Space Exploration Technologies

www.spacex.com

Space Exploration Technologies Reviews in Los Angeles, CA

Updated January 17, 2015
Updated January 17, 2015
194 Reviews
3.8
194 Reviews
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Review Highlights

Pros
  • Enjoy fast-paced environment or start-up culture (in 18 reviews)

  • Free Frozen Yogurt/Sodas/Coffees (in 13 reviews)


Cons
  • No work-life balance for the people who work on the production floor (in 28 reviews)

  • People complain about long hours, but nobody forces you to stay for 10-12 hours a day (in 34 reviews)

More Highlights

143 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1. 2 people found this helpful  

    Don't know how to swim? They'll launch you to middle of the Pacific Ocean

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Structures Intern in Hawthorne, CA
    Former Employee - Structures Intern in Hawthorne, CA

    I worked at Space Exploration Technologies as an intern (less than a year)

    Pros

    You learn so much in a brief period of time. There is an amazing amount of technical experience waiting for you to just grab. The innovation is almost incomparable to other companies in the same industry. The amount of talent that surrounds you at all times is simply inspiring.

    Cons

    The work-life balance is very difficult to manage. Expectations are not always clear.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Set clear expectations and provide proper guidance especially to inexperienced engineers. The amount of responsibility given can potentially be overwhelming.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    Exploration of Space brings talented technicians toward a futuristic and realistic commercial goal

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Video Technician in Hawthorne, CA
    Former Employee - Video Technician in Hawthorne, CA

    I worked at Space Exploration Technologies as a contractor (less than a year)

    Pros

    Great organization, attention to detail, and security. Data and tools readily available to every employee. Fantastic tours, and transparent business model. Inspiring management and atmosphere

    Cons

    Lack of social engagement between employee sectors. Computer training, however engaging and efficient, can lead to confusion/alienation without in-person training

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Present weekly commercials to workers in a common environment advertising social clubs, meeting groups and entrepreneurial opportunities.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3. 6 people found this helpful  

    Overrall great experience, Fast-paced, not a place to build a long lasting career

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

    I worked at Space Exploration Technologies full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    You will learn so much in the first years working at SpaceX than at any other company in the industry. Young engineers given incredible amount of responsibility. The more work you produce the more work you will get. You have the opportunity to work on cradle-to-grave projects. You work with a diverse group of people from various backgrounds.

    Cons

    The best employees/managers are former DoD employees (i.e. /Boeing/Northrop...etc.). The company is not what it used to be a few years ago (stock options are not worth it, this late in the game). Poor communication among departments, increased bureaucracy, and finger-pointing. Fro-yo and candy gets old after 3 months, compensate and recognize people for their contributions. People burn out here fast (high turnover).

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Allow for increased upward mobility among employees between departments (rotation programs).
    Need more systems engineers to help improve communication between departments.
    Stop hiring people without engineering/industry relevant backgrounds (criminal justice/restaurant managers/cops...etc.).
    Improve work life balance (less hours), compensate more, offer higher education reimbursement to retain top talent or they will leave.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5. 14 people found this helpful  

    Extremely disappointing experience

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

    I have been working at Space Exploration Technologies full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    I've been an aerospace engineer for 15 years and have been at SpaceX for several years. The best part is you get to build rockets and spaceships! This place gets a 10 on the coolness factor. Things get done very fast. This company is the future of American aerospace.

    Cons

    There is no work life balance. If you have a family like I do, do yourself a favor and don't even consider this place. There are a lot of young engineers who have nothing better to do than work 70-80 hrs/week and people will look down on you if you don't work at least 60. Don't try and convince yourself that you can balance work life here. Even when I did get home, I would get so hammered with emails on my phone, that I had to open up my laptop and work all night. There is no 401K matching. They give stock awards, but the taxes are so high you either have to pay tens of thousands or give up some shares. Training is non-existent, it's gotten a lot better, but still pretty bad. if you don't have a family and are willing to work at the minimum 70 hrs/week, then you can move up the ladder. There are some really good engineers who do great work, but aren't willing to put in the long hours, so they are stuck at the bottom. Many problems have risen from the large growth of the last 2 years. There are guys building engine who's previous experience is Burger King (That is not a joke!).

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Give more incentives to your employees especially engineers. The majority of engineers are truly unhappy. Unhappy with pay, hours, and lack of respect. Stop basing promotions off of hours worked vs. talent. Ask people what they think is wrong with the company. Don't ask people to do things that you are not willing to do.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6.  

    Exciting Environment

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

    I worked at Space Exploration Technologies full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Constantly doing new things, there are always things to look forward to and opportunities to take on more responsibility. Colleagues are all top notch.

    Cons

    At this point the company is big enough that it will take a while to work your way up, just like many other larger companies. Work hours can be high, but there's not really much direct pressure to work more.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  7. 5 people found this helpful  

    A meat grinder

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

    I worked at Space Exploration Technologies full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    I spent 2 years at SpaceX. Nearly three years later, the only positive thing I can say about the company is that I left.

    Cons

    My role on my team was wholly unclear, with me seemingly reporting to two bosses in two different departments. I once found a risk in a certain piece of hardware. Upon reporting it to manager A, he rolled his eyes at me. Upon reporting it to manager B, he raised the issue to the highest levels of management, all of whom rolled their eyes at him. I did not integrate into the culture of the company, which emphasizes working late, hanging out with coworkers outside of work, and not having kids. Managers, at least mine, did not provide any positive feedback whatsoever. Nothing is ever done right or done fast enough. I once approached HR with some medical problems I'd been having, and I was literally laughed at when describing that they were very soon going to temporarily interfere with my ability to work. Thankfully, the entire HR team got fired the next year. Don't expect to be promoted. Don't expect people to acknowledge you exist. Don't expect any positive contributions you make to the company to be recognized. Don't expect to live a life outside of work. And don't expect to be paid well.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    None. Keep drinking your Kool-Aid. I'll be living my life.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    Work environment of Spacex

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Communications Specialist in Hawthorne, CA
    Current Employee - Senior Communications Specialist in Hawthorne, CA

    I have been working at Space Exploration Technologies full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    lucrative company with generous stock option offerings

    Cons

    Very high stress environment with poor work/life balance

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    interact more with the non-management staff for feedback

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9. 6 people found this helpful  

    Exciting experience for a summer, nothing more

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

    I worked at Space Exploration Technologies as an intern (less than a year)

    Pros

    As a graduate intern, I was given a lot of responsibility and power to work on and lead real projects. In fact, SpaceX probably gives interns too much freedom and power (in an unsafe manner), but as an intern I wasn't complaining. Meh discount housing, shuttle to work, cheap and delicious food, amazing product, excited workforce.

    Cons

    The company is in chaos. There is little organizational clarity, teams have no idea what their neighbors are doing, and all decisions seem short term and unthought out. The facilities are unable to support the now massive engineering force (power outages, no AC, cycling lighting, zero personal space, monitors touching your neighbors on both sides). There are many software packages used by different teams that are not compatible with others.
    Obviously, work-life balance is nonexistent. Interns are expected to work 50-60 hours a week, and full timers 65+ without overtime or fair compensation. You will be compensated similarly to that of other aerospace companies, but then worked to death in expensive LA.
    Employee retention is ludicrously low, and the company does not seem to care.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Communicate more with the workforce on more than "we're going to mars!" All information passes via word of mouth nowadays, so much of it is inaccurate.
    The attitude currently conveyed to employees is "work yourself to death or get out, we can easily replace you."

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

    Great learning experience & terrible work-life balance

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Design Engineer Co-op in Hawthorne, CA
    Former Employee - Design Engineer Co-op in Hawthorne, CA

    I worked at Space Exploration Technologies as an intern (less than a year)

    Pros

    My 6 month Co-Op was a great learning experience, and SpaceX really values the practical application of knowledge. Student project team experience has a lot of weight in the interview/application process, and they seemed to prefer applicants with actual design/production/implementation experience. I also found that the high GPA "Honor roll" students really struggled here, and are probably a better fit at a large prime contractor where interns push paper around most of the time. I left this Co-Op with a lot of great experience, and was able to take components "full cycle" from design, through prototype and into production. Tons of freedom and you don't get bogged down with red tape and bureaucracy.

    Even a few years ago, the company offered employees a lot of "day to day" perks that have been removed from many offices in the age of corporate cost savings. A little free coffee goes a long way. The overall culture here is awesome, and everybody truly wants to see the company succeed. Most of the engineers are very young, and there's a lot of socializing out of work. HR hooks interns up with furnished apartments at a discounted rate in a pretty nice area too.

    Cons

    The intern salary would have been very good for a 40 hour/week role, but we routinely worked 60+, which can really burn you out after a few months. One needs to realize that this company operates very differently than most aerospace companies, which is not a bad thing, but don't expect a successful internship at another big company to guarantee success here.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Never stop innovating!

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11. 5 people found this helpful  

    Only for the truly passionate.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Propulsion Analysis in Hawthorne, CA
    Current Employee - Propulsion Analysis in Hawthorne, CA

    I have been working at Space Exploration Technologies as an intern (less than a year)

    Pros

    I learned so much during my three months. I did analysis on all the SpaceX engines. Assemblies were: a lot of injector analysis, valves, propellant management devices, nozzle skirt, gas generator assembly, pressure regulators, feedlines, main oxygen valve. Extremely fast paced and the faster you are, the more work they give you. You won't get much positive feedback and you won't receive any training. Day 1 I was given a part to do thermal analysis on that was due in a week and this new design was going to be going up to space the very next launch. I couldn't sleep because I was so freaked out about something being wrong so I ended up coming in all weekend and making sure everything was correct.

    Cons

    I put in 50-95 hours a week and the week I only put in 50 hours was because they let me have the Friday off for working so hard. You will almost never get positive feedback because everyone is smart. I had some negative feedback because I was very loud and confident, there is no room for mistakes so it's best to be humble, even if you know you're right act like you don't, because you never have enough time to go down every path before the due date. If you are bad at multi-tasking you will fail. If you don't absolutely love what you are doing, you will fail. If you do not give 110% at all times you will fail. There is no job security, you can be working there 4 years and all of a sudden get laid off.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    2 works, systems engineers. Hire some for everyone's sake.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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