Wolfram Research

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Wolfram Research Reviews

Updated August 16, 2014
Updated August 16, 2014
58 Reviews
3.4
58 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Wolfram Research President Stephen Wolfram
Stephen Wolfram
45 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Good PTO and flexible work hours if you belong to the frat boy club (in 12 reviews)

  • Flexible work hours, friendly and intelligent colleagues, great office environment (in 6 reviews)


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

  • Lack of career growth, resulting in a revolving door with many employees leaving (in 3 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1. 2 people found this helpful  

    Great company, low salary

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

    I have been working at Wolfram Research part-time for less than a year

    Pros

    People here are brilliant. Free coffee, and colleagues bring in cake and other snacks to share with everyone. For a very established company, it feels like a CA startup company.

    Cons

    Salary is far too low. I haven't had any problems with the CEO, but I have seen incidents and heard of stories of his overbearing tendencies.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    If you're gonna lay people off, get it over with asap instead of letting it draw out. That strategy causes company wide panic.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2. 2 people found this helpful  

    The opposite of work hard, play hard.

    • 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 for more than 8 years

    Pros

    - Work can be quite interesting if you're academically inclined given the technical computing nature of Mathematica and Wolfram|Alpha
    - Very flexible hours for most developer positions
    - Ability to work remotely
    - Relaxed and easy-going culture
    - Company sponsors green cards
    - Visionary CEO

    Cons

    - An insulting, ridiculously low salary. A starting tech support engineer with a PhD will make around $35,000 and an entry level software engineer will make around $50,000. Yahoo, which is just down the street, pays an average of $100,000 to a software engineer.
    - Non-transferable programming skills unless you work in in C/C++/Java (Mathematica kernel or front-end). No other company cares you know how to write Mathematica code.
    - Company is essentially's the CEO's toy toolset. Various projects are launched that are complete duds from the beginning with no business model whatsoever to back them up.(WolframTones is an example)
    - Awful to work with the CEO, who is constantly yelling at people. Makes it for a terrible culture and you know that a company's culture starts at the CEO and spreads downwards.
    - Way too many shady HR practices regarding green card sponsorship.
        - They'll only sponsor you after 3 years of work.
        - you're not allowed to discuss your salaries with anyone else. It's in your contract.
        - No matter your skill level, sponsorship is at "software engineer I" level, so that they can pay you the minimum by law.
        - you're not allowed to discuss your green-card sponsorship level with others. HR will tell you they only sponsor at EB3 (even though job role and education could warrant EB2), but there are various individuals whose bosses really want them and are then sponsored at EB2. Essentially, you'll work for 6-10 years to get your green card at horrible pay levels that you'll never be able to "catch up" after you get out.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3. 3 people found this helpful  

    If you like being belittled this is the place for you

    • 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 for more than 5 years

    Pros

    The name looks nice on a tech resume

    Cons

    CEO is one of the worst human beings I have ever encountered. Thinks he is incapable of error, but always takes the time to point out, in front of others, your perceived failures. Acts like a spoiled child most of the time. Not a good environment for anyone.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Tell of Stephen off from time to time. Needs to realize that actual HUMANS work for him, not servants.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great company for people interested in Science, engineering and scientific computation

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

    I have been working at Wolfram Research full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Flexible working schedule. Always have fun project at hand. Colleagues are very nice and it is a relaxing place to work. Great place to explore new technology and learn computer related stuff. Also the flagship product Mathematica gives developers somewhat pride.

    Cons

    Most time I feel kind short of people on project. Overlapping is common. Income can be improve. Since Champaign is not expensive to live, not too big problem before having kids.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Because this company is like small-medium business entity, so there are only a few people between developer and Ex committee.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    Was very happy there

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

    I worked at Wolfram Research full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    I got to work with incredibly bright, ambitious people who were passionate about what they did. The work was fairly interesting and challenging in the right ways. There were always fairly sophisticated ideas on the horizon. It has a bit of a start-up culture feel for such a well-established company.

    Cons

    The pay was noticeably lower than other opportunities. It's great for the experience, but it was hard to justify the low salary after a few years.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Establish more of a decentralized, spread-out leadership rather than such a heavy focus on the CEO.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7. 3 people found this helpful  

    Great People, Overbearing CEO

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

    I worked at Wolfram Research full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    - Name looks great on a resume in the tech space
    - Fun and respectful co-workers.
    - Flexible hours.
    - Fun company picnics and geeky tech culture.
    - Awesome design team.
    - Perfect job to kick off a designer's career, but don't stay more than 2 years — you deserve better!

    Cons

    - Low low salaries.
    - Overbearing and mean CEO.
    - Micromanagement.
    - A lot of office politics.
    - Cruel executives.
    - Poor layoff strategy
    - Terrible HR department.
    - A lot of legacy code.
    - Waterfall product process.
    - Unqualified hires.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    - Do annual reviews on time, it's disrespectful to your employees to put them off.
    - Give raises and bonuses
    - Trust your employees to think for themselves and solve problems themselves.
    - When you do a layoff, do it on one day and get it over with, don't draw it out and cause company wide panic.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8. 4 people found this helpful  

    Tyrannical, borderline insane leadership

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

    I have been working at Wolfram Research full-time

    Pros

    - Best insurance benefits ever
    - Flexible work schedule
    - Great work ethic

    Cons

    - Inconsistency at every level
    - Dishonest management
    - Ridiculous workload
    - Zero succession planning for projects
    - Low salary
    - Poor/lack of process for many things

    Wolfram Research is such a difficult place to work you're considered an old timer if you've been there for more than 6 months.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stand up to the CEO.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9. 3 people found this helpful  

    Old-school

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

    I worked at Wolfram Research part-time for more than a year

    Pros

    stephenw has great vision, will probably keep the company relevant for a while.

    Cons

    Low pay.

    Low-level decisions always made with worries over how management will react.

    Hard to work on meaningful software if you're new.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10. 5 people found this helpful  

    It's a fantastic, genius, fascinating group of people being simultaneously abused and paid less than some janitors.

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

    I have been working at Wolfram Research full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    -Free coffee, juice, and hot chocolate
    -Awesome employees who bring in free cake, cookies, etc to share all the time
    -You get to work with geniuses with great senses of humor
    -People swear like sailors and wear geeky t-shirts with flip flops and hang up colored christmas lights in their offices (and if this is not a pro for you, you may want to consider working elsewhere)
    -No straight-laced boring types (again, at least in tech) -- everyone is interesting

    Cons

    -Wolfram hiring mangers employ direct and unabashed agism. I have directly witnessed with my own eyes a candidate being refused an in-person interview based on the date he graduated college, the comment being along the lines of "look at the date he graduated -- this guy must be really old."
    -Worst pay on the planet. People have migrated from Wolfram to Yahoo here in town and made more than double what Wolfram paid them
    -The entire company is Stephen's toy, meaning you are also his toy; decisions are made that make absolutely no sense ($50 Wolfram|Alpha app, anyone?) and you have to learn how to please his peculiar sensibilities to survive (hint: mind your font kerning. He's into font kerning.)
    -Lots of secrets are kept. No communication. The right hand does not know what the left hand is doing, even when it directly asks because it is necessary in order to do its job.
    -Do not work here for more than about 4 or 5 years. The skills do not transfer. The way things are done at Wolfram have nothing to do with the way any other company does anything. There's no Agile, there's no Subversion, there's very little SQL, almost all regularly used tools are custom/proprietary so you are robbed of being able to list them on your resume

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Upper management? I don't even know what they do. Excom is in Cambridge. They are basically like an Illuminati cult and I am not even sure they exist.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11. 3 people found this helpful  

    You're expendable...and don't you forget it

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

    I worked at Wolfram Research full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    -Flexible in terms of when you come into the office
    -Casual work environment
    -Free coffee

    Cons

    -As a guy working in this environment I was deeply offended by how women get treated in this company and how its deemed acceptable. These women are your equals not your mothers.
    -The CEO only cares to groom certain people whom in turn treat everyone as terribly as the CEO treats them except these people aren't the CEO nor does it excuse such behavior.
    -Extremely low pay
    -Ridiculous expectations on production
    -Lack of team work; the management do nothing to encourage team work and when people work as a team they get more work with unrealistic deadlines hindering group work even if people are getting along. Often times you're the only person on a project so if no one is there as back up you're on your own and in trouble...
    -CEO treats his staff as though they're invisible unless he finds them stupid and incompetent in which case he takes the time to embarrass them in front of the group.
    -There is zero direction if you want to carve your own way in the company and zero support. If you can't do it on your own and aren't blessed to be in the inner circle forget your dreams even if your manager gives you their blessing to move forward.
    -You will be spread as thin as possible.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    -Give raises
    -Say thank you
    -Encourage growth
    -Create a team environments with collaborative environments
    -Tell Dr. Wolfram to be a little more polite instead of a petulant child.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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