Charles River Analytics Reviews | Glassdoor

Charles River Analytics Reviews

Updated January 25, 2017
26 reviews

Filter

Filter

Full-time Part-time

3.7
Star Star Star Star Star
Rating Trends Rating Trends
Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
(no image)
Karen Harper
4 Ratings

26 Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date

  1. Helpful (1)

    "Great place to work"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Cambridge, MA
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Cambridge, MA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Charles River Analytics full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    CRA is a great place to work. People are generally friendly and there are many experts in their respective fields, from machine learning to human-computer interaction and robotics. Much of the work being done here is cutting edge research, covering a broad range of topics, so no matter what your interest is, you can likely find people working on it.

    There is a lot of room for growth and taking on leadership roles and responsibilities, but you do need to be willing to push for it and go after it. The company is employee owned, so there is much more of a sense of the company caring about their employees.

    Salary is fair, if maybe a little low (at least for Software Engineers), but the benefits are extremely good and make up for the difference. Very flexible and family-friendly.

    Management tends to be very open about the state and direction of the company, much more so than I have seen other places.

    Cons

    CRA primarily focuses on research and development projects, so if you are a Software Engineer expecting to work on the same project for years and do typical product support work, you won't find that here. You will typically be on multiple projects (2-3) and some will only last for 6-12 months. Some people love that environment, but some don't.

    You will typically end up working with a core group of people on a particular area of research problems. It can be hard sometimes to branch out to other groups or areas of interest, but this is something the company has been working on.

    Advice to Management

    Continue to be open about the state and direction of the company. Make sure new employees are given a solid orientation so that they know all the resources available to them.


  2. "A Great, but Tough, Place to Work"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Software Engineer I in Cambridge, MA
    Former Employee - Software Engineer I in Cambridge, MA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Charles River Analytics full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    * Wide range of projects that come at a fast clip, meaning you won't necessarily be tied down to one project for your whole career unless one of your projects has been extremely successful.
    * Amazing and smart people that are happy to offer help if asked
    * Employee-ownership, which means a bit more say in the company's direction
    * Great compensation packages for the field

    Cons

    * Training for new employees is a bit lacking. You are thrown head-first into some tough work without a whole lot of mentoring. Not that your supervisor and other senior engineers won't help when asked, but there's a missing structure to help grow new employees who might need it.

    Advice to Management

    Take the mentoring problem seriously. It's been an issue for a while now, so follow through on your promise to tackle it. It would really help the environment be a bit less sink-or-swim for new folks.

  3. Helpful (2)

    "A lot of work to be done"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, MA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, MA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Charles River Analytics full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Work can be interesting at times, most team members are professional, hard working and embrace innovation. Company does try to offer a lot of perks to employees, pep up, bonus and profit sharing plans.

    Cons

    Highly political with zero accountability for poor performance or behavior. The job culture here can be downright unhealthy with fear tactics as means of trying to motivate employees. Also if your skill set varies from the traditional software engineer expect no direction or help in career growth. Depending on the contract, leadership and management can foster a poor atmosphere. Projects can be very demanding and lack direction.

    Advice to Management

    Senior "leadership" should refocus itself on establishing a set of core values. Furthermore, start embracing individuals who show leadership/management qualities rather than dismissing issues that greatly impact team morale. Also promote the free exchange of information to teams. Many times team members are left in the dark about project plans or objectives.


  4. "A technically challenging and rewarding place to work."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Cambridge, MA
    Current Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Cambridge, MA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Charles River Analytics full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    We work with some very bright people on a wide range of challenging & novel technical problems. Employees may wear many hats and gain valuable experience if they are willing to leave their comfort zone.

    Cons

    Charles River provides increased job security, environment, interesting problems, and benefits at the cost of below-average overall compensation.

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the good work!


  5. "More engineering, less management"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Cambridge, MA
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Cambridge, MA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Charles River Analytics full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    The biggest pro (and also biggest con) is the fact that nearly everyone at CRA is either an engineer or a scientist. If you come from a place that was overburdened with management, you might appreciate having less of it around. If you enjoy a lot of freedom to self direct yourself (and can actually do it productively), you'll also do well here.

    Other pros include total health care coverage (you don't pay a dime towards it), a nice profit-sharing retirement plan of 15% (once you meet the tenure threshold), and as I was leaving, they were transitioning the company to an employee owned company, where stocks of the company are allotted to employees which reside in your retirement account. You accumulate these stocks and when you retire, you cash them out. They also provide snacks, though on a somewhat "limited" basis. (i.e. the snacks are usually gone by Friday and don't get restocked until Monday; contrast to Google, where they stock so many snacks, food and beverages that you couldn't possibly deplete them, even if you were being shady and taking stuff home.)

    The culture is also a bit "younger" than some other places. This results in a faster pace environment and newer technologies being adopted very quickly. CRA is very supportive in helping employees learn new things, attending conferences, buying books and other resources, etc.

    Cons

    The biggest pro is also the biggest con, as without management, you see the lack of team building and structure that would normally be in place. If you're the kind of person who thrives in structured environments, you may not do well at CRA.

    Another some-what con is the profit sharing retirement plan tenure requirement. It requires that you work there for 1 year before it becomes active, and then, the deposit is only made into your account at the end of your 2nd year. So that's basically two full years without any company contributions to your retirement account. If you can get past that, then the 15% is pretty nice (no employee contribution required).


  6. "Values its people, Values its customers"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, MA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, MA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Charles River Analytics full-time

    Pros

    The company values its human capital (obviously its life blood) and provides for a very positive working environment that fosters creativity. The company leadership is completely committed to its customer base desiring to provide the best, most forward looking products/results possible and this focus is passed on to the professional staff.

    Cons

    Not really a "con", as I think most companies would love to be in this situation; but the company is conservative in its growth which results in hiring lagging workload. This means that all staff carry heavy workloads but also that there is no need to layoff staff based on revenue gaps.

    Advice to Management

    Continue to focus on cultivating both your people and your customers.


  7. "Friendly, rewarding, and exciting"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, MA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, MA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Charles River Analytics full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Informed, highly technical staff and management: Seriously, the staff includes some of the smartest people I’ve ever been in a room with. Managers are technically savvy, so there aren’t just MBAs that have no clue what the projects are about. Feels like the next big idea could pop up in the office next door. Sometimes, it does.

    Rapid prototyping environment: Early prototypes are often created in weeks or months to test new, proof-of-concept designs. It is exciting to see the newest software concepts emerge so quickly into workable prototypes.

    Range of project subjects and types: Projects range from small research feasibility studies to large implemented systems. This makes for a ton of variety in the type of work to be done.

    Room to grow: Well defined avenues for personal growth are actively promoted by management. These include additional training and university degree support. Senior management is interested in employee experiences and growth; they remind and encourage often.

    Tons of support: Peers, managers, and dedicated support staff make sure you never are left out in the cold with technical or business questions. The range of expertise of the staff ensures they know something about your problem or know a world-class expert who does.

    Employee owned: It’s nice to own a piece of the pie and have a stake in the outcome of your work.

    Benefits: top notch

    Friendly environment: People are busy but they’ll make time to say hello, check-in, and help where they can.

    Cons

    Often requires self-direction: A lot of the work is self-directed, which could be an issue for people who don’t work well in that environment.

    Project futures can be uncertain: The nature of this type of work is that projects can be cut, downsized, or reorganized based on sales and the customer’s wishes. You usually know the decision points well in advance, but, if you like to know exactly what you will be working on in 5 years, that doesn’t usually happen here.

    Advice to Management

    Continue to grow.

  8. Helpful (6)

    "Your Experience May Vary"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, MA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, MA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Charles River Analytics full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Terrific benefits, free parking, nice job titles, many free meals, some interesting work. A great place for interns to get hands-on experience working on interesting projects with very smart people.

    Cons

    The culture, stemming from senior management, is "not nice". The relative lack of management experience at the top has molded a highly political culture where diversity, and those who challenge ideas are not appreciated, Bullying is tolerated in some groups, scapegoating is common. Depending on your position in the hierarchy, it could be fine experience or not so good. For those seeking a research job, CRA doesn't really do research.

    Advice to Management

    Invest heavily in training employees, especially at the senior management level. Senior managers and middle managers would benefit from training in management, diversity, employment law & best practices. Processes are good, but the company culture is disturbing.


  9. "Good Small Company"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, MA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, MA
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Very good benefits, nice working conditions, including nice personal offices for those with seniority, good inter-communications, fun.

    Cons

    Limited potential for for employee advancement due to size. Most employees leave company after five years.

    Advice to Management

    Focus on the long term career of the employees.


  10. "Freedom to pursue interesting work"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Scientist in Boston, MA
    Former Employee - Senior Scientist in Boston, MA
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Charles River Analytics was an interesting place to work, with a lot of freedom to go after interesting research contracts.

    Cons

    Charles River Analytics is a small company that is expanding rapidly and was at some stage experiencing growth pains. However, this is not unusual for a company of this size.

    Advice to Management

    The company has been around for almost 30 years now. Not much advice to give to senior management, they are well positioned and understand their business model well.


Showing 26 of 30 reviews
Reset Filters