DEKA Research and Development Reviews | Glassdoor

DEKA Research and Development Reviews

Updated May 31, 2017
56 reviews

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2.8
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Dean Kamen
37 Ratings

56 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Great people to work with and the culture is fun (in 9 reviews)

  • Laid back atmosphere, exciting projects, worked closely with supervisor and other interns (in 5 reviews)

Cons
  • Relatively low pay, long hours expected (in 10 reviews)

  • Low salary, low chance for advancement (in 5 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "SDE Intern"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Great people, Great Atmosphere, Cool tech

    Cons

    None that I can think of off hand. Pretty great company.


  2. "Software Engineer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Manchester, NH
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Manchester, NH
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at DEKA Research and Development full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Great projects and great people. Great location with unlimited sick time so as to keep the rest of the company working ;)

    Cons

    Pay has historically been sub par. Schedules are often unreasonable for project deadlines.

    Advice to Management

    Pay your peeps

  3. "Overall"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at DEKA Research and Development (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Great people to work with! Great environment.

    Cons

    Much lower pay than competitors.


  4. "Great place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Manchester, NH
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Manchester, NH
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at DEKA Research and Development full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Great culture. Open door policy. Every project acts like an independent start-up.

    Cons

    Low salary. Not competitive enough.


  5. Helpful (7)

    "Smart and Friendly People working on Next Generation Products for Low Pay"

    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 DEKA Research and Development full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    As DEKA is comprised of about 10-15 independent projects I cannot guarantee my experiences will be yours if you choose to work at DEKA. I can only speak for the projects that I was on and you should assume your mileage may vary.

    Start-up like atmosphere:

    DEKA is comprised of small teams working on big and complex projects. Each project is treated as it's own start-up company from managements perspective. This means individual budgets with a team of engineers dedicated to that project.

    You will need to work well independently at DEKA. You will not have people checking up on your and seeing if you need help. This is great because there is no micromanaging, but if you don't have the discipline to ask for help or will spin your wheels for days you will have have a bad time.

    You are expected to do some research before asking questions. Asking something that Google can tell you in 2 minutes will not shine a good light on you.

    Tools:

    Employees are given all the tools to succeed in terms of hardware/software. You can make a big impact if you like to take chances. Suggest better technology to use and better ways to solve issues are encouraged but you must have good reasons why, because it's the latest tech isn't a good reason. The best way is to show how it will save money for DEKA and the customer.

    Work-life balance:

    Work-life balance is what you make of it. While DEKA would love for you to work 60+ hours every week for no extra money it is not expected as the normal. Some people like what they are working on and may stay late but that's never a requirement day to day.

    Training/on-boarding process:

    DEKA doesn't have project specific formalized training. On your first day you will meet with HR to do some paperwork and then get handed off to your project. It will be up to your project to help get your up to speed.

    You should not expect elaborate training. You will have somebody that will help you get your bearings, but don't expect that person to hold your hand through everything. For example, you may be pointed to a wiki that shows how to set up the build environment and not have somebody walk through every little step.

    Company Structure:

    The company hierarchy is very flat and it is encouraged to just talk to the people you need to talk to directly. You don't need to go through your boss or anything like that. On the flip side there isn't much promotion opportunities if that is your thing. Engineers are either a Technical Contributor or Lead Technical Contributor from HRs perspective.

    Benefits:

    No set amount of sick days, so if you are sick do not come in and infect everybody else.
    Self-managed 401K through Charles Schwab is nice for those who like to do their own stock trading.

    Cons

    People say the DEKA name is good on your resume, but I don't see it. DEKA is a company that either somebody knows and wants to bring you in for an interview on that name or they have no idea why they should care about DEKA. In the vast majority of the cases it's the latter.

    Low Pay:

    DEKA will low-ball your salary about 20% - 30% below market value. This doesn't stop some people from staying years at DEKA, but if you are in it for the money then DEKA is not for you. Management will say the same thing, they want people who want to work on cool next generation products and not somebody looking for a pay day.

    Co-worker skill level:

    The skill gap is pretty wide at DEKA.

    Many people are considered senior only because they get stuff done and with no thought to the quality of the work. Just because the code works does not mean it was designed well or well tested.

    You will find people looking to make a pay check an go home while others actually care about the products they are making. This is true even at the senior engineer level since it's all based on your bosses expectations. This is not to say dumb people work at DEKA, but the caring and what is considered high quality work will vary greatly between engineers and your boss from project to project.

    I would not consider DEKA to have the perceived level of engineers that are working at Google, Facebook, SnapChat, or Twitter type of companies.

    The controls group is a large portion of the get stuff done club. On many projects they will resist doing any process or documentation they do not see as necessary even when process is clearly stated in company SOPs. They get excused from it by management but the rest of the software team has to follow the SOPs.

    The controls group falls under the software umbrella company structure wise, but they are part of the software team only when it's convenient for them. In many cases the project software tech lead has no power over the controls group as the controls lead will override decision that are not favorable to the controls team.

    Junior people who join the controls learn these bad habits and it is just a self serving system where this mind set and bad habits are ingrained into the controls team.

    I would advise anybody to not join the controls team over any other software team. You will learn more good habits that you can use at future jobs with one of the non-controls software positions at DEKA.

    Staffing:

    DEKA always has more work than engineers needed to complete it on time and DEKA never seems to hire enough engineers to fix the issue. Senior engineers end up being spread thin over multiple projects and as a result projects take forever to complete. Sometimes I think this is done on purpose as the company would rather have engineers at max utilization all the time then pay for 80% utilization some of the time.

    Managers who need to make project level decisions sometimes take weeks because they are spread so thin. More dedicated people should be assigned to projects from entry all the way up to management.

    Documentation:

    DEKA creates medical devices and submits to the FDA. So lots of documentation is expected but the processes are very convoluted and all manual. Tons of time is wasted with this manual process but people in Document Control push back and make automating the processes difficult. I think it is for fear of loosing their job.

    Managers who could force the issue do not step in because they are spread thin and something like internal automation of process is not a high priority item in their mind.

    Benefits:

    No west coast style perks like free food or drinks. Even coffee costs 25 cents at the coffee machine.
    No pool tables. game rooms, couches or anything like that.
    Vacation days are low 10 days your first 5 years and 15 days after that. You can roll over up to 15 days per year.

    Communication:

    There is an air of need to know basis at DEKA from upper management down to the engineers. Problems that should be talk about project/company wide are never done. People find out about internal news, both positive and negative, through the rumor mill and even outside sources.

    Advice to Management

    Pay market value and maybe you will be able to find competent employees to hire.

    Make decisions in a timely manner and when you have made the decision communicate that effectively.

    Communicate company news in a timely manner. Employees want to feel as part of the team oppose to being outside of the inner circle of information.

    Make a good effort to automate the documentation process through software. This means staffing a small team with the right engineers and giving leads the power to actually do it right. The answer to the problem is a glorified web service with different apps that represents the editing of different documents. There is a could service team at DEKA that should be able to show you the correct way to do this.


  6. "Quality working environment. Good people, and cool projects."

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

    I have been working at DEKA Research and Development full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Cool, worthwhile projects. Startup feel without the worry about funding. The ability to get things done quickly on your own is a big pro.

    Cons

    They pay less than other places in the NH,MA area. Although, it doesn't seem to stop people from staying there for multiple years.

    Advice to Management

    There is a good amount of trust in the engineers abilities to do good work.


  7. "First Year"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

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

    Pros

    A good culture, interesting work, small company.

    Cons

    Relatively low pay, long hours expected.

  8. Helpful (5)

    "Smart People Playing in a Sandbox for Pennies"

    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
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Great people who work hard, and, for the most part, are very good at what they do.

    Cons

    This has go to be one of, if not the, worst run companies around. They aim for a flat structure, but management is nonexistent half the time, then swoops in and makes changes that drastically alter the course of projects.

    The pay is every bit as bad as everyone else has stated. 20-30% below average.

    Nobody is trained in anything, despite a confusing and convoluted process flow, which results in an immense amount of paperwork discrepancies.

    In 30+ years of being in business, and who knows how many projects, only a few have reached the market, and even fewer producing any sort of profit (which doesn't filter back to the employees anyways.)

    Advice to Management

    Pay your employees. Better yet, give them a generous severance package. Allow them to use their talents and do truly good work as opposed to just sucking them bone dry.


  9. Helpful (1)

    "Good Old Boy's Club"

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

    I worked at DEKA Research and Development full-time

    Pros

    There are some very intelligent and genuine people.

    Cons

    The tight knit Good Old Boy's Club runs the show and will fabricate stories to justify their actions.

    Advice to Management

    You really need to read and live by your "Quality Policy"


  10. "Intern"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    Great place if you have the motivation to work hard and figure things out on your own.

    Cons

    You are typically left with figuring things out on your own. The bosses are too busy to schedule items for you to do, so you have to find things.

    Advice to Management

    N/A


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