Naval Surface Warfare Center Reviews | Glassdoor

Naval Surface Warfare Center Reviews

Updated April 25, 2017
91 reviews

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91 Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • Big Navy, big government equals red tape (in 8 reviews)

  • It seemed that most of the interesting engineering work were given to contractors while the government was just doing the high level project management (in 4 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Fantastic, loved the work!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Visual Information Specialist in Dahlgren, VA
    Former Employee - Visual Information Specialist in Dahlgren, VA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at Naval Surface Warfare Center full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Loved the creativity, and challenge working on warfare systems for Surface Navy.

    Cons

    Big Navy, big government equals red tape!

    Advice to Management

    It is very difficult for management to make decisions, when all of the decisions are made uptown by DoD.


  2. Helpful (2)

    "Mechanical Engineer"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Mechanical Engineer in Philadelphia, PA
    Current Employee - Mechanical Engineer in Philadelphia, PA
    Recommends

    I have been working at Naval Surface Warfare Center full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Flex time, vacation/sick time based on seniority - 6 weeks vacation after 3 yrs. Good pay. Interesting work. Get to help the Navy. Stable employment. There are a lot of good people working there, who care about getting things right and helping the Navy succeed. Can learn a lot from the folks who have been working there, if you take the initiative and seek out mentors.

    Cons

    Limited advancement if you don't want to be in management. Bureaucracy. Takes forever to get things approved/implemented. Dependent on Congress/Federal Gov't to get their act together on the budget. Cost of living increases dependent on Congress/politics. Weak "formal" mentoring program.

    Advice to Management

    Need strong mentoring program. Love the flex time.


  3. Helpful (2)

    "Not bad, but there is better out there..."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Engineer in Bethesda, MD
    Current Employee - Engineer in Bethesda, MD
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at Naval Surface Warfare Center full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Great Benefits & Job Stability

    Cons

    Stagnant, poor leadership .....


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  5. "Contract Specialist"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Contract Specialist in Panama City, FL
    Current Employee - Contract Specialist in Panama City, FL
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at Naval Surface Warfare Center full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    The job provides a good salary.

    Cons

    The job is working for the government.

    Advice to Management

    Listen to your employees


  6. "Good place to work."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Cyber Engineer in Dahlgren, VA
    Current Employee - Cyber Engineer in Dahlgren, VA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at Naval Surface Warfare Center full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Tons of opportunities to chose from as far as type of work.

    Cons

    Some department management types do not trust their employees. This was made evident by a switch that I made between departments, which was from a more trusting environment to one in which Big Brother was obviously present.

    Advice to Management

    Get rid of the extreme amount of paperwork required to order IT equipment. The amount of paperwork required to put in an order for less than $15,000 worth of computers is ridiculous. I'd guess that over half that amount is spent in oversight labor.


  7. "NSWC Dahlgren Review"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Electrical Engineer in Dahlgren, VA
    Former Employee - Electrical Engineer in Dahlgren, VA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I worked at Naval Surface Warfare Center full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    - Good salary (Washington DC locality pay)
    - Broad range of technical opportunities
    - Excellent benefits and education support (paid for my Master's Degree)
    - Obtain government security clearance

    Cons

    - Slow and steady career progression
    - Long project cycles
    - Overbearing administrative requirements / mandatory training

    Advice to Management

    Try to incorporate more innovative development strategies for newer employees so that they don't feel stuck in the "step by step" government career progression model


  8. Helpful (1)

    "A Mixed Bag"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Dahlgren, VA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Dahlgren, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I have been working at Naval Surface Warfare Center full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Used to be a center of innovation
    Good vacation benefits
    Flexible work schedules
    Job security
    Health insurance

    Cons

    Innovation is being stifled
    Too many hurtles created against doing real technical work
    "We want to do that, but there isn't a process for it."
    Technical innovation takes a far back seat to electron pushing
    Bureaucracy has become horrific, especially over the last 5 years
    Local management is impotent
    Corporate management completely detached from needs of workers
    Technical people aren't considered as important as programmatic types
    No real technical career ladder
    Research has been almost been eliminated - farmed out to universities and contractors
    Horrible IT policies and capabilities - practically impossible to install newer software or develop it

    Advice to Management

    Corporate: let local managers manage. Give them authority and let them be responsible.
    Drop all the processes and focus on good people - they will create the necessary processes if needed
    Remind yourself every day that the mission is about the sailors and the marines and giving them superior technology to prevail in their mission - not about having a process and boxes checked in a spread sheet or on a web site


  9. "Engineer"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Engineering Manager in West Bethesda, MD
    Current Employee - Engineering Manager in West Bethesda, MD
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at Naval Surface Warfare Center full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Interesting work, strong values, good benefits, stable work

    Cons

    This is a federal government organization


  10. "Provides unique opportunities to explore some exciting technologies."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Mechanical Engineer in Philadelphia, PA
    Current Employee - Mechanical Engineer in Philadelphia, PA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at Naval Surface Warfare Center full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Ability to serve the fleet and the sailor
    Job stability
    Flexible work hours
    Leave and benefits
    Education Opportunities

    Cons

    Pay
    Advancement based on time not performance
    High performers rarely rewarded and rewards are minimal
    Managers lack training and knowledge
    Lots of dead weight and low performers due to antiquated policies

    Advice to Management

    Hire managers instead of promoting engineers, change policies to get rid of dead weight and reward high performers.


  11. Helpful (1)

    "A roller coaster ride"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Engineer in Indian Head, MD
    Former Employee - Engineer in Indian Head, MD
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at Naval Surface Warfare Center full-time

    Pros

    Pay, benefits, flex schedule were OK

    Cons

    Professional Development:
    This is the wrong place to start if you're a young aspiring engineer looking to pursue a technical path. This place is behind in terms of skills and facilities and you will find it difficult to move forward in your career or find a job elsewhere. There is a big hype for "professional development" but that really means program management, sales training and "how to talk to people". There's no balance between technical and management skills. This place might just end up a base with all managers, all selling empty cans to ONR.

    Work Environment, Culture and Values:
    Competition for research funding is rough everywhere but there's a good way and a bad way to compete. I've only seen the bad side here...

    Most proposals for the programs I've worked on had been written by "technical" leads without consideration for the time, training, and resources available to the poor souls tasked to implement them. Instead, proposals were written with the promise of delivering faster than the competition. Moreover, review panels on existing programs were not all from independent parties. Some programs were so desperate that they even tried to exploit my friendships and professional network.

    There was also this overwhelming and distressing culture of helping and intervention. If you're dissatisfied with your work one day, all of a sudden everybody will be all over your entire life, not just your work life. There was no respect for personal space. There was this big brotherish sense of "helping". My career is forever marred by the people who "spoke (and still do) on my behalf." I have tried to start over but it seems like any place I go I will always have to deal with an awkward work environment.

    Advice to Management

    and to senior engineers-

    You won't boost morale, build good rapport, or gain any respect by just calculating what to say to people based on their interactions with their friends, what hobbies they like, and other nonsense. You can try the power of suggestion and your business psychology tactics all you want, but getting people to listen or follow your lead is as simple as showing that you are working hard and doing your own job with integrity.


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