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National Instruments Reviews

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Pros
  • The work-life balance is fantastic (in 176 reviews)

  • Very collaborative work environment (in 114 reviews)

Cons
  • Some times it gets hard to maintain work life balance (in 30 reviews)

  • The "culture" is used as a reason low pay is okay (in 29 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Lots of pros but one big con - salary"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Austin, TX
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Austin, TX
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Great culture, great focus on work/life balance. People are treated as professionals. Good long term planning and very honest communication from senior leadership.

    Cons

    Salary is actually becoming a bit of a joke. Other companies know that NI underpays and uses that to their advantage. Benefits used to be pretty good but little by little, they are going downhill (i.e. copays increasing to a % versus flat rate)

    Advice to Management

    So many of the reviews on this site say the same thing - good place to start, but then move on. Work on employee retention and don't lowball salaries.


  2. Helpful (1)

    "Good place to start"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Austin, TX
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Austin, TX
    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    great place to start your career
    honest communication from senior management
    comfortable work environment
    hire the best and brightest

    Cons

    most senior managers are terrible at managing people and orgnaizations
    senior management definitely plays favorites
    average pay at best

    Advice to Management

    require your senior managers to do 360 reviews


  3. Helpful (2)

    "Great Culture + Low Pay + Tough Advancement"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Staff Software Engineer in Austin, TX
    Current Employee - Staff Software Engineer in Austin, TX
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    - Company has a good Long Term vision
     - Stable Employment (rare lay offs)
     - young culture comes with lots of enthusiasm
     - Centralized tools + processes (Ubiquitous revision control system is nice)

    Cons

    - Stable employment with no lay offs means that you sacrifice stability for in ability to advance or get pay raises... keeping the fat makes less resources for the solid performers
     - young culture = low experience, hence they have processes and micro management that makes a person who is intelligent and doesn't need a baby sitter have a tough time getting around the process to just get something basic done
     - Consensus culture is a pain, decisions are slow... software teams try to design everything before they start implementing anything... and that never works... you have to prototype
     - managers are young and in experienced
     - too much LabView Koolaid..(Labview is an engineering tool... not a programming language)

    Advice to Management

    - processes are there to help... however if they are in the way kick them to the side...
     - Be honest about pay raises... don't make it such a mafia experience
     - when changing direct reports it is usually best to discuss before hand, rather than surprise your employee during their review with "ohhh by the way... such and such is your new supervisor... and here is your mediocre review even though you are a top performer... came from top schools with damn near perfect credentials" enjoy...


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  5. "Lots of smart folks to work with, slow decision making and limited opportunities for growth lately"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Group Manager in Austin, TX
    Current Employee - Group Manager in Austin, TX
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    -Management proactive about communicating strategy to manage business through downturn in economy
    -Lots of smart people
    -Engineering centric company (which can be a Con for anyone not working in R&D)
    -Lots of opportunity to work on new and exciting technologies
    -Layoffs are an absolute last resort, high degree of job security

    Cons

    -Very slow decision making, often requiring consensus from too many stakeholders
    -Hire the 'best and brightest', but pay at or below average
    -Not enough difference in raises between top performers and average performers
    -Too many decisions have to be escalated all the way to the top

    Advice to Management

    Give more people the authority to make key decisions and deal with their positive or negative consequences.
    Make more of a concerted effort to develop business leaders. All the development focus I see is placed on technical growth. Not enough managers with solid business skills.


  6. Helpful (2)

    "Culture is a "double edged sword""

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Austin, TX
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Austin, TX
    Doesn't Recommend
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Depending upon manager, NI can be reasonable when it comes to tending to family emergencies.
    In addition, again depending upon the manager, NI can be flexible when it comes to working from home. However, this is not the company norm.

    Cons

    1. The highly regarded "culture" is cutting NI through it's core and rendering it useless in promoting growth.
    2. It's a cult like mentality where those experienced from the outside are frowned upon as stated by the head of HR.
    3. If you aren't an engineer, forget about any real career aspirations into product management or any other high level position,like a VP, where business decisions are made.
    4. Every man for himself is the mentality at NI. NI loves young - just out of college engineers which is great for R&D. However, engineers from the feared"outside" of NI are not treated with respect but with suspcision.
    5. NI does everything they can to discourage objective decision making and in the end burns out it's mostly highly productive resources.
    6. NI - Dr. T, doesn't want to do lay offs unless shutting down a site. However, this approach to keep everyone on board - inspite of continued poor performance by a resource - puts a hugh burden on other resources, managers etc. It maybe a good selling point in a down economy but as an employee you give up career growth which in the end hurts your chances for getting another job outside of NI because you don't have the most recent skills required to do the job.
    7. NI is cheap. They refuse to consider human resource as a cost to a project. So, human resources can work 60 to 80 hours for over a year and are maybe compensated with 2 days off. Bonuses are meager and few and far between (even when the economy was good).

    In summary, don't work for NI unless you are an engineer just recently graduated from a top engineering school.

    Advice to Management

    No advice because management won't change. They've got a good thing going -- cheap labor, cult like mentality that has most employees fooled. Why would management change?


  7. "Very stable employer than gives a lot of responsibility to new engineers."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Austin, TX
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Austin, TX
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    The work environment is relaxed and open. Most everyone is very intelligent and helpful. Jobs are very secure, and young engineers are trusted to design significant projects.

    Cons

    Consensus thinking gives everyone a voice, but makes decisions slow and sometimes painful. Projects have long design cycles, so variety can be limited.

    Advice to Management

    Leadership should drive greater customer feedback and input on future products and share this information with developers. Features and requirements seem to change during design without clear supporting evidence.


  8. Helpful (2)

    "Ok at best"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Mechanical Engineer in Austin, TX
    Current Employee - Senior Mechanical Engineer in Austin, TX
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Interesting work. Good work/life balance.

    Cons

    Really low salaries. Unfair bonus calculation.

    Advice to Management

    They don't trust their employees. Short sighted. Engaged in turf wars.


  9. Helpful (3)

    "Disappointing"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Austin, TX
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Austin, TX
    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Some very smart engineers
    The CEO is modest and approachable
    Somewhat flexible schedules
    Some great people in general
    Location is good

    Cons

    Middle management is inexperienced and incompetent
    Unlike the CEO, the rest of the senior management is not modest and approachable
    Smarter people usually leave after a few years of service because they get burnt out by the unfair treatment and by the increasing politics
    It's definitely, and by far, not one of the "best places to work", there are some 100% true believers who keep voting extremely positively in the surveys
    Unlike what you're told, pay is really bad if you stay there long enough after school

    Advice to Management

    Dr. T, please replace ALL management! Almost no exception! This company has a lot of potential with its original ideas but does not have the right "generals" to lead it!


  10. "Great place to work"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Staff Software Engineer in Austin, TX
    Current Employee - Staff Software Engineer in Austin, TX
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Work with smart people. Good work environment. Good hours. Interesting work. Very steady employer (no layoffs). Good location.

    Cons

    Pay is mediocre. Promotions/recognition are dependent on what team you're on. If you are on a low-profile team, you won't be seen.

    Advice to Management

    You'll lose all your experienced people if you don't give some raises soon.


  11. Helpful (1)

    "Great place to work full-time, but not to intern"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Marketing Communications Intern in Austin, TX
    Former Employee - Marketing Communications Intern in Austin, TX
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    -Good community/culture
    -Lots of opportunity to make your ideas known
    -Opportunity to take on projects in different areas of the company
    -Effective strategic vision
    -Company places high importance on the well-being of its (full-time) employees
    -Mostly pleasant and capable coworkers

    Cons

    For the company as a whole:

    You have to be very out-going and self-promoting to advance or get onto projects you desire. Introverts and humble people have no chance of advancing here.

    For internships:

    Interns are given NO direction at NI and projects afford few opportunities to make yourself visible or showcase your skills. You have to figure out what your boss wants as you work on the project, which often means redoing days worth of work when your boss changes his/her mind about what kinds of formatting and content he/she wants in your reports. You do have to meet strict deadlines despite not coming to the office every day, so last-minute changes can be stressful and I often found myself in the office for 10 or more hours on the days that I worked. Although the internship is advertised as a 20 hour per week position, I averaged 30 or more hours per week due to these last-minute changes. Interns are often given equipment that does not work, a common experience with both internships I had at NI. I had a computer that broke nearly every day, and despite repeated requests and multiple in-person visits to IT services, was denied any help to fix the machine or the ability to get a new computer due to lack of "approval." I asked my boss for help in expediting "approval," but it was pushed by the wayside for months. She finally obtained a functional computer for me 2 weeks before the end of my term. The only way I got any work done during both internships was by supplying my own laptop. If I had not done this, I would have been completely unable to work.

    Pay for NI interns ($10/hr, no benefits) is terrible, especially considering the size of the company. Small companies hiring interns often pay similarly, but international companies like NI generally pay much more. I interned for another similarly-sized company and was paid $2900/month + fully-furnished luxury apartment with utilities. Many of my friends who interned for equally large companies enjoyed this same high level of compensation. Pay is not negotiable for NI interns. I only accepted the job because I heard NI was a great place to work full-time and interns were often hired after graduation. I was lucky that I was doing well enough financially that I could afford to intern at NI despite very low comparative pay.

    NI tells interns that if they return for additional internships they will get to choose the department in which they will work for the next term. This is untrue. I was one of approximately 3 returning interns within the marketing division and all of my 5 requested areas for continuing my internship were given to newly-hired interns. My performance reviews were very good, so I doubt my requests were denied due to poor performance.

    Interns pursuing bachelor's degrees are hired alongside interns pursuing graduate degrees, and after the internships are complete, the undergraduates compete with the graduates for similar jobs and similar pay. If you are an undergraduate, this means you can forget the prospect of a full-time job at the end of your internship even if your work is good and you are qualified for the position.

    Although NI is a terrible place to intern, I think the company is very kind to its full-timers, who enjoy great benefits, generous work/life balance, ample opportunity for advancement, (mostly) capable colleagues, and interesting, dynamic work. I would consider taking a full-time job with NI despite the terrible internship experience.

    Advice to Management

    -Monitor the internship program more closely and give clear objectives and performance measures to interns and their managers
    -View the internship program as a marketing tool for obtaining future employees rather than simply a source of cheap labor, and make sure the compensation you offer to interns is comparable to compensation they would receive from a company of similar size
    -Make an effort to make a good first impression on interns, and ensure lower-level managers understand how to create a positive internship experience
    -Please don't overlook the basic needs of interns (especially in terms of IT and janitorial services).
    -Overall structure, strategy, and culture of company are the best I've seen in any company in which I have worked (4 to date), and if interns are treated in a manner consistent with company strategy and culture, NI could easily have an exceptional internship program.