Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

www.jhuapl.edu
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Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory Reviews

Updated March 12, 2015
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4.1
92 Reviews
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Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory Director Dr. Ralph Semmel
Dr. Ralph Semmel
67 Ratings

92 Employee Reviews

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  1. Best place to work ever!

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

    I have been working at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    They care about their employees, the retirement is the best I've seen as well as their benefits package as a whole.

    Cons

    Too conservative for their own good sometimes. The lab is very big on education therefore, they prefer degrees before experience.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  2. Interesting work but lack of career opportunities

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

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

    Pros

    Good benefits. Very flexible work schedule. Good work environment with offices shared with one other person. Good facilities and location.

    Cons

    Poor line management in my experience; they don't care about advancement opportunities. Performance management system is new for 2015, based on the modern concept of frequent coaching rather than assessment of performance. No obligation on supervisor to take system seriously; on past and present experience my supervisor will ignore it.

    No systematic approach to career growth. To get a new position within APL one has to apply for a posted opening and interview. Appointment decision lies mainly with the group supervisor for non-management or section supervisor positions, so is prone to subjective decisions by the individual. To progress at APL one really needs to find an informal mentor.

    No information about salary scales. It is impossible to assess how good one's annual raise is from internal information. I have tracked my salary relative to the government's GS pay scale and have barely maintained my starting position in 2002 despite excellent performance reviews.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
  3. Very good

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

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

    Pros

    Professional and personal growth encouraged; not a cut-throat environment; emphasis on sharing knowledge.

    Cons

    Some of the management staff are entrenched in their ways of conducting business.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Listen to new staff and value their perceptions.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
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  5. A good place to grow

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Associate Staff I (Engineer) in Laurel, MD
    Former Employee - Associate Staff I (Engineer) in Laurel, MD

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

    Pros

    Great facilities and mentorship. Also a good retirement plan.

    Cons

    There is no shuttle service linking the lab to public trasportation (e.g. the Laurel MARC, Greenbelt station) or to the main JHU campus in Baltimore. Also, they got rid of the library. Both factors made me less excited working there as a young person.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  6. 2 people found this helpful

    Exceptional employer

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

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

    Pros

    The APL is one of the best places to work. They have exceptional benefits, the pay is good, and the culture is very conducive to people with a STEM background. Both my group and section supervisors have created a very friendly work-group where people can interact and learn from each other. There is very little "tribal knowledge" and older engineers are very helpful to younger engineers wanting to learn. I have never worked at a better place than the APL and will probably never find a better place in the future!

    Cons

    The APL is located in Maryland. Maryland sucks. There is nothing but crime-filled, dirty cities and dense forest. If you like city life you won't like Baltimore, if you like country life you won't like western Maryland. If you like hiking you won't like the Appalachian Trail, if you like mountains you won't like any of the "bumps" that Marylanders call mountains. If you like cycling you will die, if you like going for relaxing drives you will be tailgated by some psychopath and if you like driving fast you will be cut off by some bumbling tourist who has no idea where they are going. Skiing is out of the question, boating is also out (unless you love filthy Chesapeake Bay water). I you don't have a spirit of adventure and just like throwing back beers with your buds while watching the big game, Maryland might be the place for you! If the APL was located anywhere other than Maryland it might be the perfect place to work!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep doing what you are doing! Don't cave in to the "cut everything to appease stockholders" mentality that is hurting other government contractors.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7. 1 person found this helpful

    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
  8. Great learning experience, Awesome work environment around co-workers, not so awesome intern atmosphere

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

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

    Pros

    - Get the opportunity to learn a lot about certain DoD contracts; get to understand the context of what you are doing in the midst of an entire project
    - Great work environment; laid back, and co-workers understand that interns want to learn, and will do everything in their power to help you do so
    - Great weekly presentations by others in the department that I worked in, helped me understand the many different accomplishments of the department

    Cons

    - compensation is good, but not the best
    - intern atmosphere is lacking; there weren't many campus-wide intern events throughout the summer to get to know interns
    - some departments have more interesting projects than others
    - DoD contracts can sometimes run dry, resulting in certain parts of projects not getting done (happened to me when part of a project I participated in cancelled)

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    - pay your interns a little bit more (thus accepting fewer interns)
    - Do a better job at giving a background of what each big department does when recruiting interns, and do a better job of describing sub-departments within APL branches

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9. Former Intern, Terribly Boring, Low expectations

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

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

    Pros

    The work I did seemed to matter even as an intern. The full time employees treated me just like one of them, everyone was exceptionally friendly.

    Cons

    The work was incredibly dull and the expectations for interns were very, very low

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
  10. A great place to intern and learn!

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

    I worked at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory as an intern (less than a 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
  11. 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

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