National Instruments Reviews

Updated August 29, 2014
Updated August 29, 2014
610 Reviews

3.7
610 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
National Instruments Chairman, President, and CEO James J. Truchard
James J. Truchard
479 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • The people are friendly and you are encouraged to maintain a good work life balance (in 83 reviews)

  • The people are generally brilliant and the work environment is healthy (in 51 reviews)


Cons
  • below average compensation, below average work-life balance for managers, leadership lack perspective (in 13 reviews)

  • Organizational structure and consensus culture are huge roadblocks in the decision making process (in 15 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    This is my home.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Software Group Manager  in  Austin, TX
    Former Employee - Software Group Manager in Austin, TX

    I worked at National Instruments full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    My coworkers are amazing. Every day, I get to work with thousands of brilliant engineers. This is what fuels me.

    Cons

    Every con I can think of is not really worth mentioning and externally driven.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Be cautious not to change too much too fast, this is a challenge when we grow to a very large company.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    Fun place to work, but you can hit a ceiling quickly

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Product Marketing Manager  in  Austin, TX
    Current Employee - Product Marketing Manager in Austin, TX

    I have been working at National Instruments full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Great people, a fun atmosphere, and the feeling that the company's products in turn help customers do amazing things.

    Cons

    Compensation could be better and there's not very much upward mobility.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get the company back to growing again.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3. 11 people found this helpful  

    Aspires to be the North Korea of Tech Companies. A previously admirable company in Decline.

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

    I have been working at National Instruments full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Great environment for interns and new hires (at the expense of long term employees). It is expected that long term employees bend over backwards to scrape together good projects for you and cater to your every whim in hopes you join and help satisfy the churn of the 5 year treadmill. This works well; interns join until they slowly become disillusioned, and leave after having groomed an intern of their own who will take their place (departing Senior Level engineers are always replaced by fresh grads). The net experience level in this company is constant due to the 5 year treadmill and management seems to scratch their heads in the face of decreasing efficiency and increasing project development cycles when projects become more bloated and difficult while the experience level of the developers has flatlined. Put your five years in and then leave for one of the top tier consumer electronics companies where hard work is valued with compensation and true career growth.

    If you are experienced and value family life, you will find it here. You can "go out to pasture" after 5 years of proving yourself and coast by the rest of your career. This is the only economical and optimal reason to stay after 5 years unless your family can be sustained on nothing but kool aid.

    You obtain valuable skills and experience in the first five years here. If you happen to fall under the newly minted layoff axe, you shouldn't have any difficulty finding a higher compensation position elsewhere.

    You don't even need to shop your salary around; NI has hired a third party company to compare your salary to every podunk competitor with subpar workers and we've made sure to put you just slightly below the industry average because it's so awesome to just BE here! Everyone cheer for the goal of providing average wages for "The best and the brightest!"

    Cons

    NI (don't call it "National Instruments"!) spends an astronomical amount of time and money on sales and marketing (externally AND internally). Rather than improve employee compensation, the company will choose to kick the propaganda up a notch every time - this has been in overdrive in 2014 - "Think of the vision!" "We can do anything together!". It all converges in the cult of personality developed around Dr T and the executives. Do it for the dear leader, don't look outside the window to other companies, it's just as good or better here!

    NI relies on fear of change and lack of knowledge of outside companies to keep people around. Everybody at NI knows nothing BUT NI by design, the company only hires new grads in lieu of any experienced engineers. Thankfully, this company is easier to escape than it's model country as Google, Apple, Amazon, and Facebook are happy to poach the cream of the 5 year crop after they've stagnated (and they will) at NI.

    The benefits of the rank and file are based on NI being a growth company but it is run like (and is) a value company. No risks, extremely high dividend that prevents investment in R&D (and goes straight into the pockets of the executives who still hold a very large amount of outstanding stock), and lack of good business leadership mean that experienced employees get the short end of the stick every quarter.

    NI is so incredibly cheap it is mind boggling. You will share hotel rooms with other (loudly snoring) grown men to save $100/night while you work 16 hour days recruiting, you will pay a hefty monthly penalty fee to provide benefits for your family if they have any other option of coverage (no matter how poor it is), you will take the longest and cheapest flights possible, your expense reports will be scrutinized to no end and every purchase req will demand that your life depends on it.

    No worthwhile career growth past the senior level. You can take on as much responsibility as you like and improve your skills but won't get anything for it in comparison to other top tier companies.

    The company benefits and morals are in constant decline. Higher premiums, worse coverage, worse relative compensation, (NEW!) layoffs, obscured communication, secret promotion freezes, skipped merit increases, layoffs (again! NI is now like every other business in the world - layoffs WILL happen if it makes business sense, even in Austin). The stock is doing fine and the dividends will predictably raise year after year while employee net compensation will fail to keep up with national modest inflation and much more aggressive Austin inflation.

    Your family will be in a worse position every year you stay with this company. You will get to see them nearly as much as you like, however.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Your employees should be more than simple, fungible cogs in the machine of Dr T's legacy. Providing well for the families that sacrifice to enable that legacy should be on just as high a pedestal.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great employees but stingy compensation

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Hardware Engineer I Intern  in  Austin, TX
    Former Employee - Hardware Engineer I Intern in Austin, TX

    I worked at National Instruments as an intern for less than a year

    Pros

    The company really has fostered a great culture -- it's actually fun to come to work. Internal classes also allow you to develop some skills.

    Cons

    Large product base to navigate. There doesn't seem to be as much ability to pursue new and unique ideas as they would like you to believe.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The work/life balance really is great, but show your employees you value them and pay competitive wages!

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    Solid Organization

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

    I worked at National Instruments full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    You will work with talented individuals (bring your "A" game).
    The products the company produces are very interesting and make a difference.
    Very good culture and the employees are treated with respect.
    The pay and benefits are on par with the rest of Austin in my experience.
    They do a pretty good job of hiring good managers and promoting from within.

    Cons

    It's an Engineering company, if your not an Engineer, you long-term opportunities will be limited.
    Work-life balance can be tough depending on what area you work in.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Thank you for making this a great place to work.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  7. 9 people found this helpful  

    A Company in Decline

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Software Engineer  in  Austin, TX
    Former Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Austin, TX

    I worked at National Instruments full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    This is a great company to work if you want stability and flexibility. Expectations are quite low and even showing up is not required. If you are unwilling to grow or learn, you won't be forced to and can sit in your comfortable isolated box for as long as you choose, so long as you aren't completely incompetent for an extended period of time. You might find a project you enjoy and have no risk of anything changing for as long as you want.

    Cons

    The company's business model was built around growth, which has not occurred in over 10 years. Since they are unable to make any tough decisions (focusing efforts on profitable areas rather than wasting many man-centuries rebuilding non-growth products from the ground up, trimming the fat, etc...), they try to have their cake and eat it to. There is a cult-like mentality with complete denial for any negative aspects of NI's products. Since nearly all employees and management have only worked at NI, there is a tremendous amount of group-think and any outside ideas, including keeping up with the times, are heavily shunned. Any action takes a tremendous consensus, as individuals are never put into a position of ownership. This leads to a lot of time wasted trying to convince even the most minor stakeholders of the importance of your ideas while trying to maintain the support of those you already gathered as those who disagree with you will campaign against you. It becomes a war of attrition and the most stubborn end up winning. This can be very tiring if you try to fight for something.

    Anyone with any sense leaves after 5 years, and those that are left are the ones who are too afraid to change, those that are unwilling to grow, or those too incompetent to find other employment (or the rare few that are highly value flexibility over any kind of career growth or compensation).

    The company is extremely stingy in all aspects. This becomes ingrained in you. Spending money on anything is the biggest sin at NI. This is apparent from the mandatory shared hotel room policies for travel, poor equipment used by engineers, down to salaries. NI either is completely ignorant of market forces or simply does not value employees by offering below market salaries in the hopes that being able to wear shorts and sandals to work is somehow worth tens of thousands of dollars per year as a perk. Good performance is rewarded with promotion freezes. Promotions are awarded with nothing more than a title change (no salary changes!). Raises are becoming more infrequent and cutting them are the first line of defense against the ineffective business plan developed and executed by management. It makes you wonder if the slackers were always that way or just realized there was no reason to do anything other than slack. Management has many intelligent people, surely who understand the consequences of these policies. This means they will tell you one thing about their values (valuing people, honesty, etc...), and do something completely differently. They act like there is going to be growth around the corner when in reality, the company has simply turned into a value company trying to do things as cheaply as possible with replaceable cogs.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Become something more than the LabVIEW company. A 30 year old relic is not the key to growth. Trying the same thing and expecting different results is insanity. Be honest with employees about the state of the business. If you want to downsize Austin for Asia, do it through honesty and respect for employees rather than treating them poorly hoping some might leave on their own and those with the least negotiating power will stick around. Add more transparency to compensation by disclosing pay bands, how raises work, how stock is given out, etc... Trim the fat and entice the top performers to stay through mechanisms other than hoping they are too lazy to find a new job.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8.  

    Flexible place to work, however they haven't figured out how to pay properly.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Hardware Technician  in  Austin, TX
    Current Employee - Hardware Technician in Austin, TX

    I have been working at National Instruments full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Work/Life balance is good. Product development keeps you engaged. Office culture is relaxed and fun. Deck parties are a good boost for morale.

    Cons

    Pay and increases are not competitive to the market around town. There is a lot of frustration around the company about this.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Consider truthfully looking at the value of your employees and what they are really bringing to the table.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9.  

    Good Environment, Low Pay

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Software Engineer  in  Austin, TX
    Current Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Austin, TX

    I have been working at National Instruments full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    The office is casual. People wear shorts and flip flops. They have deck parties with food and beer/wine. It is a very friendly place to work. NI Week is fun. The work-life balance is really good. The hours are flexible. The job security is good. Management is transparent about business's operations and tries to have good messaging. Benefits are good, not great.

    Cons

    The pay just isn't there. Is is significantly behind market rate/other jobs in the area. Being a large established company, if can sometimes be frustrating trying to innovate. Old systems and people comfortable with the status quo can get in the way. The consensus-driven culture is nice, but makes decisions drag on and on. Recently, some new policies have been put in place that can make career advancement difficult.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    NI cannot "hire and retain the best and the brightest" if you aren't willing to pay enough to keep them. Also, we all love job security, but if people aren't doing a good job and haven't improved when given the chance, it's time to cut the cord!

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    Good company overall but little respect for manufacturing and company culture not what it used to be

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Engineer  in  Austin, TX
    Former Employee - Engineer in Austin, TX

    I worked at National Instruments full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Offers stable employment compared to other tech companies in the area
    Original founder is still CEO and has good core values
    R&D engineers highly regarded
    Profit sharing and ESPP

    Cons

    Tends to be lower paying for tech jobs in the area
    Still experiencing growing pains with confusion amongst roles
    Manufacturing jobs continue to get outsourced at a much higher pace than any other part of the company
    Culture has faded away over the years due to cost cutting, market and investor pressures

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    Staff Programmer Analyst

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Staff Programmer Analyst  in  Austin, TX
    Former Employee - Staff Programmer Analyst in Austin, TX

    I worked at National Instruments full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Excellent work environment, good benefits, great challenges

    Cons

    Mediocre pay, not feeling like contributing to the company (working in eCommerce)

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    There's little to none management can do when the whole department gets 3% raise only

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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