Wolfram Research Reviews

Updated June 22, 2015
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3.3
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Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Wolfram Research President Stephen Wolfram
Stephen Wolfram
57 Ratings

Pros
  • friendly staffs, flexible work hours, diverse employee, good chance of moving around in the company, good place to raise a family (in 12 reviews)

  • A lot of smart people work there (in 6 reviews)

Cons
  • Low salary compared to other companies (in 7 reviews)

  • Relatively high turnover and choices to leave positions unfilled have resulted in a difficult workload for those who remain (in 3 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

80 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (1)

    Content Admin

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

    I have been working at Wolfram Research full-time (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Recommends

    Pros

    Great environment, great people! Very open to creative ideas! Flexible hours and sometimes remote optional.

    Cons

    Occasional breakdowns in communication, but overall there's very little to complain about.


  2. Interesting work, depressing pay

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

    I worked at Wolfram Research

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Work on technically challenging projects. Co-workers are top notch technically.
    Flexible work environment that allows for working remotely.

    Cons

    Staffing inefficiencies and turnover due to lower than average salaries.


  3. 1-year bridge turned into 15+ year passion

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

    I have been working at Wolfram Research

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

    Pros

    - constant intellectual challenges / opportunities
    - hard working & proactive people find promotions and success
    - good ideas turn into results with little red tape / obstacles

    Cons

    - fast pace often blurs to lightning pace with an inability to see a return simply to fast pace

    Advice to Management

    - I like that we're always ahead of the trend; sometimes we forget that we've invested the internal time to see the value/passion behind a project and people external need more time to understand and gain that same level of passion.


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  5. Helpful (1)

    Challenging

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Middle Management in Champaign, IL
    Current Employee - Middle Management in Champaign, IL

    I have been working at Wolfram Research full-time (More than 5 years)

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

    Pros

    * Incredibly smart, passionate and creative workforce
    * Autonomy and flexibility at nearly every level and job function
    * Project ownership (some may think this is a "con", but truly owning what you're working on allows for substantial growth and pride in accomplishment - no "code monkeys" here.
    * Perks - flexible schedule, casual (almost too casual) work environment, stocked breakrooms and goof-off areas (foosball table, gaming systems, library), decent benefits and time off, great company picnics and parties and conferences, access to almost anything you need to get your job/project done.

    Cons

    * Salaries are low for industry averages
    * "Crunch time" almost all the time - 12-16 hour weekdays and working on weekends isn't out of the ordinary - we do have the ability to say no, just most don't.
    * Red tape/lengthy processes to do most "regular" work, unless it's a project on CEOs radar - then there isn't enough red tape.
    * Moody upper management

    Advice to Management

    Get rid of the highly paid time suckers that have been around for ever and contribute very little - reallocate their salaries to those contributing to current products and projects. Keep CEO interactions with lower-level employees to a minimum - he scares them.


  6. Every day is an opportunity to learn

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Wolfram Research

    Pros

    Interesting projects and opportunities to lead

    Cons

    Working environment is very temperamental


  7. An excellent and creative place to work.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Kernel Developer in Champaign, IL
    Former Employee - Kernel Developer in Champaign, IL

    I worked at Wolfram Research full-time (More than 3 years)

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    The company has very creative employees and a very talented work force. Mathematica is the best scientific and engineering software in the world. As a kernel developer you get to acquire a lot of new skills, both in computer science as well as in mathematics. As a kernel developer it is a privilege to work for Roger Germundsson, director of R&D. He is an absolute genius and one of the most creative person I have ever known.

    Cons

    There is nothing wrong with this company except the pay scale is much much below average. If the company could pay above Industry average no one will ever want to leave.

    Advice to Management

    I will advice the management to pay kernel developers a lot of money. The company has extremely highly talented individuals. No amount of money can buy such a talented workforce. Also I will advise the company to move development office out of Champaign which is a very small town for ambitious workforce.


  8. Great place to be

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

    I have been working at Wolfram Research full-time (More than 5 years)

    Recommends
    Recommends

    Pros

    Good place to work, lots of freedom, definitely not a standard corporate environment in a good way

    Cons

    Sometimes the very top management can be a bit controlling, but not often.


  9. Great

    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Wolfram Research

    Pros

    Learning Oracle and Sugar. Composing email templates.

    Cons

    I would say my challenge was deciphering each email assgned to populate the correct templates with the correct response.


  10. Not What You Would Expect Looking From The Outside

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Software Engineer
    Former Employee - Software Engineer

    I worked at Wolfram Research full-time (Less than a year)

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

    Pros

    Job Security: You really don't feel like your job is threatened when working here.

    Smart Colleagues: The people working at Wolfram Research are smart. Really smart. They almost all have at least their masters and you can learn a ton from them.

    Creative Freedom: Since you may be the only developer on a project (or one of a few) you can implement things with a good amount of creative freedom. (Can be good or bad)

    Cons

    Compensation and Benefits: The combination of these two factors is pretty depressing. The pay is FAR below market value yet the benefits are the most expensive that I have seen. Very disheartening.

    Project Management: There is a lot to be desired about project management. As a developer, you will spend an exorbitant amount of time tracking down things to implement the smallest features because no assessments are done for features. Issues are created with no description. Features are requested with no documentation. You have no clue what systems will be using the feature you are adding.

    Antiquated Tech and Bad Practices: This was a very surprising thing that I found coming in. We were using very old technologies and using them incorrectly. Many anti-patterns used and refusal to fix them. Just a pile of bugs in your queue as a result.

    Egos: There is not a lot of camaraderie. Very easy to be thrown under the bus or get a sarcastic remark when asking for help. Also, the founder and CEO is very condescending. If he ever finds a bug, please expect a strongly worded email or a meeting full of profane language. Not very comforting on day 1 as a new hire.

    Advice to Management

    Tech: Take a step back so you can step forward. There is a lot that needs to be fixing and the products are feeling a lot like Jenga.

    Process: Create a streamlined process for development. There are plenty of well established methodologies out there. Pick one, stick to it and things will improve.

    Compensation: Software Development is a competitive field. Pay your employees for the skills you want them to have. You want top notch talent without wanting to foot the bill for it. Your employees should be able to afford a doctors visit.

    Morale: Yelling, screaming and cursing morale does not build (Sorry....Yoda moment). Empower your Engineers and allow them to give feedback and help them to shape the software into a robust tool. Don't just think "get it to work" because that won't stand in the enterprise.


  11. Helpful (2)

    Fast paced environment, wonderful people, incredible opportunity for career growth with endless learning opportunities.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Program Manager in Champaign, IL
    Current Employee - Program Manager in Champaign, IL

    I have been working at Wolfram Research full-time (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    Since the products being developed require diverse skill sets, Wolfram employs a wide variety of backgrounds and personalities. The headquarters is filled with intelligent, curious, and interesting people of all cultural backgrounds (There are a total of 57 languages spoken). If there is anything you want to learn, someone is always willing to lend their time to help you understand a new technology or process.

    I started at Wolfram as my first job out of school. Within my first weeks at the company I was able to contribute in meetings with employees at all levels of the company. Wolfram is a very flat organization, where you are able to have contact with the executive members (highest level besides CEO) on a regular basis. Being straight out of college, it was a fantastic learning experience for me to be able to sit in on discussions ranging from new product development to global strategy.

    In my role as program manager I was given a lot of autonomy and responsibility from the beginning. You are expected to ask a lot of questions to learn as much as you can but given the freedom to work in a manner that is efficient for you.

    The coolest thing about Wolfram is the passion that people have for what their work. The products are used world wide in a variety of different commercial, industrial, and academic fields. Seeing first hand how the products literally change the world is what keeps everyone inspired and excited to come to work each morning. Working on Mathematica products or Wolfram Alpha - you can see the direct ways in which we are changing what it means to program (using the wolfram language), and how people are relating to and integrating their data to understand their environment.

    Wolfram has a family atmosphere where you are encouraged to be yourself. Everyone has interesting quirks and a variety of nerdy interests. With about 600 people at the headquarters, there is someone who has similar interests or can show you a cool hobby (lots of astrology and comic book fans!) Some days are hectic while other are more calm but definitely never boring.

    Wolfram is continuously growing, there is plenty of room for upward movement. I was able to move positions to an area I found more suited to my personality and interests after about 1 year with full support from my manager.

    Cons

    Wolfram is an product / project oriented company. Work is fast paced where on Monday an idea is pitched and by Wednesday a team is assembled to begin to build it. Given the speed of development there can be a lack of organization. Some thrive in this "start-up" environment, some feel overwhelmed. Depending on your personality and your ability to juggle multiple projects will determine your success.



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