Power Costs FAQ

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12 English questions out of 12

January 27, 2019

What is health insurance like at Power Costs?

Pros

- Pay is some of the highest you can get right out of school in the Oklahoma area. - Everyone is very nice. Probably the best aspect of working here is the friendly coworkers you will have on your team. Good team support when you're having problem on an issue and constructive criticism on code reviews. - You won't be getting free lunch every day, but they do offer coffee, tea, and healthier carbonated drinks like La Croix and Coke Zero - Location is decent. The Norman office is located on the South Research Campus of the University of Oklahoma and employees are given a faculty parking pass which will allow you to park on many locations on campus. It is just across from the Tom Love Innovation Hub with many facilities accessible to the public such as a fabrication lab and virtual reality equipment.

Cons

- Tech stack is outdated. The products used to be written in Java, and now are mostly web-based using GWT. I can understand the decision to stick with Java since the older versions were written in Java, but many times it feels like solving a problem is less actual problem solving than it is to find the GWT way of doing a particular thing when it would have been easily solved with more modern tools like React, Angular, or even just plain JS/jQuery. GWT is niche enough on its own, and then adding to that is the use of an in-house framework around built on GWT. If you have trouble, there is no way to Google for information, and you have to rely on asking for help. By the same vein, there is no real need to improve the interfaces with faster, modern tools since there's no real need to improve the UX given that there's no real competition to drive the need in this regard, making both the product and development process feel uninspired. - Sub-par work environment in terms of equipment for developers. The standard issue laptop for developers is a 4th gen dual core i7, which is just enough to get work done, but you'll be sitting around a lot waiting for your IDE to respond to commands, build the project, or even using git. Compared to companies that give new developers Macbooks or a decently specced desktop to work from, this is definitely something that is like an unspoken employee benefit. Most developers are also still using a pair of 1680x1050 monitors rather than proper 1080p monitors. It gets the job done, but again falls under the implied benefits. - Team is somewhat broken up. Aside from the developers and one business analyst actually at the office, the rest of the team including the managers work remotely. This can feel daunting especially during your first few weeks when the person you report to isn't actually there. - Another subjective con is the development practices. If you had a list of items titled "Properties of a Stereotypical Agile Company" PCI ticks every box. All the typical Agile meetings (15-30 min daily standups, 2-3hr start of sprint planning, 2-3 hour end of sprint retro/grooming), JIRA and the corresponding Atlassian products (HipChat, Confluence, etc), you name it. - Benefits could be improved. Aside from 10 days vacation + 40 hours of sick leave and standard medical insurance, and slightly flexible hours there is not much else. No work from home policy even though company issue computer is a laptop and nearly half your team members work remotely on-site at client locations anyway. - Semi-open floor plan might be a deal breaker for some people, especially if you work on a team with other team members who often have to make calls

Advice to Management

Aside from working remotely, the managers actually work quite well with the senior and principal developers to delegate tasks between team members.

Aside from 10 days vacation + 40 hours of sick leave and standard medical insurance, and slightly flexible hours there is not much else.

January 27, 2019

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July 27, 2020

How are senior leaders perceived at Power Costs?

Pros

Free coffee and soft drinks. Paychecks cash. Usually a very short wait to use the restroom. Company is full of smart, young talent who could go just about anywhere and see a big raise in pay, yet they choose to stay. I suspect it's because getting another company to sponsor their H-1B is too difficult and too risky. So they stay. Winning! The product sells itself, they own a huge part of the market share. It's basically a monopoly in the industry so revenue keeps coming in. With that, so does the maintenance to support a product that was never designed to operate at the scale they are today. You'll stay busy. All the time. Seriously.

Cons

PCI used to be such a great company, a real diamond in the rough. It has fallen hard the last several years. It has been revolving door at the senior leadership level, people leaving from key positions each year. It's like they know the company is failing. With that, the CEO has continually surrounded himself with people who are under-qualified and ill-equipped to handle a growing business. A bunch of "yes" men with golden handcuffs is just about all that is left. Not a good strategy in leading the company forward. You'll be crammed in an office with dozens of other people, told how great "open seating" is for collaboration. Unfortunately you'll have to hear every conversation, smell every smell, and listen to the person next to you eat their breakfast, lunch and sometimes dinner (because there is no where else to eat, and remember, you'll stay busy all the time). You'll be micromanaged, which is by design with their office seating arrangements, but also by granular timesheets that are required for all employees. At the end of the year, you will be measured on how many hours you submit on your timesheet, not the quality of work you do. So play their game and make sure you account for all your hours. You are expected to be available 24/7 to support a product that barely runs and is hardly stable. You'll start to lose sleep each release, wondering what will break next and which customer is going to threaten to leave causing everyone to react in a giant panic. Raises are laughable for a company continuing to grow. Often times you'll be well below the national cost of living index on the year over year income, and any gains are quickly chewed up by the benefits cost increases. Benefits are terrible by the way, you'll switch insurance each year as the CFO chases the cheapest option. Speaking of the CFO, she is the CEO's sister-in-law. Strange dynamic, but there is an obvious stranglehold on every dollar, so very little gets fixed or replaced. You quickly learn that the mindset is to meet functionality, not stability. Stability costs money, but functionality gets the revenue in the door quicker. Doing it cheap always wins at PCI, which is a scary thing when you consider that you are supporting customers with extremely high expectations of their software purchase being stable. There is no investment in your career growth. With the current CEO (Fred Lee) leading the company, they simply don't care about you.

Advice to Management

I'm pretty sure there is little that can be done to make PCI better in the near term. It really is a miserable company with a dismal outlook from an employees perspective. Best case scenario is the CEO steps away or sells the company and someone comes and cleans house and starts spending money to undo all the damage. It'll be pretty disruptive, but with some investment they could rebuild their product to be more resilient and make employees lives better by allowing them to work on new and emerging technologies instead of a decades old technology stack.

With that, the CEO has continually surrounded himself with people who are under-qualified and ill-equipped to handle a growing business.

July 27, 2020

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April 19, 2019

How is management perceived at Power Costs?

Pros

People are friendly and you get bonuses every year

Cons

Upper management is not the best. You have to be at the right place at the right time to get noticed in the company even though you are separated into different groups/teams so you should be noticed regardless. It's a small company.

Advice to Management

Value your employees. It's important to keep the best and hardworking around so if you don't acknowledge them or reward them for their work then you will lose a lot more people.

Upper management is not the best.

April 19, 2019

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January 13, 2020

What is the company culture at Power Costs?

Pros

Great place to work, the company culture is amazing. You get to work with very smart people that are always willing to help. If you like challenges, this is the place to work

Cons

Health insurance is expensive, compensation is not very competitive

Advice to Management

Good overall

Great place to work, the company culture is amazing.

January 13, 2020

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April 19, 2019

What are co-workers like at Power Costs?

Pros

People are friendly and you get bonuses every year

Cons

Upper management is not the best. You have to be at the right place at the right time to get noticed in the company even though you are separated into different groups/teams so you should be noticed regardless. It's a small company.

Advice to Management

Value your employees. It's important to keep the best and hardworking around so if you don't acknowledge them or reward them for their work then you will lose a lot more people.

People are friendly and you get bonuses every year

April 19, 2019

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12 English questions out of 12