Cook Systems Reviews | Glassdoor

Cook Systems Reviews

Updated May 31, 2017
43 reviews

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Full-time Part-time

3.5
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Wayne Cook
29 Ratings

43 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (1)

    "Great Team!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Project Manager/Business Analyst in Port Saint Lucie, FL
    Current Employee - Project Manager/Business Analyst in Port Saint Lucie, FL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    Great Team and Management Support!

    Cons

    None..No issues that I can think of at this time


  2. "A good first step into the industry."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Software Developer in Dallas, TX
    Former Employee - Software Developer in Dallas, TX
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    No prior experience is needed. This is a good opportunity for entry as a software developer.

    Cons

    Pay is below industry market value.

    Advice to Management

    Would be nice if salary was at market value.

  3. Helpful (1)

    "Great concept, flawed execution"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Software Developer in Memphis, TN
    Former Employee - Software Developer in Memphis, TN
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    The FastTrack'd program is everything Cook Systems promotes it to be. In 8 weeks, if you can meet the requirements to enter the program, and are intent on working hard, you can come out on the other end with the equivalent experience in Java development as someone who has been working in Java development for 3-5 years. The curriculum is constantly being reviewed and updated to stay current with the latest trends. The instructors are very knowledgeable and stay as current as the curriculum. Don't know of a Java boot camp with an equivalent.

    Once you graduate, if you are placed with a client, the raises are steady and as good as promised. Never had a problem getting PTO time, benefits are very fair and clearly explained. You will also be supported very well on your assignments by mentors and coaches.

    The FastTrack'D program is every bit as good as advertised.

    Cons

    As good as the FastTrack'D program is, the sales force at Cook Systems is not up to the same standard. What is needed is some sort of SalesTrack'D training for sales folks so they can get as current as the technical staff.

    So many qualified people on the "bench" is like a diamond store with a lot of stock on the shelves saying they have too many diamonds. There's no such thing as having too many diamonds (or strongly competent developers), you just need more people who are better at selling diamonds.

    Advice to Management

    You have a fantastic idea and concept that works in the FastTrack'D program. Now you need to get your salesforce up to the same level of excellence as your technical training program.


  4. Helpful (12)

    "Great Opportunity through the FastTrack'D program!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Programmer in Dallas, TX
    Current Employee - Programmer in Dallas, TX
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

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

    Pros

    Through the FastTrack'D program, I was able to learn skills that I was not taught in college, bridging a gap that has made me more suited to work as a developer for the clients that I work for. Also, you don't have to have 2 years of experience to get this job. I was able to come in as a fresh college graduate, and have now been with the company for around a year and a half!

    Cons

    The 8 week training program can be a sacrifice, as you are not paid for this, and your entry salary upon completion of the course is on the low end. HOWEVER, you are in line to receive substantial raises on a regular schedule for a few years, which in the long run helps to alleviate these issues.


  5. Helpful (10)

    "The greatest privilege of my life"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    Current Employee - Executive Vice President in Memphis, TN
    Current Employee - Executive Vice President in Memphis, TN
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Cook Systems full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Other than raising my own kids, this is the most important and rewarding thing I have ever done in my life. I am responsible for the FastTrack'D program for Cook Systems. Our goal was to increase the number of domestic enterprise class software developers. We realized that the deck was stacked against first time job seekers because everyone wanted developers with at least 3 years of experience. American applicants were in the catch-22 of can't get a programming job without experience and can't ever get experience without a programming job. Eventually even CS graduates have to take jobs in retail or food service to survive. They are lost to the IT industry forever. This has caused the supply of domestic developers to collapse. We are trying to change that by offering people an opportunity to re-start their careers. We are more interested in what you can do then what you did before. Our online tests let us identify people who have the aptitude and ability to be great software developers. Many people are smart but find themselves without a real career future. Some just didn't get that first good job. Some have degrees in math or physics or music and find that their job prospects are poor. If you have good character and work ethic, and are smart but under-employed, the FastTrack'D program can change your life. The people who make it through our screening and training process are not just the best programmers, they are the best people. We create a team environment where all FastTrackers help each other succeed. Each one knows that everyone of their colleagues has their back. FastTrackers know that they owe their opportunity to the FastTrackers ahead of them who's great performance created the reputation and opportunity for those who came after. If someone doesn't care about that, they don't belong in the program. Those who do care, are some of the finest human-beings in the world. It is my great pleasure to be associated with each and every one of our FastTrackers.

    Cons

    We are a small company trying to swim against the stream. We do things differently than the rest of the industry. We don't charge for our training because we think companies who sell training will pass everyone who pays and then don't care if they get a job or not. Since we don't charge for the training, we only make money if we hire and place our graduates. Though we do our best, not everyone makes it, and you can find reviews here from some who did not. This is not a code school that teaches you how to put menus on the internet. We create enterprise class java and .net developers who create complex applications for the largest companies in America. Once hired, we keep our FastTrackers as full time salaried employees with full benefits even between assignments. Our entry level salary is not very high but we give very large raises every 6 months for the first three years. By the third anniversary, every FastTracker makes at least 70k. It is expensive to do it this way but we think it is necessary to keep our people happy so that they don't have to worry about their next assignment.

    Advice to Management

    We are open to any constructive suggestions. Keep it honest though.

    Cook Systems Response

    Jan 22, 2016 – Executive VP

    Full disclosure, I wrote this review.


  6. Helpful (23)

    "Con Artists!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Java Training Program in Memphis, TN
    Former Employee - Java Training Program in Memphis, TN
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Cook Systems full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    You make no money for two months. Free one star hotel. You get an old laptop to use.

    Cons

    DO NOT SIGN THE CONTRACT!!! Over half the people that start out in the class will be cut, even though they say no prior java experience is needed. The instructor just reads from the binder which doesn't help you understand the concepts. Even if you pass this silly course you will not get a job and the contract does not allow you to get a job somewhere else! If you pass the class and don't work for them you owe them 6,000 dollars! DO NOT SIGN THE CONTRACT!

    Advice to Management

    The whole java class idea is terrible. Just interview people for the job and actually pay a decent starting salary. The contract is just to scam you out of money you should be earning.

    Cook Systems Response

    Dec 17, 2015 – Executive VP

    Think about what you are saying. If you had found someone to hire and pay you when you had no training or experience than you would not have needed this program. This program is for smart people ... More


  7. Helpful (21)

    "Be patient, you can do much better"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Software Development Consultant in Detroit, MI
    Former Employee - Software Development Consultant in Detroit, MI
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Cook Systems full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    "Free" training is a good chance to prove to yourself that you can make it in a fairly demanding environment, but I would say the training isn't any more demanding than a 12 hour semester at a decent university in pursuit of a B.Sc.

    Cons

    So you want to be a Java Developer? Unless you already live in Memphis (or where ever the training site is), be prepared to pay for your own travel and living expenses for the duration of the training. It's an enormous risk because there is no guarantee that you will be offered a position. In fact, less than 50% of FastTrack'd students will graduate. This is used as a bragging point by the recruiters pointing to the "rigor" of the program, but in reality it is a symptom of the toxic culture that pervades the company and the program's pedagogical shortcomings. On that note, you will only be successful in the program if you either have prior programming experience or you are an excellent autodidact; About 90% of the course materials are straight from tutorialspoint.com. During my training, I witnessed many of my peers teeter on the edge of mental and emotional breakdown, and a few who collapsed under the pressure of sticking it out and landing a job. The company is also not honest about it's post-graduation opportunities. They claim to have more jobs than they have people and opportunities in cities where there are in fact none. In fact, you will likely have a lengthy interim period (+2 months) without pay and you will be compelled to take the first assignment available whether you like it or not. Then you will have to pay to relocate at your own expensive chasing a salary that is well less than half of the market rate for entry level developers. Once you're on the job, it's very unlikely that you will use any of the technology that you learned in boot camp which then begs the question: "what was that all for?" Like other reviewers pointed out, the 5-star reviews exist because one day the management required all of us to submit them. Beware.

    Advice to Management

    The program needs a massive overhaul in it's methods and philosophy. Instead of seeking out naive entry-level recruits and the weeding them out, HIRE people who you know will succeed and pay them a decent salary from day one. The program should be shooting for a +90% graduation rate. I'm pretty sure if any college had such an abysmal dropout/failure rate it would loose it accreditation. If you want to attract the best developers and keep them, offer a salary at the MARKET RATE. Also, PTO needs to be increased. It's difficult to maintain relationships back home with so little time off.

    Cook Systems Response

    Jan 15, 2016 – Executive VP

    It is true that not everyone graduates. This training is much more difficult than a college semester. We offer people who are smart but underemployed an opportunity like no other. From ... More

  8. Helpful (16)

    "Beware"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Developer in Memphis, TN
    Current Employee - Software Developer in Memphis, TN

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

    Pros

    -Good training program.
    -Free 1 star hotel while training with unknown partner

    Cons

    -No pay for two months
    -Beware of recruiter giving you 100% raise after three years.
    -Below minimum starting salary as a Developer.
    -Don't let them reel you in with sales pitch voice.
    -You get weeded out in the training process.
    -If you have no options this may be an option for you regardless if you have don't have a Bachelors in CS or straight out of high school.

    Advice to Management

    Stop with the lies about how you are the only company that offers training and placement. There are plenty of great IT consulting firms that offer PAID training and placement out there.

    Cook Systems Response

    Jan 15, 2016 – Executive VP

    This is a fake review by a person who was fired and vowed to trash the program online. He has written 5 or more completely dishonest reviews here. Can't do anything about that due to anonymous rules ... More


  9. Helpful (12)

    "Money Hungry Company Scam"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Java Developer in Memphis, TN
    Current Employee - Java Developer in Memphis, TN
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Cook Systems full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    I do not see that there is a pro to this company. ....well...maybe....there is a bar close by.

    Cons

    There is no pay for the program and they dangle the threat of having to pay back the course if you leave within one year. SO DO NOT SIGN THE CONTRACT! It's a good ole boys company and they will fill you with the "cool-aid" so be very careful!

    Yet, what they wont tell you is if you pass this silly course, you will not be placed on a job. So, you sit there waiting at home to get phone call. Scared that if you do find something else, you will have to pay back the money of the course which you don't have. THAT IS THE SCAM.

    When the graduates talk with each other they get more upset as they sit at home or work for free on small projects for the company. Salaries are shared and you just get more upset as you are not really hired until there is a job open. And listening to the staff, the sales people do nothing. So there is no hope that you will get placed. These is a huge disconnect from management and the staff. Management feeds you the cool-aid and the staff tell you the reality.

    The instructors do there best to read out of the binders (which we could do ourselves for free on youtube) but have such little influence on the class as the management holds their thumbs down and refuses to hear what needs to be done.

    The staff either remote or at the headquarters will fill your ear with gossip and how horrible the company is run. And then they just shrug their shoulders when a student asks for help or has a concern. EVERYTHING goes through management....no one is aloud to think for themselves.

    DO NOT ENGAGE THIS COMPANY....you will maybe pass a java course, you will not work after and the staff is NO help and gossips. You end up hearing way more than you should and getting so upset with management for not doing anything you want to quite, but you can't in fear they will take you to court to pay the money for the class which they state IS FREE!

    Advice to Management

    Stop having your students or employees write fake comments to boost your rankings.

    Fire the management of the fasttrack'D program and get people that are capable of handling and working with people and students.

    Be honest with people and do not scam them into believing something that is not real.

    Stop hurting peoples lives. Some of the students quite there job, moved for the opportunity and got their lives ruined because of you.

    Find a better culture and value system for your company, currently you have zero!

    Cook Systems Response

    Jan 15, 2016 – Executive VP

    This is a fake review by a person who was fired and vowed to trash the program online. He has written 5 or more completely dishonest reviews here. Can't do anything about that due to anonymous rules ... More


  10. Helpful (2)

    "Competent Coworkers, Naive Management."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Software Developer in Memphis, TN
    Former Employee - Software Developer in Memphis, TN
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Cook Systems full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    The training program is generous and thorough.
    You work as an employee of Cook Systems, not as a contractor, so you get benefits and a salary, even between jobs.

    Cons

    Management is spread too thin to hear/address employee concerns effectively.
    Crowded work environment.
    Unclear corporate organization means employees have to treat everyone they meet as a superior, which is exhausting.
    The management doesn't pay enough attention to their employees to know when clients blame their poor organization & communication on Cook employees.

    Advice to Management

    Pay more attention to your clients' management practices, so you know what sort of communication challenges your employees have to work with.
    Make it clear to employees which people give commands they have to follow, and which commands they can shrug off if they're busy.
    Be more sceptical of clients who complain about Cook employees. Yes, you have to please the client, but remember that there are some clients who simply cannot be pleased; in this case, the sooner you terminate your relationship, the sooner you can use your time to find clients who can be pleased.

    Cook Systems Response

    Dec 17, 2015 – Executive VP

    We will take your view into consideration. There are very few customer commands that can be "shrugged off" though. We will make every attempt to pay close attention and protect our employees from ... More


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