Wolfram Research Reviews | Glassdoor

Wolfram Research Reviews

Updated March 7, 2019
153 reviews

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Wolfram Research President Stephen Wolfram
Stephen Wolfram
100 Ratings

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Pros
Cons
  • "Low salary, nature of job highly dependent on manager" (in 15 reviews)

  • "If you are in upper management or project management, you will have to meet with him multiple times per week" (in 10 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (3)

    "I Love My Job"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Champaign, IL
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Champaign, IL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    - Amazing culture
    - Awesome Perks (drinks, swag!)
    - You have the opportunity to work on arguably the most intuitive and advanced software on the market today.
    - The company feels like a family. It's our own little slice of Silicon Valley in the Heartland.
    - The projects we work on are incredibly fulfilling. Even early in my career, I never expected to have the impact on the products this business produces at this point.
    - Incredibly flexible work environment and telecommuting
    - Great PTO and Benefits Program

    Cons

    - Comp is lower than national average for the role.
    - Very busy -- can be stressful

    Advice to Management

    Wolfram has a lot of great things going on. While SW can be overbearing at times, people have to also understand that he does it because he is passionate about Wolfram and the products we produce. His name is all over it and it all bears his reputation.

    Also, we need to focus more of our efforts on PR and Marketing activities. We need to get our products out to larger demographics to continue to drive growth and opportunity into the business. Our efforts need re-focused on projects that deliver revenue instead of the one-offs; simply put, hire a top notch Software Ops leader and let them drive the business.


  2. "Interesting company and technology, good quality of life."

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

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

    Pros

    Solid training and support from other employees. Good work life balance and flexibility.

    Cons

    Sales team is insulated from the rest of the company.

    Advice to Management

    More collaboration among departments.

  3. "Technology"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Champaign, IL
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Champaign, IL
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    - the "wolfram culture" is of a good spirit, festive, and kind of "Island of Misfit Toys"
    - laid back environment for the most part, management is mostly cool
    - free and encouraged pursuit of what intrigues you or taps into your talents: Skill and passion is recognized and promoted
    - if you don't work directly with the Wolframs, the job can be absolutely amazing
    - great workplace, furnished with comfortable confines and lots of luxuries
    - Stephen, for all his flaws, is passionate, knowledgeable, and recognizes talent

    Cons

    - the owner and some members of the family are at best unpleasant, at worst insufferable, and at all times best avoided
    - if the Wolframs worked in the building, turnover would be incredible
    - money decisions, especially regarding infrastructure, are comical, and often shortsighted
    - ownership is impulsive and often cranky, demanding things on a timeline that sends a shockwave of stress & anger downward from the executive committee on down
    - employees can become "Pillars," in that they, and only they, are heading up projects or are saddled with things simply because they don't have it in them to say no. It can lead to lots of 50-70 hour weeks, sleepless nights, or stress-quitting from valuable assets who would've stayed in a different environment.

    Advice to Management

    Keep anything involving SW to a minimum and on an island, as the best parts of Stephen are often outweighed by how intensely he can create a stressful, rattled workforce with his mere involvement.


  4. "Business Development Executive"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Champaign, IL
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Champaign, IL
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    The business plan and execution was yours tomon. Tools provided by Wolfram were excellent.

    Cons

    The pay for the responsibility and time engaged was low. No advancement opportunities.


  5. "Experience Largely Dependent on Department"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Champaign, IL
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Champaign, IL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    The company is full of some of the brightest minds you will ever meet, and the force of will by those working there to accomplish great things is incredible.

    As these reviews are allowed to “name individuals in the highest positions in a company”, I will name one and allude to other management, which will hopefully help you in landing in a worthwhile group at Wolfram.

    The GTO department is incredibly effective, which is easily attributable to the leadership of the CIO, John Koontz, who oversees all the technical operations groups as well as a development group. During my time there, he was entrusted with the Amazon integration project* and guided it to a success. His approachability and vast technical knowledge is something I’ve never seen before in a C-level executive. If you have the opportunity to work in GTO and Koontz is still around, I would encourage you to apply. It is well known internally that the likelihood of your project being successful is drastically increased with his involvement.

    Moving on to other groups and management, as of this writing, the manager of Wolfram|Alpha Web R&D (the group that largely does web development) is technologically progressive and a key driver in adopting new and useful technologies. He is wonderful to work with, making this another group that would yield a worthwhile experience. The Cloud QA, Cloud Core, WPE, BS, and Partnerships groups are also run by really great and talented folks.

    By in large the people at Wolfram are really great, and a number of the projects are really interesting and enjoyable. The management knows how SW is, and most of them will shield their employees from him. Another rather interesting thing: Largely people don’t throw each other under the bus, despite being prompted by SW to do so. It’s nice to know that people generally have your back.

    *If you ask Alexa a question, as of this writing there is a good chance it went through Wolfram|Alpha (this was recently announced publicly by Amazon).

    Cons

    * The pay is comparatively low and everyone knows it
    * The manpower is about 1/3 what it should be for the number of projects and undertakings
    * Some upper management does not seem to appreciate that an abnormally high number of the employees are doing a phenomenal job, and are incredibly impressive people
    * Your experience can widely vary depending on department
    * A lot of really great people get hired away too easily due to the pay, which make for continuous turnover


  6. "Similar to staying in school"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Wolfram Research full-time

    Pros

    Academic atmosphere with ability to move career in several directions

    Cons

    Elon Musk-like CEO. Very smart, very demanding.


  7. "avoid"

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

    I worked at Wolfram Research full-time

    Pros

    there are some nice people there.

    Cons

    the ceo micromanages and screams at people.

    Advice to Management

    quit

  8. "Organized with great communication"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Quality Assurance Intern in Champaign, IL
    Former Employee - Quality Assurance Intern in Champaign, IL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Wolfram Research part-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Expectations and responsibilities were set very clearly.

    Meaningful and impactful work as an intern.

    Great learning experience.

    Integrated with the full time team.

    Cons

    Slow to release and often extended deadlines.

    Interns are paid by the hour with a low wage.


  9. "interesting but not the top of the heap"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Wolfram Research full-time

    Pros

    the people are great and the problems you do get to work on are interesting

    Cons

    you will not be getting projects where you change the world, those to go to the big guys


  10. Helpful (4)

    "Great company, run by an impossible man"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    * Interesting projects at the forefront of computer science
    * Decent benefits
    * Flexible work hours
    * Ability to work remote
    * (Mostly) fantastic people

    If you can avoid Stephen, then it's a fantastic place to work. There are many people who keep this company going and make most days a joy to be part of.

    Cons

    * Old and inadequate hardware to work on
    * An interferring CEO who thinks he knows everything and any project can completed by one engineer in 2 weeks, maybe 3 if it's really complicated
    * Low pay compared to comparable positions at other tech companies (including locally)

    If you do have to work with Stephen Wolfram, may god help you. 30 years ago, he was a genius with ideas ahead of his time and he managed to productize them. Today, he is still a genius with ideas that would have been ahead of their time 20 years ago. He is failing to lead this company to the future, and his main method of leading is screaming like a toddler who is told they can't go to the beach during a hurricane.

    If you are in upper management or project management, you will have to meet with him multiple times per week. In these meetings he will ask for updates on features and products he invented a week ago and be angry they are not ready to be pushed to production yet. After he finishes loudly complaining about how slow and bad everyone is, then he'll go on to request entirely new things that he expects to get immediately. Priorities are never clear, and when you try to get him to guide you, he he has no idea what he actually wants other than "everything".

    His irrationality and personal attacks drive people to tears.

    Advice to Management

    The advice no one will follow: Reign in Stephen

    Otherwise, hire managers for management positions. We have too many very skilled engineers, who have to spend their time managing people instead of developing, it's a waste of their talents.