Cognex Reviews

Updated Mar 11, 2020

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3.4
70%
Recommend to a Friend
95%
Approve of CEO
Cognex President, CEO and Director Robert Willett
Robert Willett
75 Ratings
Pros
Cons
More Pros and Cons
  1. "Excellent place to work"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Sales Representative in Milwaukee, WI
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Working with the best vision company in the world!

    Cons

    There are very little cons to mention

    Cognex2019-07-09
  2. Helpful (1)

    "Good company to work for depending on your role"

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Applications Engineer in Natick, MA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Corporate culture makes employees feel special. Technology is cool and interesting. Unique exposure to lots of different projects, markets, and business use cases. Innovative IP and competent management provide great value to shareholders.

    Cons

    Overworked and underpaid. Like any bigger organization, there was some coat-tail riding. Management made promises they couldn't keep--a frequent example being "don't worry, once this project is done your workload will get lighter". The technical teams bear the burden of over-commitments made by sales. This forces the technical team to work harder to meet expectations set by sales. Despite this, sales compensation was much more lucrative. Tech compensation is not competitive.

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    Cognex2020-02-05
  3. Helpful (1)

    "Good product but don't be blinded by the "culture""

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Product Marketing in Natick, MA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    The product, while sometimes missing the mark, is generally best-in-class. Cognex makes some of the core technology blocks that power automation around the world. The technology is very complex and capable and Cognex shines by wrapping it up into a solution that makes it easy for engineers to consume. It's also financially a strong performing company, annually generating hundreds of millions of dollars of cash.

    Cons

    Cognex works hard to create a unique culture and sense of belonging. I believe there may have been a time when this was organic, but it now feels contrived (e.g. professional costume vendors crafting halloween outfits for many of the executives) with the ultimate goal of rallying up enough spirit that people forget they are underpaid and have some of the most meager benefits of any technology company in Massachusetts. If you're busy decorating pumpkins in the cafe or getting free movie tickets you may actually forget that Cognex didn't give you a single day of parental leave the last time you had a child. Note that Cognex did add a parental leave policy for the first time in 2019, although I can only assume this is because they saw the MA regulations coming down the pipe. Remember those hundreds of millions of dollars of cash that I mentioned Cognex consistently generates? Some employees find security in this profitability, however it means nothing when your bonus is dramatically cut (possibly to zero) when aggressive growth targets are not hit. One of the celebrated values at Cognex is “Perseverance” and it is reflected in the dedication they expect from employees, and the long-term oriented compensation structure that most have. This is great - many employees willingly give this dedication because it’s how the caliber of people they have attracted are wired and 70+ hour weeks are not uncommon - however it does not seem that Cognex reciprocates. High-performing staff who have delivered for decades or more are axed because of politics or factors that are out of their control, often when opportunities to redeploy them elsewhere in the organization seem obvious. For a young engineer or product marketer it's not a bad place to be. Learn a lot, enjoy the events, get close with your colleagues, etc. But once you have taken from the experience what you wanted I would suggest thinking hard about your next step so you can take it on your terms. Fortunately the greater Boston area has dozens of robotics and automation companies that would be happy to have your talents, pay you more, and give you better benefits… although you may need to buy your own container of mixed-nuts come the holidays.

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    Cognex2020-01-28
  4. "Engineer"

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Associate Mechanical Engineer 
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Great culture, with good benefits. The office atmosphere is very friendly and inviting. People are always willing to help. Lots of resources available onsite so can get things done quickly.

    Cons

    The team seems to operate in silos which causes a lot of delays and general miss communication. Coworkers can be difficult to deal with.

    Cognex2020-01-05
  5. "Solid Company"

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Information Systems Manager in Natick, MA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Cognex full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    Good people - who are high energy

    Cons

    Was a bit a sweat shop

    Cognex2019-11-09
  6. Helpful (3)

    "Poor"

    1.0
    Current Employee - Financial Analyst 
    Doesn't Recommend

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

    Pros

    Good Culture with focus on activities

    Cons

    Management style hindered work efficently

    Cognex2019-08-20
  7. "Sales Development Engineer"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Sales Development Representative 

    I worked at Cognex full-time

    Pros

    Awesome culture, solid profitable company

    Cons

    The industry is niche market

    Cognex2019-05-03
  8. "Great Company, employee oriented, fast moving, great benefits"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Natick, MA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    the greatest benefits: outstanding health insurances, free breakfast and money toward lunch, tons of activities for employees, non smoking policy, great career opportunities, emphasis on employees good work and life balance - so so important!

    Cons

    honestly none! Pros: fast growing company

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    Cognex2019-04-23
  9. "Good company with interesting problems"

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Principal Software Engineer in Natick, MA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    -Interesting work -Some smart people -Leader in the field

    Cons

    -Politics -Not so much opportunity to grow.

    Cognex2019-04-20
  10. Helpful (14)

    "Great products but tough culture to survive in."

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Account Sales Engineer - Vision in Boston, MA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Cognex full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Total review (pros & cons) I was an Account Sales Engineer selling vision solutions (cameras, software, services) to OEM’s and end users. I worked closely with an SSE (Sensor Sales Engineer) who focused on Dataman readers, entry level sensors & camera and handheld readers. I held this position for 5 years. Your first year starts with a fairly easy quota. You will also attend “boot camp” usually in the Natick, MA headquarters. Boot Camp is meant to prepare you with the technical aptitude to sell Cognex products but in the end it’s a waste of time. You really learn on the job. You will have Application Engineers who assist you in solving vision applications with: correct resolution camera; correct optics; correct lighting; software tools to complete the customers inspection criteria. You report to a District Sales Manager who has 6-8 employees (usually 3 ASE / 3 SSE) in a given geography. Like any company, some are good, some are lousy. They report to a Regional Manager who has 3-4 DSM’s reporting to him. Regional Manager reports to the VP of Sales. In your first year, they really want you to learn, learn, learn! Learn the cameras; lighting techniques; optical techniques; learn the software and how to put all these components together and do a demo in front of the customer. You’ll attend software training classes; travel to the TEC (Technical Evaluation Center) in Nashville; ride with other ASE’s and begin to get to know your distribution partners and most importantly, learn how to use the CRM – Cognex uses Microsoft Dynamics, referred internally as “Salesbook”. More on this later. You won’t feel too much pressure to “hit your numbers” in your first year. You’ll make pretty good money, say $115 - $125K and you’ll feel pretty good about yourself. Everybody will like you. Then year two starts. Welcome to the pressure cooker! Being a public company within a small niche, from the CEO on down its all about hitting numbers within your accurate sales forecast. The CEO previously worked for Danaher, which is their culture as well. When you’re in Natick for your boot camp, take notice of the many flat screens on the walls of the sales marketing department. These list every salesman against their monthly, quarterly and yearly quota and other performance metrics and KPI’s (key performance indicators). When your name and statistics are green, you’re in great shape. When they are in red, people start looking over your shoulder. The longer your name is in red, the greater the pressure applied to you. Regardless of your past success or what your sales funnel says. Its all about Salesbook. Cognex is obsessed with Salesbook. You will enter all of your call report notes each day / week and constantly massage and change your 90 day forecast to be 100% accurate (which is impossible). You will spend 1-2 hours per day just managing salesbook. Leads come in through salesbook and the opportunity grows (or is killed) from there. Youll be watching football games on Sunday while your working salesbook. There are these KPI’s I spoke of earlier driven within salesbook that populate back to those flat screens in Natick. Some KPI’s you know about, others only management knows about. One I found about was how much I spent monthly on customer lunches! Somebody sits in Natick thinking about this. Hotel nights too! Constant turnover. I had 4 different District Managers (DM) within 5 years. It’s nearly impossible for the DM to become familiar with you, your customers & prospects in just one year. If a DM isn’t hitting his numbers, he’s out. Sometimes on the street but mostly moved into another position where their not responsible for a district anymore. Same with Regional Managers. I had two of them during my 5 years. And this has nothing to do with a growing company. This is the reality within Cognex. They cut heads when there is a sniff of an economic downturn. OK what do they do well? They have great vision software that integrates with the smart cameras. You’ll never have a problem getting an appointment or pushing your distributors into an account. Their products are very reliable and have an excellent reputation within industrial automation. They pay well. At quota you will make $145 - $160. If you have a blowout year, you will be capped and max out around $185. They pay expenses well. They use Concur for expense submission and monitoring which is a great product. They pay mileage for your own car, which I prefer and its very fair. I never had an expense dispute or problem. If you’re single without the responsibility for a family, you would do OK in Cognex. If you have a family you will burnout within 5 years. That’s what happened to me. Check out LinkedIn to verify how long people last in these roles. Its pretty eye opening. Hope this helps.

    Cons

    See above in Pros for total review.

    Continue reading
    Cognex2019-01-22
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