Sapling Learning Reviews

Updated March 12, 2015
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2.9
11 Reviews
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James W. Caras, Ph.D.
6 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1. Best I have been at yet.

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

    I have been working at Sapling Learning full-time (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    People/culture centric
    Truly believe in their product
    Best Agile process I have seen
    Willing to try new technologies
    Willing to invest in the time it takes to learn the new technologies
    Very supportive management
    Great health coverage and premiums

    Cons

    The hierarchy is fairly flat and the current management is pretty good so there is not much room to advance. Salary isn't as high as I would have liked.

    Advice to Management

    Keep the focus on hiring people who contribute to the positive atmosphere of the company.

  2. Helpful (2)

    Awesome agile environment, great co-workers!

    • 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 Sapling Learning full-time (Less than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    Environment allows experimentation
    Agile involvement from the top down
    Experimentation is allowed and fostered.
    Doing things "right" is highly important.
    Strong emphasis on quality
    Our product helps students achieve better grades (I feel I'm making an impact)
    Empowerment from upper management at all levels.
    Lots of team collaboration
    Learning and growth is highly important
    The best medical coverage I've ever had!
    Management team has actual development (coding and testing) experience

    Cons

    For me the commute is a little long.
    Parent company can be intrusive at times (Sapling management does a good job keeping them at bay)

    Advice to Management

    Continue to empower your people and making Sapling a great place to work!

  3. Awesome place to work, doing great things for students and instructors!

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

    I have been working at Sapling Learning full-time (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Sapling has a fantastic culture, which attracted me to join the company in the first place. The founder, Jamie Caras, is still driving the vision for the company every day, and it continues to grow rapidly. It's great to be part of a company with a mission to help students succeed. Benefits are great - performance bonuses, great health/dental, generous time off. We even get generous parking stipends if we don't use parking spaces in the building.

    The company is very picky about who it hires. If you want to get in, expect to show your best to make the cut, but its worth it. This is a place that will challenge you, and is definitely never a bore. Also, I really like the downtown office setting, and Sapling is in a great spot.

    Cons

    I could make more money, but there always seems to be a trade off, and Sapling's "mix" is solid. The financial stability of the parent company adds extra security for those of us who have been stung in smaller companies. The parent company's NYC/London culture is very different than Sapling, but Jamie and the Sapling leadership seem united in preserving Sapling's unique culture so we see little impact in Austin. At times, the workload can be pretty intense, but there are seasons to the business cycle, so at times the workload is lighter like during the summer months.

    Advice to Management

    - Keep preserving the Sapling culture!
    - Do continue to run like a lean organization, and continue to reward us for being efficient.
    - Continue to increase our opportunities for personal development like access to Lynda.com, etc.

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  5. Helpful (4)

    Don't touch this company with someone else's ten-foot pole!

    • 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 Sapling Learning full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    The location... being in downtown Austin was the ONLY perk I found.

    Cons

    Management SUCKS... The big corporate office in NYC that bought this little wanna-be company is now telling the little office in Austin what to do and the Austin peeps don't like it. This is the most poorly managed company I've ever worked for. They promote themselves as a progressive start-up company and have sofas, a foosball table, white boards on every wall for those "impromptu brainstorming sessions" (that never happen) and all the Starbucks coffee you want, but if you actually stop to enjoy your time at Sapling Learning, you get reprimanded. I have never felt happier to leave a company.

    Advice to Management

    My advice to management? Get some actual management. Don't promote 20-somethings that have lasted at the company more than a couple years to management.

  6. Helpful (5)

    Two Sides to Sapling

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

    I have been working at Sapling Learning full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    Sapling has decent benefits, lots of paid time off, and allows people to have flexible schedules. Employees also have a great deal of autonomy and management does not micromanage.

    Cons

    There seems to be two pay structures at Sapling Learning. In one structure, the employee is paid what others of that education/job title are typically paid. In the other structure, the employees are paid far lower than their education/job title would seem to get from other companies.

    Sapling has a large scientific staff made up of MS/PhD level chemists, economists, and physicists. These folks are typically paid 15-20K less per year than they would in any other job. Moral of the story, if you're looking for employment at Sapling you'll have a great experience if you're a software developer, scrum master, etc. However, if you're looking for one of the scientific subject support representatives ("Tech TA") jobs then be warned that there's no where for you to go up in the company, and you'll be making much less than you would at any other job in a town that's getting extremely expensive to live in.

    Raises and bonuses are the same for everyone, so no matter how much/little you work you'll get the same as anyone else.

    Advice to Management

    Management knows what they need to do to make Sapling better for its scientific staff but they have absolutely no intentions on actually doing it.

  7. Helpful (4)

    Frustrated

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

    I have been working at Sapling Learning full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    As mentioned, Sapling has flexible hours and a nice casual atmosphere. The company benefits/insurance plans are very good. Sapling also has a 401k and health spending accounts

    Cons

    If you have a Ph.D and work at Sapling you will make about 20k less than the going rate for a Ph.D. at most other non-academic jobs. The Ph.D. level pay seems to be on par with an NSF level postdoc starting ~ 50K but the position at Sapling lacks the prestige one would normally be able to add to their CV. The MA/MS pay schedule and the Ph.D pay schedule are identical as in, you receive no additional compensation at Sapling for having a Ph.D. The company has told the staff that the Tech TA’s are the most important part of Sapling but the pay would say otherwise. If you are looking for a job because you lost your postdoc funding, didn’t get tenure, or need to leave grad school then Sapling is the place for you. Wait out the job market, collect your paycheck, and then move on when Ph.D. level pay comes your way. This seems to be what most of the staff is doing anyway.

    The job itself is not very challenging and becomes extremely monotonous. There are few, poorly defined pathways up in the company and most of the people who have been “promoted” have switched groups and are no longer working as Tech TA’s. Raises so far at Sapling have only been 2% which is not even enough to cover cost of living expenses in the Austin area. It is getting to a point where I can no longer live in Austin and will need to find housing in San Marcos or Buda. Of course, any savings in rent will undoubtedly go to gas and time spent commuting to/from downtown Austin.

    Advice to Management

    Sapling, you need to do something quick otherwise you will lose your Ph.D. level staff.

  8. Helpful (4)

    Horribly Disorganized

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

    I have been working at Sapling Learning full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Nothing anymore. Sapling Learning was a great company before Macmillan took over.

    Cons

    Ever since Macmillan took over, Sapling Learning has become a horrible place including high-turnaround, no communication between sales, poor customer service, and very little if any training.

    Advice to Management

    Invent a time machine and keep a good company out of the hands of Macmillan

  9. Helpful (5)

    Review of Sapling Learning

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

    I have been working at Sapling Learning full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Benefits and flexible hours are decent. Insurance plan is very nice and there is very wide coverage for doctors, dentists, and specialists that are in-network.

    Cons

    Sapling Learning pays their Ph.D. level staff about $20K below their typical rate. There's no opportunity for people who have been with the company for multiple years and annual raises are between 1-2%. These raises aren't even enough to cover the increasing costs of my rent in Austin. There's a bonus that is split with the staff but there are no merit raises so if you exceed your goals for the year you get nothing in return. There are very few promotions and there's no training for other positions.

    The couple of people I have seen be promoted didn't have the qualifications necessary for the job title. The work isn't challenging and most people are just waiting out the job market and taking a paycheck while they look for better paying jobs.

    Advice to Management

    Pay your staff what they're worth and give them opportunities to advance. If not, then don't act surprised when people leave.

  10. Helpful (8)

    Company was acquired and went corporate

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

    I have been working at Sapling Learning full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    The product itself is top notch. nice to sell something that works as advertised and genuinely helps people. Nothing else comes to mind.

    Cons

    Company was acquired by Macmillan who made big changes. Everything that made Sapling a great company to work for was thrown out in January. It's corporate now. I anticipate the changes will eventually have a negative impact on the company and it will become just another publisher's online homework system with the same problems as everyone else.

    Advice to Management

    Leave the product and culture alone. You are ruining what made Sapling a great company to work for. A 30% price increase is not a way to win over customers.

  11. Helpful (5)

    Great Company. Great Opportunity and Experience.

    Current Contractor - Factual Reviewer Author
    Current Contractor - Factual Reviewer Author

    I have been working at Sapling Learning as a contractor (Less than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    Flexibility to work on your own schedule, from your own home. Great people to work with. Quick to respond and answer any questions you have.

    Cons

    All great things to say about working with Sapling.

Sapling Learning Photos

Cool digs.
Both buildings in office built as bridges over a spring-fed creek.

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