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Skyward Reviews

Updated January 15, 2018
51 reviews

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3.8
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Skyward CEO Cliff King
Cliff King
38 Ratings

51 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • The new building is incredible but it is hands-down the people that make this a great place to work (in 6 reviews)

  • Overall, great place to work at (in 3 reviews)

Cons
  • Upper Management does not care about the lower level employees (in 4 reviews)

  • Dress code is not in line with the casual atmosphere you would expect at most small software companies (in 3 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (1)

    "Good company that rewards hard work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Skyward full-time

    Pros

    Opportunities are given to advance in the company. Good salary.

    Cons

    At times, some processes can take a long time for approval.


  2. "Great company that cares about its employees, customers and produt."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Customer Consultant and Support Representative in Stevens Point, WI
    Current Employee - Customer Consultant and Support Representative in Stevens Point, WI
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Never a dull moment. Skyward is always looking for ways to improve its product and services. If you enjoy learning and trying new things and being part of the improvement process, you would fit in well.

    Cons

    A lot to learn. The Skyward software suite is large. To provide quality support, training and consulting, staff must know the product. If you enjoy learning this is not a bad thing.

    Advice to Management

    Continue to hire quality employees to support future opportunities. There is tremendous growth potential for Skyward and its employees.

  3. Helpful (7)

    "An archaic software company that micromanages more than it listens to its employees."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Stevens Point, WI
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Stevens Point, WI
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    In my two years at Skyward, I was lucky enough to work with some very talented developers. Most of the developers that I worked with were very friendly and would take the time to answer questions if you asked!

    Brand new building

    For being a larger, semi-corporate company, their dress code is fairly laid back.

    Skyward's HR department is very responsive in answering any and all questions.

    Cons

    Consistent, nagging micromanaging. You are required to track every single thing you do if it spans a time that is greater than 15 minutes. This includes writing lengthy emails, reviewing code, impromptu meetings about projects, etc.

    No use of modern code management tools like VSTS -- for code reviews you literally pull down the code and take screenshots of talking points, and paste them into a Word document that is then attached to the project.

    Developers are either ignored or reprimanded for giving feedback either regarding the development process or projects in general. Skyward is only concerned with the time it takes to complete a project -- there is no concern for how a project or feature is implemented or designed. This results in hundreds of hours of last minute fixes, support calls, and further headaches.

    Skyward emphasizes quantity of work over quality. If you're able to copy & paste code from StackOverflow to get something done quicker, that is a pro from the company's perspective.

    Implied overtime. In my two years there I was told on multiple occasions that working overtime was a "shortcut" to being promoted. If you're not putting in what they call "extra effort" on a regular basis, you will be talked to by your manager.

    Skyward places little to no value on design or ease of use. They have hired two designers since I started there, and they actively ignore their input. The UX designers have put in tons of effort outlining designs and functionality of new features, only for upper management to respond with "that will take too long" or "we'll test it once it's released". This is especially frustrating when you are required to stay late to fix what boils down to UX issues that would have been rectified had you been able to use the designer's work.

    Skyward provides no additional education opportunities. They will give you a high five if you spend your free time learning though!

    The training I received when I started at Skyward was extremely disappointing. We were required to watch Pluralsight videos for close to three weeks, for 8 hours / day. Once we completed the video sessions, we moved onto a training program that had not been updated for over two years. The exercises were target out of date code -- almost every example was broken, and there is zero documentation. Let me say that again, a very large software company who has been in business for many years has little to no documentation for their software. I was moved onto a team with barely any knowledge of the software.

    Salary is not comparable to other similar sized companies in the area.

    There is no method to provide feedback or suggestions regarding your manager. You review your fellow developers and QA specialists, but not your manager.

    The Skyward programming department displays a very negative attitude towards mistakes and learning in general. If you check in a change that causes another team grief in the development environment, you receive the "Gnome" -- a statue that sits on your desk letting everyone else know that you messed up.

    Promotions are based on length of time at the company -- quality of work or accomplishments do not seem to hold much weight.

    Advice to Management

    Actually listen to your employees. As a software developer who is actively writing code in the system, we have valuable input on how to improve the process. In my experience at Skyward, they have always ignored constructive criticism and continue to develop the same limited types of projects over and over again.

    Less micromanaging. It is extremely belittling and you do not gain anything in the Agile atmosphere.

    Commend progress and achievements instead of ridiculing mistakes and shortcomings.

    Pay attention to the UX Designers that you employ.

    Value the quality of projects over how quickly someone can get something done.

    Higher base pay.


  4. Helpful (7)

    "Honest Advice from a Software Developer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Developer in Stevens Point, WI
    Current Employee - Software Developer in Stevens Point, WI
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    The people that you work with are generally very knowledgeable about the needs of customers, and genuinely want to create a great product, and the company has been, and likely will continue to grow steadily.

    The company is extremely new-developer friendly, offering a very casual environment, from the dress code, to the work schedules, do your direct managers, everyone is pretty laid-back, and extremely friendly.

    There's even a training department to help new developers acclimate to the corporate environment. The company may have outgrown its "small business" classification, but has retained its "small business" attitude.

    Upper-level management (VPs, C-level, etc.) are extremely personable, and will actively engage even the newest employees in friendly conversations. Don't be surprised if them or the owners strike up a conversation in the hallway.

    New development is occurring in a modern programming language, with the senior developers being very knowledgeable in the language, so finding resources for problems is rarely an issue.

    When you first get hired, you automatically receive vacation days, and you are allocated additional weeks of vacation the longer you are around.

    Benefits are decent, with 401k matching at 50 cents per $1 up to 4%, health insurance, dental, vision, etc.

    Entry-level salary is very competitive with other regional companies, and developers are considered "non-exempt", so you can still receive overtime pay.

    Cons

    Micromanagement: Developers are salaried, but have to punch a clock and have to track their "actions" in the [old and slow] in-house tracking system. If you don't track your time "properly" you WILL have a conversation with your manager, and it WILL be held against you when your bi-annual reviews come around, holding you back when it comes time for a promotion.

    Speaking of micromanagement, if you are not a programmer, depending on the department, everything you do may be micromanaged even more. Don't punch in before your scheduled time, and also not a minute later. If you go on lunch, you better be back at your scheduled time, and not a minute late.

    Lack of advancement opportunities: Your first promotion will undoubtedly come right around the 2-year mark, which feels great at the time, but don't expect a promotion on any sort of regular basis, your next one could come as soon as the 3-year mark, or as far away as 7 years, and people that are less knowledgeable and less experienced may get promoted before you. It all depends on your manager.

    Think that you want to get into management as a career path? Good luck. Unless someone retires or dies, there's almost no advancement into management. Of course that's largely because nearly all mid-level management positions were eliminated in the programming department, so now there's 20-30 people vying for one position that opens up every couple of years.

    Lack of educational opportunities: Want to better yourself, becoming a better asset for the company, and becoming more productive? Do it all on your own, as there's essentially nothing offered to help you become better at your job, other than just asking your co-workers for information.

    Sure, there's a "training" department, but it's one guy that barely has time to train the new people that are hired, let alone offer any training for low-to-mid-range developers. Even then the new people receive just enough training to help them "get by" on their teams. The teams themselves still have to spend significant amounts of time training them.

    Benefits: Entry-level salary is competitive, but falls off quickly, as it works out to be a 3% per year increase in most cases. If you work a lot of overtime one year, and not as much the next, it's completely conceivable that you effectively take a pay cut.

    Salaries for senior developers (10+ years) are the equivalent of mid-range developers (3-7 years) when compared to companies not even 50 miles away.

    Continuing on Benefits: While the 401k matching is nice, it still falls into the lower 24th-percentile when compared to the international average. Most of the other benefits are standard fare, and nothing to be excited about.

    Development: You may be developing in a modern language, but using modern programming practices is a no-go. Good luck on convincing management to allow you to use a tried-and-true package, they'd rather write (and maintain) their own, which regularly takes away from offering truly new functionality to the customer.

    Depending on the team to which you are assigned, you may be able to work your 40 hours and leave for the week, while on others you will be consistently working 50+. If you're single, or have no kids, you'll probably be on the higher end.

    Review Process: Have some suggestions that would improve your manager? Good luck on giving them feedback. You will evaluate the other people you work with, developers, quality analysts, product owners, but never your manager. And if you have a problem with your manager, there's nearly no outlet.

    Advice to Management

    1) Get rid of the micromanaging. Agile development and creativity thrive on self-management. Sure, tracking time is important for properly charging customers for service, but not everything needs to be tracked.

    2) Focus on positive reinforcement rather than punishment. If someone works extra to go above-and-beyond, recognize them, even if it is team recognition.

    3) Listen to your employees.

    4) Communicate with your employees. It is all-too-often that I hear that someone doesn't know about something until the last minute before something must be done, or something has changed. Keep us in the loop, there's no need to keep everything so "hush-hush", especially when it concerns our individual futures.

    5) Learn to accept new things. "That's the way we've always done it" is one of the most toxic attitudes, especially in development where things may be changing on a week-to-week basis. If someone is suggesting using a different framework, consider it, but don't write it off without a conversation, that framework may have evolved significantly since the last time you considered it.

    6) Create a way to allow employees to give feedback to their managers. An anonymous feedback system can be a fantastic way to avoid situations where employees aren't comfortable speaking with their manager directly (you can fire us, so we are going to hold our tongues).

    7) Work with each of your employees to develop a career path. One employee may want to work as a programmer forever, while another is burning out after 3 years, and wants to move toward management. A career path can be beneficial for both you and your employee.

    8) Salary compensation for developers has regularly fallen off pace from the industry, and as a result, we've lost many talented developers. Also, most of our benefits haven't changed in the last decade, perhaps there are other benefits that can be added?


  5. Helpful (1)

    "A company that cares for its employees"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Stevens Point, WI
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Stevens Point, WI
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    One thing that impressed me most about Skyward was that they cared enough about their current employees that when they transitioned to a .NET shop, they decided to write their own framework around .NET that mirrored the functionality and use of their current programming tools and environment, rather than fire all of their old programmers and hire new .NET developers. The company had many great people to work with and was very accommodating as far as work/life balance was concerned. The Scrum/Agile environment also made for a very efficient development cycle in my opinion.

    Cons

    Unfortunately, I felt like the company could have invested more in training in the use of their own framework.


  6. Helpful (1)

    "Mostly Positive Experience"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Stevens Point, WI
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Stevens Point, WI
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Overall, the company is a decent place to work with owners and managers who truly care about your success and fulfillment.

    Cons

    Job satisfaction seems largely dependent upon the department in which you work. While I heard no (or few) complaints from people in other departments, the department I worked in was full of people who were dissatisfied with their jobs. This was, in large part, due to communication failure on the parts of both team members and management.

    Advice to Management

    Communicate all changes and/or news to ALL members of your team, and make sure each person has the chance to offer honest feedback.


  7. Helpful (1)

    "Great company to work for"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Skyward full-time

    Pros

    Great benefits packages, on-site health care, lunch options available daily

    Cons

    There can be some turnover in a few departments because there are temporary employees (interns).

  8. "CS department"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Support Specialist
    Current Employee - Support Specialist
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Skyward full-time

    Pros

    Coworkers are great, schedule is somewhat flexible, new building

    Cons

    Low pay for what they ask of employees, fairly micro-managed, no room for advancement if your name isn't King, management is very disconnected beyond making sure you hit call numbers, transition to new software is being handled very poorly

    Advice to Management

    Raise pay, restructure Pro Levels, be more connected to your employees and know what is happening


  9. "Ok for entry level, but frustrating for high achievers"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Technical Writer in Stevens Point, WI
    Current Employee - Senior Technical Writer in Stevens Point, WI
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Skyward full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Great coworkers, flexible schedule, company has a great reputation which leaves you with a sense of pride.

    Cons

    Unqualified and argumentative management, lower than average pay, advancement opportunities are sub-standard, and senior staff is evaluated on their coworkers' performance.

    Advice to Management

    Address problems with under-performing employees rather than relying on your senior staff to deal with the performance and behavioral issues of their peers. Listen to concerns with an open mind rather than being argumentative and debating the validity of how we feel. This could be a great job if management would change their attitude and approach, but until that time comes, it's unlikely they will retain anyone long term, which is frustrating because Skyward is an awesome company with tons of growth potential.


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Business Training Specialist"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Business and Training Specialist in Stevens Point, WI
    Current Employee - Business and Training Specialist in Stevens Point, WI
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Skyward full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Great working atmosphere and dedicated staff at all levels

    Cons

    Salaries somewhat lower than other software companies but that is pretty consistent across all sectors in the Stevens point area.


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