Web 2.0 in Boston, beats Monster.com and other local opportunities. Decent work/life balance for employees with children. Well known web site with a good reputation within travel and Internet industries. Pays above market rates. Growing with opportunities for lateral movement.
"What have you done for me lately?" - contributions are not valued, only expected (despite management rhetoric). Slightly out of touch with latest technology trends. On a day to day basis, little to do with travel industry - could be selling widgets and most employees are not passionate about travel per se. Crummy commute to Newton. Slower moving than expected (despite management rhetoric). Marketing/sales driven company. "Old" office culture, does not feel like a typical high energy Internet place to work.
Advice to Management
What would it take to make TripAdvisor a cool place to work? Management team has been static for years. Company is missing a next generation of leaders.
Some of the best people work here. Not having to worry about lunch is great. Free shuttle from train (though the times should be more accessible.) Flexible work schedule.
The company has grown so much and it's has obvious growing pains. There have been many re-orgs in the past year to address issues, but problems still exist. Employees are not managed or even paid attention to. No promotion from within. If your boss doesn't care about your team how are you supposed to care about what you do. It's been 6 months since we've had a meeting with the rest of our department.
Advice to Management
There are not enough chiefs to handle all the facets of Marketing, managers are over-loaded with too many direct reports. Disperse PM's to specific teams. Allow 360 reviews to see how employees interact with each other. If your boss doesn't care about your team how are you supposed to care about what you do.
The best thing about working at Tripadvisor is that for the most part you will be working with a LOT of very smart people. The people here are dedicated and are typically very good at what they do.
Obviously the free lunch, foosball, keg, videogames doesn't hurt.
You will work hard at Tripadvisor. Don't be surprised by 50-60 hour weeks. Some of the management teams fail to realize what they are asking for sometimes. And when asking for help (as in more bodies to help produce), good luck as far as I can tell.
The free lunch gets repetitive over time, but beggars can't be choosers.
Advice to Management
Recognition. A simple pat on the back can go a long way, but after somebody rolls out a product that make you multiple millions of dollars, kick down a little bit.
Also, it used to be that things got done quickly around here. It seems that process has become a big thing, slowing things down, without actually improving the product.
There are lots of smart, interesting, friendly, fun people below the upper management level.
There is a great sense of comradery among employees below the upper management level.
The engineering team is great to work with. Great attitude, great ideas.
The free lunches, snacks, and drinks are nice, and lunch time is a good opportunity to chat with colleagues and meet new people.
There is a total lack of people management ability and emotional intelligence at the upper management level. These individuals are in need of a people management course. Some of them also need a lesson in time management and prioritization.
Overall, there is very little investment in employee satisfaction, motivation, and growth. Yes, there are some great team leaders within the organization, but that's the exception, not the rule. I don't think these people learned their skills at TripAdvisor.
Moving between departments at TripAdvisor is much more difficult than it needs to be. Isn't it better to keep a great employee and let them learn something new than to lose them altogether?
Advice to Management
Don't let a single bad manager alienate good people who actually like working for the company. Hold managers accountable when good people leave, and ask yourself what these managers could have done to help the employee grow and feel satisfied.
Take a hard look at some of your VPs and make the tough decisions before it's too late.
- By far the smartest people i've ever worked with, and most people are more than willing to help out when needed
- Great opportunity for improving your skillset. You have the opportunity to work with a wide variety of projects and technologies
- Good perks (health care, free lunch, etc, vacation/sick time, etc)
- As stated in other reviews, the image doesn't always match the reality. There's a foosball table, video games that we're essentially discouraged from using
- Communication between marketing and engineering can use some work
- Initial salary was good, but subsequent raises didn't seem to match up with management feedback
- What others have said about the inherent "fear-based" way of doing things is definitely still there
- Very little praise for a job well done
Advice to Management
Improved communication between marketing and engineering is still very much needed. A little praise every now and again certainly wouldn't hurt morale.
Benefits package is great. Not only the 'normal' benefits that you get at a company, but being part of the Expedia network, there were a number of perks/discounts that you would get on travel.
Projects that I was working on kept having more and more layers of management added to them, until the managers were outnumbering the contributors. Scope creep was inevitable and projects that should have been pushed live months in advance, got held up with 'wait, one more feature before we release'
Advice to Management
Reduce the layers of middle management and move in a more agile manner, releasing code more frequently and iterating based upon feedback.
The perks are great. There is a really good benefits package (medical/dental/etc), and then a ton of stuff to keep employees happy at the main Newton campus - catered lunches, sodas, snacks, foosball, gaming systems, a kegerator, the list goes on.
Pretty much everyone I worked with was very bright - the bar to get in is set pretty high, and there is an informal 'no a**holes policy' that is fairly effective (though opinions on this my vary based on your own definition).
Their development methodology is better than a lot of larger engineering groups. The company motto 'Speed Wins' continues to be applied to a development group that has grown by a ridiculous amount for the past few years (also a con, see below), and fortunately things are still moving quickly.
Work/life balance is good. There are rarely any (as in I never personally experienced any) crunch-time periods on projects.
The CEO knows what he's doing and is leading the company in a good direction.
If you're a Java developer and enjoy writing code like it's 1997, by all means join the development team! The codebase is a mess. It has grown organically over the last decade or so, and is unwieldy and not well architected (and therefore harder to understand and maintain). The coverage of the testing frameworks that are in place is nowhere near where it should be, and so very little refactoring happens to improve the situation. Traditional singletons are everywhere. There are methods that are thousands of lines long. It's a jungle. To some extent there is a not-invented-here mindset; bringing in 3rd party code isn't encouraged and must be approved by management. People who are hired are smart and expected to write code that works, but they don't necessarily know how to write clean code that is maintainable, and management doesn't put much value on that either.
As mentioned in the 'pros' section development is still approached like the company is a five person startup. This works to varying degrees with a team 20x that size. There's no real methodology backing it (scrum, XP, lean, etc). This contributes to the existing mess of code.
The bar for entry into the company is set pretty high; the interview process is pretty tough, and candidates are expected to have a very strong CS background. During interviews the company is presented as a real interesting place to work with a lot of tough software challenges around scalability. This gets a lot of people excited, but the reality is much less dramatic. It seems that a lot of really bright people come through the door only to end up with pretty menial work, often maintaining a mess of code that was written up in a hurry by someone else.
Advice to Management
Engineering leadership should be providing guidance on implementation, not making decisions for the people actually doing the work. The code review process is overly restrictive and focuses too much on code conventions instead of more important issues like testability and code structure.
Start lowering the bar for some engineering positions; people don't need to know how to most efficiently implement binary search tree operations or big-O complexity for sorting algorithms to just maintain code and tweak HTML. You hire a lot of bright people with high expectations for what they'll get to work on, and often disappoint them.
In general, coworkers are dedicated and smart so it's a place where you can learn from others. The pace is very quick but that means you get a lot done so you always have a feeling of accomplishment and are always busy. There are opportunities to do more or take on special projects or additional responsibilities. The engineering group in general is wonderful to work with in any capacity. The free lunch is a nice fringe benefit. I think it can be good place if you're young and you want to work on a known product to get some work experience at a fast paced company and if you have a good manager.
Although you will accomplish a lot because of the fast paced environment, you are always asked or expected to cut corners which gets tiring especially when cutting out features means a poor product in the end that isn't what is needed. Also, every project has to be justified by numbers so if there is a project that needs to be done but the numbers don't back it up, it will probably get shot down.
One of the big issues at the company is that there is a lot of favoritism that goes on. This results in individuals being promoted because are liked by upper management because they did one thing well in the past or have become friends with the right people but they don't actually have the skills to be a people manager or to lead a team. This means that some managers overseeing their teams as a vehicle to make himself or herself look good to the higher ups while the individual team members careers are completely ignored. Also the favoritism can also be quite blatant as there are some coworkers who get away with doing very little because they report to a friend. Unfortunately the favoritism does lead to low morale which is ignored because the manager doesn't want to deal with the issue at hand in a constructive mature manner.
There is very little praise and recognition if you're not someone's favorite or aren't constantly selling yourself, even if it means stepping on other coworkers, so you will never get recognition or any sort of praise for doing a great job on something or going the extra mile. I think this leads to the feeling and perception that managers and above don't care about individuals.
Advice to Management
Stop promoting within just because someone did their job well for awhile and stop allowing friends to promote friends. Managing people is a skill and needs to be learned so train folks on that skill or hire people who actually know how to manage (as in look out for and support) their team members.
You have some very smart people there, especially the ones who do the day-to-day tasks that do the behind the scenes work. You should be doing what you can to keep them. Free lunch is not enough.
Speed only means you get a lot done but it's not good quality. Quality does matter in the end so let the engineers take the time to build good thought out products once in awhile.
Please address the favoritism that is right in front of you. It can be outrageous at times and leads low morale.
My compensation was pretty good when I started and I got a nice merit raise after a year.
Your engineering co-workers will be fun to work with and more than willing to pull their weight. I didn't encounter any dead weight while I was working there. The hiring process seems to do a good job filtering out under-qualified and under-performing candidates.
The interviewing process is very heavy on algorithms and data structures questions which might make you believe that those are the kind of problems you'll be encountering on a daily basis. This really isn't the case. Trip needs to hire really smart people because there is a very large, 10+ year old codebase and often times a project will require making changes/additions to parts of this complex web of interconnected classes. Basically, it helps to be a genius if you want to read the code and understand it.
The interviewing process also serves as an excellent weeding out mechanism, but many of the recent grad hires don't really have any real coding experience so the maintainability of the code they write leaves something to be desired.
The management hierarchy is flat (but growing taller), which means that your chances for advancement aren't super-promising. You can see some people being groomed, shaking the right hands and playing the politics correctly to be promoted into the lower management layer. I wasn't striving to be a middle-manager in a 100+ person engineering dept. and if you want to stay on the coding side of the fence there aren't really many places to go. They hire startup-minded people so churn is inevitable.
If you're smart (and you are if you get hired here), you'll probably be intellectually challenged for a year or two, learn a lot, and write code that millions of people will use daily, but after that you will probably get bored and want to move on. The nature of the skills they help you develop makes you well-suited to work at a startup because you've worked on all parts of the web development stack and you're now familiar with lots of the non-engineering aspects of creating and maintaining a profitable web site.
snacks and drinks
video games (nobody plays)
decent starting salary
great brand recognition
some travel benefits
as many others say, tripadvisor is not a company that takes risks. that leads towards a lot of complacence as well as frustrated/hindered talent. probably a primary reason that many have left, as i did.
marketing team runs amok with inflated egos. sales team seems to be a complete joke (leadership is epitome of wheelers and dealers who couldn't sell a product that required any calculated or strategic thought whatsoever, much less have the professionalism, innovation or foresight to keep themselves relevant for that much longer). product and engineering teams (just hire more actual engineers, and less ops folks) look ok, though seem to lose someone important once a quarter
senior management is fooling themselves thinking this is a start-up. you're far from being a lean organization, my friends. deal with the growing pains. reward employees that deserve to be rewarded. communicate proposed changes and request as much feedback as possible. put more things up to vote. take a hard look at your middle mgt because you have redundant and irrelevant folks holding up the contributions of direct reports. and finally: take a darn risk with a product once in awhile. the facelift for the site last year was ok but it's time to give people something to really talk about with your UX and interface.
Advice to Management
you're bleeding talent. figure it out. you're a company founded on the reviews of others. read this and the many others and you'll see the trends.
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