MITRE Senior Systems Engineer Reviews | Glassdoor

MITRE Senior Systems Engineer Reviews

Updated April 13, 2017
59 reviews

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Senior Systems Engineer

3.5
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MITRE President & CEO Jason Providakes
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Pros
Cons
  • The quality of work-life balance has deteriorated (in 18 reviews)

  • The of lower management to impress upper management on the work of the umderlings was unreal (in 21 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Great culture with flexible work arrangements."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Systems Engineer in McLean, VA
    Former Employee - Senior Systems Engineer in McLean, VA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    MITRE has a very good culture overall that fosters teamwork, professional growth and innovation. Work-life balance is also respected with flexible work arrangements available.

    Cons

    Growth is not clearly defined for early and mid-career professionals. In addition to being a good performer, career growth is also based on the project you work on as well as your Project Lead and Group Lead (admin supervisor). Office politics is minimal but also plays a part nonetheless.

    Advice to Management

    MITRE does meaningful work that focus on public interest and management needs to continue to focus on taking care of the good people who are vital to its mission. Look hard within first before going out and hire someone who may or may not be a good fit.

    MITRE Response

    May 19, 2017 – Public Affairs

    Glad to hear that you enjoyed the culture and work/life balance here at MITRE! Employees are encouraged to raise concerns about career growth with their supervisors or their HR business partner.


  2. Helpful (1)

    "Top Notch Company"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Systems Engineer in Colorado Springs, CO
    Former Employee - Senior Systems Engineer in Colorado Springs, CO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    - Fosters employee growth, but you must work hard
    - Excellent Benefits including education
    - Company culture focuses more on sharing and less on internal competition
    - Opportunities to travel the globe (like I did)

    Cons

    - Management structure and restructuring at times ineffective
    - Little recognition of unique contributors
    - Technical capabilities are important but should not be the only criteria for employee evaluations
    - Good Old Boy management in home offices still at play when sites are doing the real work
    - Management attitudes "trickle downhill" to allow sometimes unfair employee relations

    Advice to Management

    Management should learn to "think outside the box" when it comes to assessing personnel.

    MITRE Response

    Jan 6, 2017 – Public Affairs

    Glad to hear that you enjoyed MITRE's culture and benefits! We recently implemented a new performance and development process. We also strive to recognize employees for hard work in other ways, such ... More


  3. Helpful (8)

    "MITRE"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Network Systems and Distributed Systems Engineer in Fort Huachuca, AZ
    Former Employee - Senior Network Systems and Distributed Systems Engineer in Fort Huachuca, AZ
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Excellent company with great benefits and many opportunities. It was generally staffed with extremely intelligent professionals.

    Cons

    I found the company to be quite top heavy with "management" with generally too much emphasis on documentation. I prefer work that is more technical in nature.

    Advice to Management

    It seemed like the pyramid was inverted. Too many Chiefs and not enough Indians. While that provides promotional opportunities, there was too much emphasis on requiring "management" rather than technical expertise. Because of the sheer number of managers, it seemed like they were falling over themselves trying to justify their jobs. I felt managed to death with the only way to advance being to join those ranks. Instead I opted by job outside the company that was 100% technical.

    MITRE Response

    Oct 26, 2016 – Public Affairs

    Thanks for taking the time to post a review! We are currently working on a technical career path initiative to clarify a path for those interested in advancing their career without moving into ... More


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  5. Helpful (8)

    "Good exposure to tech but..."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Systems Engineer in McLean, VA
    Former Employee - Senior Systems Engineer in McLean, VA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    MITRE is a good place to work if you are fortunate enough to land in the software Dev area. There are opportunities for hard workers coming from engineering backgrounds other than software to begin a software path, but you have to work pretty hard to demonstrate yourself. Starting out you will be a professional PowerPoint engineer and have to write a lot of documents/deliverables that will be added to the ever growing pile of documents unread by the FAA or whoever your sponsor is. The details in these reports and the pure mathematical/physical science backing these documents or white papers is astonishing, in a good way. I worked with the smartest people of my life while here, both book smart and real world application smart.

    At a certain point you will realize that this is a place where it is better to show up after a few years of "expertise" at other companies. Sarcasm on expertise because I witnessed a few government lifer employees with the TS clearance and blah blah but we're probably the worst coders I have ever seen, yet they were in charge of some important responsibilities. If you start your career here, it is very likely that you will be severely undervalued because hey, they "created" you. No matter how much overtime you perform there will always be that top heavy management structure above you. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to have a team leader directly above you that values your work and speaks on behalf of you to upper layers of management. If you do not have this you will be invisible. I pushed myself out there cautiously many times in hopes of becoming more noticed, since I would rarely receive positive feedback. I worked my behind off and was a completely self taught best practice syntax software snob, and proud. When I left MITRE started approaching Booz Allen reviews, where you could work 60-70 hours a week for a month, then request a half day or two on a Friday and the sky was falling.

    In the end, great exposure to technology, great opportunities to thrust yourself into different software areas (back end, front end, big data, etc, etc), but you will one day realize that you are severely undervalued given the quality of work coming out of your office. This isn't a bad thing, because there are many hungry companies looking for people like this that will immediately jump your pay by 30% if you are a good negotiator and know your market value.

    Place to retire. Get out into the private sectors after you have gobbled up all the exposure for 4-5 years and start your six figure career path. Making 100k+ a year after serving time here is easier than you would think, I make more now than people directly above me did at MITRE, and will continue to do so forever.

    Cons

    No bonuses, raises are usually only on cycle (end of year), unless you have worked crazy hours and get an off cycle raise in the summer.

    Level 2/3 employees are very undervalued if they are not celebrated by team leaders. Promotions above level 3 seem to take place only within a small brotherhood.

    MITRE values graduate level education. Systems engineering degrees from Johns Hopkins or George Mason seem to only service the "appearance" of better work quality, however this just means more deliverables (papers) that are added to the unread pile. The people at MITRE doing the real work are the ones with solid coding skills, and a background in mathematics, aerospace, or physics. There are concepts out there that are proven to benefit the sponsor (FAA) but progress is a slow roll of a ball up the hill for 10 years, not even joking. Imagine endless meetings, simulations, papers, deliverables, etc on a project for 10 years. If the FAA were privatized it would be more like 1 year, 2 tops.

    Raises will at most be 3% per YEAR. That's what you get for working at a non profit. However, there is 7.5% salary marching on a 2% contribution. So your IRA rollover after its all over will be in good shape.

    No culture. I talked to some management layer people a few times on activities outside of work. Each time I had the distinct feeling that I should guard what I say. It just seemed like all people in management cared about was work. I feel sorry for their wives. Other management that came from industry had way more personality, however it was obvious after awhile that they only displayed a fraction of their personalities while at work.

    When I left the career development reports were growing to an alarming government rate. HR was on a binge to get people to do quarterly updates on progress. It was constant, and unrealistic. Most of my software projects were so deeply involved that they were 6 months to 1 year in length. I would literally get funny looks when my leader wondered why things were not completed yet, even though I gave weekly updates and everything was thumbs up for months, until the quarterly review. The of lower management to impress upper management on the work of the umderlings was unreal. And for what benefit? This is government politics at its finest, impress only yourselves when no one else gives a damn, and never stepping back and asking, why do I care about this?

    You will become lost in the non existent culture. Hope that your leader is very tech savvy, not just someone promoted from within that hasn't the experience. Either that or someone that is a great leader, and celebrates his/her minions to upper management.

    If you are not outgoing, you will have zero relationship with management beyond your direct supervisor.

    Advice to Management

    Celebrate your employees more. Spread information downstream freely. There are some in management that have no business being there, and compartmentalize information to keep the underlings in the dark. I am not sure if this is intentional behavior, but I was told on more than one occasion that information was above my pay grade. That kind of approach to dealing with the people you are paid to direct is unwelcome and foreign.

    MITRE Response

    Oct 26, 2016 – Public Affairs

    We're glad that you enjoyed the retirement benefits, which we aim to be above industry standard for non-profits. We recently updated our performance and compensation program to include ongoing ... More


  6. Helpful (17)

    "Good Company from which to be an Independant Consultant"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Systems Engineer in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Senior Systems Engineer in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at MITRE full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Nice EA Package. Solid benefits package. Good work - life balance. Nice body shop for Engineers.

    Cons

    Increasingly PC. Bureaucratic culture. Not meritorious. Core competencies not fostered and developed. Senior level management does not provide strategic leaderships, just stirs the pot. The MITRE Way has added another layer of bureaucracy with no apparent benefits to the company.

    Advice to Management

    Develop core competencies and refocus along core mission areas. Try something new, like rewarding good work. Ditch MITRE Way and go back to drawing board.

    MITRE Response

    Apr 29, 2016 – Comms Representative

    We appreciate your feedback. We are happy to hear that you enjoy the benefits and work-life balance at MITRE. We encourage you to reach out to an HR representative to speak further about your concern ... More


  7. Helpful (23)

    "Worthwhile"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Software Systems Engineer in Bedford, MA
    Current Employee - Senior Software Systems Engineer in Bedford, MA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Great work/life balance, strong encouragement for advanced degrees and full reimbursement, extensive catalog of free on-campus learning resources. In the Software Tech Center I have an endless opportunity to improve myself as well as satisfy each sponsor's needs.

    Cons

    We are supporting the government, which despite our excellent technical capabilities, sometimes gets mired in bureaucracy. As a FFRDC, MITRE cannot compete with prime contractors, which is great for trust, but means my job is guidance, which is good and bad.

    Advice to Management

    The MITRE Way is a promise, but when department heads are compensated for keeping their own staff on tasks, there is a natural conflict of interest - we should have the right person for the job, not cronyism.

    MITRE Response

    May 1, 2015 – Comms Representative

    Thanks for your feedback. We’re glad that you’ve taken advantage of some of the many learning opportunities that we offer our employees.


  8. Helpful (1)

    "Senior Systems Engineer"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Systems Engineer in Saint Louis, MO
    Current Employee - Senior Systems Engineer in Saint Louis, MO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Leadership is very open to hear to ideas and concepts. Leadership is transparent and has a very good communication process. The company values open communication and education advancement. Lots of opportunity to expand job skills and diverse task opportunities.

    Cons

    Not a Con: MITRE is an FFRDC. The employees are able to be "honest" brokers to their customers without the concern of loseing profits.

    Advice to Management

    Continue to value the employee. Keep up the great communication at the sites and by corporate leadership.

    MITRE Response

    Aug 17, 2015 – Comms Representative

    Thank you for such a positive review! We’re glad you’ve enjoyed your time at MITRE.


  9. Helpful (4)

    "Working at MITRE is mostly pretty good"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Information Systems Engineer, Senior in McLean, VA
    Current Employee - Information Systems Engineer, Senior in McLean, VA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at MITRE full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    As a technical center employee, there is a lot of variety of important and interesting work.
    MITRE work is for the public interest, which is good, because it is shared with industry and government
    A lot of very intelligent and good people to work with
    Decent benefits, although they have decreased over the years

    Cons

    Upward mobility is difficult. It is not enough to be very good at your job and perform well. It is quite difficult to get promoted. Many people leave MITRE and then come back in order to get a promotion.
    Pay is not that great. And raises are not that great. In spite of excellent reviews and being a consistent performer for 14 years, I haven't had a raise in six years and never been promoted.

    Advice to Management

    Need to change fix the promotion and pay raise processes. Even though they are currently trying to make changes, the new processes don't fix any of the problems. Pay is not based on performance or years of experience.


  10. "Great Knowledge Experience"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Multi-Discipline Systems Engineer in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Senior Multi-Discipline Systems Engineer in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at MITRE full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Opportunities to learn; lots of smart people to work with; opportunity to do work in the best interest of the government

    Cons

    there is mediocre management communication


  11. Helpful (1)

    "Positive, professionally enhancing, solid technical environment"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Multi-Discipline Systems Engineer in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Senior Multi-Discipline Systems Engineer in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at MITRE full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Strong emphasis on technical staff development. Outstanding continuing education benefites. Broad, and diverse work program. Good work-life balance.

    Cons

    Difficult to promote; weak technical staff career path.

    Advice to Management

    The "MITRE Way" is project/porfolio oriented, but does very little to develop and leverage technical staff.