Illumina Reviews | Glassdoor

Illumina Reviews

Updated July 25, 2017
41 reviews

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Pros
  • Pretty good flexibility in our work helps with work life balance (in 23 reviews)

  • Innovative and fast paced environment (in 49 reviews)

Cons
  • Work life balance is always a concern (in 51 reviews)

  • Illumina is fast-paced and there are many days with long hours (in 22 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (4)

    "RA"

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

    I worked at Illumina full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Working along side very smart people

    Cons

    Too much politics. Long hours. No life/work balance. Work not appreciated. No options for professional development. Harsh. condescending bosses, not mentors or leaders, who only care about their own advancement.

    Advice to Management

    Hire leadership, not bosses. Promote collaboration, break politics.


  2. Helpful (1)

    "Disappointing experience, but I deserve better"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Contractor - Manufacturing Technician in Hayward, CA
    Former Contractor - Manufacturing Technician in Hayward, CA
    Doesn't Recommend

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

    Pros

    Free lunch every other Wednesday, some overtime.

    Cons

    An over supply of inexperienced and know nothing middle management with no clue.

    Advice to Management

    I told management that I had experience with calibration and testing medical devices, they put me doing assembly work instead. I feel like they weren't smart enough to use my skills according to my previous experience and my strengths. I was laid off after 5 months.

  3. Helpful (8)

    "Proceed with caution."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Illumina (More than a year)

    Pros

    (+) Challenging, fast-paced, opportunity to work alongside brilliant minds in the industry.

    Cons

    (-) Bets are off if you are a "contract-to-hire" hopeful. Nowadays, all conversion proposals have to be escalated to the CEO.
    (-) Blatant favoritism and politics.
    (-) All processes are waist deep in bureaucracy.
    (-) Management (namely department heads) is exceptionally self-interested, even for a corporate setting. They are nary interested in feedback or your career development.
    (-) Image obsessed. Instead of considering internal input, they will fixate on the Glassdoor reviews.

    Advice to Management

    1) Listen to internal feedback.
    2) Partner with your higher ups instead of deferring at the expense of your team and subordinates.


  4. Helpful (7)

    "UNCONTROLLED GROWTH - CULTURE SHIFTED"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Diego, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Diego, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Illumina (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Some of the finest employees you'll find anywhere.

    Cons

    Worked for this company for several years and saw many changes. Infrastructure not keeping pace with growth - growing too quickly. Culture diluted as a result of rapid growth and bringing in non-cultural fits into the management structure/ranks. Morale is lower than I've ever seen it.

    Illumina was once the most fun and exciting place to work in San Diego. Now, with the hiring of typical elitist management-types, it has become just another place in San Diego to work.

    Work/life balance is a fallacy at Illumina.

    Advice to Management

    My CEO rating is for that of Jay Flatley. He is an amazing leader; however, he is transitioning out of this role. I feel differently about his successor.


  5. Helpful (1)

    "Fast paced and exciting"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Culture is phenomenal. Everyone wants to help the company succeed. People are very friendly and the work is extremely rewarding. Perks offered are terrific.

    Cons

    Work Life Balance is challenging. Too many priorities and not enough prioritization. Management needs to recognize that growth has to be sustained through hiring more people not just through overloading the existing population.


  6. Helpful (28)

    "IA - no one is driving the bus"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Illumina full-time

    Pros

    It is a lovely facility. During the interview I found it refreshing that they were more concerned with practical skills and experience. This is a big change from the majority of companies that are more concerned with degrees and licenses that would have been obtained decades ago even though they are asking for an "experienced" employee. Yes, I have a Master's Degree in the field, but not the trendy license!.

    Cons

    I was interviewed by the 4 people in the IA department, but only worked for one and she had absolute control over what was done to me. This includes firing me for completing a project that when she gave it to me she openly stated she did not know how to do it or where to get the information. There was not any recourse or even any warning I was about to be fired. No one looked at what she did. She was just allowed to act as a spoiled child.

    I was under a woman who was in over her head. I was hired as a contractor to take some of the workload off her. I have extensive experience in this area so it did not seem to be a problem to me. It soon became clear she did not understand her job and was going to lash out at anyone who was a threat to her, i.e. know how to do the job. She got to the point where she spent many late night hours (seen on the emails) finding completely ridiculous, petty things for me to change on my work. I made the changes for her without saying a word.

    Upon completion I offered to walk her through the project she had told me she did not know how to do. Since it was complex and contained a lot of information it is not easy for anyone to follow. She immediately accused me of insufficient documentation and refused to listen to anything I had to say. In 2 days I had 5 different versions of the spreadsheet from her. She was not even looking at the most recent version I had which was available to her at any time. Clearly she was more interested in picking at it.

    Since she refused to accept that I knew anything, she got the person who did the project last year to review mine. She kept insisting last year was "easy" to understand and very consistent so I should just do it like it was done last year. On several occasions I tried to explain to her why this did not work. She was unable to discuss any of it. They, my supervisor and the person who did the project last year, decided to limit me to certain screen shots on the software because they did not know what many of mine were and did not bother to ask or read the explanations/documentation. When they decided to gang up on me for 2+ hours to "show me how to do it", the numbers did not work in the formula they required me to use! We all sat there and saw it. I was then told to use an alternate method and just explain to the auditors what I did when the formula did not fit the back up. Clearly their numbers and "consistent/easy to understand" system did not work. I was about to find out I was going to be held responsible for last year's work being less than consistant.

    I went in the next day and began to work on other samples of this test. I believed I had found a way to give her something she could understand as well as make the numbers work as I needed them to do with the formula they required me to use. I will not give numbers that do not work. If the incorrect numbers/documentation were discovered I would clearly and rightfully be responsible for unacceptable work. She did not speak to me the next day. How childish can you be? I worked all day coming up with the new system and combining all the spreadsheet versions she had created. Sat, the next day I received a call from the recruiter saying they claimed I could not take constructive criticism and was fired. No one in the dept. did anything. It seems she was not required to ask anyone before firing me and/or no one thought it reasonable to ask me what was happening or look at my work. Why interview me when you are going to let her be the immature and incompetent person she is and take it out on whoever you all hired? Clearly maturity and competence are not required for a position in this company.


  7. Helpful (16)

    "Back-breaking and Soul-crushing"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Just Another Software Engineer in San Diego, CA
    Former Employee - Just Another Software Engineer in San Diego, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Illumina full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    They actually paid pretty well. I was even told once that there was some concern that I might have been getting paid too much. Lot's of pretty, young folks.

    Cons

    Back-breaking work. Unrealistic expectations. No real chance to forge any lasting relationships. Horrible communication. Horrible HR. Projects are *extremely* well-guarded. Preference is definitely given to the younger, more attractive women. Expect to deal with a senior management staff more concerned about popularity, politics, and extra-curricular relationships than with actual production.

    Advice to Management

    Don't terminate someone the very next day (without any written reason) when they bring up possible non-compliance with FDA regulations.

  8. Helpful (5)

    "Treat Employees Poorly"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Production Supervisor in San Diego, CA
    Former Employee - Production Supervisor in San Diego, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Illumina full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Illumina's stock price has been rapidly increasing the last ten years. They are well placed in the sequencing market and have an opportunity to lead the diagnostic sequencing market for years to come.

    Cons

    Illumina asks a lot from employees and offers very little in return. Illumina's stock price has done very well over the past few years which allows management to neglect all other aspects of compensation. As long as the stock price continues to rise upper management will be able to get away with mistreating their employees. A lot of good people have recently left.

    Advice to Management

    Not everyone cares about stock options.


  9. Helpful (4)

    "Profoundly Disappointing"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Contractor - Anonymous Contractor in San Diego, CA
    Former Contractor - Anonymous Contractor in San Diego, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Some nice, positive people. Great campus and cafeteria. They are into supporting altruistic causes.

    Cons

    Disorganization, paranoia, and sabotage seem to rule the day.

    Advice to Management

    Stop treating employees, contractors with disrespect.


  10. Helpful (13)

    "Dysfunctional and Proud of It!!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Research Associate in San Diego, CA
    Current Employee - Senior Research Associate in San Diego, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Illumina full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Nice campus, iCafe, company parties are fun, stock is going up, some nice people

    Cons

    If you love working then this is the place for you because you'll be here morning, noon, and night. La Jolla in the dark will become a very familiar sight. It's not just the aggressive schedules that will keep you at work. A good part of the work will be created by the overall lack of planning of the projects that you'll work on. This is kind of amazing since Illumina is filled to rafters with middle managers. I guess they spend so much time falling over each other that they don't have time to manage anything.

    The cherry on top of all of this is that your hard work is unlikely to be rewarded. Illumina makes no bones about the fact that it will not give internal candidates preference in hiring for open positions. It's quite frustrating to see external job postings for positions that you (and likely many of your colleagues) are qualified for. The best strategy for advancement at Illumina is to do good work, leave for a few years, and then come back at a higher level.


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