Software Engineering Institute

www.sei.cmu.edu
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Software Engineering Institute Reviews

Updated April 21, 2015
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3.8
17 Reviews
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Paul Nielsen
9 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1. Great place to work!

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

    I have been working at Software Engineering Institute full-time

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    Company culture is more casual, the benefits are great, people are friendly, commute is pretty easy being in Oakland and the work is very interesting.

    Cons

    Some red tape due to government FFRDC status which slows down some processes that need to be quicker. Not always sure what management is thinking.

  2. Administrative Function

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

    I have been working at Software Engineering Institute full-time (More than 8 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    Flexibility and being able to learn new skills. You are encouraged to expand your learning and development.

    Cons

    A lot of side deals between managers and employees can leave others unhappy. All over Oakland - would be nice if they could find a single home.

    Advice to Management

    Be honest to employees. There are a lot of times employees do not know what is happening with money. Sometimes we have it and other times we don't - it gets tiresome.

  3. The Software Engineering Institute

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

    I have been working at Software Engineering Institute full-time

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    A great place to work if you want to help the Government to acquire software-reliant systems. I have had excellent opportunities to see and analyze many systems from state-of-the-art aircraft and satellites to logistics and planning IT systems.Great benefits and Pittsburgh turned out to be much nicer than I expected. You get to work with and learn from some very smart people.

    Cons

    You need to feel comfortable working on Defense programs and you need to be a US citizen and able to obtain a security clearance.

    Advice to Management

    Keep working on better integrating the different parts of the organization (i.e., consulting largely in acquisition support, applied research, and security).

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  5. Best and worst place ever. Experience will depend on your team's leadership. Values technology, not Management.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Member of Technical Staff in Pittsburgh, PA
    Former Employee - Member of Technical Staff in Pittsburgh, PA

    I worked at Software Engineering Institute full-time (More than 10 years)

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    Values technology. Great place to be a technologist and an academic at once. You get to accomplish things with the country's greatest investors in technologies, but you get to write papers and observe from an academic distance.

    Cons

    DoD sponsorship and military leadership of these technology and academic programs makes for interesting dynamics. Change can be managed poorly.

    Advice to Management

    Learn some things from the books that you publish. Make the place an example of what you preach.

  6. Favorite job of my career thus far

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

    I have been working at Software Engineering Institute full-time (More than a year)

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

    Pros

    Great work-life balance, outstanding leadership/guidance, helpful and kind co-workers, decent salary in the Pittsburgh market.

    Cons

    None that I've yet to encounter - any problem at hand is immediately addressed and resolved.

  7. Helpful (1)

    Great place to work.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Writer/Editor in Pittsburgh, PA
    Current Employee - Writer/Editor in Pittsburgh, PA

    I have been working at Software Engineering Institute

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

    Pros

    The people are great to work with. Management acts like they appreciate you and your contributions.

    Cons

    They don't have paid parking.

    Advice to Management

    Offer reduced parking based on years of service or something like that.

  8. Helpful (3)

    Where great talent comes to leave

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Information Security Analyst in Pittsburgh, PA
    Former Employee - Information Security Analyst in Pittsburgh, PA

    I worked at Software Engineering Institute full-time (More than 5 years)

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

    Pros

    A good work-life balance. Good compensation for the area.

    The technical staff are exceptional.

    Cons

    CERT/CC is a revolving door of exceptional talent. I watched many well-intentioned and highly capable workers be driven out as a consequence of insufferable management personalities and practices. I've never seen a more toxic or less productive environment and pray that I never will again. No kidding. Don't underestimate that statement.

    If you're brave enough to interview here, be sure to ask about the turnover rate and read between the lines in the answers you receive.

    Advice to Management

    Two weeks after I quit I received via mail, without any notice or explanation, an "Appreciation Award" trophy with the inscription "Your efforts ensure our continued success." What kind of thing is that to say to someone who has just quit? If you actually valued employees you would try to retain them in the first place, not send them some disingenuous piece of garbage after they've bailed. Yeah, that's what I want, a tangible token of your incompetence to remind me of the perpetual trainwreck I just experienced. Thanks.

  9. Helpful (1)

    An Organization Past its Prime

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Member of Technical Staff in Pittsburgh, PA
    Current Employee - Member of Technical Staff in Pittsburgh, PA

    I have been working at Software Engineering Institute full-time (More than 3 years)

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

    Pros

    Work-life balance is excellent, you will never be asked to work late in order to meet deadlines.

    Salary is very reasonable for the Pittsburgh area. CMU benefits are great, especially if you have college-age kids (free tuition if they get in!).

    If you put in some additional effort you can work on some incredibly cool things.

    Once you're hired you can do whatever you want, it's almost impossible to get fired.

    Cons

    The number of times I've been told "This place used to be so great, I'm sorry you didn't work here N years ago" by coworkers is far too many. The SEI of today does not deserve the reputation that many of its former employees worked incredibly hard to earn.

    Priorities one, two, and three at the company are making money. Quality, ethical considerations, and keeping employees happy are all tertiary priorities for the company, if that. Every business needs to make money, of course, but given that the organization advertises itself as a beacon of 'doing the right thing', it comes off as hypocritical.

    Since I started working here, many of the skilled technical people I respect have left the company. Turnover is incredibly high, and the organization has serious difficulties recruiting skilled people faster than it loses them.

    Management will frequently tell you what they believe you want to hear, even if it's not true. This includes directly lying to employees. It has become a regular enough activity that most employees are aware of it and it actively hurts morale.

    As other reviewers have pointed out the environment is very political, even for an academic environment.

    Advice to Management

    Find ways to improve morale and reduce turnover.

    DO NOT allow people to lie to the employees they supervise. There are smart people at the SEI and they can tell when this happens. It's terrible for morale and makes it very hard to trust our managers.

    Value the recommendations your employees make - there's no point in hiring experts if you ignore their advice every time it's relevant.

  10. Helpful (2)

    Great Place to Work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Member of Technical Staff in Arlington, VA
    Current Employee - Member of Technical Staff in Arlington, VA

    I have been working at Software Engineering Institute full-time (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Excellent people with whom to work. Excellent emphasis on quality products. Great place to work if you're interested in fixing big problems.

    Cons

    Too exposed to one large, very dysfunctional government agency. Need a strategic vision in how to move beyond CMMI into cross-functional problems facing IT.

    Advice to Management

    Need to better leverage the organization's strengths by thinking more strategically, and less project-by-project. Need better cross-portfolio interaction between cyber and non-cyber practitioners.

  11. Helpful (1)

    Great place, great benefits, good pay

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

    I have been working at Software Engineering Institute full-time (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    great benefits, you get your own office even as a new hire. very many talented people, great work life balance, training

    Cons

    too many divisions, not enough interaction, really not that many cons, location is pittsburgh but this can also be a pro

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