Wolfram Research Reviews

Updated April 14, 2015
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  1. so many things are wrong about this company...

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

    I have been working at Wolfram Research full-time

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

    Pros

    I can't think of anything good to say about this company, but I'll try --
    1. you can accumulate PTO (at a rate of 1.7 days per month, which isn't really great)
    2. all you can drink espresso (but it tastes really gross and makes me feel nauseous)

    Cons

    - compensation is very low. at the interview, they will try to negotiate from below fair market salary.
    - the company disrespects people's time. rather than a standard 9-5 work day, the company boasts "flexibility" by letting you choose to work from 8-5 or 9-6, whatever works for you! i.e., add an extra hour to the work day because lunch isn't paid. add to that time required to get ready for work and commute back and forth. hooray, you've just committed to an 11 hour work day!
    - the company does things really stupidly. everything about the way it operates is just wrong. nobody knows what a unit test is. people implement database tables without unique keys and put them into production, making bad data a permanent commitment. hard codes everywhere. RESTful API? nah. continuous integration? dream on. computationally expensive bloat code and projects that don't integrate? yep.
    - communicating that the company is doing things stupidly falls on deaf ears. management doesn't want to hear it because they're terrified of the CEO. developers don't want to hear it because they're terrified of the scope.

    Advice to Management

    respect people's time. cut out that unpaid lunch stuff and maybe your attrition rate won't be so high

  2. Good work life balance

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

    I have been working at Wolfram Research part-time (Less than a year)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Flexible hours, good workload, friendly employees, good coffee

    Cons

    a little bit slow on the technology side

  3. front end engineer

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

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

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Smart people, flexible timings, and they have some perks

    Cons

    It's in the champaign, it gets really boring sometimes. The product is going stagnant

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  5. No comment

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

    I have been working at Wolfram Research full-time (More than 3 years)

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

    Pros

    Co-workers are nice. Great place to work for fresh college graduate.
    Great place to explore open source software

    Cons

    Bad management and direction. Pays far less than other companies

  6. Helpful (7)

    An absolute nightmare.

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

    I worked at Wolfram Research full-time

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

    Pros

    - Fun people if you're in the right group.
     - Lots of gadgets, easy to get new equipment.
     - Some excruciatingly smart people work here.
     - Remote working is allowed to an almost ludicrous degree.

    Cons

    - In my opinion, the CEO is the rudest, most intolerant and spoiled individual I have ever worked with. He has a hair trigger and constantly wants everything delivered at a moment's notice, whether it's something trivial like a small spec, or something large like a multi-year cross-disciplinary project that will involve half of the company.

     - Stephen steamrolls the entire company constantly, yanking people off of projects without warning to throw them onto whatever is his HIGH PRIORITY of the day. This company is his personal toy box, and new ideas are stifled from the top down. Only his ideas are worthy of discussion. Concerns about headcount are ignored and if you push the matter you are angrily dismissed.

     - You will not advance here. You will be a cog in a machine that Stephen is constantly cranking, until you eventually wear down and quit.

     - A large portion of this company seems to have given up. Innovation has taken a complete backseat to trying to build whatever "brilliant" idea the CEO had, and challenging these ideas is tantamount to treason.

     - Morale is in the sewer.

     - The communication is simply awful. People ignore emails, they don't return phone calls, they don't come to meetings, then they complain about not being in the loop. This leads to tons of wasted time and effort.

     - There is no training. You are expected to absorb everything you should know. Junior developers right out of university are expected to fully understand all the technology immediately, often because we end up having to taking over major projects because the person above us quit suddenly from frustration. Imagine being three months out of school and suddenly being lead developer on a project when you don't even know about half of it.

     - The project management is a joke. Stephen micromanages every project himself, reducing the PMs to little more than babysitters. Most of them are very nice, but they have no ability to actually own and manage the teams. It's easier just to go directly to design or UX with questions. The task tracker is a mass of confusion from too many tickets that just sit there for months untouched.

     - The products are stale and the company refuses to adapt or entertain the idea that they are anything other than the pinnacle of software products.

     - Product plans change and nobody tells the people actually building the software, then later you get screamed at for not building the new version that no one told you about.

     - Decisions are constantly undone and rescinded and re-decided without warning. A project that was unimportant yesterday needs an emergency meeting today because IT HAS TO SHIP THIS MONTH OR WE'RE DEAD. Two days later everyone will be on that new project, then Stephen will lose his mind about whatever project they had to put on ice. There's just no winning.

     - Lots of egos in the senior developers.

     - Unreasonable timelines for us programmers to deliver. If it's going to take a year to build something the right way, don't demand it in 3 months, crush everyone with the new deadline, then get mad when it's buggy and rushed and almost none of the features are done.

     - The pay is severely below market rates. There are other companies in town where you will have half the work and double the pay. You are forbidden from discussing your salary with anyone.

    Advice to Management

    - Quit indulging the cult of personality around Stephen and start advocating for what is best for the products you are building.

     - Stop dismissing concerns and criticism from employees. When you say, "Well it's Stephen's company and he can do whatever he wants," you are dismissing and undermining the opinions of the very people you NEED to build your software. This attitude absolutely kills job satisfaction and morale of the people who want to contribute. Hiring brilliant people only to tell them to shut off their thinking caps and get on the assembly line is a huge disrespect, and you need to show your staff respect.

     - Actually provide career paths and advancement opportunities. Offer personal improvement. The turnover is what it is because there is so little individual respect for the hardworking people you've convinced to work here. Treat people as professionals and not assembly workers.

     - Have actual dedicated managers with real people skills managing and listening to employees, rather than arbitrarily bumping programmers up into supervisory positions they begrudgingly tolerate, to the complete disservice of the people they have to unwillingly manage. Managing requires a level of interpersonal skills that Wolfram does not value, and so many people have left because they felt ignored and unheard.

     - Quit trying to shove projects that need years to be built into a few months.

     - Stand up for your team more. When the CEO shouts that we're all a bunch of incompetent failures and our work is all <expletive>, and you say he's right for being mad, you set your team up to lose people.

     - Rethink strategy. You can't build niche software for 20 years then suddenly try to force the world to believe you're a swissarmy knife for software.

     - When key players on projects quit, don't act like everything is okay. Actually communicate what's happening and when people leave, and what the plan is. It's unbelievably frustrating to be waiting on an email from somebody then find out they quit a month earlier.

     - Don't blame people who leave and call them "quitters" behind their back. It puts a sour taste in the mouths of those of us who have stayed behind.

  7. Wolfram is a great company for building your technical and entrepreneurial skills.

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

    I have been working at Wolfram Research full-time

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

    Pros

    The emphasis at Wolfram is on doing interesting projects. Folks are hired more for their potential than for a specific position. There is a lot of opportunity to work on projects from various directions. This allows one to have a chance to really explore all aspects of what it takes to build a technology product. One also gets the opportunity to try out potential career paths which may have not been on one’s original trajectory.

    Cons

    The environment is not for the weak at heart although for many that is a plus. The work pace is high energy, intense and there are always more projects than resources. But, the trade off is that you build up more knowledge and skill than at most companies in a similar time frame.

    Advice to Management

    Remember that employees come to Wolfram to work on interesting projects. Make sure to pay attention to their interests.

  8. Helpful (2)

    Not as horrid of a place to get some exposure

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

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

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

    Pros

    Some freedom to pick projects to work on. Then again this depends in what dept you have been put.
    Some marginal interaction between departments.

    Cons

    Technology is too hyped up. Mathematica is a toy programming language. Almost entirely useless once you change jobs OR once you get a REAL job at a REAL company.
    Be wary of the CEO and his mood swings and your job security.

    Advice to Management

    No real advice can be provided, they won't listen.

  9. Smart Company!

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

    I have been working at Wolfram Research

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Smart, Agile, Learning, Good Culture and decent work-life balance

    Cons

    Management doesn't do a great job in retaining great talent!

    Advice to Management

    Listen to your Employees!

  10. Helpful (2)

    Free to explore, good work life balance

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

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

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

    Pros

    As a software developer you have much freedom to design your project. The company also encourage ppl to keep learning and exploring new stuff, which is great. Very flexible schedule, as long as you finish your job in time.

    Cons

    Promotion is kinda slow, even you work really hard.

    Advice to Management

    It will be better for the company to work on a more structured management, and pay more attention to employee promotions.

  11. Employee

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

    I have been working at Wolfram Research full-time

    Pros

    Very very very flexible work enviornment

    Cons

    Disconnect between Management and Development

Wolfram Research Photos

Library decorated during Halloween
company picnic
Break room

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