I worked at Latitude Geographics (More than 5 years)
See below for full review
See below for full review.
Advice to Management
I worked at Latitude for 5 ½ years and overall it was a great experience. There are many smart, passionate, and friendly people who work there. I was relatively green when I was brought on and I found it an excellent place to build a career. I was provided with a lot of autonomy in my role, my work was engaging, and there were often fun activities going on outside of office hours. It should be noted that I left Latitude because of a career change and a move to another country—not because I was unsatisfied with the company.
One person on glassdoor commented about high turnover but this was not my experience at all. Historically, the most turnover occurred in administrative and receptionist roles but it seemed relatively low outside of that. It’s my impression that most employees are genuinely happy to be there.
In terms of salary, there are companies around town that pay more, but there are also many that pay less (I was in an HR position and reviewed past and present salary info with candidates). Personally, I always felt fairly compensated. Latitude is conservatively managed and I think this is largely why they have always been profitable during there 14 years of existence. Despite the volatile nature of the software industry, I always felt like my job was secure. Latitude has only ever laid off one employee and it was not because of financial reasons, rather it was because a certain skill set was no longer needed on a full-time basis.
It is always easy to nitpick negative issues with employers, in Latitude’s case I can mention a couple of things. Many companies contribute to MSP payments but Latitude does not (at least as of the date of this review). Also there is no financial assistance in terms of retirement planning. I don’t think retirement assistance is common among small to mid-size software companies but it will be something I’ll consider when choosing future employers.
While no company is perfect, five stars on this site is defined as “very satisfied” and so I gave Latitude five stars. I would highly recommend them as an employer.
I have been working at Latitude Geographics full-time
- Great people and work culture
- Good office location (Victoria) and modern office space
- Interesting work with a diverse set of products
- Low pay
- Communication from management is sometimes lacking
I worked at Latitude Geographics as an intern
Everyone got along, office was in a cool place downtown, lots of good gear and competent developers. theyre growing fast
Not enough beer on fridays!! its a massive office too, hard to get comfortable with everyone. theyre growing fast which was also a pro so its really your choice of flavour
Advice to Management
take everyone on kayak paddles more often, as it gets you in the office more often! keep up the good work all around
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I worked at Latitude Geographics (More than a year)
My experience at Latitude was very positive, and I would definitely recommend the company to a prospective employee. In a tech industry that's had it's fair share of ups and downs throughout the years, Latitude has demonstrated steady growth and a sustainable business model.
For junior software developers, Latitude provides a great opportunity to gain valuable hands-on experience working on a well-designed core product, and also to learn from some very talented senior developers and technical leads. For developers looking to expand their skill sets into business analysis and technical consultancy, there are great opportunities to work directly with clients on custom projects in the client services division. Since my experience at Latitude was limited to the management of client-funded projects in the services and core product development teams, I can't say whether other aspects of the business were as well run as those groups, but it certainly seemed to be the case.
Because of the limited scope of the product offering (mapping and GIS software), if a prospective employee was looking for more diverse experience working with a variety of software product types, that might be considered a drawback.
I worked at Latitude Geographics full-time
Company culture - Great work environment, beautiful location, strong leadership and management, cool team vibe.
Staff - Diverse, friendly, engaged, and highly talented colleagues.
Company is growing - Great core products, big clients, with lots of future potential.
Marginal organization design improvements would be beneficial, to address increased (and increasing) company size.
Advice to Management
Continue to learn and adapt to dynamics inherent with increased company size.
Simplify perceived complexity of product offerings.
I worked at Latitude Geographics full-time (More than a year)
Today is my last day at Latitude.
While I still have the privilege to call myself a latituder I wanted to share my thoughts about why Latitude is a dream company to work for.
I am a great Apple fan and for me Latitude is to Employers as Apple is to Consumer Electronics - both have an uncompromising focus on quality, customer and employee delight, ethics, success and a passion for innovation.
Here was how some of the promises during recruitment actually played out during my days at latitude.
Top-notch colleagues that like and respect one another
This is totally an understatement.
In reality the team is like a rock band and each latituder a rock star. There is no mediocrity, no bad- hires, no office politics just a superb non judgmental hyper creative and super productive workplace filled with fun techies. The "cultural fit" of every single employee is amazing. I think Latitude could write a best seller on How To Do No Nonsense Recruiting.
Special mention about the project managers and the services manager - I never had to work on a project "that is due yesterday and do not have any billable hours left". Projects are so well managed so that the team gets to work on projects in a stress free environment supporting an excellent work-life balance.
Due to several reasons (like being industry leaders, expert estimators and excellent sales team) latitude always manages to buy enough time for the projects which translates to a stress free project schedule.
My tenure at latitude was like a long vacation because during the day you do what you love to do with a team that you love to be with. And, in the evening you go home without having to take any stress home. In reality I didn’t even take a long vacation last year because I didn’t have to "unwind".
I am a new immigrant to Canada. I was welcomed, respected and the cultural differences embraced. I was also thrilled to work with people from around the world.
Challenging, interesting work / Cutting edge technology
I am proud that the code that I wrote is ran to do some pretty import stuff that makes the world a better place.
There is a lot to learn from the engineering and deign aspects of the The greatest professional development opportunity is the opportunity to work on latitude products. Each module is a vitrine displaying state of the art engineering technology. I consider myself lucky to have worked on latitude products - simple and elegant applications of technology to solve real world problems.
The speed at which the products team embrace new technology to rapidly hit the market is amazing. Almost as soon a a new technology is announced by Microsoft / ESRI / IT Industry in general, latitude evaluates it and determines its role in the technology roadmap of Latitude.
Every day at latitude is a crash course in computing technologies and how to apply them to create cutting
edge software. Colleagues understand that no man knows everything and works together as new technology is
understood and applied to getting stuff done in the real-world.
A Role Model CEO
I can use a million words but I do not want to risk being considered a sycophant. But latitude CEO is just awesome - humble, reasonable, genuine, creative, smart and passionate about latitude. I was always glad that I was working for him.
If you are smart enough to manage to get an offer from latitude my advice is - just join them.
I hope latitude will continue to make itself a place where the latituders really want to be.
It is hard to think of a lot of cons.
1. It is not a HUGE company - this can sometimes be con. But it is also a good thing.
2. It is not a very diversified company - this can sometimes be con - but if you like GIS it is not a con at all.
Advice to Management
I hope latitude will continue to strive to make latitude the "place where every latituder really wants to be".
Software company in small Victoria
Underpaid, bad benefits, low job security, mentality of small business with big ambitions.
I have been working at Latitude Geographics full-time (Less than a year)
Interesting work, Very nice people
Salary is a bit low
The people working there were all very enthusiastic and friendly.
The office tries to maintain a hip, cool "Google-esque" atmosphere - complete with a fancy coffee maker, food in the fridge, movie nights, a foosball table and kayaks that you can sign out.
If you're just starting out, this place could be a decent way to launch a career.
In my experience, the salary was below what I would expect to be normal for the position. Additionally, there are no sick days (since "they punish healthy people"), and the only days off are those that are required by Canadian law. Even then, employees are encouraged to work on these days and take other days off so as to be available for the largely American clients. Expect to sign a document preventing you from working for the competition in the future. Software is used to track what you are doing every minute you are at work. This is used to bill clients, but feels a little big brother-ish.
The website mentions loyalty and staff retention but I have never worked in a place with such a high rate of staff turnover.
Advice to Management
The company started out creating add-ons for an externally-developed software package (The Moximedia IMF), and then became the sole distributor of that software. The initial success of the Latitude Geographics is almost certainly due to the quality of that software, rather than any amazing management skills.
The departure of employees is not taken lightly. While employees tend to leave positions to pursue opportunities that are a better fit for them, do not expect a "Congratulations". Instead, you may be yelled at or completely ignored for the duration of your employment.
Keep in mind that this is a small company without any checks and balances so your salary and job security are solely one person's discretion. The profit-sharing benefit falls into this category as well - you may not receive benefits for partial years worked.
- Nice offices in downtown Victoria
- Relatively strong position in their industry
- Stable growth over the past ten years
Upper management of this company literally has no outside experience working as employees anywhere else, and as a result, they have very little perspective from an employee's point of view. Despite a mantra of only hiring the best people, employees are subject to preemptive preventative policies that negatively affect morale.
Additionally, despite real attempts to appear open to employee suggestions on improving the company, change happens in frustratingly tiny increments, and discussions are sometimes just shut down.
Generally compensation at Latitude is median for junior and intermediate level developers, but it is not good for senior devs. The fact that the CEO does salary negotiations is also a problem - that needs to be delegated to an HR person. And again contrary to keeping the best people.
Advice to Management
- If you're going to hire the best people, you need to compensate accordingly and willingly. Grilling me for 12 hours of interview and then going as low as possible in salary negotiations does not make a good impression.
- If 100% of employees are unhappy with the sick day policy, the sick day policy is wrong, not the employees, regardless of whatever ideal place it comes from.
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