Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Computation Reviews | Glassdoor

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Computation Reviews

Updated July 26, 2018
49 reviews

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Computation

4.4
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Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Director Bill Goldstein
Bill Goldstein
18 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • "Work life balance is the biggest advantage" (in 99 reviews)

  • "As a grad student: lots of resources, cutting edge research opportunities" (in 34 reviews)

Cons
  • "Being a government contractor does mean there is a lot of red tape" (in 37 reviews)

  • "High cost of living in Bay Area" (in 14 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Computation Student Intern"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Student Computer Technician in Livermore, CA
    Current Employee - Student Computer Technician in Livermore, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory part-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Very flexible around School, wonderful facility, passionate mission and interesting staff. The environment feels almost like a university, and it is very welcoming. Work life balance is the biggest advantage

    Cons

    The average age of the normal employee is very high, which leads to very powerful views on certain things. The pay system is very strict and significant raises are hard to come by, so be sure to have a degree if you want the great pay.


  2. "Computation Internship"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Intern - Computation in Livermore, CA
    Former Intern - Computation in Livermore, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory as an intern (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Pay is better than what I would get in my home state.

    Cons

    Couldn't find anywhere to live. Had to move 5 separate times because I couldn't find a stable living situation which meant I had very little money left at the end of the summer. The hiring process was very stressful compared to my past internships. Expect a bunch of paperwork...

    Advice to Management

    Provide housing for students.

  3. "High Performance Computing"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Computer Scientist in Livermore, CA
    Current Employee - Senior Computer Scientist in Livermore, CA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Get to work in HPC on some of the fastest supercomputers in the world.

    Cons

    Sometimes very slow adopting new technologies.


  4. Helpful (1)

    "Computer Scientist"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Computer Scientist in Livermore, CA
    Current Employee - Computer Scientist in Livermore, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    World class programming challenges, world class supercomputers to work on. Brilliant and friendly people to work with. National security is a vital mission, and that is what LLNL does.

    Cons

    Stifling red tape and regulations. Staggering amounts of training required. If you need a government clearance, two years is probably what to expect for the wait, unless you have something unusual---then it is anybody's guess.

    Advice to Management

    Work life balance is really important to me with a young family: I'm glad that's an LLNL priority. However, so is compensation parity with the private sector.


  5. "Computation Summer Intern"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Intern - Computation
    Former Intern - Computation
    Recommends

    I worked at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory as an intern

    Pros

    Always interesting
    Lots of events
    Learn new technology

    Cons

    Strict rules so need to be careful with bluetooth/speakers, etc.

    Advice to Management

    Too many emails!


  6. "great coworkers, good work-life balance"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Computer Scientist in Livermore, CA
    Current Employee - Computer Scientist in Livermore, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    most people here have advanced degrees like PhDs. You can most define your pace of working. No one raises eyebrows if you take vacations.

    Cons

    layers of paperwork to get things approved. Management overhead is high.

    Advice to Management

    Reduce management overhead


  7. "Senior Computer Support Technologist"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Computer Systems Operator/Technician in Livermore, CA
    Current Employee - Senior Computer Systems Operator/Technician in Livermore, CA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    The group I work for is comprised of a very wide variety of highly motivated individuals with a very wide variety of backgrounds and technical expertise. Everyone gets along with everyone in the group and all strive to achieve minimum downtime and shortest possible return to full operation of the systems we monitor and maintain. The systems we maintain are constantly changing, as older systems are retired and new systems are installed. This requires all members of the group to stay on top of things and the group facilitates this by providing training about our ever changing work environment. The shift leaders go out of their way to support the employees that work on their shifts by being advocates for their team members to upper management. Upper management really appreciates the job that we do and the group and many members of the group have received recognition for their efforts in various ways - cash bonuses, certificates of recognition and the like. All in all it is a very wonderful place to work, in spite of all the challenges we have to meet on a daily basis.

    Cons

    Some of the support staff, especially in the area of technical support, have no clue as to the extent we have to be able to bring up monitoring tools. For an example, I usually have 16 desktops on the Redhat Linux machine I use to monitoring tools - over 75 Firefox windows with multiple tabs, and hundreds of terminal sessions to run monitoring scripts.

    Advice to Management

    Please get the support organizations to try to understand the comprehensive monitoring we do and to recognize that our group is like no other due to the amount of windows, both browser, and terminal sessions, that we need to be able to run 24/7.

  8. "Top notch technical work coupled with flexible work/life balance"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Computer Scientist
    Current Employee - Computer Scientist
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    + working with state of the art technology and people
    + supportive when working part time and taking care of family members
    + always striving to do what is ethically speaking right

    Cons

    - No fancy free cafeteria food
    - Large organization which can be difficult to get small and significant changes implemented across the entire organization (9/80s, 10/40s, work at home, etc )

    Advice to Management

    Keep working on recruiting and retention.


  9. "Great place to work with freedom"

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

    I have been working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    The lab offers great benefits and has events to keep employees engaged.
    The atmosphere is very upbeat and many employees stay at the lab.
    You are not micro-managed and are given freedom. You just have to make sure to get your work done.

    Cons

    As we are a DOE (government) lab, it takes a long time for processes and change. For example, It takes a long time to get hired, get a clearance, transition out older technology, etc.

    Advice to Management

    Actually, all of the managers I have encountered have been extremely nice, patient, and understanding. No complaints there


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Work/life balance and the biggest computers"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Computer Scientist in Livermore, CA
    Current Employee - Computer Scientist in Livermore, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    If you want to work on multi-disciplinary scientific problems of national importance, there's no place better. The world's most powerful computers are sited here and we are constantly challenged to apply that raw power in meaningful ways. There is always something new to research or simulate. You can work a 9-5 schedule, or put in lots of overtime and get rewarded proportionally. People tend to have long careers, so there is a willingness to invest in training. You can move around to many various areas or stay in one place, both are acceptable. There is no salary negotiation, since the annual review process tries to be fair to everyone. Promotion is almost always from within. For many of these above reasons there are more women, even in management, in technical roles than comparable private-sector employers. (Not that there are huge numbers of women, but, for instance, I once had a female direct supervisor and the three levels above her.) Health insurance is excellent and affordable. Since it's located further out than the most expensive parts of the Bay Area, it's possible to buy a home in town. Lots of people bike to work.

    Cons

    The wait for clearances is routinely 18 months or more (The Washington Post says an average of over 15 months, don't know where the management is getting this 12-13 number). However, LLNL has no control over (or visibility into) that process. Many areas of basic science, such as lasers, seismology, computer science, etc. have some connection to nuclear weapons work, if you find that objectionable. Salaries are lower on an absolute basis than the private sector, though the per-hour rate, especially if you factor in commuting and benefits, is competitive. No stock options, obviously. Because of the weird management structure, we get most of the restrictions of being federal employees with few of the benefits of being, technically, private sector contractors. So no federal GS steps or cost of living adjustments, but also no pension or TSP (thrift savings plan). Getting hired in the first place is difficult unless you have very high-level technical skills or know someone involved in the hiring process, you must be a U.S. citizen for most jobs. There is a fair amount of training, not nearly as much red tape as I expected at the level of individual employees. Once you get into management, it is pretty bad. There are 250 separate Department of Energy policies, orders, and mandates that LLNL must adhere to, and all of it is subject to auditing for compliance. It took me hours and hours of work, and probably a solid week from my administrative staff, just to get one off-site collaborator approved for computer access. And then it has to be renewed (somewhat less work) every year. If you just want to write code or do science, the burden is minimal. There is lots of LLNL-specific jargon.