DEKA Research and Development Reviews | Glassdoor

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DEKA Research and Development Reviews

Updated Aug 30, 2019

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3.6
65%
Recommend to a Friend
82%
Approve of CEO
DEKA Research and Development CEO Dean Kamen (no image)
Dean Kamen
52 Ratings
Pros
  • "Great people of very high caliber with lots of passion and commitment to the company vision(in 11 reviews)

  • "Laid back but motivated environment(in 7 reviews)

Cons
  • "Comparatively low pay relative to other internships(in 12 reviews)

  • "Manchester does not have many options for short term housing for out of state interns(in 6 reviews)

More Pros and Cons
  1. "Great place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous 

    I have been working at DEKA Research and Development full-time

    Pros

    DEKA is a company that fosters growth and challenges employees to think outside the box. Though there isn't a huge level of hierarchy, the possibilities are limitless. There are so many smart people here that you can learn as much as you're willing to put into it.

    Cons

    Some say the pay is low, but the resources you have access to are priceless.

    DEKA Research and Development2019-08-20
  2. "Lot of opportunities to learn"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Lead QA Engineer in Manchester, NH

    I have been working at DEKA Research and Development full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Lot of opportunities to learn. New technology.

    Cons

    Vacation and medical insurance could be improved

    DEKA Research and Development2019-08-30
  3. Helpful (5)

    "Very political, disorganized and discriminating , job description does not match your position"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Software Developer 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at DEKA Research and Development full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Good people overall. Has a great vibe.

    Cons

    DEKA claims to own the technology and what not. However, the way they do this should also be equally important. There is a lot of politics going on in DEKA. The hiring process is completely arbitrary and the questions asked during the interview does not even relate to the work you will be doing. They hire people for cheap labor and make them do whatever they want. There is a lot of discrimination going on in... DEKA. The manager picks whoever he/she likes and I myself was a victim of racism because of my origin. My team lead would not like me and give my work to his friends in the team and someone who he knew well before or some other new hires. For young people trying to develop a good career, Deka is not the right place. They will destroy your career . Since your duties can change very week, you will be never be able to acquire top skills you need to be better in your field. It's very organic and all over the place. If you are honest and decent about your role, they will never let you grow. They are losing and going to loose a lot of engineer because of this.

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    Advice to Management

    Save your company Dean!! Stop the discrimination and subtle racism going on this place. Treat people with passion and skills well.

    DEKA Research and Development2019-08-16
  4. Helpful (9)

    "Disorganized project management with Low Pay and high stress"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Engineer 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at DEKA Research and Development full-time for more than 8 years

    Pros

    Lots of smart and friendly people trying to do what is right for for their projects.

    Cons

    First I want to say that employees have been asked to review DEKA on glass door during ones yearly performance reviews. Then there is the wink wink, but only if it will be positive. This is a common theme within the company of not looking at what they are doing wrong, but instead say others are incorrect. This lack of introspection is ingrained in to the culture at DEKA at many levels. Your experience at DEKA... will be wildly different based on the project you are on. I can only relay my experiences at DEKA and admit it may be different then a SWE on another project. Each project is treated as their own little startup with a dedicated team and budget. This is great until you realize that you now have 10 different companies with 10 different management styles trying to do things 10 different ways. There is a Standard Operating Procedure that guides projects. It a set of 60 documents where 10 of them is directly concerning software. The problem though is these documents have not been updated since the 1990's and is written using Waterfall as the model. So the vast majority of projects just do their own thing, because nobody has the responsibility of working for DEKA and making DEKA better oppose to the project they are assigned to. DEKA is about getting work done and through that career growth is not something that is cultivated as more than lip service during your yearly performances review. I've asked for 5 years in a row that I would like to work on a different project and have yet received an opportunity as they are always "working on it". Basically I'm so important to my current project that me leaving would devastated it. Bus factor is another problem at DEKA. They like to hire the bare minimum to save has much money as possible. I've seen a SWE leaving the company have large repercussions of nobody knowing that piece of software. DEKA has about 600 Engineers, but it could easily have 1000 if they were no so frugal. The frugality makes even less sense when you realize they are charging the customer for the work we are doing which should be covering salaries. DEKA gets lots of projects because of the CEO, but also because they can undercut the competition. I wouldn't say it's slave labor, but all of the top performers at DEKA could easily be making 50% more at a company that values their employees time and skill. Every project I've been on has been missed multiple deadlines due to the lack of communication of priorities, where the only empathy is work harder or work the weekend. This is a very disrespectful stance to take because as an SWE asking me to work harder implies that I have not been giving a good faith effort. The larger problem at DEKA as a company is that they are so focused on been small and agile like a startup is they loose sight established ways to run a project and at the top of that list is planning. DEKA projects are adhoc at many levels. There are no road maps where you can see where we are going or clearly prioritized task lists to drive your work. It's just work on this today, but tomorrow there may be a fire that you have to pivot. This constantly happens and project deadlines are blown by months at a time. As I said previously there is no thought to career growth at DEKA. From HRs perspective everybody is a "Technical Contributor" or "Lead Technical Contributor". That means you salary is very political since there is no clear pay bands. A Senior on one project may be a junior or another, so clear definitions of level is not found at DEKA and mostly based off of time services. So if you are around long enough you are just assumed to be senior regardless on if you can actually do the work and meet expectations of your boss. This means all the pressure is on the Team Leads and the job nobody really wants in the company unless you like playing with fire. As a Team Lead you have to work with the hand you are given and this means SWEs can be thrown into positions they are not ready for. This is then a downward spiral of check in the box work or compromising on quality in the name of victory. There are no hiring standards at DEKA so somebody I would say is a no hire could still be hired by another project. Interviews are mostly just people asking you questions and expecting you to get the right answer. How you get there is less important then saying the answer and this compounds problems already existing in DEKA. We talk a lot about mentoring at DEKA, but it doesn't really exists in the way you want. Mentoring is basically people will answer your questions, but you are never assigned a SWE who is responsible for you getting up to speed and teaching you how to produce quality work. I've seen junior people just left to their own devices for weeks, because nobody has time to work with them. Senior SWEs are not encouraged to mentor which is a large part of the problem. This is because it's not a task for you but just extra credit work on your own time. You don't get less work if you need to mentor, you still get the same amount, but now you have to spend a couple hours per day getting a new person up to speed. I could go into so many topics, but I feel this has gotten long winded. Overall DEKA is not a place you really want to work at for a long period of time unless you just want to coast at the end of your career for a paycheck. If you value a great culture with a dedication to high quality work then DEKA will drive you insane. You will not acquire skills needed to work at top companies like Google working at DEKA for years. Get in and get out is what I would recommend for anybody at DEKA. I know I have stayed at DEKA way too long and it has hurt my career in terms of skill and lost wages.

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    Advice to Management

    You need to be more introspective and fix your internal problems. Stop just trying to get things done at warp speed, be more organized, and deliberate with how a project and the company is run from top to bottom. Your employees want to do what is best for the product and have nothing but positive intent so work with them and not against them. The customer will understand that quality is expensive. Right now... DEKA is just living off of the name of this owner, but the company doesn't hold a candle to companies like Google, Facebook, Apple, Netflix, Waymo, etc... in terms of overall employee skill.

    Show More
    DEKA Research and Development2019-08-04
  5. "Decent Job"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Quality Assurance Test Technician in Manchester, NH
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at DEKA Research and Development full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    You have the freedom to make what you want out of it. Since you don't have that much responsibilities you do have the flexibility to shadow different projects and tasks and can learn through that. Otherwise. It can be pretty stagnant if you are not a self-motivated person.

    Cons

    Very little responsibilities. Slow work days.

    DEKA Research and Development2019-05-30
  6. Helpful (1)

    "DEKA is a place where you can get as much experience as you'd like in as many different fields as you'd like."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Manufacturing Mechanical Engineer in Manchester, NH
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at DEKA Research and Development full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    DEKA is a project based company that's best described as a bunch of start-ups under one roof sharing exceptional resources and a vast wealth of knowledge. There is near zero middle management to slow down decisions. Almost everyone is an engineer. Everything we work on is quite complicated so things are rarely boring. We have the ability to do almost anything in-house for the products we develop.

    Cons

    The pay starts out pretty low but ramps up unlike most other companies if you're doing good work. Some project management is phenomenal, but some allow themselves to be spread frustratingly thin. The projects are very long term and do not always succeed.

    Advice to Management

    Do not allow yourself to be spread thin. Have a hands-on manufacturing engineer beginning in the concept phase of the project. Make the best decisions for project success, not just to appease the customer in the short term.

    DEKA Research and Development2019-05-12
  7. Helpful (7)

    "Not for me"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Quality Assurance Test Technician in Manchester, NH
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at DEKA Research and Development full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    People were generally friendly. Nice location. Cafeteria in house, but its expensive.

    Cons

    A tenancy of nepotism with in the ranks. Wouldn't take me off contract employment for over 18 months. Management was arrogant and condescending. Salaried employees were taken advantage of and often were expected to work over 60 hours a week with no paid over time.

    DEKA Research and Development2019-03-28
  8. Helpful (2)

    "Think Big Picture"

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

    I have been working at DEKA Research and Development full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    The biggest advantage of DEKA is that you get to work on real world problems. I can’t even begin tell you how gratifying it is to see your innovations literally save lives. In addition, DEKA is led by Dean - a legendary innovator that is so passionate about tech and improving lives. He’s a real motivator & a big reason I’m still here. I can make more money somewhere else in the short term but the long term... career investment is far more valuable to me.

    Show More

    Cons

    Startup culture is great but it can be hard as a newbie learning the ropes. If you like a corporate environment this is not the place.

    Advice to Management

    Better training. Continue to work on problems that matter.

    DEKA Research and Development2018-12-21
  9. Helpful (1)

    "A different kind of company in the best possible way"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Technical Leader in Manchester, NH
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at DEKA Research and Development full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Challenging and amazing work, meaningful products. Great people of very high caliber with lots of passion and commitment to the company vision. Self-starting and ownership are the norm; expectations are high.

    Cons

    None I can think of, unless one of the "Pros" above looks like a Con, then you shouldn't be working here anyway :)

    Advice to Management

    Steady as she goes.

    DEKA Research and Development2018-12-20
  10. Helpful (1)

    "Great people with cool tech"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Developer 
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at DEKA Research and Development full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Biggest pros are the people and projects. A lot of DEKA lifers here. You either love it or hate it. Exposure to Dean is plus.

    Cons

    Pay is lacking compared to other MA companies. If you don’t mind commuting you can make way more elsewhere. Training is also pretty minimal.

    Advice to Management

    Update salary & benefits. Create a better training program.

    DEKA Research and Development2018-12-06
Found 81 reviews