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National Instruments US Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • Some times it gets hard to maintain work life balance (in 32 reviews)

  • The "culture" is used as a reason low pay is okay (in 31 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "NI is a great place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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

    NI cares about its employees

    Cons

    Not a lot of opportunities to work part time.

    Advice to Management

    They are doing a good job!


  2. Helpful (5)

    "NI needs to reflect more about what it is instead of pronouncing that it is in the top 100 best places to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Staff Software Engineer in Austin, TX
    Former Employee - Staff Software Engineer in Austin, TX
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    The work, from a technical perspective, is not very difficult. So new product development is akin to product maintenance: each new product is a derivative of previous product. The gross margins are high, so the company has been profitable for most of it's existence and there is job security. The software technology lags the cutting edge, so new college grads can start contributing almost immediately.

    Cons

    Product development cycles are slow. Product management is very ad hoc and decision making is without good leadership. Road-maps are product-oriented and strictly tactical; there is a lack in strategic platform development. (This lack is an important problem for a company that wants to create platforms.) The CEO jumps from technology to technology in a matter of weeks and then product teams develop it. It's hit or miss: sometimes the products are successful, sometimes there's just operational waste. Software development practices are very political so it takes wrangling to get good designs: many things must be used by fiat. As a consequence, the software is bloated. The company hires straight from college, so there isn't much technical depth. And when there is individual technical depth, those individuals get lost in the sea of mediocrity.

    The company is slow in it's uptake of current technologies. When the company works on current generation technologies, the product development lifecycle takes so long that when the product is released, the next generation technology has already released. This makes sense considering that a given product probably needs to be supplied for at least a decade, but this hardly makes a company a high-tech company.

    Salaries are below par. This leads to all sorts of problems. Namely, the company lacks good technical leadership because those with technical depth can get a significantly better paying job someplace else. But, this seems to be part of the business plan, so you really can't fault it.

    Management in the company is also hit or miss. Unfortunately, the misses don't leave nor are there good feedback mechanisms to make sure that the misses are asked to leave.

    Unfortunately, the Applications Engineering program is part brainwashing: many that come from AE usually have the NI religion. The NI religion explains why it is one of the top 100 best places to work (according to Fortune).

    Advice to Management

    The company ought to seriously reconsider its benefits package to employees. There are many bad managers in the management chain; fire them instead of reassigning them. Product development needs to be more strategic.

  3. "Great products and projects but salaries are below average"

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

    Pros

    Very interesting products and projects.
    Lots of smart people.

    Cons

    Low salaries
    Too much politic and back-stabbing

    Advice to Management

    Reduce the number of layers of management


  4. Helpful (2)

    "Operational excellence is just as important as product excellence. Without one, customers may lose sight of the other."

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

    Pros

    In a word, people. It does hire some of the best people not only in the engineering departments but also in the Business Analyst groups. They have some of the best Business Analysts I have ever worked with and I have been a Business Analyst at various companies for over 10 years.

    Cons

    In a word, management. In my area, they didn't even know what role or tasks, not to mention the critical ways in which a Business Analyst can benefit various projects and departments via automation and how to use the existing system and processes better.

    Advice to Management

    Start automating and use your BA's in the way they are supposed to be used. Running a business is not a theory, it is real life with real consequences. Operational excellence is just as important as product excellence. Without one, customers may lose sight of the other.


  5. Helpful (1)

    "A great place for recent college grads, unless you are looking for competitive compensation."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Hardware Engineer in Austin, TX
    Former Employee - Hardware Engineer in Austin, TX
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    NI is a great place to begin your career and gain valuable technical experience. Recent college graduates are given high levels of project responsibility. Within National Instruments there are quite a few directions you could take your career, as the company does work in many different areas. In addition, Austin is a beautiful place to live, offering something for everyone.

    Cons

    The compensation at National Instruments lags behind comparable jobs. Most employees at Microsoft are in their 20's or early 30's. Unless you are on track for management, this is not a company you should plan to stay at late into your career.

    Advice to Management

    Either continue to find exceptionally talented college grads that can complete senior-level work or increase compensation to competitive levels.


  6. Helpful (1)

    "Great company to work for. Average Salaries, Good benefits. Very interesting work on really cool products."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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

    National Instruments is a great place to start a career. Intern and young engineers are given interesting, challenging and even key projects that they may not be given somewhere else. The mentoring is great and help young people learn and grow in their career. National Instruments is committed to a superior employee communication.
    There is a great leadership team.
    As long as you're ethical and do your job correctly, you shouldn't be afraid of being laid off, even in an economic downturn.

    Cons

    The pay is average compared to other companies. Great expectations for little reward, even when you perform well. Don't expect bonuses unless you really, really, really go above and beyond your daily job and come up with something innovative. It is sometimes hard to balance work and family time.
    It seems harder to move up the hierarchy on the technical track. There are more opportunities on the management track.

    Advice to Management

    I think the senior management does a great job. The leadeship team is great, especially the CFO.


  7. Helpful (1)

    "Great place to grow and develop"

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

    Pros

    The laid back environment, the individual autonomy, stability, family-orientedness, and working around such smart people. Lots of good friends, and an expectation that everyone will do their part.

    Cons

    Its a huge organization and things move slowly, so be prepared for a bit of corporate beauracracy. And, beause most employees are the cream of the crop, the company is slow to deal with the very few that aren't.

    Advice to Management

    Consider the loss of talent due to salary.

  8. "A great place to work where you'll feel challenged and respected"

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

    Pros

    Great environment and company culture. Many opportunities to learn and grow technically.
    National Instruments is a technology pioneer and industry leader in virtual instrumentation, delivering today’s most advanced technologies for test, control, and design. Your work allows engineers and scientists in hundreds of industries to use flexible, high-performance products to create reliable, user-defined systems. With graphical programming software and modular, open hardware, NI has redefined how engineers work.
    NI has been named to Fortune magazine's "100 Best Companies to Work For" for 9 consecutive years, a testament to the laid-back but 'get it done' culture.

    Cons

    A bit of growing pains when it comes to documentation and processes.

    Advice to Management

    Standardize and enforce documentation and processes.


  9. Helpful (1)

    "Great people, company mission may appeal only to select few."

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

    Pros

    A lot of smart and good, nice people. The company has a policy of working with people's strengths instead of forcing them into a mold or comparing to those considered "best." In my experience, the policy is actually implemented by management, and I tremendously value being appreciated for what I have to offer.

    Cons

    Well, does "measurements" give you goosebumps? If not, the company's mission may not be so exciting to you.

    Advice to Management

    The strengths approach to employees is an enlightened approach to management -- and a winner for all. Keep emphasizing it.


  10. Helpful (3)

    "Looking for an IT career, don't work here."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Programmer Analyst I in Austin, TX
    Former Employee - Programmer Analyst I in Austin, TX
    Doesn't Recommend
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    The benefits are the best I've seen anywhere. The work/life balance is great as well.

    Cons

    The IT department is the red headed step child of the company. The salaries are lower, advancement is limited, and investment into the department is low. Engineers are treated great, but the IT department is treated drastically different. Most of the people work there are good people, but there was too much backstabbing and pointing fingers. If you're a positive person and would like to stay positive its extremely hard in IT. If you are IT this is not the place to work.

    Advice to Management

    Treat the IT department with more value. All parts of a machine are important.


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