National Institute of Standards and Technology

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

Updated August 11, 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
3 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

72 Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1. Guest Reseacher

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Gaithersburg, MD
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Gaithersburg, MD
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Great and spacious research campus. The Library is decent, NIST has subscriptions to the most important journals in the fields of research. Interesting people. Very good work/life balance.

    Cons

    Buildings and office are outdated. Important layers of bureaucracy. It takes time to get access to the network due to the authorizations needed from the administrative people. Sometime feels like a monastery...


  2. IP Legal Intern

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Every project is diverse, with so much exposure to next generation research. Everyone who works there is very intelligent.

    Cons

    None that I can think of.


  3. Contract work with NIST

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Researcher in Phoenix, AZ
    Former Employee - Researcher in Phoenix, AZ
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Excellent team of professional engineers working together from all over the country.

    Cons

    Not really a con, working from different time zones can be a challenge at times.

    Advice to Management

    Support the collaborative work that can be done by people that are not colocated.


  4. Is this helpful? The community relies on everyone sharing – Add Anonymous Review


  5. NRC Postdoc

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

    I worked at National Institute of Standards and Technology full-time

    Pros

    Good people, good work, lot of tough problems.

    Cons

    Not many negatives to comment on.

    Advice to Management

    Management did a nice job of steering direction.


  6. Helpful (2)

    Great place for science...if you're a permanent empolyee or land in a supportive group

    • 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
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    -Beautiful campus -Some very smart, creative people -Collaborative environment -Cleanroom -Pay is decent for a post-doc appointment -Proximity to D.C. -Work/life balance and schedule flexibility

    Cons

    -Lack of excitement, drive or pace from some permanent staff scientists (i.e. they are waiting around for retirement) -High cost-of-living area to salary (for post-doc's, newer scientists or non-Ph.D.s) ratio -If your post-doc project is not in line with the group or division's mission, you will be very isolated and probably not offered a job after the post-doc, even if you publish -Red tape and procurement process -Lack of support (scientific and career) from supervisor (might be situation-specific)

    Advice to Management

    Find a way reduce senior staff who do not do his or her job. Clear the way for younger scientists who want to stay after the post-doc and will actually work, at a fraction of the cost. Reduce the number of term appointments or contracts for those post-docs who do stay, otherwise most sane people are going to go for better paying jobs or at least ones with some kind of long-term job security.


  7. 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
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    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


  8. 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
    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.


  9. Helpful (2)

    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
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    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.


  10. 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
    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


  11. 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
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    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 Management

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



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