Harmonic - DSP Firmware Consulting Engineer | Glassdoor
There are newer employer reviews for Harmonic
There are newer employer reviews for Harmonic

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"DSP Firmware Consulting Engineer"

Star Star Star Star Star
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Culture & Values
  • Career Opportunities
  • Comp & Benefits
  • Senior Management
Former Contractor - DSP Firmware Engineer
Former Contractor - DSP Firmware Engineer
Recommends
Neutral Outlook
No opinion of CEO

I worked at Harmonic as a contractor (Less than a year)

Pros

Products are audio/video encoding and decoding boxes used in professional broadcast environment. Development facilities for engineers are better than average including a excellent audio/visual lab. Had weekly project status review with hardware engineering group in Israel and firmware group in San Jose.

Cons

Project management seemed a unorganized and there was no system engineering group at San Jose office. Product documentation about average, lots of reverse engineering time required to upgrade existing product line to new features. No written interface specifications at either the physical layer or HDLC layer.

Advice to Management

Need to add System Engineering group to development detailed systems engineering specifications, system integration, and system testing for both hardware, software, and firmware.

Other Employee Reviews for Harmonic

  1. Helpful (1)

    "Top brand, good technical people, precarious top business management."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Very dynamic industry, top quality products, very good product management, good salary.

    Cons

    Top management creates a turbulent environment, many bad bold decisions.

    Advice to Management

    The company needs authentic strong leadership.


  2. Helpful (2)

    "Friendly R&D co-workers but low pay, little career potential, out of date tools and out of touch upper management"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Software Development Engineer in Hong Kong (Hong Kong)
    Former Employee - Software Development Engineer in Hong Kong (Hong Kong)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Harmonic full-time

    Pros

    * Friendly co-workers, there is a Christmas event every year where the HK R&D employees go out for the whole day, with lunch, dinner and games.
    * A lot of R&D teams in Hong Kong. So the inputs from Hong Kong employees are actually taken into consideration by the San Jose headquarters.
    * Real engineering being done here in the video field (rather than only marketing), which means you'll get to learn a lot technically.
    * Company is transitioning from hardware to cloud based video encoding technology, which means that the company profits should improve due to lower expenses.
    * Company is transitioning to agile development which means that product release cycles are being reduced from 6 months to 1 month or even less. This means that customers have features delivered and bugs fixed much sooner than earlier.
    * There is an employee stock ownership program, but the stock price never rises above US$5 to US$6... If the stock prices increases beyond US$6, upper management promptly sell shares to profit. And oh ya, the upper management get free shares all the time as compensation, but I guess that's common in the industry.

    Cons

    * The upper management is too out of touch with the employees and very aloof. Once, the CEO came to the HK office, but left without even saying Hi or giving a speech to any "small fish" employees.
    * The R&D pay in HK is well below market average when compared to other industries in Hong Kong which require software engineering. The company loves to hire fresh graduates, a lot of whom then leave after 2-3 years which they realize that they are being under-paid and under-appreciated.
    * The work is very repetitive. You'll basically be doing the same thing 2 years from now as your are doing right now, only with a faster CPU and a different customer configuration.
    * Promotions are not dependent on your performance, but based on how long you've been here for. Basically, expect a promotion every 2-3 years. Your salary may increase by 7-10% every year if the company is doing relatively well, or <1% every year if the company is doing very badly. Note that if you are Sales or Upper management though, you'll have extremely high salaries.
    * There are still a lot of legacy hardware products, which means that you need to go into the "lab" (which is basically a data center at the back of the HK office) to do a lot of manual wiring etc.
    * The company still uses a lot of legacy engineering tools: e.g. for version control. Also, still using Windows as Operating system for Office PCs even though all products are Linux based.
    * As a "small-fish" employee, or even middle management, you cannot make any decisions to use new technology or different development methodologies, since the most important thing is business development. So, if you tried to adopt a new technology (e.g. for version control) but it caused a month's delay, then upper management will shoot down your decision and bring you back to using old technology as "we don't want to delay the next release".
    * The number of holidays is very less (almost the minimum allowed in HK) and increases by 1 day per year only.
    * The Sales and Marketing team is completely separated from the Engineering teams with NO (not almost, I mean just NO) interaction between engineering and marketing co-workers. How can an engineer ever learn anything about engineering sales if you don't have any interactions at all?
    * There has been no IT support in HK for several months (!) as the previous IT support had to go to a new office in a different country. So, if your office computer breaks down... what'll happen? Who knows? Thankfully my computer didn't break down in the time the IT support hasn't been here.
    * The upper management is very indecisive and keeps changing decisions every few weeks. The main motivational factor for them is the next release cycle, with little long term strategy beyond cloud video technology. Cloud video may well save this company in the future though.
    * The CEO has been here for over 10 years, with dismal financial returns. Most of the board members seem to have been handpicked by him, so they basically act as a rubber-stamp for the upper management's decisions.
    * The CTO (who is based directly out of Hong Kong by the way, unlike the rest of the upper management who are based out of San Jose) again NEVER interacts with employees below the managerial level. The only interaction with him is a red packet from him on Chinese New Year.
    * Some DevOps employees are over-worked, but thankfully I wasn't DevOps. They have to work weekends too, but probably their pay is similar to that of other employees (aka very low by HK standards).
    * The management control software for all products has extremely bad design, and plain sucks. One of the software is from the 1990s and has been bandaged to work until now. Another management control software is supposed to be "new" but again they didn't want to hire designers (to save money) so the design still sucks.
    * Whenever the company's revenues (publicly available as this is a publicly listed company) dip below US$100 million a quarter, the CEO goes ahead and buys another smaller competitor to display increased revenues every quarter (until the revenues go down again next time). This leads to a year of turmoil every few years (say every 3-4 years) as the new company is integrated and some people are let go. I saw them buy Omneon in 2010, sell off the fiber-optic access products division in 2013 and then buy Thomson in 2016. By the way, there is a lot of product overlap with Thomson, and the acquisition doesn't make much sense, but other companies were buying each other out, so Harmonic went ahead and did the same.
    * The company rarely (if every) promotes middle management to upper management. The upper management is usually brought in from competitors.
    * The whole company has this "small company" mentality where it lets the "big customers" demand anything they want. Every release, the marketing department will sell something to a big customer which R&D cannot commit to. Then we developers have to develop these features in a half-handed way which leads to customers getting pissed off... and then the cycle keeps repeating endlessly. Senior engineers are often (every 6 months or so) flown out to different countries to visit customer sites to fix their issues.
    * The company has big issues with time zones as there are R&D centers (both outsourced and in-house) in at least 5 different locations in Asia, North America and Europe. There are often meetings at 8AM or late at night (usually in the mornings though for HK).

    Advice to Management

    * Come back down to earth, interact with employees, listen to their inputs.

    * Adopt the latest tools for the job, don't be afraid of refactoring old code and tools, even if it means a temporary delay in feature delivery.

    * Have some self respect, and show some vision to the industry, instead of doing whatever big customers want you to do.

There are newer employer reviews for Harmonic
There are newer employer reviews for Harmonic

See Most Recent

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