National Institute of Standards and Technology

www.nist.gov
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National Institute of Standards and Technology Reviews

Updated April 22, 2015
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3.7
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Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
National Institute of Standards and Technology Acting Director Dr. Willie E. May
Dr. Willie E. May
0 Ratings

Pros
  • Work/life balance is good and managers tend to be easy going if not helpful (in 6 reviews)

  • Many cutting edge instruments and keep updating (in 7 reviews)

Cons
  • Sometimes there can be red tape (in 7 reviews)

  • Its a government lab, so there are politics (in 2 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

67 Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1. Engineering Co-op

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Engineering Co-Op in Gaithersburg, MD
    Former Employee - Engineering Co-Op in Gaithersburg, MD

    I worked at National Institute of Standards and Technology (Less than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Amazing work life balance. Amazing people to work with. The campus and the surrounding area is great to live and work in.

    Cons

    No major cons for me personally mainly because I was just an intern.

    Advice to Management

    Nothing specific


  2. Great campus to work and learn!

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

    I have been working at National Institute of Standards and Technology

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Hard working government employees with talent. We work hard and produce amazing results! Campus is beautiful!

    Cons

    Some employees do only the minimum....although that is in the minority.


  3. Helpful (1)

    An Excellent Agency With A Vital Mission

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

    I have been working at National Institute of Standards and Technology full-time (Less than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    * Standard Federal benefits
    * Generous opportunities to actually use vacation time
    * Newest Microsoft technology (VS 2013, MVC5, EF6, JQuery, Moq, Ninject)
    * Location is unique -- on a large campus with deer, geese, and many quiet roads for work-break walking/biking

    Cons

    * Pay is decent; for senior role, less than at other agencies (in Excepted Service) or private sector.
    * Access to technology outside the core set of tools -- which are admittedly great -- can be a challenge.
    * Work environment is somewhat...odd. Older buildings with long hallways and rooms with closed doors, vs. open space/cubeland. A plus for ambient noise avoidance; less so for aesthetics. Having said this -- this is a research facility; the buildings are designed around that purpose.


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  5. Great internship experience for students

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Guest Researcher in Gaithersburg, MD
    Current Employee - Guest Researcher in Gaithersburg, MD

    I have been working at National Institute of Standards and Technology

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    You gain a ton of experience and meet a variety of companies. You get exposure to new technologies.

    Cons

    Your experience hinges on who your senior lead is


  6. NRC postdoctoral fellow

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - NRC Postdoctoral Researcher in Gaither, MD
    Former Employee - NRC Postdoctoral Researcher in Gaither, MD

    I worked at National Institute of Standards and Technology full-time (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    The postdoc pay is great, not as high as some DOE labs, but much higher than most academic postdocs. The rentention rate (rate of postdocs getting hired as permanent employees) is much higher than someplace like NIH. The IQ horsepower walking around at NIST is considerable. The campus is great. It is a basically a big wooded park with deer and the occasional bear that has a couple dozen laboratory buildings sprinkled across it. The work atmosphere is good--great minds thinking deep thoughts in a tranquil setting. It is not nearly as crowded and frenetic as NIH, for example. It is right on interstate 270, which is convenient for commuting. Even the IT support guys are sharp, particularly the LINUX guys. There are scientific seminars every day given by people from both on and off the NIST campus.

    Cons

    When I worked at NIST, there was a fairly nasty, constipated mid level bureaucracy. It was a top-heavy place compared to NIH or even DOE labs. This bureaucracy is predatory. For example, there is a poster printing shop on campus, but they will charge you much more than a Fedex store would. You are required to book travel to conferences through a government agent and will pay 2-3 times as much as you would by buying through someplace like kayak (though this travel policy holds at all Federal labs I have worked at, not just NIST).

    There was not much turnover. It is a desirable enough place to be (both for technical and administrative people) that once people are hired , they stay forever.

    Advice to Management

    Make sure the mid-level bureaucracy works to serve the technical mission and staff, and not the reverse.


  7. decent compnay

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at National Institute of Standards and Technology

    Pros

    company is good gives indepence to work on problems you like

    Cons

    they are handling only few projects currently


  8. Probably great for some, not so great for others.

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

    I have been working at National Institute of Standards and Technology full-time (More than a year)

    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    semi-academic environment
    casual atmosphere
    availability of scientific seminars

    Cons

    multitudes of red tape
    not very flexible work hours
    difficulty interacting with other agencies


  9. A nice place to do research if you can stand the red tape and politics

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Chemical Engineer
    Current Employee - Chemical Engineer

    I have been working at National Institute of Standards and Technology full-time (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Consistent available funding for NIST priorities, barring governmental shutdown, good work-life balance culture, and an effective HR department.

    Cons

    Safety training and purchasing red-tape can be overwhelming, especially for chemistry-based research. Lack of intra-agency communication and cooperation renders some equipment unavailable for shared use.

    Advice to Management

    Consider a "sharing required" approach to capital equipment. Specialized equipment is of course necessary occaisionally, but grants should require when possible that analysis equipment should be shared readily, somehow.


  10. nist-nih nrc fellow

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - NRC Postdoctoral Research Associate in Bethesda, MD
    Current Employee - NRC Postdoctoral Research Associate in Bethesda, MD

    I have been working at National Institute of Standards and Technology full-time (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Good exposure to research and instrumentation facilities.

    Cons

    low salary, not permanent, too short

    Advice to Management

    increase salary


  11. NIST Assesment

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - NRC Postdoctoral Research Associate in Gaithersburg, MD
    Current Employee - NRC Postdoctoral Research Associate in Gaithersburg, MD

    I have been working at National Institute of Standards and Technology full-time (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    This position pays better than most postdoctoral appointments. Research funding and instrumentation resources are excellent. Work/life balance is good and managers tend to be easy going if not helpful. And one can see Nobel Prize winners walking around in the halls.

    Cons

    Kafkaesque bureaucracy. Groups and projects tend to be understaffed thus it is very difficult to take on difficult research topics, particularly given the typical 2 year appointment. The best strategy when landing a position is to try and get something published (anything actually) the first year then conduct a serious job search the second year of the appointment.

    Advice to Management

    Implement mandatory retirement to clear out the dead wood.



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