more experienced professional in one's domain whose institutional responsibility is to help one become as good as one can be. In some cases, this person could also be one's supervisor; in other cases, not. Yes, a person wearing another hat will have less time to devote to their "official" duties, but the entire organization will benefit due to synergy, leveraging, and mentoring with a payback in productivity that will more than compensate for the "lost" time.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
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