Zemax Careers | Glassdoor

Zemax Overview

Kirkland, WA
51 to 200 employees
Company - Private
Information Technology
Unknown / Non-Applicable
Zemax is the leading brand of optical and illumination design software used by thousands of professional optical designers and engineers worldwide, and OpticStudio is the latest edition of Zemax software. We touch nearly every optical system manufactured today, from cell phone ... Read more

Mission: Our primary goal is the comprehensive success of our customers. We truly believe that we only progress as a company when our customers are successful. This principle is at the heart of everything we do. Our software development is guided by our customer’s feedback and ... Read more

Company Updates

  • Zemax announces SOLIDWORKS Gold Partner Product status with release of LensMechanix 3.0! http://glassdoor.com/slink.htm?key=vQtk7

    Zemax News - Zemax

    02/20/2017 Kirkland, Washington - Zemax is proud to announce that LensMechanix has been awarded Certified Gold Partner Product status by SOLIDWORKS, a 3D CAD program by Dassault Systèmes. Fulfilling the rigorous standards of the Gold Partner Program demonstrates that LensMechanix meets the highest expectations for quality, functionality, performance, and integration with the SOLIDWORKS platform.

  • With its comprehensive suite of optical, laser, and illumination design features, OpticStudio provides unparalleled value for optical engineers and researchers. Try OpticStudio Premium Edition free. http://glassdoor.com/slink.htm?key=vQiVL

    Purchase OpticStudio - Zemax

    Buy OpticStudio Standard, Buy OpticStudio Professional, Buy Premium Editions single user licenses. Buy OpticStudio Professional, Buy Premium Editions Network Licenses. Buy Zemax Productivity Assurance (ZPA) one year Maintenance and Support Plan. ZPA gives you key protection and a discount on a training course of your choice.

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Zemax – Why Work For Us?

I’m Mark Nicholson, the CEO of Zemax. I’m really pleased you’re interested in joining our team.

If you’re any good, and I’m sure you are, you’ll know that this is a two-way process. We want to hire the very best, and typically the very-best have lots of options and can afford to be choosy. So be sure that, if you join Zemx, you’ll be joining a team of outstanding individuals and teams. People who are successful at Zemax tend to demonstrate the following behavior:

Drive- We actively identify what needs to be done and get it done!

Improve- We see everything as a work in progress.

Solve Problems- We identify problems or challenges, think creatively, and deliver the best solutions.

Super Smart- We are intelligent, quick, adaptable and resourceful, and bring these qualities to everything we do.

Fun- Life is too short to be bored at work. We don’t take ourselves too seriously. We use our humor and wit to enjoy each day.

Honesty- We are candid and direct, and non-political when we disagree. We only say things about fellow Zemaxers that we would say to their face. We are quick to admit mistakes.

Of course, our salaries, benefits and work environment are great too. So, if these values describe you and the people you like to work with, then you’ll have a great time at Zemax!

Zemax recognizes that our biggest asset is something we don’t own at all: our people. We strive to create a fun & open culture that’s collaborative, challenging, and inclusive to attract and retain exceptional people. Without the people, we’re just lines of static code.

We are a lean organization, which means everyone chips in to get things done. We all work hard, but it’s great to be a part of a top-notch team and to know that when you need help, there’s always someone willing to lend a hand. Whether it’s attending technical talks by the founder, popping into the CEO’s office to ask a question about optical physics, or getting help with a marketing campaign, ours is an environment where experiments are favored and learning is encouraged.

Our company is growing rapidly. A key benefit of joining us now is the ability to carve out a niche for yourself and define what your next job in the company will be. Those who step up go on to do great things, whether in sales, marketing, engineering, or development. Come join our collaborative team.


Zemax, LLC is a software and services company that has been developing and supporting optical and illumination design software for nearly 25 years. We help scientists, engineers, researchers and students turn their optical and illumination systems ideas into reality. The cornerstones of our success are rock solid physics architecture, a culture of excellence and innovation, and the insistence on listening to our customers. These allow us to deliver unmatched value in the industry and have led to us having the largest, most passionate user-base in the industry.

Our primary goal is the comprehensive success of our customers. We truly believe that we only progress as a company when our customers are successful. This principle is at the heart of everything we do. Our software development is guided by our customer’s feedback and the trajectory of the industry as a whole. Our engineering services team exists to remove all obstacles to customer success. From technical support to training and custom solutions, we are fanatical about customer success.


Zemax has offices in the U.S., Europe, Japan, Taiwan and China.

In the US, Zemax, LLC is in the beautiful city of Kirkland, WA, specifically in the Plaza Yarrow Bay, right off the 520 bridge. This is a great location for the numerous luncheon spots in Kirkland, Bellevue or even Redmond– this also helps when picking our next Happy Hour spot!

Our European office is in Stansted, an area of the UK that has been voted one of the top 5 places to live in the UK in recent quality of life surveys. This is thanks to the traditional village atmosphere and several great restaurants and pubs nearby. Being approximately half way between London and Cambridge means it’s very easy to stay or socialise in either city if village life isn’t for you

If you’ll be working in our Japan office, you’ll enjoy all the pleasures that Tokyo offers nearby. It’s upbeat, lively and action packed.

Zemax China is in the stunning city of Shanghai, with all the amazing sights nearby.

Our newest location, Zemax Taiwan is in the modern metropolis of Taipei. Located nearly is the lively street-food scene for your action-packed lunch adventures.


In 2016, we introduced LensMechanix, a power new SOLIDWORKS add-in that gives mechanical engineers the tools to package, analyze, and validate their optomechanical designs. 

LensMechanix simplifies the transition between optics design and opto-mechanical packaging, within the familiar SOLIDWORKS interface. Key features include:

  • Insert saved system: Insert the optical design file directly into SOLIDWORKS. From OpticStudio, optical design properties are automatically loaded. Then add mechanical geometry and components.
  • Run ray trace: Use Zemax’s industry leading core physics to trace rays and assess product performance in SOLIDWORKS. Ray trace analyzes the complete product, including the mechanical geometry.
  • Show display rays: View how light travels through the optical system to identify unwanted stray light, reflections and areas for improvements in the product design — all without going back to the optics designer.
  • Image viewer: Simulates how an image would be viewed through the end product. LensMechanix includes many pre-installed images, or new images can be uploaded to conduct this analysis.
  • Optical performance summary: A display of results in a simple chart indicating “pass/fail” for image quality and stray light metrics. Detailed results data is also stored to troubleshoot the design or gather additional insights.
  • Surface power: Provides a colorized diagram, similar to a thermal map, to help analyze where light energy is concentrated or lost within the product.


Our flagship product, OpticStudio, is the world-leading optical and illumination design software built on Zemax’s core physics engine.

OpticStudio combines a new, intuitive user interface with a comprehensive array of features and unmatched functionality, making it the preferred design platform for engineers, researchers and designers around the world.


What optical systems are designed with our software? Just about all of them! From microscope adapters for cell phone cameras to two-photon neurological microscopes to homogenizers for illumination systems to the onboard systems of the Curiosity Mars Rover, it’s hard to find an optical system that isn’t modeled with our software.

In addition to our software, we provide engineering services for our customers including technical support, custom development, and private and public training.  Nearly all of our engineers have advanced degrees and years of experience in optical design and illumination. Whether it's answering complex questions about image quality or helping with an installation, we provide the best technical support in the industry.  


One of the most unique aspects of the company is our exceptional leadership team. Many of us have backgrounds in physics and optics, and it’s our technical expertise that helps us understand and connect with our customers. 



Mark Nicholson, Chief Executive Officer
Mark became CEO in the fall of 2014, and has been with the company for over 20 years. His strong background in optics and remarkable business savvy make him everyone’s favorite Dr. CEO.

Mark holds a PhD in Plasma Spectroscopy from Imperial College, University of London in 1983 and a Bachelor’s degree on Physics also from Imperial College in 1979.

When he’s not testing the latest beta or working on business strategy, he’s playing his guitar or riding his motorcycle through the countryside.


Dan Hamann, Chief Revenue Officer
Dan joined Zemax in 2016, where he heads up all Sales and Lead Generation activity.
Dan spent 13 years at F5 Networks, successfully building out a global sales team and installing their first full “Cold to Cash” Waterfall. He also has spent time at Seattle Startups Simply Measured and Oralis as VP of Global Sales and Director of Customer Care respectively.

Dan holds a BA in Spanish from Colorado State University, which still comes in handy during international travel.

While not singing the praises of Zemax’s amazing value to customers, he can be found in his music room messing around with his guitars, piano and accordion.




Jeff deCilla, Chief Financial Officer
Jeff deCillia is the newest member of our senior term having joined Zemax in February of 2017. Most recently he served as CFO of Donuts Inc., the operator of the largest number of the Internet’s top-level domain names. Prior to that he served as CFO of INRIX, Inc., a global traffic intelligence platform, where he was a key player in the acquisition and integration of INRIX’s largest competitor, and managed significant international operations.
His other experience includes serving as both CFO and interim CEO for PivotLink Corp. a SaaS BI company and CFO for Captaris (NASDAQ: CAPA) a global leader in communications software.  Jeff holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Washington Foster School of Business and earned his CPA while working at Deloitte.   
When not at work he can be found on the golf course, working out or otherwise staying active.


Sanjay Gangadhara, Director of Research & Development
Sanjay became Director of the Research & Development team in May of 2013, where he leads the technical development of all Zemax software solutions – including our flagship product, OpticStudio. He has been with the company since 2007, having served as an individual contributor to both the Engineering Services and Research & Development teams before taking over as Director of R&D.

Sanjay holds a PhD in Nuclear Science & Engineering from MIT and a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering & Nuclear Engineer from UC Berkeley.

When he’s not writing algorithms or developing code, you can find him chasing his kids around the park.


Alison Yates, Director of Virtual Prototyping
Alison became Director of Engineering Services in fall of 2014, and most recently was promoted to Director of Virtual Prototyping, where she directs the global engineering services operation, including technical support, training, custom work and new feature testing.  She joined Zemax in 2012, and spent several years as Manager of Zemax Technical Support.

Alison holds an MS in Electro-optics from the University of Dayton and a BS in Physics from Wright State University.

When she’s not handling escalated cases or testing betas, you can find her playing Rachmaninoff or going on long-distance cycling trips


Cort Stinnett, Director of New Ventures
Cort joined Zemax in 2011 as Product Manager of OpticStudio and was quickly promoted to Director of the New Ventures Division. His background in engineering coupled with his knack for market analysis gives him insight into customer needs and where the market is heading.

Cort holds a BSME from University of Kansas and an MBA from Creighton University.

When he’s not entrenched in market analysis, you can find him dodging cars as he bike commutes. 



Growth is a huge part of our culture and with that comes opportunities for people to move from one department to another as they learn and decide where their passion is within the company.  Zemax believes in promoting from within, so many of our people have moved into new or existing positions within the company taking on more responsibilities. Take a look at these employee testimonials and experiences working at Zemax!


“Currently I am the General Manager at Zemax Japan, during my time working for Zemax I have enjoyed providing the industry leading optical design software. The “Zemax Family” is full of passion! Without Zemax, there is no fun or life!” 


“Currently I am the Sales Administrator at Zemax, LLC. Zemax is a company that supports and believes in their employees. I am proud to be a part of Zemax and happy to see that we keep on growing and keep on delivering great results all around the world”



“The last four years at Zemax has been a great experience! Zemax helps every employee with continued growth, over a year ago I was promoted to Key Account Manager and I couldn’t be happier. There is a great team atmosphere, and a high degree of flexibility for the employees. The Zemax culture is one which empowers everyone to achieve.”



“Currently I am an Account Manager at Zemax, LLC. One of the best parts about working for Zemax is the everyday interaction with customers and to see how our software makes their work come to life.”



“The time I’ve spent at Zemax has been the most amazing and fun time of my working life and I honestly can’t imagine working anywhere else. From the people I work with, the variety of duties and the great leadership team, Zemax is the place to be! Zemax always encourages every employee to be a part of the team, you can ask for help when needed and give honest feedback. You can’t ask for a better place to work!”


"At Zemax we are a truly multicultural team which makes us UNIQUE. We have a real the sense of pride bringing VALUE to prestigious global players as well as individual contributors in this fascinating world of optics. This is only heightened by working in a truly fun, honest environment, where each “Zemaxer” is not only encouraged to solve problems, improve and self-developed, but is also empowered to get the job done professionally and constructively."

Since joining the Zemax Team, the phrase “Contributing to the success of a growing company” has a whole new meaning!

-Olly - EMEA Head of Sales & Marketing


“Currently I am the Engineering Services Manager at Zemax Europe. I manage a team of fantastic Engineers and together we: support our users with their cutting-edge projects, train the next generation of OpticStudio experts, and help research and develop exciting new capabilities for our software. Every day provides a different challenge and it a pleasure working with my Zemax colleagues across he the world to tackle these.”



“I am a Principal Engineer at Zemax and I couldn’t imagine a better job in optics.  I’m deeply engaged in optical theory and developing OpticStudio into the best tool it can be for my fellow optical engineers. I get to meet and work with a wide variety of engineers on interesting optical projects. I also get to work on outreach and communication through webinars, mentoring, conferences, and technical papers.  The environment here has a startup feel and is personal, supportive, and flexible.” 


"I am the Engineering Services Manager for APAC located at Zemax China. Working at Zemax for the past two years has been a wonderful journey to me. We assist some of the best customers in the market. Zemax is the gate to the optics world, including lens design, illumination, scattering, physicaly optics, colorimetry, etc. Moreover, the team at Zeamx is fantastic! Co-workers help each other every day and the manangerment team assings work based on capabilities and interest, which makes the whole team efficient and happy.”



“I love working as an Optical Engineer for Zemax because I get to work on so many different projects. In a given week I could help a customer resolve a problem which has halted his/her multi-million-dollar project, help develop a new feature for OpticStudio, travel to a customer facility to teach a training course, and/or promote Zemax at a trade show. The variety really keeps the work environment exciting!”



"I am the Senior Optical Engineer at Zemax Europe. I can honestly say that working at Zemax these past 2 years has been the best experience, I have learned so much! I’ve learned more about optics and applications, but also about IT and project management. At Zemax you will get involved in numerous aspects of the company and product.”



“Currently I am a Software Development Engineer at Zemax. One of my favorite thing about Zemax is all the wonderful people I can learn from every day.”



“I am the OpticStudio Product Manager at Zemax, LLC. I enjoy working at Zemax because I get to work with an extremely intelligent and diverse group of people, who are passionate about what they do, and the software that we create. Zemax software has been enabling innovation for over 25 years now, and we’re very proud of the impact that we’ve had on optical technologies.” 



“As a computational physicist at Zemax, I have the reward of seeing the research and development that I contribute help optical engineers around the world build the latest and greatest optical systems. Our development team is always in the middle of new and interesting projects, large and small—there is always something new to learn. Of any place I’ve known, this job has the best mix of company culture and satisfying technical work.”


“The team at Zemax is amazing to work with, we have pancake and bacon breakfasts and go do fun things like Zip-lining together! I can’t imagine working for anyone else, Zemax rocks!”


"Zemax is a great company to work for because we a long-term vision of how to help customers succeed. It is great to be a part of that vision, work with really smart people to create new solutions, and then see what our users can do with them."


“The working environment at Zemax is a very engaging and supportive one. We have an open-door policy here and everybody is keen to help one another.”

 -Dr. Thomas Pickering

Zemax Reviews

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Zemax CEO Dr. Mark Nicholson
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16 Ratings
  • "Best company I've worked for"

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Zemax full-time


    - Small
    - Growing
    - Profitable
    - Fun
    - Adaptable
    - Smart coworkers
    - Compassionate people
    - Great perks (maternity/paternity leave, snacks, company uber, etc)


    - Lack of communication at times, promotions/changes sometimes happen with little warning
    - Few documented policies/procedures. It would be nice to be able to look up what the policy is on bereavement or medical leave, but I'm not sure where to do that.

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Zemax Photos

Zemax photo of: Photonics West 2018
Zemax photo of: Zemax User Group Meeting
Zemax photo of: Laser World of Photonics 2017
Zemax photo of: Photonics West 2017
Zemax photo of: Photonics West Booth
Zemax photo of: Tommy is cool as ice
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Zemax Interviews



Getting an Interview

Getting an Interview





    Technical Writer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Kirkland, WA
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Average Interview


    I applied online. I interviewed at Zemax (Kirkland, WA) in June 2017.


    The interview flow was not standard - office manager replied to my online application with an editing test. I then had a phone call with hiring manager, then another editing test, then on-site interview with hiring manager. Had an unconventional but seemingly positive conversation with the hiring manager, with requests for writing samples and references at the end, and indication that next steps would be a loop talking with more of the team. I provided the requested materials and the next thing I heard a few days later was a form email saying they "had difficult decisions" but that they would not be proceeding with my candidacy. No other feedback, or even personalization.

    Interview Questions

    • Draw six columns on a white board, make the first two your strengths and weaknesses in your mind, the next two your strengths and weaknesses according to your managers, and the third set your strengths and weaknesses according to your peers.   1 Answer
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Zemax Awards & Accolades

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