National Instruments

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National Instruments Reviews in Texas

Updated January 23, 2015
Updated January 23, 2015
673 Reviews
3.6
673 Reviews
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National Instruments Chairman, President, and CEO James J. Truchard
James J. Truchard
513 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Relaxed working environment and good work/life balance; stable employment outlook (in 97 reviews)

  • The people are generally brilliant and the work environment is healthy (in 69 reviews)


Cons
  • Although the work/life balance was in general, sometimes the work could take over (in 14 reviews)

  • Organizational structure and consensus culture are huge roadblocks in the decision making process (in 17 reviews)

More Highlights

400 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1.  

    Glad to be out of NI ... Bad workplace in every sense !

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

    I worked at National Instruments full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    # The best reason to work here is the lie that NI feeds everybody - "this is a cool place to work for". For everybody's attention, every workplace in Austin is a cool place to work at.

    Cons

    # I want to talk about a major aspect which impedes professional/personal growth at NI. NI has more managers than it needs in the test engineering org. The managers that are promoted from within are of very poor quality. Nepotism is very high, and people are promoted based on longevity of their stay and their proximity to immediate management. Some managers are micro-managerial, no real-world experience outside NI, poor english, grammar and communication. I reported to one such manager for ~3 months and he was so micro-managerial that he'd modify my code and progress after I left for the day. I escalated this and got transferred to different group/manager was EXCELLENT (he was hired from outside NI as a manager), but I hope I've given a decent picture of engineering management at NI.

    # NI is ruled with an iron fist by the Alex who doubles up as the COO/CFO. Pay raises are minimal to zilch for working class employees. I saw that there were promotions and raises across the senior management to "bolster" the leadership. Sad! NI is "cautiously optimistic" - a term that is used by them to tread safely to tell employees that they are doing good but not that great. This gives NI an opportunity to pay a meagre salary.

    # Standards for engineering has fallen. Because of the fact that NI pays peanuts for salaries, half the work-force is basically picked up from the street. So, you're basically working with the best and brightest - NOT ! When you work on projects, you're not really doing cutting edge work nor are you learning anything useful. Lot of good people have left the group (I am not insinuating I am one of them though I'd like to ...) so NI back fills the position with freshers and interns. This has been going on for a while. If that's not possible, then promotion happens.

    # Finally, NI is a decent place to start your career but if you stay beyond a year it will be devastating for you. Learning comes to a stand-still, professional & personal growth is zilch, financially you are taking 10 steps back, benefits are poor, and the list goes on. NI definitely is not a place where you want to move to your second job or there after. I did a mistake by choosing NI and I rectified it by leaving within 1.5 years.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Quit telling lies to your employees - Loads of employees have left NI and you should realize why. Clean up the upper management and cleanse the leadership to start fresh. You cannot have an upper management who plays golf all the time and doesn't provide good vision and leadership!

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2. 8 people found this helpful  

    Talk a big game about employees, but doesn't match reality

    • 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 (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    Interesting work and you can learn a lot. It's a good place to start a career. They have covered parking and an on-site doctor and gym. The pay is decent, unless you consider how much overtime you have to work, and then it's really not so great.

    Cons

    Work/life balance is very poor. Regular overtime is expected. My manager calls me on a regular basis on weekends and asks me to work. We frequently have weekends where the entire team is expected to work saturday and sunday. This can happen for multiple weeks in a row. Emails frequently go out on friday afternoons telling people they need to get extra work done over the weekend. People are constantly checking emails from home, and you will see emails going from 12pm at night and then again at 7am in the morning. While I find the pay satisfactory in general, it's quite a bit less than other companies that work you to the bone like this.

    Upper management is ultra conservative and constantly paranoid. They are in a constant state of panic about the company performing poorly, even though the stock seems to be doing pretty well. As a result, there are many salary freezes and promotion freezes. And you are constantly told you have to work lots of overtime to help out because the company is in such big trouble. You will be inundated with pep talks about how the company is going to go bankrupt if you don't work constantly at a very high intensity.

    Health benefits are slashed more and more every year while the out of pocket expenses go up. Vacation time and 401k matching are sub-par compared to other companies.

    They recently laid off all manufacturing in Austin, and I'm seeing engineering being outsourced as well. R&D hiring is rapid in foreign countries, while Austin is in an almost continual state of hiring freeze. They recently cancelled plans to build a new building for Austin employees, so it seems they are not foreseeing much expansion in Austin anytime soon.

    Bottom line is they talk a lot about how it's such a great place to work and how the culture is so great and you have great work/life balance, but I find few of those things to be true in reality. Everyone is constantly fed the company line that it's a great place to work, and many people take it at face value and never realize that it's much better elsewhere. Most employees are hired straight from school, so they're just excited about having their first job and really don't know any better and assume everything there is as great as they're told it is.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Management is beholden to shareholders. Cutting costs is the bottom line. I could offer advice about treating employees better and not working them so hard that they are in a constant state of burnout, but unless I'm a wealthy shareholder you're really not going to listen.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3. 8 people found this helpful  

    NI's 100 year plan is a joke !

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

    I worked at National Instruments full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Immediate non NI-inbred management is good and really does care for the employee's welfare. NI's "working-class" employees are genuinely smart and nice. The fact that NI is located in a nice city like Austin is a perk !

    Cons

    Senior management boasts of the 100 year plan. I say their vision is muddled and provides no direction for the company. For the last few years, NI has struggled to keep up with the growth. One year, there was a salary/merit raise freeze because NI had over-hired. Good excuse but my opinion is that no mature management would do blunders like this. Another year, there was salary cut. My strong belief is that if the senior management is messed up like in NI, it is time to get out of the company. Add to this, there has been lot of promotions and pay raises for the senior management to "bolster" the leadership. Very frustrating to see this when all employees are suffering from Negligible Income (NI). Extremely poor senior leadership !

    NI boasted of being a stable employer, a cool employer and hence it was OK for them to pay 20-30% lower than market average. In the last couple years, NI had to shutdown it's Mopac D plan, move manufacturing overseas, and start layoffs. In addition, no merit raises, salary drops, and zero-vacation accruals add to more woes for NI employees. What really is the incentive to work at NI? I can't seem to think of any !

    If the above is not enough, I want to throw some light on some of the peers you might work with. While I mentioned in the Pros, that some employees are genuinely smart, there are some that are genuinely deadwood and incompetent. When a company doesn't pay competitively, you can't hire the best and brightest. You end up with mediocre employees, fresh interns, and not so smart people. I strongly believe your growth depends to some extent on the peers you work with. Don't expect growth from this area at NI.

    Last thing: when you travel for NI for recruiting, or to customer sites penny-pinching gets to another level. Grown up males are required to share a hotel room, take cheaper planes even if it means driving 3-4 hours, avoid rental cars to use public transport and meal allowances are like $30/day. All of these are scrutinized to the end when submitting expense reports. The NI services and solutions group makes good money dealing with posh customers but the pay for the engineers is the same old story.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Hire some fresh talent in the senior management; not folks who are out of touch and who don't care about the employees !
    Please stop talking about 1) 100 year plan, 2) Being one of the top 50 employers 3) How NI is a cool place to work at. As we all know, this is a bundle of lies. You have a lot of rebuilding to do and you can start from top-down!

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5. 6 people found this helpful  

    Too much politics and subtle racism

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

    I worked at National Instruments full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    You get to work with cutting edge instrumentation tools. Most of the teams are friendly and great to work with

    Cons

    Pathetic pay. Management is mired with favoritism. Don't bother working here if you are not a native Texan. This does depend on your team though.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get rid of old schoolers and increase your pay. Stop hiring Freshers to do the work of experienced programmers

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6. 3 people found this helpful  

    Not a place for an experienced individual without a bachelors degree

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

    I have been working at National Instruments full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Easy place to work, Very Flexible hours. Seven hour days are typical

    Cons

    The goal is to hire the best and the brightest and pay you 95% of the radford average.Many managers are very young and clueless. If you have experience and know what needs to be done, You can expect to have to convince a very young manager and gain consensus from the politically connected masses. Consensus building is king, Actual leadership is frowned upon.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Managers are so afraid of making a mistake they require tons of data to make a simple decision and are typically paralyzed by their own analysis.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7. 6 people found this helpful  

    Consensus-driven, but really CEO-driven, culture prevents change and decision-making

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

    I worked at National Instruments full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    NI has a very laid-back atmosphere and the company promotes work-life balance.

    Cons

    The company shuns experienced hires, especially if you do not have an engineering or technical background. As someone with many years of experience, I felt I had to prove myself all over again, which was exhausting.

    There is a spoken desire to embrace change and do things better, but it is not followed up by action or empowerment. The lack of leadership and authority to drive change is astounding. Every meeting was slow-motion churn to nowhere. Decisions would finally get made after months of deliberation and consensus-building and then the CEO could overturn them in a second. There is no focus or prioritization - everything is important.

    The pay is terrible and the benefits aren't that great. The laid-back atmosphere doesn't make up for the lack in pay and the inability to drive meaningful change.

    The company focuses on recruiting college grads, so the more experienced people are outnumbered by new grads with no experience.

    Management seems blind to the world outside NI and to non-customers.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Focus on the customer, not on yourselves. Stop playing favorites with just the same handful of people. Get out of your NI bubble and benchmark against other technology companies. Make experienced hires feel welcome and empower them to lead. Prioritize.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8. 3 people found this helpful  

    Must drink the koolaid to succeed here

    • 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 (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Flexibility, fun environment, great co-workers, beautiful campus, decent cafeteria

    Cons

    Salary stinks, benefits are mediocre, promotions and job changes are for people who suck up to the right people, Managers can be very inexperienced leading to a lot of favoritism and an extreme lack of professionalism. Definitely not a "best place to work" (NI pays to be included on the fortune list of best places to work)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9. 4 people found this helpful  

    Great place to work unless...

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

    I have been working at National Instruments

    Pros

    Smart top-level management
    superior products
    progressive in terms of growth
    no "layoffs"
    excellent recession adaptations

    Cons

    "Great place to work", unless..
    you are in less-than perfect health
    are older
    have outdated skillset
    you have health issues

    Never mind how long you've worked at or how loyal you are to NI, expect to be screwed over the second you cease to be a "super" performer.

    If you have a disability, unless it SHOWS, you can forget about accommodations.
    You will be treated like a lying malingerer and driven out of your job, with insulting bad performance reviews to trump up their false claims.

    If you are not a drinker, you will become an outcast. So many "perks" revolve around drinking.

    Work-life balance? Forget it! Best place to work? Are you kidding me??

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Not everyone who is good at their job should be promoted to management. People leave managers, not jobs. PLEASE take any complaints against mgt seriously. A bad manager can ruin an otherwise dedicated and superior employee.
    HR is not your friend if you find yourself in difficulty. They will "say" all the right things, but "beware". Mgt will find ways to ruin your reputation that have nothing to do with your actual job performance if they feel you are no longer a "good fit".
    One's value to the company is very quickly reduced to nothing if you are less than 100% healthy, young and full of energy.
    Too much focus on young, healthy employees who have few work-life balance problems!!

    Doesn't Recommend
    Approves of CEO
  10. 3 people found this helpful  

    Limited growth after a few years

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

    I have been working at National Instruments

    Pros

    Flexible with employees and stable employment

    Cons

    NI has limited opportunities to allow employees to grow

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
  11. 6 people found this helpful  

    Not that Great

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

    I worked at National Instruments

    Pros

    Good to start at right after college. Leave 2 years after you gain experience and earn twice the $$ NI will pay. And guess what, their benefits suck.

    Cons

    Pay and working with people who have no real career aspirations

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

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