Cengage Software Developer Reviews | Glassdoor

Cengage Software Developer Reviews

Updated Feb 9, 2018

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3.1
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49%
Recommend to a Friend
99%
Approve of CEO
  1. "positive"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Developer III in Boston, MA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Cengage full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    great environment, family first, great healthy organic fruits

    Cons

    no gym, nothing, nothing, nothing

    Cengage2018-02-01
  2. Helpful (9)

    "Feel like a AWS, in a cheaper way..."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Developer 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Lots of places can be improved. Lots work can be done (maybe this is a con).

    Cons

    1. Way too many contractors start to work on projects without knowing the big pictures. 2. Management team does not know how to get people work together. Instead, they definitely know how to fence their resource and ownership. 3. Some colleagues (especially cross-team) is not so willing to share things until you have their managers talk to them. 4. Internal wiki documentation is not monitored and most of them are... out of date and should be purged. 5. People start to leave without proper knowledge transfer.

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    Advice to Management

    Take time to consider your employee's career development.

    Cengage2018-02-09
  3. Helpful (1)

    "Great work life balance for an engineer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Software Development Engineer-II in Boston, MA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Cengage full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    - Great place to grow your skills - Easygoing culture, passionate and smart co-workers - Good opportunities to make an impact fast

    Cons

    The release schedule could be better but in the education industry there is no way out of a big fall release and big spring release

    Advice to Management

    Listen more to employees about potential blockers before making them accountable, the CAS software stack unique to Cengage has a steep learning and more time should be invested in making the project better

    Cengage2018-01-19
  4. Helpful (12)

    "Software Development"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Developer III 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Cengage full-time

    Pros

    Laid-back. Not a lot of pressure. Business seems intent on capturing market and working towards it.

    Cons

    Outdated tech stack. Bully culture. Lot of isolation. Promotes the wrong people.

    Cengage2018-02-08
  5. "Software Developer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Developer in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Cengage full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Diverse projects. well compensated. some are using latest technology

    Cons

    a bit of messy. sometimes lack work-life balance

    Cengage2017-08-24
  6. Helpful (36)

    "Just okay..."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Software Developer 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Cengage

    Pros

    - Good people - Fairly modern tech stack - Routine employee outings (Zoo for the company picnic, baseball game for the department outing, etc.) - Good work/life balance

    Cons

    - Micromanagement: Pretty much all of the managers feel the need to constantly tell you how to do your job. There are a some exceptions, but only a few. - No bonuses: Bonuses are tied to revenues and not profits. If the company turns a huge profit but doesn't meet its revenue goals, then no-one but upper management gets a bonus. It almost seems as though the revenue goals are intentionally set too high to be... met so that they don't have to pay out bonuses. - Tiny raises: Average is somewhere between 2% and 2.5% - Rare promotions: Very few people get promoted. Promotions are often "frozen" for one reason or another. - Benefits aren't that great - Architects like to play in their sandbox and force unneeded technologies on everyone - Product management is very disjointed. There's often multiple teams building the same things because the product managers don't talk to each other. - Manager aren't very good at assessing talent. Some employees that are really bad at their job are considered the best in the company when really they should probably be let go. - Very bad case of "not-built-here" syndrome. We have built our own proxies, databases, cloud deployment tools, and much more. These were built because certain "important" individuals believe we have unique scaling challenges that can't be solved with off-the-shelf solutions. This just isn't true.

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    Advice to Management

    - Invest in your employees by improving the benefits. - Change the bonus program to actually have a chance to pay out - Hand out larger raises to the people who are contributing more instead of just giving everyone roughly the same amount - Focus on product and feature consolidation so we're not building the same things over and over again - Figure out a better way of assessing employee skill levels so that we... can get rid of the people holding the company back. - Stop building stuff outside of our domain expertise and reallocate those developers to improving our core products.

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    Cengage2016-09-16
  7. Helpful (3)

    "Has its ups and downs"

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    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Developer in Boston, MA
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Cengage full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Opportunities for learning. Weekly talks on technology topics. Lots of smart people.

    Cons

    Limited opportunities for advancement and raises. Projects are sometimes poorly managed.

    Cengage2016-02-01
  8. Helpful (20)

    "When Worlds Collide"

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    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Software Development Manager in Pleasanton, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Cengage full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Tech people are very sharp, product people are passionate about learning. They handled their bankruptcy well, and they have invested into restructuring their tech side. I think the CEO believes in the cause. They had massive layoffs and unfortunately, I think they had to. The old Cengage was old, fat, and complacent. The new Cengage is trying to be leaner and faster.

    Cons

    Product people don't understand the software world - many are still from the publishing days. Pay is very low for product / content developers. Tech communicates very poorly with Product people. Product people are very good in their areas - they have masters and Phd's in their subject area, but they have zero interest in software capabilities. They don't understand that last minute "tweaks" require full... regression testing when a product is about to go live. This has bit them before. QA, with a few exceptions, is the worst I have ever worked with. Very junior people who have to be told what to do. Sometimes the company spend their money in strange ways. They pull out the stops for an offsite in Florida with huge parties, yet content developers in SF make about $50k a year in one of the most expensive cities in the country. They have a presence on the west coast but no serious software development there - that is only for Boston and Farmington hills because they know they cannot compete salary wise.

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    Advice to Management

    You cleaned house well on the tech side; time to do so to the dinosaurs from the publishing era. At least train product people on the principles and ideas of software development. There is much mistrust for the tech side from the product side. The tech side does not even pay attention to the product side.

    Cengage2015-11-17
  9. Helpful (2)

    "A good place to work with great people"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Software Developer in Mason, OH
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Cengage full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    I loved my coworkers and the camaraderie we had. I enjoyed going into work most days. I had the opportunity to work on some big initiatives aimed at helping the company grow. It's an exciting time to be in higher education as more courses adopt digital tools. Upper management is approachable and transparent. Schedule flexibility was never an issue.

    Cons

    Any large organization that is spread across the country (and world) will struggle with focus and collaboration. There is a concerted effort to unify the ways in which customers interact with Cengage, but it's not quite where it needs to be. There are still many walls (both real and virtual) which cause groups to work in silos but some work has been done to break them down.

    Advice to Management

    Continue to be transparent and speak often with your employees. The town halls were a great way to have direct communication with upper management. Michael's videos were well-done and a helpful way of communicating to everyone at once. Continue to tear down the walls that keep employees from collaborating.

    Cengage2015-08-29
  10. Helpful (9)

    "Getting better, but still needs work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Developer III in Farmington Hills, MI
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Great people and interesting projects. Working hours are fairly flexible. Lots of non-salary perks like company outings, compensated lunches, quarterly happy hours, beer fridge, etc. Modern development platforms (Java, node.js, angular, polymer, etc). Open area workspace that fosters collaboration and communication.

    Cons

    Development schedules are often too aggressive forcing developers to take shortcuts that affect code quality and cost the company more money in the long run. Bonuses are based on revenue goals and not profit so you may not receive a bonus even when the company is profitable. The culture between the Farmington Hills office and the Boston office is completely different. The Boston office feels like nobody wants to... be there, while the Farmington Hills office is the exact opposite. Some amenities are available in one office and not the other. For example, Boston associates can get a soda for 25 cents or snag an espresso from the espresso machine. Farmington Hills associates have to pay $1.35 for a soda and have no espresso machine available. The company calls itself Agile and follows a process called "The Cengage Way" (Scrumish), but the way projects are actually managed isn't quite there yet. Requirements are generally gathered up front before a project starts, we're often asked to estimate in days, and Sprints are planned out 4 or 5 in advance. This varies significantly depending on which development manager is managing your project. Some development managers are huge micromanagers, often scheduling random meetings to discuss project details that they really don't need to know about. They also demand that all communication go through them, including day to day conversations that employees have to work out small implementation details. Devops is about 5 - 7 years behind the times, relying heavily on lots of puppet scripts and a custom in-house web interface to manage them instead of using industry standard tools like containers (Docker). The puppet scripts are often broken, and it takes months to get new features added to them. There's been a high rate of turnover since I joined the company because the company isn't doing enough to retain top talent. Employees are constantly getting better offers from competing companies in the area (Amazon, TD Ameritrade, Ally Financial, etc).

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    Advice to Management

    Relax development schedules to allow developers to deliver quality over quantity. Adjust the bonus structure to be based on profits. Provide the same amenities at all offices. Continue to drive Agile practices and improve the Cengage Way. Solicit anonymous feedback about management so we can fix the micromanagement issue. Modernize devops so that we can actually follow best practices for deployments and runtime... isolation (microservices). Re-evaluate and adjust the compensation levels for all current employees so that people stop leaving.

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    Cengage2015-08-16
Found 19 reviews