National Institute of Standards and Technology Reviews

Updated February 8, 2016
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4.0
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Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
National Institute of Standards and Technology Acting Director Dr. Willie E. May
Dr. Willie E. May
8 Ratings

Pros
  • The campus is also very pretty and depending upon your mentor, the work/life balance is extremely reasonable (in 11 reviews)

  • The work environment is pretty laid back and the research done there is very interesting and exciting (in 10 reviews)

Cons
  • Red tape and procurement process (in 7 reviews)

  • Part of the federal government, so there is paperwork for everything (in 3 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

83 Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1. "Engineer"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Gaither, MD
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Gaither, MD
    Recommends

    I worked at National Institute of Standards and Technology full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    My experience with coworkers at NIST was overwhelmingly positive. It was apparent that my coworkers and supervisors wanted me to succeed and were willing to help me do that.

    Cons

    The campus and work environment can seem isolated at times. Too much bureaucratic overhead seems to cut into time for group discussion and brainstorming.


  2. "NIST is a pleasure to work with"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    Organized, professional, pays on time, good contracts organization

    Cons

    Rush hour traffic, but that's standard for most of that area

    Advice to Management

    Excellent Federal Government agency and great location. Would recommend pursuing a job here.


  3. "SURF Program"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Former Employee - Research Fellowship in Boulder, CO
    Former Employee - Research Fellowship in Boulder, CO

    I worked at National Institute of Standards and Technology (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Good working environment, mentors are always willing to help with your project.

    Cons

    Very easy to get lost on where to go next, just work with your mentor on the projects.


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  5. "Excellent work environment"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Physicist - NRC Postdoctoral Associate in Gaithersburg, MD
    Current Employee - Physicist - NRC Postdoctoral Associate in Gaithersburg, MD
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at National Institute of Standards and Technology (More than a year)

    Pros

    Access to a wide variety of instruments and knowledgeable scientists

    Cons

    Salary range for postdocs is low given the cost of living in the greater DC area


  6. "NRC Postdoc"

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

    I have been working at National Institute of Standards and Technology full-time

    Pros

    Great experience for me, really depends on who you are working under. Facilities are awesome, resources are hit or miss. Co-workers are all really friendly, and job flexibility is unbeatable.

    Cons

    Government bureaucracy is a challenge -- 20% or less turnover rate to full employment. Good to use this as a stepping stone and keep your eyes open.


  7. "Great place to work"

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

    I have been working at National Institute of Standards and Technology (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Fantastic collaborators, great research opportunities

    Cons

    None, keep doing what you're doing


  8. "Intern Program at NIST in Boulder, CO"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Student Researcher in Clarksville, MD
    Former Employee - Student Researcher in Clarksville, MD
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at National Institute of Standards and Technology (Less than a year)

    Pros

    The environment of people at NIST is extremely friendly and fosters scientific growth for students. The campus is also very pretty and depending upon your mentor, the work/life balance is extremely reasonable.

    Cons

    There is not much flexibility to the project and research group you are assigned to. The work is limited by the flexibility of the group's funding and their resources.

    Advice to Management

    Make sure to keep the interns engaged with some sort of 2 week check-up. I know some other interns who were unsatisfied with their experience because their mentors just did not have time to help them with their projects.


  9. "Personal Property Accountability Officer"

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

    I have been working at National Institute of Standards and Technology full-time

    Pros

    You do get a retirement annuity small as it may be, Health insurance premiums subsidized, Dental, and Vision, Life insurance. Match FERS for first 2% and then 50% match up to 5%. Watch what division you work in. Actual units doing the science get treated much better than any support. Don't be sup

    Cons

    Responsibility with no authority or support. Pay for administrative staff is too low. The HQ staff MD makes twice what Boulder Administrative staff make with less than 25% of the staff. Expect to work you butt off for little or no pay and be told "be happy you have a job." The Alternative pay scale is just a front to keep anyone deemed an admin at the lowest possible pay. The bonus is caped at 1.1% division wide if you excel you might get 2%

    Advice to Management

    Learn to measure your employees work and delegate fairly. Make the "golden" employees actual document their work and actually check if they are performing the job accurately. Have actual career ladders instead of dead end jobs with no advancement.


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Summer Undergraduate Fellowship"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Former Employee - Intern in Gaithersburg, MD
    Former Employee - Intern in Gaithersburg, MD
    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at National Institute of Standards and Technology (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Full of world renowned researchers that you can go and speak with personally. The working environment is very comfortable, as long as you put the work into your research.

    Cons

    Sometimes a slow process to get some research going, which is not the easiest to work with for a summer intern position.


  11. Helpful (3)

    "Good starter job in scientific research - but don't stay more than a few years"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Research Physicist in Gaithersburg, MD
    Former Employee - Research Physicist in Gaithersburg, MD
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at National Institute of Standards and Technology full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Great benefits including government pension / health care / significant personal time off, flexible hours, high job security, cushy work-life balance, access top-quality scientific equipment

    Cons

    Non-competitive salary, "Old Boys' Club" mentality amongst high-level scientists and old white male managers, little to no incentive to try hard / stand out, too many layers of middle management (welcome to government bureaucracy), management is slow to react (or doesn't react at all) to issues that preclude scientists' ability to get work done, old/decaying facilities, contentious / unproductive culture between safety staff and scientists - which results in no work getting done

    Advice to Management

    Prioritize deliverables over politics; don't let "safety first" culture override scientists' ability to get *any* work done at all; reduce "CYA" mentality



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