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Wolfram Research Reviews

Updated August 19, 2017
122 reviews

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3.1
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Wolfram Research President Stephen Wolfram
Stephen Wolfram
79 Ratings

122 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Flexible work environment that allows for working remotely (in 11 reviews)

  • time flexibility, can work remotely, quirky personalities (in 11 reviews)

Cons
  • Low salary for experienced professional as compare to market standards (in 13 reviews)

  • CEO, Upper management make work harder than it has to be (in 8 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Relaxed work environment with great flexibility"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Wolfram Research full-time

    Pros

    The atmosphere is pretty relaxed and they have been very flexible as far as my schedule.

    Cons

    There is a lack of a cohesive management structure


  2. "A company of yes men"

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

    I have been working at Wolfram Research full-time

    Pros

    Lots of power over how things are to be implemented.

    Cons

    Very little integration across teams, even when they are tightly dependent on each other.

  3. "educational"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Wolfram Research part-time

    Pros

    i learned a lot from this role

    Cons

    it could have been better if my supervisor gave me more responsibility to prove myself


  4. Helpful (11)

    "Wolfram Research's best days are behind it"

    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
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Wolfram Research full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Free drinks, flexible hours, typically nice coworkers, projects can be interesting (but probably not very useful and/or well-adopted).

    Cons

    The company is stuck on a path to mediocrity and obscurity if Stephen keeps running the company the same way he always has. If you are so lucky to find yourself in a highly-visible position or on a project that is on SW's radar - be prepared to take some flak, grow thick-skin, or find another place of employment every time he runs into a small bug or his expectations aren't met (which is very, very often). There are very few people that he trusts them at their word, so be prepared to endure the temper tantrum of an adult man with a hairline trigger if you and your manager are not one of these few people.

    Project management is always in disarray as well. Resources are stretched thin so depending on the week (or even day), people will probably be working on another project and making little progress due to the CEO's ever-changing desires. One could imagine how difficult it is to make progress or even finish a project when people are being pulled left and right and developers are being forced to work long hours.

    In terms of culture, you will probably get along with your team/coworkers, but I've noticed that there is an "every-man/team-for-himself" type of atmosphere. This is no doubt due to the fact that managers are afraid of spending their team's time and resources on work that Stephen has either indirectly assigned them or wants them to help another team with. This results in certain teams being cut-off and insulated. Who can blame them though? Everyone has so much work to do already, if you are too receptive to your coworkers then you will take on an unbearable workload and you will never meet expectations - thus resulting in being pulled randomly into a meeting just to be yelled at by Stephen and be seen by him henceforth as "unreliable and incompetent".

    All this being said, if the company were doing great things or if the pay was adequate then you might be able to see past all these major flaws. But that is unfortunately not the case. You will most likely not have very many friends that know what the company does or have ever used one of their products. They are interesting in theory but the end product is never really well-adopted besides by a small, niche following. If you are straight out of college then this might be a good starting point for your career, but know your worth once you gain some experience and move on to a bigger town/city for much better pay.

    Advice to Management

    Culture is largely determined by the CEO, which means that the many issues that plague this company will probably never go away while Stephen is in charge. Couple that culture of fear and poor communication with terribly noncompetitive salary and that is the reason why you have a large gap in the populace between the new hires and "life-ies". No one wants to stay when they have low job security, low pay, and have to endure the yelling and screaming from the CEO.

    Treat your employees with more respect, pay more competitively, and increase the insulation from the regular workers and Stephen - maybe then you can hope to retain more talent and foster a better spirit in the company.


  5. Helpful (7)

    "A company with great people and no vision"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Tech Support in Champaign, IL
    Former Employee - Tech Support in Champaign, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Wolfram Research full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    As close to academic setting as one can expect in the corporate world.
    The library is really good.
    Some really smart physicists and mathematicians work here who share common passion for coding

    Cons

    Dismal Pay
    The company doesnt have a mission statement for its mission is suit the whims and fancies of Stephen wolfram.
    Wolfram is a very smart individual but is the only overt megalomaniac I have come across in my life.

    Advice to Management

    Hire a proper CEO and you can hope to transcend from being SWolfram's baby to a legitimate company.


  6. Helpful (5)

    "Unfortunate"

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

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

    Pros

    I've written this review in more of a problem-solution format instead of a pro-con format. See the "Cons" section below for more information.

    Cons

    I care very, very much about Wolfram Research. I used Mathematica in college quite a bit for research, where I quickly fell in love with its notebook-style interface and powerful symbolic capabilities. I also considered Stephen to be one of my idols for the longest time. However after working for Wolfram full time for a good bit now, I have to say that this company is terribly lost. It seems to be grasping for new directions amid dwindling counts of new users.

    One of the fundamental pillars to successful computational science is an empirical verification of the algorithms used to arrive to conclusions. Mathematica has shown to be rather reliable in this realm, but more and more people are switching to open sourced alternatives because of the ability to verify any relevant algorithms. Since most of these alternatives are also free, users have an even greater incentive to choose things like Mathics or SageMath. If we want to combat this, we should develop a smaller, open-sourced kernel with only basic Wolfram Language functionality and mathematical tools. If users want more advanced integration features, for example, they could either write it themselves or purchase it as a sort of add-on. Fighting against the FOSS movement is impossible - we must instead adapt to it or use it to our advantage. Furthermore, an open-sourced kernel allows us to tap into the intellectual abilities of the population outside of the employees. I cannot see how this alternative severely hurts or hinders either side.

    The Wolfram Language cannot be, and never will be, a language that should be used for anything other than symbolic mathematics or rapid prototyping without massive changes to the underlying foundation. Users will always prefer a less-bloaty alternative. The better alternative is to improve the Wolfram Language's integration with other languages and software packages to incentivize the users to integrate it into their "technology stack" where they see fit. The proposed solution above also greatly helps to fix this issue.

    We absolutely need to slow down our development process. The users will happily wait for a new release if it is done correctly. This is especially the case with the Wolfram Cloud Platform, which should honestly be completely redesigned. I won't go into details here for obvious "trade secret" reasons.

    I wont comment much on Stephen Wolfram. You only need to read the other reviews on this site to get the idea. Stephen is both the life and death of Wolfram Research. The changes I have suggested above MUST start with him. He must be willing to change and accept ignorance from time to time if anything worthwhile is to get done.

    I know that this will probably be ignored, but I absolutely love what this company is *supposed* to stand for. I say these things in my attempts help Wolfram Research. For those whom are considering working here, I would keep my distance for now. The company needs to go through a lot of changes first. This company has a lot of brilliant people and fantastic potential, but it is using it in all the wrong ways.

    As for potential repercussions from writing this review, honestly I can say that I will gladly hand over my job if it means that someone read through everything I've said and actually gave it some thought. I haven't tired too hard to conceal my identity. If worse comes to worse, I will walk away with the mild comfort in knowing that I at least tried.

    Advice to Management

    Stop drinking the Kool-Aid. Mathematica/WL is for computer algebra, calculus, rapid prototyping, and mathematical research. To attempt to fit *any* programming language or software suite in a one-size-fits-all package is illogical. You need to return to your roots and slow down.


  7. "Good place to start out"

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

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

    Pros

    good benefits, easy schedule

    Cons

    limited resources, late night meetings

  8. "Intern"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    Fun atmosphere, young environment, great pay.

    Cons

    No strong relationship between the CEO and company workers.


  9. "Terrible business vision"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Wolfram Research full-time

    Pros

    Flexible work schedule, casual work environment

    Cons

    No real vision on how to grow as a company. As mentioned by numerous other reviewers, CEO is an egomaniac who expects everyone to drop what they are doing to cater to whatever new project is on his mind. Almost has a creepy, cult-like feel to how he is regarded.


  10. "Respectful company but losing its shine"

    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
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Interesting projects, great work-like balance, friendly coworkers

    Cons

    Low salary compare to industry standard, no long term business goal

    Advice to Management

    Focus limited resources on important projects and put more engineering efforts to those, listen to the services/consulting team, value your employees who make true contributions and pay these people reasonably, management team should look more at the outside world


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