Charles River Analytics Reviews | Glassdoor

Charles River Analytics Reviews

Updated November 20, 2017
29 reviews

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4.0
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Karen Harper
7 Ratings

29 Employee Reviews

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  1. "Great Place to Work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Cutting edge technical Work
    Great benefits
    Great Company Culture

    Cons

    Constant pressure on business development


  2. "Great benefits, little support"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    3 weeks pto to start, sick time, flexible schedule, work from home options, great healthcare benefits, decent pay, free snacks 24/7, frequent free lunches

    Cons

    The company hasn't developed a good training plan for new employees. I recall setting up a few training meetings and I was told "I'm going to set this up for an hour but it should be easy so I plan to be out in 20 minutes." I wasn't given time to ask questions and when I did it seemed like I was being annoying.

    Also, the culture here isn't for everyone. You need to have a specific personality to get along with everyone.

    Advice to Management

    Work on your on-boarding. I know people are busy but it's important to make time to properly train new employees. No one wants to be a body sitting in an office being used to charge project hours on.

  3. "Great Environment, Great Jobs for Self-Directed people"

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

    I have been working at Charles River Analytics full-time

    Pros

    I have had some pretty horrible past experiences and find the culture here to be terrific. Everyone I have encountered is nice and *kind*. Everyone has been willing to help whenever I ask for something.

    HR has made some big changes and are continuing to implement changes to help new people get up to speed. They also were relatively transparent about how they came to my salary and are focused on maintaining parity in salary for everyone at the same level of responsibility/experience, including ensuring that there is no gender pay gap here. I found their offer to be great, slightly higher than other offers I've gotten and with the best benefits around on top of that.

    Per other reviews, they are slowly putting better management practices into place. I'll be meeting with my manager next week to discuss career growth and they are trying to make sure managers focus on the 5-10 year growth as well as the 1 year growth.

    Overall, they are still a work in progress (and intend to always be), but are always striving to improve and listen to employees. I couldn't ask for a better place to work.

    Cons

    If you are not used to working in a self-directed environment, you will likely struggle here. Sharing of some kinds of institutional knowledge, especially about past projects, is not very good, although they are trying to find better solutions to this.

    As with most tech adjacent companies, there are usually fewer women in the room than men, but the company seems to be trying to change that. Several of the new hires have been women in more senior positions (and the president is a woman).

    Advice to Management

    Keep listening to your employees!


  4. Helpful (1)

    "Great place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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.


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

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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.


  6. Helpful (3)

    "A lot of work to be done"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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.


  7. Helpful (4)

    "Becoming distressingly mediocre"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Charles River Analytics full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Flexible work hours.

    Personnel are very friendly.

    Distinct, clearly defined promotion tracks for engineers and scientists.

    Cons

    Projects are rapidly becoming homogenized.

    Rather than rewarding and encouraging innovation, management is increasingly fixated on mass repetition and reuse of the same ideas to meet quotas. The company's focus appears to be shifting from researching and developing unique solutions, to merely turning the crank as quickly as possible. The increased importance on rapidly elevating the bottom line (rather than doing good work) is cultivating a "quantity over quality" mentality.

    There appears to be a complete lack of strategic longterm vision for the company, and growth has stagnated as a result.

    Advice to Management

    While Charles River is not a horrible place to work (yet), the gap between it and competitors is rapidly shrinking. Remember the underlying reasons for past successes, and recapture them through planned, deliberate action. Turning into a mass-production proposal sweatshop is certainly one approach, but potentially not the ideal one for your employees.

  8. "Great company, great work, great benefits"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Charles River Analytics full-time

    Pros

    exciting work, ability to find or create new projects to work on, excellent benefits, ability to telecommute when needed, ability to explore various technologies/languages

    Cons

    Project teams have tended to be small (<3 people) but they are improving that through larger contracts.

    Advice to Management

    Keep improving and taking advice from all ranks. There has been a big shift to improve employee satisfaction over the past few years. Continue to listen to your employees and continue to make management adjustments.


  9. Helpful (1)

    "Interesting work but too focused on Phase I R&D"

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

    Pros

    CRA is a great place to work in that the work itself seeks to solve complex problems in interesting domains. As the work is for government clients, it also feels like the projects you complete are creating meaningful change, and that is a great feeling. Additionally, the R&D cycle means that you frequently change between projects pretty regularly, which can help prevent boredom.

    Cons

    Due to the R&D nature of the company, there is a lot of emphasis placed on proposal writing and rapid prototyping. It feels like this sometimes happen at the expense of rewarding/prioritizing "good work," i.e., sustained, longer-lasting projects and solid engineering.

    Advice to Management

    Place greater value/more emphasis on transitioning projects from R&D work to sustained, hardened capabilities that get deployed.


  10. "Research Associate"

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

    Pros

    Great mentorship and training

    Cons

    A lot of military/gov contracts


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