IXL Learning Reviews | Glassdoor

IXL Learning Reviews

Updated June 27, 2017
121 reviews

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Full-time Part-time

4.3
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IXL Learning CEO Paul Mishkin
Paul Mishkin
80 Ratings

121 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • I appreciate that even though it hasn't been discussed much explicitly, work-life balance seems important to people here (in 15 reviews)

  • The company is growing and there is great opportunity (in 9 reviews)

Cons
  • No free meals provided on a daily basis (in 7 reviews)

  • Office atmosphere is dead (the people who are permitted to work from home do so one or twice per week) (in 4 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Where Education Meets Technology"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in San Mateo, CA
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in San Mateo, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    IXL Learning is a technology company in the first place, and has established very good standards for coding conventions, engineering principles, internal tools, etc. You definitely get the chance to grow yourself to become a better engineer.

    In addition, you'll have smart and friendly coworkers, good work life balance, great product, and challenging projects to work on. These are what you'll get at IXL, but should never take for granted.

    Cons

    None that I can think of.

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the good work, and bring the best talents!


  2. Helpful (3)

    "A company that gets a lot right but has some real issues"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Mateo, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Mateo, CA

    I worked at IXL Learning full-time

    Pros

    - IXL makes a phenomenal educational product with a high quality standard that addresses an obvious need. Most employees genuinely believe in the product -- I'd use it with my kids without hesitation.
    - On the whole, my coworkers were bright, talented, friendly, and motivated by the company's mission.
    - I had (mostly) good managers who were talented and invested in my success.
    - Despite the cons listed below, I always got the sense that company was well intentioned. IXL operates in a thoughtful manner, and they were generally willing to acknowledge issues and address them with initiatives like management trainings and town halls.
    - Work life balance was good.
    - The company draws people from diverse academic backgrounds, which creates a unique pool of employees.
    - Women are overrepresented in management roles compared to most tech companies.
    - Day-in day-out I had a lot of fun working there (both due to the office atmosphere and company sponsored events), and I don't think the importance of that can be overstated.

    Cons

    - Whether it was fair or not, I got the sense that a majority of IXL employees didn't feel fully empowered in their roles. Most employees are hired to execute IXL's vision, not to define it.
    - Roles are narrowly defined and many have repetitive responsibilities. Cross-team internal mobility is rare, which exacerbates this problem. This model might work well for some, but it wasn't ideal for me, and I found growth difficult.
    - Decision making power is heavily concentrated at the top of the org chart. The CEO & COO are still very active in all facets of the product & company operations. It's possible to earn enough trust to have a say in major decisions, but for most that's a very long process. To be fair, the CEO & COO have a strong feel for the product and its users, and other people who earn decision making power usually are the highest performers.
    - Concentrated decision making would be more OK (I doubt any successful companies use consensus decision making as a long term strategy) if the strategy-level decisions were more frequently good ones. Despite the CEO's track record as a 'visionary' in the space (it's admittedly very good), recent decisions have been more miss than hit.
    - The company is slow moving. This is in part because the quality standard is so high, which is a good thing, but it takes a long time to get to obvious features, and smaller teams in the space are moving at a faster pace, which gives me doubts about the company maintaining its level of success long term.
    - The CEO's management policy could be described as "my door is always open, but I'm not going to be the one to walk through it". The longer I was at the company, the more I get the sense that he was out of touch with the culture / problems on the ground.
    - HR was kind of a mess and difficult to work with.
    - Given the timing and content of a lot of the reviews here, I am strongly suspicious that many of them are fake. A lot of fluff reviews appear after bad ones, and most of the people I knew at IXL would have more insightful pros/cons than the benefits (they're fine but hardly notable -- average to slightly below average for the area depending on the role) and vague notions of 'growing pains'. If those suspicions are true (again, no hard evidence), that's a disservice to potential candidates because it buries valuable opinion with misleading information, and I find that personally insulting.

  3. Helpful (2)

    "Still here...!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Software Engineer in San Mateo, CA
    Current Employee - Senior Software Engineer in San Mateo, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at IXL Learning full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Disclaimer: I'm an engineer and experiences on other teams may vary.

    + Company benefits (not necessarily unique to IXL): drinks, massage, yoga classes, unlimited PTO
    + Environment where people are very willing to answer questions/help each other out
    + Any interest seems to be fostered here: D&D/board games to climbing/hiking/etc to learning Arabic/French to wine
    + Great work/life balance, flexible schedules
    + Driving distance to delicious food
    + CEO is very open to discussion, although his shyness can come off as aloof
    + Content managers / directors very approachable for concerns
    + Improving transparency on career advancement (at least for engineers)
    + New transportation to/from city!

    Cons

    - Growing pains like reduced space, but we're adding more some time in the near future
    - Still no interest in providing lunch and/or snacks :/
    - Could work more on employee retention

    Advice to Management

    Lunch in the office even once a week would promote cross-team conversation and friendliness, especially as we spread out even more!


  4. Helpful (2)

    "A pretty nice place"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Technical Support Representative in San Mateo, CA
    Former Employee - Technical Support Representative in San Mateo, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at IXL Learning full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    This is one of the nicest groups of people I have ever worked with, and the company treats their employees really well. It's not a silicon valley behemoth, but it's pretty nice. My supervisors were excellent, and well organized. If you like providing technical support, this is one of the best cubicles you're going to find. They ordered a pricey ergonomic mouse and keyboard to help my wrist pain, as well as a second monitor to go with the standard sit-or-stand desk, in my own cube with lots of space, storage and shelving. And this was all for the lowest position in the company.

    They're very picky in their hiring. I was proud to be included with such an outstanding, dedicated and resourceful team. Everybody did everything possible to ensure I felt welcome and appreciated. There's a real positive vibe here, and that successfully transfers to the customer service experience.

    The customers are usually pretty fun to interact with. Of course, there can be some difficult ones, but most people working in kids' education are friendly, patient and grateful. Sometimes kids will prank call, and most of the kids are just adorable. The website is usually pretty simple, so leading customers through is usually a breeze. It's especially entertaining when folks are learning computers for the first time.

    There is downtime, and management encourages independent study, which is great. The hr department is excellent, and work hard to make you feel valuable. They have yoga, self-improvement workshops, fun department outings, and massages with some of the best therapists I've had. The building has a nice little gym, and a very convenient location. Almost no overtime!

    Perhaps most importantly, I was fully encouraged to pursue all opportunities within the company. There are different departments, and they all work together well. Although I didn't get a position in QA, I had Tech Support's enthusiastic backing when I interviewed. Seriously, everybody here wants what's best for you, it's a great feeling!

    The health insurance has very good offerings, although the vision just took a step down. If you don't want Lasik, don't sweat it.

    Cons

    This lower position is just a step above temp duties, so it's is very basic, primarily dedicated to sign-in issues. During the busy season, you will process over 60 sign-in emails per day, usually more, which is incredibly repetitive and mind-numbing. Honestly, this position shouldn't be limited to college graduates, I did nothing here that I hadn't learned in high school or basic web surfing. There isn't too much room to move up. The new product serves kids, and is really well designed, so the job isn't tough. Their legacy product serves college students, I can't recommend that position unless the salary is unusually high.

    Silicon Valley is quickly becoming inhospitable for those making an average salary, and this position paid less than average. It's a good short-term gig for a fresh graduate or if you want a foot in the door, but I can't recommend this specific, lower position to anybody who needs a living wage for the area. After ten months, I was still paying rent mostly from savings, living a fairly humble lifestyle. There seemed to be an attitude that since I got a few hundred in perks, I should be ok with missing out on a few thousand in pay. It's heartbreaking, as I had big plans for this place and my family, and that was what pushed me to move on.

    Advice to Management

    Eliminate this position from this location, the salary is insulting for this area. If somebody works as hard as they can for you for 6 months, and you can't give them a cost-of-living raise, work with them to make them more valuable and clearly communicate during the process. I'm still amazed I have to even say this to an otherwise excellent employer.


  5. "Software Engineer"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in San Mateo, CA
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in San Mateo, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

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

    Pros

    1. Work-life balance is great
    2. People working here are very friendly
    3. Great working environment

    Cons

    Can not think of any

    Advice to Management

    Everything works great!


  6. "Fun and engaging work environment!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Comp & Benefits
    Current Employee - Curriculum Designer in Morrisville, NC
    Current Employee - Curriculum Designer in Morrisville, NC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at IXL Learning full-time

    Pros

    The curriculum designers are all smart, passionate people, who really care about what they're doing. All of the teams are committed to creating the best possible product, and it's inspiring to work with such dedicated people. The office atmosphere is collaborative and easy-going, which really fosters creativity and commitment.

    Cons

    None that I can think of.

    Advice to Management

    N/A


  7. Helpful (5)

    "Great place to work"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Math Curriculum Designer in Raleigh, NC
    Current Employee - Math Curriculum Designer in Raleigh, NC
    Recommends

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

    Pros

    The job is collaborative and creative. There are always a variety of tasks to work on so you never get bored by doing the same thing all day every day. Everyone at IXL is committed and hardworking and fun to work with. I work remotely and still really feel like I'm part of a team.

    Cons

    If you take a remote position, it is more difficult to know your colleagues as much as if you're in the office. But the IXL team does a good job bridging this gap with technology anyway.

  8. Helpful (2)

    "Great so far, very supportive employees"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Curriculum Designer in San Mateo, CA
    Current Employee - Curriculum Designer in San Mateo, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

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

    Pros

    My team and everyone that I've met so far while working here has been very helpful and friendly. The work environment is very collaborative, so it is crucial that everyone be able to work together in a professional manner. The work environment is comfortable, and the perks are nice as well. I have not had to take work home with me at all, so I have my evenings and weekends for what I need or want to do.

    Cons

    Because the company is growing very rapidly, there are some policies or standard operating procedures which are in flux and being changed, so to some degree this has been a little jarring. However, there is real effort being put into making these changes quickly, easily, and for the benefit of everyone affected by them.


  9. Helpful (7)

    "Some excellent people work at IXL, but management culture needs a pretty serious overhaul"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Mateo, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Mateo, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at IXL Learning full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    -Good benefits
    -Lots of friendly, sociable people in the office

    Cons

    -Upper management is extremely distant
    -Pay doesn't scale properly with the cost of living in the Bay Area (I'm currently living paycheck to paycheck, and I've been at IXL for years now)
    -The structure of the company squashes out any chance that a low-level employee can have to make a genuine impact. All of the directives come from on high and then trickle down.

    Advice to Management

    1) Spread the wealth around a bit. The discrepancy in salary between an entry-level engineer and, say, an experienced non-engineer with multiple advanced degrees is just downright upsetting. It sends a pretty strong message to non-engineers about their value (or, rather, lack thereof) to the company, and it definitely affects morale in a negative way.

    2) Along these same lines, stop giving directives to the company as though all of the bottom-tier employees are one monolithic entity. Sure, some of us are 23 and fresh out of college. But others have advanced degrees, have years of teaching and project management experience, and have worked in multiple tech jobs. A lot of us are comfortable (and even thrive more as employees) with less oversight.

    3) When upper management vacancies appear, promote internally rather than bringing in hotshots from elsewhere. It would send a message to lower-level employees that they can actually advance within the structure at IXL. This would improve both morale and retention.


  10. Helpful (6)

    "Could have been my dream job, if it had been at a different company"

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

    I worked at IXL Learning full-time

    Pros

    - There are plenty of incredibly smart people toiling away in the cube farms of IXL.
    - The coffee wasn't great, but it sure was free.

    Cons

    - The pay is not up to industry standards for the region.
    - For a number of different roles, they seemed to like to hire people fresh out of top schools but who had little real-world work experience, so that they would be slower to recognize they were being exploited.
    - Front-line management can often be very inexperienced and inept. I often felt like my manager - who was just a couple years out of school - was speaking to me in quotes they had memorized from an Intro to Management textbook just moments before.
    - Upper management is basically completely inaccessible.
    - Management at all levels plays favorites.
    - The office environment is sterile and demoralizing.

    Advice to Management

    Stop meddling so much and trust your people to do the jobs you hired them to do.


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