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National Instruments Texas Reviews

Updated March 27, 2017
24 reviews

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Alex Davern
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24 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Work life balance is absolutely in the hands of the employee, with very few roles in the company having any set schedule (in 190 reviews)

  • The work environment that the company promote (in 119 reviews)

Cons
  • So if a high base pay outweighs your desire for a good work life balance, this might not be the place for you (in 33 reviews)

  • The "culture" is used as a reason low pay is okay (in 30 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (3)

    "Not so Great"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Sales and Marketing Associate in Austin, TX
    Current Employee - Sales and Marketing Associate in Austin, TX
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at National Instruments full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Deck Parties, Gym, Walking Trail

    Cons

    Flexible work hours are only for the chosen few
    Environment is like being in junior high
     - hall passes are needed to be away from your desk
     - many group cliques
     - bullying is rampant & tolerated by management
    Extremely small pay increases

    Advice to Management

    Stop being hypocritical,
    Take your own advice of noble intent


  2. Helpful (10)

    "NI = Negligible Income"

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

    I worked at National Instruments full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Working for NI is at best mediocre - technically not very cutting edge, people are nice, location is in nice location in Austin, covered parking that protects you over hot summers. NI used to be good to work for 5 years ago, but as of 2016 - I rate it as a mediocre to below average place to work at.

    Cons

    With Alex Davern taking over as CEO, I am really concerned for NI. Most of Alex's speeches have involved around him boasting about his grand vacations and tours, etc. He has ruled over NI with an iron fist and throttled the pay. I really don't have a positive outlook with Alex taking over from the venerable Dr. T.

    2-3 years with no pay, no bonus raises to top off a below average pay doesn't seem very attractive at all. In the past, portraying NI as a cool company to work for helped NI management offset their peanut salary. Fast forward, and you have lot of companies in Austin willing to pay the right money for right talent. There has been a huge exodus of good talent from NI to DropBox, Google, Apple, IBM, etc.

    Managers are promoted in a very bad manner. I've seen lot of managers who don't deserve to be promoted, go up the ladder purely because they want to and they are close to upper management.

    Work related travels are terrible - penny pinching goes to a new level. Grown up dudes share hotel rooms, take longer route flights to save money, etc. Other than Amazon, NI is the other company that definitely does not care about travel culture for its employees.

    Advice to Management

    NI needs a shake-up from top to bottom. Ensure everybody gets paid market average, not just the senior management. Looking through the reviews and zero action from NI - I don't think the senior management really cares ! Pitiful !

  3. Helpful (3)

    "Time for a change"

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

    Pros

    Congratulations to the new CEO. He is a wonderful person.

    Cons

    This new phase for NI will hopefully include the replacement of long term leadership in the legal department.


  4. Helpful (4)

    "Principal Product Marketing Manager"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Principal Product Partner Business Manager in Austin, TX
    Current Employee - Principal Product Partner Business Manager in Austin, TX
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Good place to work with innvotavie approach to Test and Measurement

    Cons

    In a transition from a small company to $1B company and not sure how to value growth, top performers, and profitability.

    Advice to Management

    Re-focus on retaining the best and brightest that are hired, making customers insanely happy, and then growth will be realized.


  5. Helpful (17)

    "Be prepared not to have a voice"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - N/A in Austin, TX
    Former Employee - N/A in Austin, TX
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Some work-life balance. Some autonomy. Good cafeteria. Lots of smart people.

    Cons

    The thing about big companies is that the only voices heard are those from the upper ranks. This is the problem with NI, and it really was not a problem ten years ago. Even at the company meeting, the focus is completely on the leadership and putting them in silly situations, such as wearing wigs and dancing to 80s music. It's a small thing, but it underscores the top-down culture, and honestly what looks like a burgeoning narcissistic culture. The focus at NI is on the leaders, and not on the rank and file. Cronyism is rampant, which can make it very difficult for you to carry out basic tasks.

    In the everyday running of things, you don't have much say over what you work on or how you spend your day. This is an understandable drawback of running a business, yes, but it's a chronic situation at NI. Speaking up about what's wrong with NI is encouraged, but you can very much expect to be blackballed for going against the giants. It's again that narcissistic current of "Fix it but don't tell me I'm part of the problem. Because that's impossible. I'm awesome." The way it works is that you'll simply be removed from meetings (not so bad, right?) and from the decision-making process. In other words, you'll be dictated to. Since you can't conform, you'll have your tasks prescribed to you, and you will never get promoted, which is supposed to be a punishment, but if you do get promoted, you get a title change and that's it. No money. So whatever.

    The management can't figure out (and I know they're trying) what's wrong with the culture. It's been painful to watch them send out surveys and allocate an extra $30 for a holiday party (did I mention NI is cheap?) and try to do stuff to make the young people laugh and be deceived into thinking NI culture is superior to other cultures (it's not even close). It's all well-intentioned but way off the mark. The fact of the matter is that if people don't feel like they have a voice (I'm looking at you, CEO, but I'm also looking at the group and section managers), then they will never feel satisfied, and they will never go home and feel like they did a good job, and they will certainly not recommend the company to others. Humans the world around want to feel like they've contributed to something greater than themselves and that they've done a good job. Most people at NI are not going to get that.

    There's also a simple logic problem that NI has yet to figure out. The higher ups want stuff done, but they won't hire extra people to get it done. This is frustrating. How could it not be? OK, so they probably understand the logic of it all, but it's a very clear example of how they're completely out of touch with their employees. They don't listen, and that comes across as "they don't care." Before you demand the launching of a new project, ask the question: "Are there resources to work on it?" If the answer is no, then do something. Either cancel the project, reallocate resources (thereby removing them from other projects), or hire some people. Once you’ve worked at NI awhile, I can guarantee that THIS will be a source of angst and general anxiety.

    Also, NI is incestuous. They like to hire new grads who are eager to have any job at all. NI says they want out -of-the box thinkers, and new grads offer that. This was a valid point 10 years ago, but it's no longer relevant. Most people are micromanaged, and again, they have no voice, so the box is just detritus. Might as well skeet shoot it, so it's not dangled out there as something you'll never have. More on the "growth from within....." NI has on occasion hired outsiders to bring in a fresh perspective. This has been funny and depressing to watch, as they've gotten rid of so many of them. Again, NI can't handle people with voices that don't match their own. You can put the pieces together and figure out the incentive for hiring recent grads. They're obedient, malleable, and cheap. And if they stay there long enough, they get trained to run the place as it's always been run.

    Finally, once you've spent a few hours at NI, the old crustiness will be palpable. The work environment is not multicultural, which is arguably a symptom of the old white dudes who make all the decisions for the place. Even at the branches in India and Malaysia, the cultures are not accommodated. One example is titles. Indian culture is title driven (as is Malaysian culture, I think). As such, they want more title levels than US employees. Again, a promotion doesn't come with a salary increase, so what's the harm in adding more titles? To be fair, NI did make a modification to the titles for SOME jobs, but they won't even consider doing that for other positions.

    In summary, if you're a new grad, I recommend looking around before committing to a job at NI just yet. They may fix things eventually, but for now there are many, many places in Austin that have great work environments that provide true autonomy, and you go home at the end of the day feeling like you did something for the company as a whole, rather than for the managers. Before signing on at NI, consider why the turnover is so high right now and why NI is no longer on the Top 100 list. It’s not a happy or fun or exciting or rewarding place.

    Advice to Management

    Hire managers with management degrees rather than with engineering degrees. The technical aspect is very important, but equally important is the human side of things. NI has a culture of making fun of anything that doesn't fit the engineering stereotype, which comes across as arrogance (narcissism), and it's seriously damaging the human element of the company. I've heard so many times at NI, "Well, he's an engineer" as an explanation for treating people poorly or just not taking into consideration that people have self-interests, such as feeling good about themselves, wanting to contribute, etc. If this is really a truth, or if you believe this to be a truth, (that engineers are unfeeling, lacking in empathy, and basically automatons), then you need to put a different temperament into management positions. It's all fun to laugh about the engineering stereotype, but NI now has a culture that completely eliminates the human element.


  6. Helpful (12)

    "NI - A great place to intern"

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

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

    Pros

    Interns get meaningful projects that are used for years to come.
    The products that NI makes are incredibly useful for engineers.
    The location in Austin is convenient.

    Cons

    Pay is too low for expected work.
    Pay is inadequate for cost of living in Austin.
    Growth has stagnated and so have career opportunities.
    Employee sentiment is low and the leadership refuses to improve compensation.
    Employees are not offered industry standard certifications (PMP, Lean, Six Sigma, etc.), instead the employees are given the "NI" version which is not useful outside of NI. This makes it hard for long term employees to leave.
    There is no transparency to the compensation model.
    Titles do not match the work that employees do.

    Advice to Management

    Compensation strategies need to be redesigned from the bottom up. For one thing, stop paying external hires 1.5x - 2x as much as long term veterans are paid for the same roles.

    Have some empathy for those in the trenches. The newly formed "employee engagement committee" is full of senior leadership, add some diversity to make a true impact.

    Align corporate goals with upper level leadership's compensation (including RSUs) and things will get back on track.


  7. Helpful (5)

    "Going from bad to worst"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Group Manager in Austin, TX
    Current Employee - Group Manager in Austin, TX
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at National Instruments (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Flexibility, "open door policy", health insurance

    Cons

    Mafia inside on certain groups, lack of accountability, people can not make decisions

    Advice to Management

    Lack of real leadership.

  8. Helpful (5)

    "Bad Place to start your career with"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Programmer Analyst in Austin, TX
    Former Employee - Programmer Analyst in Austin, TX
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Friends.
    Work life balance as they claim but you can have same flexibility in lot of other companies in Austin

    Cons

    Salary, they hire lot of students straight out of college paying them 20-30% less than what they can get in other companies.
    Biased managers : employees are rated not by their performance at work but by the number of parties you attend with your team and managers.
    In many teams in IT your managers wont assign you any work until you ask for it, but they rate you based on nothing during yearly review.


  9. Helpful (8)

    "Don't work here"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Technical Writer in Austin, TX
    Current Employee - Technical Writer in Austin, TX
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at National Instruments (More than a year)

    Pros

    The cafeteria food isn't horrible.

    Cons

    Management needs serious work and every group operates differently, so no one ever really knows what is going on or how NI's processes work (which, by the way, are usually convoluted, fluffy, and unnecessary). If you bring matters to your manager's attention, s/he gets defensive and micromanages you until you quit. Career opportunities and growth aren't really possible unless you're an engineer, and there's only so far a technical writer can go at NI because no one values documentation or creativity. NI boasts about its "culture," work-life balance, and the work hard play hard mentality, but in the past two years I have never seen any type of culture that isn't in any other tech company. Every tech company lets you wear cargo shorts and flip flops. NI markets its company to fresh grads who need a job, even if that means the salary is 45% less than market value.
    Every week, at least one person in my department quits. The turnover here is outrageous, but what do you expect when you exclusively hire new grads, devalue them, and pay them like a full-time graduate student?
    NI needs to wake up. Employees do not like working here.

    Advice to Management

    Value your employees, pay them like every other tech company pays their employees, and practice what you preach.


  10. Helpful (11)

    "I Knew They Were Getting off the List"

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

    I worked at National Instruments full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    If you're top of your class at graduation (engineer careers only) and all you want is to get a job soon while working on finding another job that would be highly more rewarding, NI is the place for you. I believe you can surf the "honeymoon" phase for about two years before you notice, something smells bad.

    Cons

    And there I was, a freshly out of college, impressionable kid with an uncertain future thanks to the recent housing bubble burst. Then, a noble company kindly extended a hand—“come work for us!”. I was living the dream, wasn’t I? I was doing exactly what I spent 4 years of my life preparing to do and, getting paid for it.

    It didn’t take long until something started to smell “fishy”. Why am I taking a pay cut when there’s $1 Billion the company is sitting on? Why do I constantly see new young faces? It costs more to acquire new talent than keeping the ones you have. “The CEO has a plan!”—was constantly said but, at this point, I was convinced he was delusional and how could he not be? After all, he’s constantly exalted as if he was ever going to become the next Steve Jobs. That’s when I first asked myself, is the way of this company the way of a cult? “The CEO’s salary (just as that of Jobs’s) is $1”, not impressive when you realize he set this salary during the time the company decided to significantly increase their dividend payout.

    Of course it is constantly boasted as one of the best companies to work for; its scheme depends on it: getting impressionable young kids who don’t know better out of college and offer them a below standard salary. It is a brilliant plan, I reckon but don’t forget, this company pays for both, to be considered by Forbes and to know what’s the least monetary compensation they can offer not to get laughed at by candidates.

    Diminishing acquisitive power, increasingly meager health benefits, limited grow opportunity lest you work in their most profitable products. I quit! Did I have a better opportunity at the moment? I could have but, I just couldn’t take the smell of seafood when I am not the one eating it. And alas! I was not the only one for, NI is no longer considered within the top 100 great places to work.

    Advice to Management

    Keeping your top talent happy is immensely cheaper than go around trying to hire impressionable out-of-college kids. Training costs! Specially since we work mostly using in-house tools; nobody has any experience with that weird documentation tool for that obscure product which, its developer, no longer works for the company.


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