Vecna Technologies Software Engineer Reviews | Glassdoor

Vecna Technologies Software Engineer Reviews

Updated March 16, 2017
22 reviews

Filter

Filter

Software Engineer

3.1
Star Star Star Star Star
Rating Trends Rating Trends
Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
(no image)
Deborah Theobald
13 Ratings

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date

Pros
  • Vecna allows good work/life balance (in 13 reviews)

  • The community service is fantastic, and attracts the right type of people to work at Vecna (in 14 reviews)

Cons
  • Those profit sharing points they talk about (in 9 reviews)

  • community service doesn't have the same ring to it (in 7 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Good company. Good people to work for"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Robotics Software Engineer in Cambridge, MA
    Former Employee - Robotics Software Engineer in Cambridge, MA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Lots of benefits. Long paid leaves

    Cons

    HR management could be better

    Advice to Management

    Improve HR


  2. Helpful (12)

    "Decent for a first job out of college, questionable otherwise."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Software Engineer
    Former Employee - Software Engineer
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

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

    Pros

    You'll have good, friendly, and helpful peers. Humble folk without temptation.

    If there's community service that you're passionate about, you'll be able to spend up to four work-hours per week on it (once you get through the requisite red tape).

    You'll be able to maintain a good work/life balance.

    You'll have incredibly flexible vacation time.

    You'll be able to aspire toward improving the healthcare system.

    Cons

    You'll witness a non-trivial amount of attrition as folks you've come to enjoy working with move on to greener pastures. You also won't see many new faces arriving, if hiring trends from the past year and a half continue.

    You'll switch teams once or twice a year, and probably your desk location as well. (Maybe this would be a Pro for you, but it was personally difficult to feel settled or invest in building up a working relationship with a new team time and time again.)

    If you want high-quality mentoring or actionable feedback on your job performance, then you'll probably be let down by the systems currently in place. Be prepared to put effort into getting either. Even if you're lucky enough to get a competent supervisor, the constant team re-shuffling means that you may not be able to count on them remaining your supervisor.

    You'll have the opportunity to advance along career paths that don't seem to have any appreciable effect on your day-to-day job other than being able to write a slightly fancier title on your resume when you decide to move to a better company. (Maybe that's a Pro for some folks, but I would prefer a career path with a meaningful progression in responsibilities.) Of course, that's only if you can solve the mystery of what the career paths are.

    If you need peace and quiet to work, then you'll have to invest in a good pair of noise-cancelling headphones. The Agile Manifesto's principle of valuing "face-to-face conversation" appears to have been interpreted as "play Tetris using desks, office chairs, and humans." (Maybe an open floor plan is a Pro for you, but the density was too high for my tastes.)

    If you aren't passionate about some sort of community service, you'll get to choose between a blocked career track or joining a CS bandwagon (probably headed to the food bank) at the end of the quarter to keep your metrics in the clear.

    If you believe that getting feedback from your end users is vital to building a quality product, then you'll want to brace yourself for disappointment. It's as if the various bits of feedback are salmon swimming upstream to return to their spawning grounds, only to find that people have put various dams in the way. Then they get eaten by a bear? Sorry, I ran out of simile.

    Advice to Management

    Improve on your ability to incorporate advice that your still-remaining employees can offer, rather than getting advice from former employees via Glassdoor.

    If folks don't trust you enough to give you honest advice about how things could be done better, then you should take a step back and rethink the very foundations of what management and leadership mean to you.

    After all, as a leader, *you* are responsible for setting the tone. If all you do is project a rosy facade quarter after quarter, is it really a surprise that the feedback you get is rosy facade after rosy facade?


  3. Helpful (4)

    "Software Engineer"

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

    Pros

    Flexible working schedule, good benefit.

    Cons

    Under pay. Won't get a raise unless you ask for it.

    Advice to Management

    Appreciate people who have been with the company through up and down.


  4. Is this helpful? The community relies on everyone sharing – Add Anonymous Review


  5. "Ch-ch-changes"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Cambridge, MA
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Cambridge, MA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Things are changing, for the better! It seems like there's a big push to be more present in the robotics community which is awesome because my coworkers and i are doing amazing work if i do say so myself.

    Cons

    Clean out the network, I can never find anything.

    Advice to Management

    Keep hiring! I think there's lots of work to do.


  6. "Great place, great people"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Cambridge, MA
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Cambridge, MA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

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

    Pros

    -Great coworkers
    -Opportunity to choose projects
    -Free food in the kitchen
    -Food trucks every day
    -Best health insurance
    -Some of my coworkers bake desserts a lot!
    -My supervisor is super approachable
    -Managers ask for ideas and suggestions a lot

    Cons

    Time tracking is the worst. If you don't have a task, you can't really do work. Can we streamline this process please?

    Advice to Management

    See above for my timetracking suggestion. Also maybe designate time for sick days instead of grouping it into PTO.


  7. Helpful (12)

    "Company needs work"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Cambridge, MA
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Cambridge, MA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

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

    Pros

    Good health insurance, everyone is the type of person you would trust.

    The company may or may not be in a position to capitalize in the huge healthcare market.

    There are a lot of things that have to be worked on as a company and you can be part of it if you have experience and want this challenge.

    Cons

    These things the company needs to work on prevent you from interesting problems the company could be focusing on. There is a lack of ownership and direction, especially the last few months, although the company is trying to get back on track. It's pretty clear that things are not good. The last two lead software role managers left the company, two rounds of layoffs, manual testing as a software developer, etc.

    It feels as if no one wants to take responsibility. The CTO is clearly more passionate about the robotics, and they are changing their name, rebranding the new robotics company so as not to be associated with Vecna. I think many people are not proud of their work, more ashamed of it.

    As a junior software engineer, this is not the place you work at to build your skills and best practices. It is unclear what is expected of you.


  8. Helpful (18)

    "From good to worst"

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

    Pros

    None right now. Benefits, I guess.

    Cons

    Its like sitting on a time bomb when working at this company. You may get fired anytime. Thankfully I left this company before I could be fired. This company was good a couple of years ago but now it has gone bad. Some senior level engineers working here think highly of themselves. The management is taking bad decisions and do not value employees. Talent acquisition takes forever to get to a candidate. The interview can go on for months.


  9. Helpful (7)

    "Great people and culture, questionable management decisions"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Associate Software Engineer
    Current Employee - Associate Software Engineer
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

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

    Pros

    Amazing people to work with, great work culture and awesome benefits.

    Cons

    High level management lacks proper direction


  10. Helpful (35)

    "Lost its way"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Cambridge, MA
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Cambridge, MA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Free T pass
    Free healthy lunch offerings
    Convenient location on Red Line in Cambridge
    Fully paid health care and 401K

    Cons

    Vecna has lost its way. It is no longer a happy place to work. When I joined, the company was actively hiring across the board, although many of the positions seemed to be expensive luxuries and not needed for a company of its size, for example a company masseuse. Vecna squandered millions on ill founded projects and bad decisions. While it had a leading position in certain areas of healthcare software, it wasted its lead due to arrogance and poor management.

    Vecna managed to hire and still has many good people. But they have been frustrated and poorly managed. Today very few are happy and confident about the prospects of the company. If you visit the company you will see signs that state that the company is building transformative technologies to empower humanity. Ok, nice idea, but the company has trouble delivering software or hardware products that actually work and are not totally buggy. The quality issues are the result of convoluted legacy code and poor management plus employees are losing their motivation.

    This is not a happy well-run company today. Any optimistic glowing reviews that I read on the site don't seem to have been written by employees as I doubt many still feel this way. Perhaps Vecna was worthy of being a 4 star rated company a couple of years ago but no longer.

    Advice to Management

    Shrink the company, get rid of unrealistic pet projects and focus on what the market really wants and will pay for. Stop relying on Goalmind as your management system. Cut out the arrogant "we are the market leader"attitude, its not true, and actually go to the market and listen and learn what they want, then deliver it on time and without bugs.


  11. Helpful (22)

    "Spectacular company culture with abysmal management decisions. It's a gamble."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Software Engineer
    Former Employee - Software Engineer
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    The people at this company are great. They really do ensure that the people they hire not only have the skills, but also the attitude and personality for success. Everyone is willing to help and it’s a great team atmosphere. It’s easy to make friends. And if you’re unhappy for any reason, they will work with you to resolve it.

    The benefits are also amazing. Full medical and dental, and cheap vision coverage. 401k with matching, which I had thought didn’t exist anymore. Free monthly T pass. Flex time and lots of paid time off. Clubs to join. Food trucks for lunch every day.

    And I learned so much. I was exposed to so many different kinds of projects (most of them really cool) and got to try my hand at a number of different skills. I became a much better engineer, and they’ve boosted their training efforts to help people build their skills more quickly and easily.

    Most of all, they actually do legitimately care about making the world a better place. That’s refreshing given the current selfish corporate trends you normally see. I participated in the community service program and it’s really nice to feel like you’re doing something good for someone. In addition to technical skills, I also learned a lot about how to be more conscientious and how to foster an environment where people actually want to work together. That was pretty cool.

    Cons

    The “formal layoff” mentioned in a review from a week ago happened this week. Literally 20% of the employees gone, without warning, in a single day. Most of us were completely blind-sighted because we thought the company was doing well; good news is shared enthusiastically, but bad news is downplayed or kept hush-hush until it’s too late. 76 people came in (including many who probably previously left positive reviews on this site, and many of whom had been there for years and years), not knowing that it would be their last day of work.

    This happened because the company has long relied on one primary business partner whose funding depends on Congress. Efforts have been made to diversify and acquire income from other sources, and have been somewhat successful, but not enough to prevent catastrophe. Valuable people are gone, but that cause is still present. That does not put the company in a good position to move forward.

    Many of those gone had particularly amazing potential for bringing in new ideas and sources of funding which is clearly desperately needed. The field of Robotics in particular is going to explode in coming years and one of Vecna’s greatest assets was being at the forefront of that...until they just decimated the team and got rid of the person who had been previously successful at marketing the robot.

    Those are all great ways for a company to shoot itself in the foot. It will take Vecna a long time and a lot of effort to recover from this, and it could have been avoided with better planning. I’m sure HR will post a response, as is their right, but ultimately there is no viable excuse for a tech company with marketable products to have to lay off 1/5 of its employees in one go. That truly is unacceptable.

    I also noticed that the same day this happened, someone posted a new review here praising the new head of HR but suspiciously lacking any mention of this even though it shook the whole company. HR is generally wonderful and there for the employees, but I have to admit I was a little disconcerted by that.

    Advice to Management

    Management has a great vision of what the company could and should accomplish, but even after a few years of slowly pulling it together, is still too disorganized to fully realize that vision. The immediate outlook is grim. We were joking that the layoff felt a bit like the Red Wedding from Game of Thrones, and morale among the survivors is low.

    This was truly a great company to work for, seriously unparalleled by any I’ve seen before...when things were going well. Obviously things are not going well anymore.

    Management needs to balance its idealism with practicality and make sure that things like this don’t happen, and if they do, that they don’t stem their greatest opportunities for growth and recovery in a panicked attempt to stay afloat. I enjoyed my time there, and if these problems were fixed I'd want to go back, but management needs to gain some better business sense first.

    Vecna Technologies Response

    Jan 29, 2015 – Director, Talent Acquisition

    Thank you for all the nice things you said. Clearly you made a real effort to emphasize both your positive and negative impressions. For many people this is their first job right out of college ... More