Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

  www.jhuapl.edu
  www.jhuapl.edu

Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory Reviews

Updated December 17, 2014
Updated December 17, 2014
139 Reviews
4.0
139 Reviews
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Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory Director Dr. Ralph Semmel
Dr. Ralph Semmel
62 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Your colleagues are brilliant and management respects a solid work/life balance (in 9 reviews)

  • Good benefits and 8% match on 4% retirement contribution (in 11 reviews)


Cons
  • Matrix organization, I have three bosses and the one who never talks to me decides my fate (in 4 reviews)

  • The quality of the project managers varies (in 3 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    A good place to stay

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Principal Engineer in Laurel, MD
    Current Employee - Principal Engineer in Laurel, MD

    I have been working at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    The pace is so large you can change professions and still stay with the same employer. You can transfer from department to department or program to program. The work will stretch your capabilities if you will let it. Some of the work is very long range, like photonic computers. Other work is very near term. About 70% of the technical staff have advanced degrees. You can always find someone smarter than you from who you can learn, but there is always someone you can mentor. Some programs are very high pressure, but others are very laid back. I like this place enough to encourage my child to also work here as an engineer.

    Cons

    The salaries are OK, but not tops. If you are willing to put in extra hours and bust your bum you can find better salaries elsewhere. You don't work here for the money, but for the challenging task and the good working environment. For new hires the salaries are competitive, but for those later in their career the raises really taper off. The raises to older staff border on age discrimination.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  2.  

    Internship experience

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

    Pros

    There are a wide array of very interesting projects going on. I worked on a project I was very interested in. My supervisor was great, and I learned a lot from the experience.

    Cons

    The company is kind of up-tight, but maybe that is to be expected at a lab that does so much government contracting.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3.  

    A great place to intern and learn!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Technical Intern in Laurel, MD
    Former Employee - Technical Intern in Laurel, MD

    I worked at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory as an intern (less than an year)

    Pros

    Very intelligent coworkers.
    Interesting and important projects.
    Real work for interns. (no coffee runs!)
    Great campus.
    Amazing benefits including the use of a 3d printer!

    As I was only an inter, I cannot directly speak to their promotions. I did however hear that they were reasonable and kept their workers quite happy.

    Cons

    Very few young people.
    Heavy traffic in the surrounding areas.

    Honestly there were very few drawbacks! I had an amazing time and would recommend it to anyone!.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I would suggest that the management put more time into fun competitions between the interns. Someone had a great idea to set up an Intern Scavenger Hunt. More ridiculous games would be appreciated.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5.  

    Great place to work

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

    Pros

    Love it here. Interesting work. Smart people. Great benefits. My favorite job I've ever had. Plus there are sometimes food trucks!

    Cons

    Sometimes you'll be either very busy or have a light schedule. The bigger issue is the location (which I know you can't do much about). It's going to be a long commute if you want to live in either of the cities (DC; Baltimore).

  6.  

    APL is a great place to work!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Associate Professional Staff II in Laurel, MD
    Current Employee - Associate Professional Staff II in Laurel, MD

    I have been working at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    APL is an exciting and interesting place to work. You will have the opportunity to work on many projects and management is very receptive to placing you on projects you want to be on. If you value a hybrid academic/industrial atmosphere APL might be a good fit for you. Your colleagues are brilliant and management respects a solid work/life balance. Good benefits and 8% match on 4% retirement contribution!

    Cons

    Base pay can be under what you might get for the same expertise elsewhere. It can also take awhile to move up the ranks because no one ever leaves.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7.  

    A Wonderful Institution with an Important Legacy

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Laurel, MD
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Laurel, MD

    I have been working at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    JHU/APL is a wonderful institution. It requires a deep understanding and appreciation of the position of a University Affiliated Research Center (UARC). During the latest turn-down in Government contracting, APL has increased its backlog of work.

    Cons

    Entrepreneurial spirit is not rewarded, even within the constraints of the UARC mission.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Be more humble -- humility will ultimately win the hearts and minds of staff.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8.  

    Intern

    Current Employee - Intern - Hourly in Laurel, MD
    Current Employee - Intern - Hourly in Laurel, MD

    I have been working at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory as an intern (less than an year)

    Pros

    All the employees I worked with were very helpful and friendly during my internship and I was actually contributing meaningful work to a team of engineers. My work consisted of something I had never worked with before so it was a good learning experience in that regard.

    Cons

    Sort of a slow paced environment but it seems that's how government jobs usually are like.
    The food isn't too great and expensive.

  9. 3 people found this helpful  

    a great place to work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Principal Professional Staff in Laurel, MD
    Current Employee - Principal Professional Staff in Laurel, MD

    I have been working at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Job stability (particularly in comparison with for profit defense contractors), flexible scheduling and work-at-home policies (they treat you like a grown up), employer prestige (believe me, it matters), generous educational benefits, smart and generally friendly coworkers, interesting and varied work. Suburban MD location means few parking hassles and a relatively easy commute from any place along the Route 29 corridor.

    Cons

    Matrixed organization is a necessary evil and generally works OK, but pockets of dysfunction between line and program management, and feuds between different sectors in the organization, can cause employees in the wrong place to get caught in the crossfire. Employees are also largely responsible for keeping their time cards filled, which can be highly stressful in times of downsizing DoD budgets.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Top management says the lab isn't interested in growth for its own sake, but the on the ground reality in certain sectors is that self-serving empire-building is not only permitted but rewarded. Incentives for program managers should be restructured to encourage activities that bring in the right kind of "APL-hard" work.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    High Technology with a sense of mission

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Staff II
    Former Employee - Senior Staff II

    I worked at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Cutting edge technology with focus of serving the warfighter. As a non-profit, APL is not encumbered with quarterly stock positions. APL can afford to do the right thing. Management culture is one of valuing the staff and promoting career growth of the staff. A great place for young engineers straight out of college to begin their careers.

    Cons

    Does not provide an opportunity to have hands on manufacturing or production experience.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    Software Engineer Internship at APL

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Laurel, MD
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Laurel, MD

    I worked at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory as an intern (less than an year)

    Pros

    Very interesting work and it's a great place to gain experience. Cool resources for employees like a Makerspace and a gym. Very smart people who are very helpful. The projects taught me a lot.

    Cons

    Not very much in terms of internship events, and it is very hard to find friends outside of your group. No social life. The salary is decent but not the best.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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