National Instruments

  www.ni.com
  www.ni.com

National Instruments Reviews in Texas

Updated December 22, 2014
Updated December 22, 2014
658 Reviews
3.6
658 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
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National Instruments Chairman, President, and CEO James J. Truchard
James J. Truchard
505 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

394 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    Overall a great place to work especially if you're ambitious.

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

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

    Pros

    Great corporate culture.
    Great work life balance.
    Great training and career development.
    If you're ambitious it's possible to create your own path.

    Cons

    Salaries are below average and new hires will suffer salary compression for several years.
    Upper management decision making is super slow. Managers are too concerned with what every other group in the company will think to make decisions.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep salaries competitive, especially for employees that have been at NI for years, they are much more valuable than new hires (even experienced new hires).

    NI needs to figure out how to make decisions faster.

    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    Overall, Long-term Great Employer

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

    I have been working at National Instruments full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    Challenging work environment with lots of energetic and smart employees. Company's products and customer applications are really cool. Work environment is great. Very stable employer. Management cares about employees and works to create meaningful job responsibilities and career paths.

    Cons

    Decision making is slow. Compensation is below average due to large ratio of employees to revenue and profit. Tools and processes are outdated and cumbersome. Difficult for experienced hires to integrate into the home grown culture.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    It was a very good place to work. Good people and company.

    Former Employee - Staff Software Engineer in Austin, TX
    Former Employee - Staff Software Engineer in Austin, TX

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

    Pros

    Great place to work. Good people who really believe in the company and products. It was a very nice work environment, where I think most people really liked working together. There was also good cooperation between the various departments within the company.

    Cons

    Although the work/life balance was in general, sometimes the work could take over. There were a number of times that I had to stay late without any notice to help solve a problem.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Overall, I think they did a good of encouraging a good work environment, while also taking care of the company.

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  5. 10 people found this helpful  

    Good job out of college, but limited potential industry

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

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

    Pros

    I was hired to NI out of the internship program, which I completed the summer between my junior and senior year at college. NI is a great first company because the transition from college to professional life is fairly seamless. Work hours are flexible, dress code is whatever goes and co-workers are usually pretty laid back and easy to talk to. Since there are so many employees getting hired out of college, it is easy to make friends outside work at the company.

    The company likes to hold events to celebrate employees such as deck parties with beer and food (though both tend to run out quickly, now). They also used to rent out Six Flags Fiesta for a weekend for all employees and friends, which has now not happened for 2-3 years. When they're doing these activities, it is fun.

    Your experience will also go as far as your manager (more on this in the cons section). My first two managers at this company were awesome in that they weren't stubborn, pushy or micro-managers. My current manager is all three of these things.

    The company is extremely stable--they only recently are going through their first round of layoffs in Austin. Stock plans are good and, depending on your group, managers are fairly generous with restricted stock bonuses. They have a high deductible health plan which is useful if you're relatively healthy or have a known major expense, which both applied to me this year. They match 401(k) contributions up to 3% and charitable gifts up to some amount as well.

    This has changed since I started but they had a very good process in place to sponsor non-U.S. citizen employees and set up the employment-based green card process.

    Cons

    Salaries are way below average and the growth rate of salaries is also extremely low. It is strange that NI is okay with senior-level engineers departing regularly instead of keeping them in house and rewarding them appropriately. This churn is especially evident at the 5-year mark, where the first round of RSUs (awarded with the job offer) are completely vested.

    The low salary is fine if NI excelled in the other things--work/life balance, work hour flexibility, etc. However, this will completely depend on your manager. My new manager is not very open to work hour flexibility and as a result it doesn't make sense to be paid the amount you are and do the work you're expected to in a rigid work hour situation.

    Even the industry itself is not very interesting for CS graduates since the majority of clients are other engineers. The technology that NI works on is very cool for Electrical and Mechanical Engineers because that is their calling. As a software engineer with only a CS background, you're a glorified code monkey. This is not NI's fault, but it is also a reason they don't retain a lot of CS talent. They are a hardware company at the forefront, and that is fairly obvious.

    The short-term planning by the executives also leaves a lot to be desired. Management has flip-flopped between aggressively growing the company to staying even via attrition year-to-year. It seems they are not being as conservative as they were before in watching what the economy does (or modeling and predicting it accurately). What this means is that you end up with a lot of new hires during a recession with tenured employees having to be told that they'll be getting no bonuses and no raises.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    You're parading around the notion of a "high-performance culture" a lot recently. If you want a high-performance culture, you have to pay appropriately. You have to keep senior engineers around so that they work efficiently. Are you really surprised that a bunch of new hires with $65K salaries can't push out products within your aggressive timelines?

    Keep current employees happy. You're having growing up issues. NI as a company appears to be going through adolescence--things are changing unpredictably and you don't know how to deal with it. Reward the employees who have been there with raises that at least match inflation and they'll continue to give you more and more efficient work.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great place to start a career.

    • 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 10 years)

    Pros

    Work-life balance. Shaded parking. Health facility on campus. NI sponsors non-work related activities like volleyball, basketball, tennis, and golf leagues. The training and mentoring for new engineers is top notch.

    Cons

    Compensation rate plateaus, even if contribution rate does not.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Push back for more empowerment over salary budgets.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7. 3 people found this helpful  

    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 (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
  8. 17 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 (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
  9. 3 people 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 (less than an 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
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    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 (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
  11. 5 people found this helpful  

    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 (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

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