Akamai - Politics, politics, politics | Glassdoor
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Helpful (14)

"Politics, politics, politics"

StarStarStarStarStar
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Culture & Values
  • Career Opportunities
  • Comp & Benefits
  • Senior Management
Current Employee - Senior SQA Engineer in Cambridge, MA
Current Employee - Senior SQA Engineer in Cambridge, MA
Doesn't Recommend
Neutral Outlook
No opinion of CEO

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

Pros

Awesome benefits and compensation. Lots of smart talented people to work with. If you can cope with chaos and survive in an environment where every little piece of domain knowledge is something that you will have to dig out of the cold, hard frozen ground, you can be happy here. It is possible to learn a lot of new skills, depending on your situation.

I personally feel that I have grown by leaps and bounds in terms of my software automation knowledge even though my projects are constantly cancelled at the whims of capricious management decisions from people who never even talk to me personally or even look at the work I have done. Despite this, I feel confident in calling myself a Selenium expert after just 14 months of working here and I started with no Selenium experience whatsoever. I also have grown in my Java skills by leaps and bounds. I have gained valuable, solid OO development experience as an automation developer that I have not been able to get anywhere else.

Cons

The company relies too much on antiquated tools and technologies and WAAAAAY too much on homegrown tools when there are more modern, better designed, often open-source options out there. There is no consistent tool chain in place for basic things like: bug tracking, source code management, build management, project management, test case management and release management.

The SQA process here is nothing like the industry standard best practices that you would find in another company of this size. In fact, I don't think that management really even understands what SQA is or should be. Requirements development and documentation is a joke. Requirements are often not clearly documented anywhere nor is there any standard process for formulating them and communicating them to development teams and testing teams. Trying to find out how to do basic things is a nightmare. Lots of people will tell you, 'It's on the wiki.' The 'wiki' is a rat's nest of outdated, half-written broken pages where there is occasionally a nugget of useful information, but you will be forced to take a long and frustrating journey through nuggets of incorrect information before you find it.

Don't get me started on the test environment systems. Okay, do get me started. Test environments are a mess. People are forced to share a few systems where there is incomplete oversight regarding what is or is not actually installed on them. It is not unusual for people to step all over each others' toes trying to test out something because of the lack of communication between various parties using the systems. The architectural limitations that are baked into the products makes the challenge of spinning up a cleanly separated test system for anyone who needs one impossible and there seems to be no impetus to fix it even though countless hours of productivity go down the drain because we don't have this ability.

There is a consensus that there is something 'broken' about the SDLC process and the tool chain, but effecting change for the better seems almost impossible because it doesn't appear that anyone with any authority to make change happen even understands what the problem is or how to hire people who can figure it out. People who try run into a wall of politics that would make the Great Wall of China look like a pile of paper mache after a monsoon.

This company operates as if each separate team were a start-up company where people are just free to do whatever they want. There is a culture that is openly and actively hostile to the idea of submitting to standards and practices they didn't pick themselves. To be fair, it is not uncommon that someone trying to impose a 'standard' is trying to make people do something stupid and ineffective because they don't have the technical understanding that is necessary to pick a good one. So, even though we need some standards rather than our current cowboy wild west way of doing things, there is a history here that justifies hostility and suspicion regarding anyone who tries to impose one. With the eagerness of a small child on Christmas Eve, I await the day that the right set of people with the right personalities and skills are able to surmount this situation.

Advice to Management

You really need to make building a consistent SDLC process based on industry standard best practices and designing a productive, modern tool chain C-suite priorities. The CTO should be all over the problem of enforcing a consistent standard tool chain and process for all the stages of software development and release. And the SQA situation needs a czar level authority who understands exactly what SQA is and how to build it because, at the moment, it is a hot mess and no one seems to understand why SQA is important and how to make it good here.

Other Employee Reviews for Akamai

  1. Helpful (8)

    "Great place to work if you can get around the politics"

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

    I have been working at Akamai full-time

    Pros

    Amazing people to work with (however YMMV depending on the team).
    Direct managers are experienced and understanding people who get the need for proper work / life balance.
    Work assignments are interesting and challenging.
    Pay is generally higher than at other companies in the area.
    Additional compensation through RSU awards, bonuses, and ESPP make working at Akamai financially rewarding for great performance.
    Tom Leighton is awesome, smart, likable. He is fantastic for the job and really cares about the company and the people within it.
    Health Care / Dental / Vision Options are good. Not outstanding, but good.
    Deals with other companies allow for some decent discounts.

    Cons

    Politics are hard to overcome and can become frustrating.
    Meritocracy is sometimes overridden with politics - this is especially notable in groups where negative practices are ignored and promotions are illogically granted.
    The speed at which new technologies are accepted feels glacial at times.
    Politics can cause better techniques, policies, and software to get trashed simply because they scare those who don't want change.

    Advice to Management

    Accountability is seriously lacking on some teams. This is mostly openly ignored due to politics and continues to cause animosity between teams.

    As noted in the cons, better techniques and practices take far too long to implement due to irrational FUD. Antiquated development techniques and technologies need to be done away with. We should use technology that is better for us *now*, not stuff from 10 years ago.

    Stop wasting money on goofy/cheeky trinkets that no one cares about (tshirts, pens, moon balls, etc). I'd rather a higher check for all employees than receiving a $5 "things remembered" item that the company paid $30 for. If you want us to brand the company better, give us free, comfortable, non-ridiculous clothes/jackets/hoodies that we can wear proudly. If company gear is tasteful and comfortable, employees will naturally become walking billboards.


  2. Helpful (3)

    "average"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Cambridge, MA
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Cambridge, MA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    flexible hours, unlimited time off, long vacations, weekly tech talks, good salary and benefits

    Cons

    dated technology, not the most exciting projects

There are newer employer reviews for Akamai
There are newer employer reviews for Akamai

See Most Recent

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