White Oak Technologies Reviews

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4.0
3 Reviews
Recommend to a friend
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Alan Broder
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Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (1)

    A ton of smart people, working on interesting problems

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Web Developer in Oxon Hill, MD
    Current Employee - Senior Web Developer in Oxon Hill, MD

    I have been working at White Oak Technologies full-time (More than 3 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    You get to work with highly intelligent people, on a variety of interesting problem sets.
    By and large, our customers trust us to do things the "right way", and don't try to dictate what that means.

    Cons

    The company tends to be rather thin on middle managers. Normally I wouldn't say that's a problem, but our engineer base tends toward the mildly sociopathic (think BBC Sherlock), and there are times when getting things done feels a little like herding cats.

    Upper management also tends to be rather timid when it comes to new business development opportunities. They know the waters they like to swin in, and even though our software would provide greater opportunities, they're reluctant to take those risks.

    Advice to Management

    Hire more tech leads / technical program managers, then empower them to make the best decisions for their teams. Take chances, make mistakes.

  2. Smart people working on hard problems

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at White Oak Technologies

    Pros

    Smart people, hard (from a computer science point of view) problems, reasonable resources.

    Cons

    Staffs many contracts. Contractor sites are often full of bureaucracy and red tape, though management does a good job of insulating the engineers from this.

  3. Helpful (2)

    Flying by the seat of its pants

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Software Engineer
    Current Employee - Software Engineer

    I have been working at White Oak Technologies

    Recommends
    Recommends

    Pros

    Engineers are given tons of respect, and there are literally no businesspeople or marketing people getting in their way. The benefits are very good (4 weeks time off your first year, 5 weeks thereafter). Salaries are quite variable, it all comes down to how agressively you negotiate, but many employees are making less than they could make somewhere else because they like the company.

    Cons

    White Oak's engineers are massively more arrogant than they have any right to be, IMHO, and management encourages this. Because all the work is classified, its hard to know how our products compare to those built by others, and nobody has ever expressed interest in finding out. Our products generally work, but not technically all that impressive, IMHO, compared to the things everyone knows the government (not to mention commercial companies) already knows how to do.

    Advice to Management

    White Oak writes software for the intelligence community (mainly DoD), but little of it gets used. Management justifies this by saying that their mission is "research and development", and that's somewhat true, but part of the problem is the quality of the work. The company really likes to hire inexperienced, uncleared workers, evidently to keep salaries down, but at my facility, I don't know a single programmer who has done intelligence work before... few have even done commercial software development anywhere else (many of the support staff have government experience, though). Engineers are given an enormous amount of trust to do things however they think they should be done, but that's partly a consequence of the fact that little of our stuff goes into production, and the fact that managers, both in the company and the government, aren't technically competent to understand the decisions being made. There is little to no use of standard software development techniques like unit testing, documentation, and issue tracking, and product stability suffers severely as a consequence. The company needs to hire more experienced developers, and have some decision making process other than "whoever implements it first gets to decide how its done".

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