I have been working at StataCorp full-time
Nice people to work with
Too much coding requirement, career path is not clear
Great benefits and salary. Nice location. Food and snacks. The company has one product with many flavors (Stata). Full health and medical after two months, and matching 401k after 1 year.
Stata uses two programming languages Stata and Mata. The whole of Stata is compiled using C.
The Stata language is a Macro language interpreted on the fly. It has good capabilities.
Stata is easy to use and the Mata language is fun and easy to work in. Mata has understandable error messages.
An opportunity to develop a statistical command from start to finish, including help files and documentation.
As a statistician, you will have opportunity to learn or relearn a lot of frequentest statistical analysis tools.
Stata is not affiliated with Texas A&M though they both reside in College Station, Texas.
The computational environment for developing new commands uses the vi editor (on a Unix Platform). Technical support is required to reformat all work to fit 80 columns. (If you are an expert in vi then this should not be a problem).
The interface for new Stata commands are developed using the Stata language. Since Stata is interpreted on the fly, it requires exhaustive testing to remove all possible logic errors. Thus, programming tasks seemed very time consuming and tedious.
There is not a lot of socializing between individuals at work. It is easy to get isolated.
If you want to work in cutting edge statistical tools this is not the place to work. However, if you want code software and you have experience in a production coding environment where productivity appears to be measured in lines of code you should do well here.
You will be expected to be productive within 6 weeks after joining StataCorp. While StataCorp hires personnel that do not know Stata, it would be wise to learn Stata before coming to StataCorp.
Advice to Management
Do not be complacent by shunning Bayesian methods or modern programming editors and practices. If it was up to me I would look into code generation and automated test generators to speed up production.
Be more transparent with employees about your expectations. The 1/2 hour Monday and Friday meetings are a good start at communication, but as the company grows these will become more inefficient for transmitting ideas since most of the information is not useful to most people in the meeting and due to the number of people the amount each individual communicates will decrease to the point that the information content could be posted in status reports. Smaller cell groups would be more productive. Stata is no longer a small company so it needs to change its management style to reflect the growing needs of the company.
The environment is always clean and pleasant. They offer 401k matching after one year. Nice health, vision, and dental benefits. Most employees have an office of their own. Snacks, drinks, and fruit are provided. Stata sponsors some enjoyable after-work activities, such as a bowling league. Co-workers are very nice people. Depending on the responsibilities of a person's position, it is pretty family friendly. There is possibility for promotion and lateral moves if management likes you. Dress is very casual.
Because Stata is a privately owned corporation, management is not obligated to divulge details or even generalizations about the company's financial stability, goals, or strategies. Employees are given information on a need-to-know basis, which can make a person feel isolated. If you need to know that you are making a difference, this is not the best place for you. A person's experience at work will be highly variable depending on who the supervisor is. Management plays favorites.
Advice to Management
Management could build trust with employees by being more transparent and by soliciting employees' opinions. Make employees welcome to approach supervisors with questions and concerns.
I worked at StataCorp full-time
no cold calls
lunch provided often
lack of communication
typical office drama
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