I have been working at OPSWAT full-time (More than 3 years)
-Stable company that is willing to try new ideas
-Various free events, food, gear, snacks, commuter checks
-Excellent challenges and opportunities for software design
-Limited market competition
-Limited resources for big projects
-Somewhat of "start-up" mentality that is rough if not experienced and highly motivated
Advice to Management
Work smarter not harder, invest in employee education and get people with the right skills for the job. Don't be too greedy in trying to do everything right now.
I worked at OPSWAT full-time
Cool looking office, away from the craziness of downtown
I'm going to explain this in the simplest way possible, while expressing the implications this place might have on you.
You think to yourself, these reviews on Glassdoor can't be all accurate, right? Here's the thing. You take a job like this, you could possibly have a different experience than the majority of the people on here leaving horrible reviews about the CEO and the company. Anything is possible. The Million Dollar Question is, are you willing to risk wasting your time and hurting your career by working here, especially with so many warning signs?
Oh, and where to begin with the CEO. The negative feedback about the CEO is absolutely true, except for when people say that he doesn't know what he's doing. He does know what he's doing when it comes to the product. What he doesn't know in the SLIGHTEST bit is how to communicate with people, to lead people, to speak in a way that doesn't come off condescending. HERE'S THE HUGE RED FLAG: Before being hired, I asked the interviewers about the company culture, and they all told me, "well, you should probably read the glassdoor reviews." Why would they tell you to read the reviews, knowing how bad they are? Think about that.
Again, it's possible that this won't be your experience. There are a few people who haven't had negative experiences and who actually like the CEO.
Advice to Management
What does it matter? Advice will fall on deaf ears, and you're just going to respond with a generic answer such as "I'm sorry you had a bad experience at OPSWAT" or something meaningless like that, as we see on every negative post.
I worked at OPSWAT full-time (More than a year)
The office is in San Francisco, but not downtown, so its easier to get to, and there's actually parking. You can park on the street for free (but you gotta move your car every few hours in some spots) or, you can park in the parking garage that opswat pays for.
The office is pretty nice. There is a lot more style over substance (steel stairs that rust when you get them wet, so we get passive aggressive notes about it, weird kitchen ascetics where common things are hidden so you spend time searching for everything you need, no “clutter” on your desk is allowed, etc)
Opswat pays a percentage of a gym membership at world gym down the street
Free dinner...unless if you leave work before 6pm…they feel its abusing the system. Its just seamless with a $17 limit. The snacks sucks IMO, but others seem to like them YMMV
This place is full of people that are young and are working their first career job, so many don’t truly understand how the place falls short, but these same people are awesome individuals who have bright futures ahead of them. They make the place tolerable...and now that I'm out, I kind of feel like I should start an underground railroad to get these people to freedom.
They put on a party or have go-big day once a month…too bad at every go big party some announces that they are leaving the company.
Sounds good to others that I do “internet security”
Engineers get to use C++, other fields get to do things a Jr isn't normally allowed to do, so everyone learns some cool stuff
I know some people don’t have a high opinion of the CEO, but personally, he was always professional toward me. I have not worked side by side with him like others, but I do feel that he cares, but maybe cultural difference or something else causes that care to get mistranslated. That is just a guess from afar, I cant say either way.
THE COMPANY IN GENERAL:
Gas prices are more consistent than this company! From their website itself, to product offerings, the names of the products (is it Metascan? Metadefender? Meteadefender, the movie? at&t at the half presents metadefender) to what is valued at opswat, who will stay as an employee(A handful of interns quit early, 3 guys from my team left, 3 or 4 marketing guys left all within a few months of me starting there, and 3 support guys left for greener pastures), who's gonna be the sales VP (3 sale VP were hired and fired within 6 months, as well as 2 sales directors. That’s just in the sf office. ) or who is on the sales team (10 sales guys hired and fired, and the top sales guy who was there for 2 years was fired for opswat's accounting mistake...but they rehired him when the then sales vp left ), Also, who knows who is an important customer this week, what we are trying to accomplish as a company, what trends to “follow” in the industry, the list goes on. I swear I have an easier time understating a NFL's refs bad calls than I do with the decisions of this company. Its like a cartoon villain with no idea on how to succeed, so they try everything to catch that elusive roadrunner...with the same Wile E. Coyote results.
So, what kind of company is opwat? The type that will a pay for auto-propping door hinges, get upset that they work properly, then buy an elaborate buzzer system to alert you that the door is propped open(its the most annoying buzzer I've ever heard) so you can close the doors. The thought of getting non-propping hinges and a $1.99 door stop for the few times the door needs to be propped open, never occurred to opswat...
They are the kind of company where if you disagree with the CEO, you can be fired. from what i gather, the CEO often feels he knows more than *you* no matter what your field of expertise is. Sales, engineering, marketing, physical fitness, Street Fighter, whatever.
There seems a general mistrust between the employees and the management, and its for good reason. HR says one thing, but you see the CEO do something else, namely getting rid of people, or not following thru on the things to improve the life of an opswat employee. Honestly, I think the CEO and every other top official at the company cares, but they don’t really see the bigger picture. The have no idea how to keep talent, or develop younger employees. News flash, treating your senior members as Jr's is not the way to keep talent.
Also, there's a way to be open and transparent, and the company tries to do that, but their execution falls short. A perfect example is the Monday meetings at 9am. The purpose is to keep everyone informed about whats going on in the company. That is a good thing. However, the execution is really bad. Usually a different person will present something about what they are working on or whatever. Often times, it seems like the presentation was thrown together last minute…and they usually are. Management are often begging people volunteer to present, and if nobody volunteers (lets face it, there wont be new news every week) they force someone to present. Why? i have no clue! I wont go into the fact that most people presenting aren’t very good at giving presentations. (again, they are not prepared, you cant hear them talk, using jargon that only people on their team can understand, etc) These meetings also take up too much time, so they become a bigger waste of time than you thought. Even if the presentation is well presented, it doesn’t matter much, because the CEO and others will start to look at their phones or laptops, and not pay attention 3 mins into the meeting. So, if these mandatory meetings are that important, why cant the person who makes them mandatory even pay attention?
THE TEAM I WAS ON:
I mentioned that it impresses people to say you do internet security, but the fact of the matter is, many of us don’t know much about it, therefore, I wonder if the code would pass standard security tests. The code base is just not very good. Its said to be C++, but its really just bad C. Global variables everywhere...methods that take in 24 parameters (I'm not exaggerating) cut and paste jobs from MSDN, not to mention, DUPLICATE methods (yes, cut and paste a function, but change a line or 2 of code) Multiple 3rd party libraries that do the same thing, but in different parts of the same project. Dependency hell...no central place for your 3rd party and utility code, lets just have multiple versions of each for each project! Brilliant! Thousands upon thousands of warnings. Encryption code that was (or still is?) broken and nobody knew. Passwords were stored in plain text for most of my stay there (that's now fixed, probably because we as a team took it upon ourselves to assign it to me as if its a customer complaint so I could fix it) The majority of quarterly goals are never met. I would say we reach 25% of the goals each quarter (every other team would get close to 100% and some even did stretch goals). And of course this all leads to mountains of bugs and problems. Lucky for opswat, their biggest customers cant change software so easily, so there's no real incentive to improve of fix things.
Too many incompetent managers are still in the place ruining everything. Mine in particular is the worst I have ever had. Hes the type of guy to play favorites, make special rules for some people (example: my first day, he said that only I couldn't not browse YouTube on my own computer, nobody else had that rule, why me? I don't know it was my first day!) He chases away top talent (that's if he actually agrees to higher top talent) by either being inflexible or unnecessarily critical and a micro manager. That’s the thing, top talent has experience in the work place and know how things should be. What our team figured out long ago was that he wants a Jr programmer that has the ability of a seasoned vet. This way, he can pay peanuts, but treat them as mindless slave who will just silently do his bidding. Good luck finding your over qualified, underpaid patsy.
Communication was the worst I have ever experienced with him. Hell, as a college student, I worked retail jobs that had better communication. If you cant read his mind, you might as well not do any work. No matter what you do, it will be “wrong” and it will have to be done again. But, the kicker is, you wont get to do it over, he will assign it to someone else. The common theme is not to listen to what he says, but to find out what he really wants, and how he wants it done. He often back tracks on his words, or claims that he wasn't understood, and its your fault for not understanding him. In other words, you will be reprimanded many times because of his lack of communication. However, does he learn from his mistakes? Does he hold himself to the same standard of “learning” that he claims to hold his team? Hell no.
He says the team is agile, but they don’t even have QA department! If you know anything about being agile, the QA isn't optional. He got rid of all of the QA dept piece by piece, with no intention to replace them. His “brilliant” idea was to have development do QA round robin style once a week. Mind you, QA doesn’t just involve doing some testing, but we also have to do customer support (no, we don't get trained for this) Sometimes, this customer support is for products our team is not responsible for. So, not only do you get taken out of your flow mid assignment, you have to figure out the nuances of QA and customer support without training or instruction; and get it right the first time. Also, the way we would QA our code was very rudimentary, this is not a place for TDD! Unit tests? Ha! Regression tests? Nope. There are no formal test plans or goals. You can get away with this with certain software, but if your are supposed to be building a security product, this cant fly. There are some tests, but many are obsolete, therefore, give no useful information on the state of the product. Oh, did I mention these useless tests run 10 hours each time they are started? Most of the QA tests are manual and archaic. I tried to fix this at my stay there, thanks to some really cool co-workers who showed me how powerful TDD is, but it doesn't matter to our manager. The funny thing is, is that the manger also praised this same colleague for the books he read to improve his knowledge and skill set, promoted said colleague, but didn't trust him to make any changes or improvements even though his title gave him the ability to make changes. Basically, he couldn't do the things he learned about even though he was praised for learning them! I guess there is not enough time for proper software development on a security based product...
Theodore Roosevelt said it best that sums up my experience:
People ask the difference between a leader and a boss. The leader leads, and the boss drives.
So, to sum it up for perspective opswat employees:
If you have work experience in your industry, you probably don't want to work at opswat...or if you do, treat it like a contract job or something temporary (because it will be) and something cool to put on a resume (as long as your next employer don't ask you about security related stuff) . If this is your first job out of school, this place may be okay for you, but that is because you don't know any better and it could possibly help you learn some cool things. However, you will see things that you don't seem right, and in your gut, you will know something is off. When you witness the high turnover rate, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Advice to Management
LOL, like they would listen, hence, why they are in the position they find themselves currently.
I have been working at OPSWAT full-time (More than 3 years)
The company rents a building from the CEO, provides snacks and drinks to employees.
To begin, initially I had decided to not submit a review, but things have been getting progressively worse and I wanted individuals coming into the company to be aware of the environment they're opting to join.
Moving on - most topics I could discuss about the company have already been stated in previous reviews (low reviews of course). I would however like to point out that they're for the most part, completely true. What Benny and Patrick (CEO/CFO) have posted in the latest reviews are complete lies as the company does treat employees like garbage. In fact, if the individuals reporting such low reviews are such "failures, being left behind", why did the CTO leave along with almost every single VP/Director of Engineering? Among most of Product Management, Support and Engineering (even many in the Vietnam branch).
Now a few key things individuals should be ware of are as follows:
Low salary for vast employees
CEO condescending, aggressive and increasingly disrespectful
Blatant disregard of employees life out of work
Blatant disregard of laws
Blatant disregard of quality in products
Blatant disregard of industry standard
Example of environment: A Software Engineer was hired to replace the CTO on a project; the Engineer found was poached from another company (meaning he did not apply, we reached out) and a week later was fired. The CEO decided to cut the project seemingly without much thought.
Example #2 of environment: The building construction seems very hazardous to one's health. A couple weeks ago they were working on paint/stairs and instead of performing the work on a weekend or having employees work from home, we had to deal with it. As a result, I among others had a constant headache from the toxic paint aroma and dust cloud (containing metal shards) in the air.
Example #3 of environment: A manager was sick, but previously approved PTO for his team so rather than calling in sick, leaving the company with no coverage, they opted to work from home. When the CEO found out he immediately contacted said manager and threatened to fire him immediately if they did not come into the office (there was no major disaster or reason for them to be in the office), the result was the manager coming into the office sick. Which consequently is why most of the office is sick.
There are countless examples, they're not corner cases and continue to occur frequently. A few employees that manage to stay under the radar find it bearable, others quit soon after being hired and most are consistently looking for new opportunities. Before stepping into an interview with our company, I recommend considering whether or not you're truly willing to accept an environment as such as this.
Advice to Management
Management needs to be replaced with mature, experienced, hands on and respectful individuals outside of one of the only experienced engineering managers who fits these requirements. This includes the CEO as I've been around long enough to realize he will almost certainly not change his distasteful habits.
I have been working at OPSWAT full-time (Less than a year)
Derived from other's opinions as well, I'll attempt to organize them - OPSWAT is an established company and at first glance seems to treat employees rather well. They have a fully stocked kitchen, their own building, several kind, respectful individuals and many products in the field. The company is entirely owned by the founder and CEO.
Dishonest practices such as the company informing clients we're an American company to assist with government sales. The truth is OPSWAT outsources most development to Vietnam as well as some other office which is outside the US. The CEO comes off as respectable at first but always has a passive aggressive attitude and I've witnessed him yelling at numerous individuals over irrelevant topics which evidently often are the CEO's misdoings (not to mention he threatens to fire them daily). Several individuals appear to be actively searching for new positions. In fact the highlight of lunch conversations seems to be who has it worst. As one can imagine, the amount of people leaving the company is concerning.
Projects are given unrealistic objectives with very limited resources and by given I mean thrown. When it fails, it isn't the manager's fault normally or the CEO's, instead the end result is either the developer or lowest level employee associated with the project is at fault regardless of numerous warnings at the beginning. This causes low quality work to be produced since we're still expected to meet all quarterly goals despite warnings and numerous bugs end up going out to the field. This all builds to be a very stressful environment with low morale.
Advice to Management
Maintain the hierarchy of command, show respect to employees and have managers be more hands on rather than offloading everything to their teams.
I worked at OPSWAT full-time (Less than a year)
Free bagels, dinner if you stay past 6pm.
Comped parking/public transport.
Sodas, Coffee, snacks.
Bad business ethics: You are expected to work long hours of overtime (and weekends) and you will not not paid for your overtime labor (which is ILLEGAL).
You are expected to attend "free" company events after-hours or on weekends and questioned/ridiculed for "not being an OPSWAT team player" if you choose not to attend.
You will be fired if you question the long working hours, or if you deliver something that is not what was "expected"... even if you were micromanaged and produced exactly what you were expected to produce... You need to be able to read minds.
You will not be given any expectations beyond "work on this for now", and then you will be worked overtime (and long, thankless, unpaid hours on weekends when you should be enjoying some off-time with your family), and then you will be fired for doing everything that you were told to do because your manager cannot resolve a bug in his application, and would rather project his petty frustration and self-loathing onto you for not fixing his problem quick enough.
When your project matures- and the profits flatten out- be prepared to get a new job, because your project will then be outsourced to Asia to reduce labor costs.
The CEO micromanages everything, and is constantly changing his plans mid-project.
Advice to Management
Plan company events during working hours; no-one wants to spend their free time at work. This is only a job, not our lives... It may be the CEO's life, but most employees aren't paid enough to care beyond the 8-hour work day.
Stand up for your employees: just because the CEO does not want to abide by California law and pay workers for their overtime hours does not mean that you should illegally allow this to continue.
Nice manager. Nice yearly party
Equipment is not good! Have to work on 19 inches lcd which is too small
Advice to Management
We need better equipment.
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