NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory

  www.jpl.nasa.gov
  www.jpl.nasa.gov

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory Reviews

Updated November 29, 2014
Updated November 29, 2014
232 Reviews
4.2
232 Reviews
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NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory Director Dr. Charles Elachi
Dr. Charles Elachi
144 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Definitely a more relaxed work/life balance than most other employers for my field (in 15 reviews)

  • every other Friday off (9/80 work week) (in 13 reviews)


Cons
  • Not much diversity in upper management (in 6 reviews)

  • Career growth can vary greatly and salary compensation is not the best for the number of hours you may put in (in 5 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great place to be a Machinist

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Machinist in Pasadena, CA
    Former Employee - Machinist in Pasadena, CA

    I worked at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    You get to keep your Pendle sharp.

    Cons

    Too much of the good old guys club.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Quit

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    Management needs to go

    • Work/Life Balance
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory

    Pros

    Best place in the world to work if you are a machinist.you get to make uout of this world work.

    Cons

    Management has no clue on how to run a machine shop. If you can get past all the nepotism there is no place better to work.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Quit

  3.  

    Wonderful Learning Experience

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Engineering Intern in Pasadena, CA
    Former Employee - Engineering Intern in Pasadena, CA

    I worked at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory as an intern (less than an year)

    Pros

    I got to work here as a summer intern. My project was exciting and I learned a ton. I think the mentorship program is great for students, and I really appreciated the opportunity to go to various research talks.

    Cons

    I don't really have anything to say here, my internship was great. The only difficulty was the parking, but there is a new lot under construction.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5.  

    Summer intern

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory

    Pros

    lots to learn, lots to see and experience

    Cons

    Long hours and parking is an issue

  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    Everything is high-level work so there is a lot to learn!

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

    I worked at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory as an intern (less than an year)

    Pros

    You get insight on some of the more secret projects, also you get to check out cool talks and exhibitions

    Cons

    People seem married to their work almost as if its expected

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    Nice change from graduate school

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - NPP Postdoctoral Fellow in Pasadena, CA
    Current Employee - NPP Postdoctoral Fellow in Pasadena, CA

    I have been working at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Well organized workplace despite the large size of the lab (5000+ employess and 3000+ scientists I think). The pay is good compared to the national average, livable for the Pasadena area. Good work seems to be well recognized amongst the lab. Definitely a more relaxed work/life balance than most other employers for my field.

    It has the atmosphere of academia with the need to secure salary through submitting proposals, but has the experience of being in an industrial atmosphere when required to produce a deliverable. Best (or worst) of both worlds depending on what you are looking for.

    The lab is such that if you find something interesting to study, the experimental capabilities are there.

    Cons

    Technology comes secondary to NASA. Even though I have a PhD in physics, I am not considered a "scientist" at JPL, I am a technologist. The idea is that science motivation must come first (astrophysics, earth science, planetary science, etc) in order to motivate a given technology. This gives me a bleak outlook on a career at NASA since it is well understood that technologists live off the scraps of the science proposals. While I understand the paradigm, I seem to have more trouble accepting that this is the way it should be than most.

    Although, as a post doc some upper management preaches the undying demand "publish, publish, publish" it seems that writing papers is less important to my direct supervisors as they are more concerned with producing results for their funding. Even if I find some interesting new science/device to study, my superior would prefer I not study it unless they can secure some funding to do so. These things tend to give others a leg up when it comes to building a resume for an academic position.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    On the highest level NASA should be restructured to make technology stand out more (not to say it should supersede the science though). Technology needs more serious development (aka funding) than what currently exists. The method now is to generate a mission be it a small few million dollar mission to a billion dollar mission like JWST, and then have the scientists throw money at their favorite technology until it reaches an acceptable level. This is incredibly inefficient and leaves potentially better technologies uninvestigated.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8.  

    Great working environment

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory full-time

    Pros

    Wonderful campus-style working environment with lots of interesting projects

    Cons

    Lack of career advancement opportunities

  9.  

    Great Job Security

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Electronics Engineer II in Pasadena, CA
    Former Employee - Electronics Engineer II in Pasadena, CA

    I worked at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    Challenging work kept it interesting.

    Cons

    Work life balance was not there. This was mostly do to lack of realistic schedules and budget planning.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10.  

    Great place to work

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory

    Pros

    great work life balance
    many social events

    Cons

    slow growth within the lab
    a lot of paperwork

  11.  

    Great Experience

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Summer Intern in Pasadena, CA
    Former Employee - Summer Intern in Pasadena, CA

    I worked at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory as an intern (less than an year)

    Pros

    Great mentorship! Great pay for internship.

    Cons

    None. Maybe one can say it is too bureaucratic

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    None

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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