Ciena Reviews | Glassdoor

Ciena Reviews

Updated November 26, 2017
39 reviews

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Ciena President, CEO, and Director Gary B. Smith
Gary B. Smith
22 Ratings

39 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (3)

    "Very Vertical, Poor Communication"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Alpharetta, GA
    Former Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Alpharetta, GA
    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Some of the technology is complex and interesting, there is a strong pool of talent in coworkers, and select team managers do an excellent job with their team members.

    Cons

    Management style is very vertical and often micromangement, Compensation changes and promotions seem to be about playing favorites rather than work ethic or performance, HUGE communication issues between departments and teams, some employees who have been there for a very long time have not learned new technology and are very resistant to change.

    Advice to Management

    It would be nice if senior management looked more into the actual workings of the company on a day to day basis. Because of how vertical the company is there's a thick layer of middle management that basically spend their time competing, playing politics, and masking what really goes on from senior level management.


  2. Helpful (3)

    "Interesting"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Test Engineer in City of Spokane Valley, WA
    Current Employee - Test Engineer in City of Spokane Valley, WA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Ciena pays among the leaders.

    Cons

    Work/life balance could use improvement.

    Advice to Management

    Listen to employee, ask for feedback.

  3. Helpful (2)

    "Systemically bad management, no investment back into ERP or employees"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Middle Level Management in Linthicum, MD
    Former Employee - Middle Level Management in Linthicum, MD
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Ciena full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    The increasingly dwindling employee base still had a few folks left who were tenured enough to know the day to day process.

    Cons

    *Extremely high employee turnover
    *Bonuses were a farce
    *Terrible upper management
    *Horrible cross departmental communication/cohesiveness
    *Complete lack of concern about employees
    *Zero corporate culture

    Advice to Management

    Years before joining Ciena I had heard it was a great place to work - after joining Ciena I heard this used to be such a great place to work. Clean house with old upper level managers/execs and bring in folks who want to work and can respectfully treat employees.


  4. Helpful (2)

    "Accounting Department"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Linthicum, MD
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Linthicum, MD
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Ciena full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Decent benefits, work life balance, good people to work with

    Cons

    very bureaucratic, still struggling to get back to been a profitable company after the nortel acquisition, layoffs are a common place


  5. Helpful (3)

    "Optical vendor, state of the art technology in long haul and metro DWDM optical solutions for telecommunications."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Lead Engineer P&T in Alpharetta, GA
    Former Employee - Lead Engineer P&T in Alpharetta, GA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Ciena full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Best in their niche, one of the few of it's kind that survived the tech bubble

    Cons

    Big H1-B visa house, slave labor for a few years till they get their green card. About 90% Indian at the Alpharetta location. Not a diverse workforce.

    Advice to Management

    Get the majority of your employees from US citizens graduating college, with less that 10% H1-B candidates.


  6. Helpful (3)

    "Major part of the quality work is Off-shored,"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - IT Analyst in Hanover, MD
    Current Employee - IT Analyst in Hanover, MD
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Ciena full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Flexibility. International Presence. Company seems to be growing

    Cons

    Ciena is not a place that will enhance your technical skills. Its a place to do some legacy ownership, and light work. The technical teams are Disorganized, disconnected. This mainly happens because most of the quality work is off-shored, with major control given to off shore teams. The vibes hence is on buying specialized skills from outside rather than build technical expertise, within, but in reality these specialized skills have little experience, and quite little tendency to share the work, or transfer knowledge to those internal to team. Less transparency and reliability witnessed on the culture of the company.

    Advice to Management

    Building internal skills always helps long run. But if outsourcing is the path chosen by company, it maybe a better idea to hire internship managers who can manage this team. Technical people would obviously expect an enhancement of their technical skills, and its only fair hence not to hire them.


  7. Helpful (3)

    "Hardware Engineer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Principal Engineer in Linthicum, MD
    Former Employee - Principal Engineer in Linthicum, MD
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Ciena full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Salary is competitive. Good co-works. New technology

    Cons

    The upper management does not know what they are doing. Short term focused and all are about making themselves rich.

    Advice to Management

    The board is not doing the job.

  8. Helpful (4)

    "Work environment."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Systems Engineer
    Former Employee - Senior Systems Engineer
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Ciena full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Great benefits. Most positions and managers have a balanced work ethic. Great technology, though not implemented well, too splintered.

    Cons

    Non-test positions and managers have a better grip on reality. Many ex-cisco test employees and managers, who brought along their 'drag-me-down' mentality that ruined Cisco's work environment. Training is not so great, always behind the curve. Upper management is not involved in the trenches, thus they are mis-lead. HR does NOT want to hear what you really have to say!

    Advice to Management

    Train your employees. Listen and follow your employees advise on improving the work atmosphere.
    Get into the trenches!


  9. Helpful (8)

    "Great technology & good people but terrible middle management"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Ciena full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Flexible work environment (work from home), best networking technology in industry, decent benefits, visionary CEO. The working level is very collaborative and supportive but that spirit doesn't make it to the senior leadership.

    Cons

    Dead end jobs, zero people development, jerky-herky reorganizations, inexplicable lay-offs, 0% raises in record-brekaing revenue years, little recognition of accomplishments, some horrible senior executives

    Advice to Management

    Cut the deadwood, not those that produce. Stop using a dart board to make staffing decisions.


  10. Helpful (12)

    "From Good to Great, Back to Good, then Mediocre, Now Floundering"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior R&D Project Manager in Linthicum Heights, MD
    Former Employee - Senior R&D Project Manager in Linthicum Heights, MD
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Ciena full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    At its best, Ciena had the best technology, brilliant engineers and a true entrepreneurial spirit. They survived the dot-com bust better than many firms, though there were many layoffs along the way. Still, morale was strong and employees truly trusted the leadership team. Promotional opportunities were available even during tough financial periods. Though bonuses dried up, there was a good employee stock purchase plan and basic benefits were above industry averages. But that was all prior to 2010.

    Cons

    The downfall of Ciena began with the acquisition / merger with Nortel's MEN division. Seems like Ciena sold its soul to make the acquisition work, handing over way too much influence to the Nortel groups. As a result, morale went down immediately for the existing Ciena employees and technology development slowed to a crawl. A transition of the engineering team from a US base to Canada and India continued the deterioration of technology development. In the past couple of years it became clear that the Ciena "classic" leadership team (non-Nortel) had lost their edge and were simply collecting their paychecks (and bonuses and stock grants) and are now hanging in there until something better comes along - or until they are told to leave. Since the Nortel acquisition Ciena still cannot quite make much money, always hovering near break-even. This will likely continue as the stuck-in-their-ways Nortel groups gain greater control of the company and power shifts completely to Canada (look for an inversion by 2016). The HR function had not been stellar the past 5 or 6 years, but has become non-existent since 2013 with a new, UK-based leadership team. They seem to be running HR by reading 10-year old Dilbert comic strips, using every outdated cliché to manage the business. As a result, no one ever goes to HR for help with employee issues - you're own your own. Any job openings at Ciena Maryland's facilities are most likely to replace someone who just got fed up and left. If you are Canadian, then Ciena will be a good place to work: the salary and benefits will be competitive, you won't be expected to perform well, and you can probably stay employed for a very long time as the company disposes of their US resources during the next few years.

    Advice to Management

    It is well past time for a house cleaning. Probably too late to reverse the move of engineering to Canada and India, so you will suffer with poor technology for the foreseeable future. Operations teams are very over-staffed, especially field service teams. Gary Smith was a great guy and lead Ciena through some really difficult years, but it's time to find a replacement - someone from the outside, not a Nortel guy. The only way to get real profitable is to eliminate the dead wood, as without new products it will be tough to grow sales enough to really turn things around. And see if you can make HR a representative of the employees. Ciena once had a fantastic culture - Joe Chinnici once said it was the closest to Silicon Valley you could find outside of the west coast. See if you can get that culture back. Good luck to you all.


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