ThoughtWorks Reviews in Chicago, IL | Glassdoor

ThoughtWorks Chicago Reviews

Updated September 18, 2017
59 reviews

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Chicago, IL Area

4.0
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ThoughtWorks President and CEO Guo Xiao
Guo Xiao
20 Ratings

59 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Work/Life balance cannot be matched (in 52 reviews)

  • Lot of smart people to work with (in 73 reviews)

Cons
  • work life balance if you want to advance (in 32 reviews)

  • Based on the region and the project there might be a lot of travel involved (in 13 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Traveling Developer!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Consultant Developer in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Consultant Developer in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Wide variety of tech stacks.
    true believer in agile and client enablement
    very smart
    very passionate
    very empathetic

    Cons

    Travel heavy
    Pay can be better (probably about 5% below industry standard)

    Advice to Management

    Unify your voice


  2. "A good place to start"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Consultant Software Engineer in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Consultant Software Engineer in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Good people. Really good people. Both technically, and just really chill to work with, talk and find mentorship from.

    Cons

    100% travel really takes a big hit to your social life.
    So many changes, you need a neck-brace.

    Advice to Management

    Steady the ship.

  3. "Work with great people, travel, gain experience with many tech stacks"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Consultant Developer in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Senior Consultant Developer in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at ThoughtWorks full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    The people are great. You'll make friends.

    As you go from project to project, you learn a lot about how different companies are organized, how their tech is structured. You'll gain a lot of insight into what works and what doesn't, and will take part in improving things.

    There are opportunities to work in other countries.

    Cons

    Staffing can be a crap shoot. Whether you're staffed on a great project in a great city (or where you live) or a so-so project somewhere you don't want to be is almost completely based on timing.

    Since retention isn't great, people will be leaving as they grow tired of the travel/consulting.

    No one stays at ThoughtWorks for the pay.

    Advice to Management

    I feel like it's a real difficult company to run. I think the US business would benefit a lot if more effort was put into retaining people. The people department is stretched way too thin to get of sense of what each person wants.


  4. "Senior Software Consultant"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Software Consultant in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Senior Software Consultant in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Good people diversity. Passionate culture.

    Cons

    Many events to be part of.


  5. Helpful (16)

    "Great for starting out, downward sliding scale for experienced engineers"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Lead Consultant in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Lead Consultant in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    It is the best in all the things you read on job descriptions, on culture, the nice office, the people - for the most part all of that is true
    Smartest people I have worked with
    Highest percentage of smart and passionate people on teams vs people coasting and just doing a job
    Lowest percentage of political people who take credit off of other people's work
    Visit global offices worldwide, to do client work and other co-workers
    Opportunities to work abroad on long term assignments, especially when there is demand
    Steep learning curve, if you can do it you will go far
    Yes client projects are hard but you need that to be challenged, and it's the same in consulting firms everywhere
    Flat hierarchy appearance means you can reach all the way to executives in an email and they will respond to you personally

    Cons

    Work/life balance
    It is there if you make it so, by doing the minimum 40-45 hours and turn a blind eye to everything else: fly Sunday night, be home by Thursday evening; it's fine because no-one dings you in reviews for min work anyway
    If you want to do more than consulting at client, say for local community or feel like you are part of TW, you have to work in the evenings, come into the office on Fridays, take calls with your local DevOps/Security/Social/Office Events, and yes all that's outside of your client hours thank you very much for your free donations, but good luck using that for a promotion because it's not guaranteed
    Performance reviews are largely behind closed doors: despite the work, long hours, good reviews from projects and your co-workers, management still didn't really take those into account and give you a raise or a promotion. You might tolerate it if you are fresh outta college and think you'll do better next time, but this is very insulting and a real tough pill to swallow professionally, when you're there for 7/8 years
    Local work efforts have more or less been failing - more people are leaving to join local companies, the work in the office now is no longer interesting

    Learning/talent management
    No real learning and development if you are not a programmer/tech role, biggest hypocrite aspect in the company
    Ad hoc learning is no way to learn or a long term investment for smart people
    Rivalry between new roles and groups have made attrition really high, no real career paths
    The new global leadership programs are a joke distraction to real learning; just more shiny toys to go travel and meet with each other wasting revenue generated by billable dollars that's already hard to come by
    To attract more techies, there are lots of efforts to do technical things like events and initiatives, BUT if you are not a programmer, none of this is really open to you
    Not all technologists are considered technologists: they have a nice campaign but it's another shiny toy to get into the junior/associate consultant program; it's not for experienced people, if you are attracted by the culture and the identity then you better be prepared to learn by yourself and find your own career path because you will not get the serious support by your sponsor/mentor/office/management

    Vibe
    Many senior people leaving, which drops overall experience level by a bunch
    Many many data scientist, business, retail, vertical domain experienced folks have left because they don't know what to do to progress or how to staff specialist
    No one is telling these 15+ to 20+ year experience principal specialist hires they should learn to work with the rest of TW consultants in an integrated way; they get frustrated by isolated expertise and yet new ideas get rejected by the population, then leave the company which is a waste of $$ and ton of industry experience and waste of time for everyone
    Travel is not the hardest thing, but travel will drag all other things down, just remember that
    If you're a long-timer, pay will not be comparable to new hires: they will be hired at higher rates than you with similar or less than your TW experience, swallow your pride
    Been talking to a lot of long-timers and the same kinds of frustration is reaching boiling point
    New people with almost no experience and track record are being favorited as the new faces; market and leadership positions, when they are still finding their way; promote everyone to Lead when they've only got 3-5 years' experience, what a slap in the face for the rest of us, we could not even get to Senior when we had 5 years' exp
    You see the revolving door of resume hoarders who will stay for 2 years, then they leave and join other companies with a huge salary hike; you question why you are staying here on below market salaries and same kinds of work
    Some people clearly should not be in the company because of work or performance issues, do very little work, cause mayhem to teams on client projects; management does not like to pull the trigger sooner and do the right thing
    It's not what you know, it's who you know. Diversity is not applied to everyone unfortunately, gender diversity in entry-level is kinda there (easiest to fix), but when you see senior levels or higher positions it's mostly same circles, people who have been here for 20 years and they basically have all the say and are friends with each other so if you're not in those circles you are pretty much an outsider. Mostly men; women leadership are in management or ops, and not engineering side.

    Advice to Management

    The bar is now lower and a lot of people see this, there is a fiefdom thing going on where the best people are hoarded to do non-billable things in order to keep them in the company, which again detracts from the main goals, which is to find meaningful work and listen to your most senior people on the ground what they want. Not senior people who are in management and Ops roles who have no real connection to what it is really like working week to week at clients in this current environment. Things are very different now than 5 years ago.
    Got to fix the cultural poison where the best sales people / client principals have a much bigger say than really should. Sales do not drive the culture of the company. This is not why people stay here.
    How do you cope with selling the idea of TW which is nice and new and disruptive, compared to what happens on local offices as the reality is very far from the 'marketing'.


  6. Helpful (2)

    "Delivering for Clients, Opportunities for Growth"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Consultant Developer in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Consultant Developer in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Terrific co-workers, transparent leadership, lightweight business structure

    Cons

    Travel to client sites, figuring out how to navigate the advancement path can be challenging. Because it's almost fully customizable, it takes effort to learn how to connect and leverage the system.

    Advice to Management

    Work on adding more people support.


  7. Helpful (1)

    "business analyst"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Business Analyst in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Business Analyst in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at ThoughtWorks full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    lots of awesome opportunities for self-development

    Cons

    a bit unbalance between work and personal life

    Advice to Management

    need to keep in mind ThoughtWorks is no longer a small company now.

  8. Helpful (1)

    "Love this company even with it's flaws"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Project Manager in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Project Manager in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    - Continuous learning and growing in knowledge
    - Pretty open environment (when not at clients')
    - Flexible career paths
    - Not a lot of bureaucracy
    - A real focus on diversity and inclusion

    Cons

    - It's not perfect
    - Lack of systems in place that seem obvious for a company of it's size
    - No portfolio management to insure sales (demand) is aligned to workforce (supply)
    - No defined career paths

    Advice to Management

    Be more intentional and clear about the culture and direction of who we want (and should) be.


  9. Helpful (6)

    "“too smart for their own good""

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

    I have been working at ThoughtWorks full-time

    Pros

    ThoughtWorks is great at helping clients and cares about making a difference through social activism.
    Very intelligent technical minds.
    Great group of diverse people from all over the world.

    Cons

    Consensus decision-making creates unnecessary levels of bureaucracy.
    100% travel burns great ThoughtWorkers out and makes it difficult to recruit top engineers.
    Very political organization. It's about who your know.
    There is a sense of entitlement with long-time ThoughtWorkers.

    Advice to Management

    Tenure does not equal "qualified to lead".


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Fantastic Place to Work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Lead Consultant in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Lead Consultant in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    - A really great place to work with some of the best people anywhere.
    - Tons of opportunities for all parts of IT. And, ability to temporarily work in other parts of the world.

    Cons

    - Sometimes the company struggles to balance it's desire to be the best corporate citizen with the business need to making money. And it's the consultants who get caught in the middle.
    - The company is big, It can be easy to get lost in the shuffle.

    Advice to Management

    Some consultants struggle more than others with representing themselves. Learn to recognize them better to help them not get lost (or maybe not feel lost).


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