National Institute of Standards and Technology

www.nist.gov

National Institute of Standards and Technology Reviews

Updated January 22, 2015
Updated January 22, 2015
81 Reviews
3.7
81 Reviews
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National Institute of Standards and Technology Director Patrick D. Gallagher
Patrick D. Gallagher
18 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Really amazing research staff and a work-life balance that is whatever you need it be (in 6 reviews)

  • Cutting-edge basic research with a Nobel-winning reputation (in 7 reviews)


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

  • It's the government, so it can be slow at times (in 2 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    Great internship experience for students

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    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

    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

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2.  

    An Excellent Agency With A Vital Mission

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    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)

    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.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3.  

    NRC postdoctoral fellow

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    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)

    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 ManagementAdvice

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

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5.  

    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

  6.  

    Excellent work environment

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    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 as an intern (less than a year)

    Pros

    Good work environment. Managers are very understanding with the persons they are in charge of.

    Cons

    Still using some old equipment.

  7.  

    I interned at NIST once and considered it a rewarding experience, but can depend on your mentor/project you get.

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

    I worked at National Institute of Standards and Technology as an intern (less than a year)

    Pros

    You are surrounded by very intelligent people who can offer you advice to steer you a good direction if you are planning to enter a graduate program. The research facilities have state of the art equipment and provide the basis to conduct great research limited only by your ideas. Working there can also provide good networking opportunities with NIST staff and other interns.

    Cons

    When working with things such as lasers or other equipment that may be considered potentially dangerous the intern might not be allowed to directly conduct the research but only assist. There were some interns that did not consider their projects interesting although what I was assigned was good.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8.  

    A challenging environment with dedicated staff resources

    Former Employee - Senior Manager in Hagerstown, MD
    Former Employee - Senior Manager in Hagerstown, MD

    I worked at National Institute of Standards and Technology as a contractor (more than a year)

    Pros

    Good opportunities for challenging assignments with a flexible work schedule environment. Staff are dedicated resources always willing to offer project assistance and support.

    Cons

    Training is not as robust as it could be. Politics and bureaucratic red tape add substantial time to project timelines. Commute from Virginia is horrendous.

  9.  

    Probably great for some, not so great for others.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    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)

    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

    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10.  

    Precise fun

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

    I worked at National Institute of Standards and Technology as a contractor (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Incredibly collegial atmosphere: co-workers always willing to lend their time and/or instruments for an experiment. (Much more so than at any university.)

    Cons

    Very flat payscale, middle management of variable quality, random acts of Congress.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    Post-Doc /Guest Researcher

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

    I have been working at National Institute of Standards and Technology as a contractor (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    NIST is a great place to work. The environment, its physical location is great. I have never seen any organization where its employees love their job more than the ones at NIST. Even after retirement, many NIST retirees still come to work voluntarily, a clear testament that they love their job. Since NIST is funded by the US Government, there is always some money for research.

    Cons

    As a Post-Doc/ Guest Researcher, you do not get any of the benefits or privileges that the employees and NRC Post-Docs get. If your research idea leads to something remarkable and award worthy, the awards will only recognize NIST employees and not you. Even if it is the child-of-your-brain, because you are a "Guest Researcher".

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Guest Researcher should be treated better. They should be made to feel as though that are legitimate part of the NIST workforce.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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