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www.zynga.com San Francisco, CA 1000 to 5000 Employees

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Initially a good place to work; now a very bad one (steep decline in last 9-12 months)

Software Developer (Current Employee)
Bangalore (India)

Pros[1] Excellent food for breakfast, lunch and evening snacks. 5 different caterers for 5 working days, one of them is a 5-star hotel. Multi-national cuisines - salads, soups, main course, starters and icecream everyday! You'll love this place if you're a foodie. Only 1 or 2 companies in India probably have better food than here. Period.
[2] Quarterly appraisal cycle and bonus payouts (that is, you don't have to wait an year for your pay hike or bonus payout :-)).
[3] Smart developers around. Zynga hired a lot of smart folks from good companies/colleges (I hear hiring standards have declined recently, I'm not sure)
[4] Good growth and quick change in roles (this 'pro' existed 2 years back, may not be now)

Cons(I'm not gonna just compalain about the cons here. Wherever applicable, I'll indicate how you can use these cons to your advantage, if your conscience / opportunity at company allows. See points mentioned in '=>')

[1] Clearly not an engineering-oriented company. Very few (I repeat, very few) people get to work on good-technology. Most developers work on projects involving only editing XML files, adding PHP array entries, editing CSS, integrating animation/image files into front-end code etc. Only products that US office doesn't want transitions to India office. The other way around, products that's technologically cool built out of India office gets transitioned to US. Around 60-80% of the developers here can be quickly replaced by front-end developers or multi-media chaps (who just have an NIIT course on CSS/JS/Flash).
=> Keep your expectations clear. Don't come here to work on cool technologies or anything. Earn salary and leave.
[2] Lacks dignity of labour. Clearly, following is the tiered system one would notice within a week of joining:
1st-grade employees: Product Managers, Producers, UI Designers, Artists
2nd-grade employees: Developers, Engineering Managers
3rd-grade employees: QA
Typically for all the good things that happen in your product, Product Managers and Producers get credit. For any bad things, blame typically goes to developers and QA. General Managers almost always listen only to Product Managers or Producers. As a developer, I get deeply hurt sometimes. Can't imagine what would our QA be feeling every day!
=> If you want to join Zynga as developer, come with clear expectations that you're not respected like in other companies. Then you'll feel better.
[3] Product Managers and producers call the shots in almost all teams (to know what a 'producer' role means, you may have to google a bit). As a developer, you'll have little to no freedom to disagree with them. Engineering managers are powerless here - there is little they're able to do, even if they want to. This has a direct negative impact on developer's work-life balance, severely. A freshly graduated MBA can make 7 to 10 year experienced developers and their engineering manager dance to his/her tunes. Unfortunately, Product Managers in India Studio are very short-sighted (focus is on that particular month's revenue, sometimes that week's - instead of thinking long-term). This attitude is obviously bad for company as well as developers. Developers end-up working for short-term goals and hence sub-standard projects.
=> You can expect a good hike / promotion if you're in good terms with Product Managers and Producers in your team. Their quarterly feedback on you matters a lot (I repeat, a lot)!!! If you're into developing features, do whatever they tell you to, howsoever foolish it might seem or howsoever damaging their decisions is on product - don't question. Also, don't spend unnecessary effort in impressing these Engineering Manager fellows with your good programming skills or hard work or anything. If possible, move out of feature development and work on some platform stuff with an architect directly.
[4] There is lot of office politics (a lot) - this is not a general statement that one passes in any software company, but a bit more severe. This one involves a lot of people across roles. There are multiple nexuses in office.
=> If your conscience allows you, be part of one such nexus. Be in good books of key people in your team and company HR. Never (I repeat, never) provide correct feedback about these key people in your team to HR.

Advice to Senior ManagementDevelop the company to be a more engineering-oriented - other this attrition would continue (may be aggravate). Overhaul the India office.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    Good place to be at if you are looking for just fun

    QA Engineer (Current Employee)
    Bangalore (India)

    I have been working at Zynga full-time

    Pros: Fun, good environment, no pressure, Cons: No upside in career and management sucks at times More
    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
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    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO


    Never a dull moment

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

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

    Pros: Very exciting business, things are constantly changing and employees are… Cons: No work life balance at all Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company… More
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