Cengage - Getting better, but still needs work | Glassdoor
  1. Helpful (9)

    "Getting better, but still needs work"

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

    I have been working at Cengage full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Great people and interesting projects. Working hours are fairly flexible. Lots of non-salary perks like company outings, compensated lunches, quarterly happy hours, beer fridge, etc. Modern development platforms (Java, node.js, angular, polymer, etc). Open area workspace that fosters collaboration and communication.

    Cons

    Development schedules are often too aggressive forcing developers to take shortcuts that affect code quality and cost the company more money in the long run. Bonuses are based on revenue goals and not profit so you may not receive a bonus even when the company is profitable. The culture between the Farmington Hills office and the Boston office is completely different. The Boston office feels like nobody wants to... be there, while the Farmington Hills office is the exact opposite. Some amenities are available in one office and not the other. For example, Boston associates can get a soda for 25 cents or snag an espresso from the espresso machine. Farmington Hills associates have to pay $1.35 for a soda and have no espresso machine available. The company calls itself Agile and follows a process called "The Cengage Way" (Scrumish), but the way projects are actually managed isn't quite there yet. Requirements are generally gathered up front before a project starts, we're often asked to estimate in days, and Sprints are planned out 4 or 5 in advance. This varies significantly depending on which development manager is managing your project. Some development managers are huge micromanagers, often scheduling random meetings to discuss project details that they really don't need to know about. They also demand that all communication go through them, including day to day conversations that employees have to work out small implementation details. Devops is about 5 - 7 years behind the times, relying heavily on lots of puppet scripts and a custom in-house web interface to manage them instead of using industry standard tools like containers (Docker). The puppet scripts are often broken, and it takes months to get new features added to them. There's been a high rate of turnover since I joined the company because the company isn't doing enough to retain top talent. Employees are constantly getting better offers from competing companies in the area (Amazon, TD Ameritrade, Ally Financial, etc).

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    Advice to Management

    Relax development schedules to allow developers to deliver quality over quantity. Adjust the bonus structure to be based on profits. Provide the same amenities at all offices. Continue to drive Agile practices and improve the Cengage Way. Solicit anonymous feedback about management so we can fix the micromanagement issue. Modernize devops so that we can actually follow best practices for deployments and runtime... isolation (microservices). Re-evaluate and adjust the compensation levels for all current employees so that people stop leaving.

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    Cengage2015-08-16
  1. Helpful (7)

    "Amazing Company Driving Positive Change"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Marketing Manager in Clifton Park, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Cengage full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    - The culture is positive, motivating and very collaborative - Work brings great opportunities for professional development - The CEO and Executive Team are top leaders with great vision and corporate strategy - benefits are good - Everyone is so nice, it's very unusual to have such a large group of genuine, hard working individuals

    Cons

    The company is a leader in driving change in education, which is amazing and exciting to be a part of, but things move fast, so having an adaptable work style would be beneficial to employees.

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the amazing job! I am super excited to be part of your team and under your direction. You've always made the right decisions and implemented strong strategies for business success. Lead and I will follow.

    Cengage2019-06-21
  2. Helpful (1)

    "Wonderful mission, struggling to be a software company"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Engineering Manager in Boston, MA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Cengage full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    The employees at Cengage (from the top down) truly care about the customer - students and teachers. The culture is one of transparency, honesty, and purpose. The purpose/mission being - lower the cost of education.

    Cons

    The mission of the company is admirable, but they are struggling in their transition from a publisher of content to a software company. Be careful getting caught in the ups/downs of this transition.

    Advice to Management

    Pay your people market value. They believe in the mission. Don't take advantage of their kindness. As you transition to a software company, pick leaders who care about the employees, as much as the customer. Leaders focused on making a name for themselves will destroy the company from the inside out.

    Cengage2019-11-07

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