OK work/life balance
Great time off allowances
Wonderful work culture
A select few senior engineers and managers are very keen on grooming new talent - keep your eyes open for them; they are shining stars @ this company and genuinely want to see you succeed.
Management is incredibly bizarre. Some managers are downright deceptive and self-serving. Others are interested only passively in company advancement. There is a HUGE pay and respect gap between management and engineers; many managers play musical chairs to avoid admitting failure or assisting company with recovering from their own errors.
Company feels rudderless at this point; just seeks to desperately jump from big contract to big contract, hoping to stay afloat for another 1.5-2 years. No unified vision; no overarching "we are moving towards X" concrete goal.
Agile integration is ridiculous - company used waterfall strategy for many years; adopted agile and is now trying their best to shoehorn waterfall back into agile (which, of course, doesn't work.)
Do not go into the company expecting bonuses any more. Expect a salary that is (competitive - 10%) - NOT the market average. Bonus program is touted as reason wages are competitive, but company's sales goals are becoming unrealistic & unobtainable. Bonuses fall short of target virtually every quarter these days.
Advice to Management
Get rid of the layers of stagnant middle managers. Especially the ones that deliberately lie to their engineering staff to keep their job.
Deliver on your bonus programs. We have families to support.
I worked at iDirect Technologies full-time
1. Good exposure to all areas: hardware, software, firmware. Even if you only work with 1, you pick up bits about the other areas.
2. Good engineering coworkers - most full-time engineers are technically competent, and intelligent. There is a wide variety of backgrounds.
3. Good work life balance (for most). This depends highly on your area of the business. The persons who are working weekends and until midnight are concentrated to certain teams.
4. Innovative technology* - Very dependent on your department. iDirect is a market leader in ground infrastructure for satellite communications, and some aspects do use very modern approaches behind the scenes. As echoed in another review, there are quite a lot of legacy systems.
5. Financials - working for a company that is a subsidiary to a public company is advantageous - there is a level of transparency in our forecasting and actual financial results.
6. Engineering Process - Micromanagement is rare. The focus is on delivering a quality product. Company has undergone an agile transformation that works decently for a hardware-oriented company.
7. Unification - Company has done good work in the past year to bring together groups that were previously unaware of each others' existence, which has increased knowledge sharing.
8. Perks - PTO is slightly better than average. Dedicated sick days. Decent medical, dental, vision insurance.
9. Lower and middle management actually care about quality.
1. Lost Souls - Many people left in 2014-2016 due to the lack of bonus for a period of time. The pay is not competitive without the bonus, and the people who left were in more senior roles, and understood the business logic. Very difficult to find good people genuinely interested in the sector, so people quit when they find something more interesting or lucrative to them. Even after the exodus, attrition in certain departments remains high.
2. No Direction - Managers tout that iDirect is a market leader, and we are the experts, but we haven't been the experts since the massive brain drain. Management believes that contractors can crank out value-add products, but have no one to actually understand what the customer wants.
3. Assumptions from management - Management assumes more junior employees know the long-term product-level vision for systems, but most specifications were written years ago. I once received more information about a product by watching a YouTube video than looking through documentation and asking around.
4. Pay and career growth - Salary is OK for entry level, but raises and total compensation is not competitive above the lowest level. Hence, the company has a lot of turnover.
5. Morale - It is dead zero. There is an incentive programme for referring employees, but I've never referred anyone because I'd have moral reservations about deceiving them.
6. Training, even "on the job training" is inadequate - No real mentorship organisation, formal training is often irrelevant to day-to-day tasks. Training seems like an afterthought or a time suck rather than something that is built into career growth.
7. Weak engineering culture - Being a part of iDirect is like being as a "has-been" company. The engineering department is large, but the culture is weak in comparison.
8. Clueless contractors - as full time employees have quit, they are replaced by contractors, but the quality of work is below that of an undergrad computer science student. The company is having trouble attracting talent locally, due to other companies' more competitive compensation packages.
9. Lack of team communication - at the lower levels, many employees have no idea how processes or code works from other teams, which are critically dependent on their own systems. There tends to be a bottleneck for innovation due to the high level of effort involved in contacting necessary parties to make even small changes.
10. Mismatch between testing capabilities and the engineers - often times, testers are mismatched with systems and are not trained on how to use or troubleshoot systems to produce meaningful issue reports.
11. Company is abusing agile - The company transitioned project managers to product managers and scrum masters, but really needs non-project product managers who can drive the product. Product managers and scrum masters are there to shuffle around work and be glorified secretaries without understanding of the industry or product.
12. Metric-driven project management is misleading - unofficial project managers kill the engineering process by making sure that minimal-cost work is completed to show misleading progress to executives.
13. Marketing of the bonus program - language used by HR makes it seem like there is a high level of bonus guaranteed - but this is not the case.
14. Not Built Here syndrome - company tends to overengineer a lot - marginal gains are offset by having to debug proprietary code where obvious third party solutions could have done the job.
15. Grafted software - Software is an afterthought, grafted onto the hardware division. Movements within the software industry are given a spin which is incorrect, and then given the excuse that it must be different for a hardware company.
Advice to Management
1. Better training for all - satellite telecom is a niche industry and non-industry persons may not understand business processes for months or years, when there's no excuse to hide this information. Engineers need comprehensive training on business level and hardware, firmware, and software areas within their first month. Company needs to be proactive in encouraging outside deduction opportunities.
2. Hire business analysts, product managers, and user experience personnel with satellite or networking experience, who are technical to drive the company's product direction. Don't be afraid to poach, rather than trawl and see what comes up in the net.
3. Divy out "interesting" work appropriately - it will keep morale up.
Re-examine large parts of architecture - figure out if there's a simpler, less proprietary, and more unified way of doing things.
4. Keep improving the agile workflows - do a check-up and see what is and what is not working
5. Explore market opportunities from the perspective of a startup, encourage more experimentation.
6. Encourage team harmony, don't encourage office politics and unnecessary componetisation to avoid personal blame.
7. Reexamine total compensation to reduce the brain drain - don't promise what can't be delivered. The company should prevent catastrophic brain drain to competitors. Long term, this would make the organisation much more competitive to SaaS/IT companies, rather than SATCOM companies.
8. Improve recruiting process - write better job descriptions, pose better questions at interviews to give people a better idea of what they're in for
9. Consider a mentorship program - Newer engineers often don't know where to turn for industry specific knowledge and would benefit from a guide.
10. Reverse the dead sea effect - create real incentives for people to stay, starting by creating a strong engineering culture and reexamining compensation competitiveness.
11. Fix the contractor situation - hire for quality, not quantity.
12. Company should become an engaged employer on Glassdoor. With almost 500 employees, why are they not engaging on this platform?
- Benefits are good
- Good pay
- Good people to work with at the engineer-to-engineer level, they are smart people.
- Sr. leadership in engineering has big attitude issues (talking down to people, confrontational, very poor communication).
- Company has way for putting highly technical people with no management or people skills in positions of developing a staff (it doesn't work, people will turn out like their managers, this is not good).
- Sr. engineering leadership uses negative motivation. Tells us how much we suck at group meetings and that our products suck, hoping that will make engineers work harder for them (think about it, you don't believe in our products or your people and you think that will motivate people to work harder)
- Sr. engineering leadership needs to be more proud of our accomplishments and our company; not showing this shows that you don't believe in the teams you are leading. Say "thank you" and mean it once in a while.
Advice to Management
- Stop hiring your friends, really, we're not a charity organization
- Look within the organization to find the truly good managers with the right management and people skills and attitude to drive engineering and engineering teams. Use them to your advantage.
- The senior leadership you have in engineering is really not a good fit for a company that needs to turn itself around. The culture and values used to be really good, now its getting worse because of this new management.
- Stop the reorgs and the constant change in management and development models (let's get Agile right before scaling Agile. All your doing is scaling what's not working). It shows you can't make good decisions.
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I have been working at iDirect Technologies full-time (More than 5 years)
Location is good. The company has been up and running for 20 years which only means it was a good company.
For junior engineers, iDirect is a good starting place to learn both technical skills and office politics, due to its high physical and mental pressure.
1. Low base salary like it offers always.
Bonus was good at 20%, however due to rapid loss of revenue, we only received 2% in this year.
2. iDirect won a big project several years ago which is the start of all the chaos today. A lot of new engineers were hired at loose interviewing process.
Due to the inexperience of the management team and a series of bad decisions made by the senior management, the project is now delayed for 1-2 years and en route of failure.The delayed new product is causing loss of once-loyal customers and revenue.
3. People is leaving iDirect because of the dark future, the low pay and high workload, and the politics. Many of the engineers left are technically important which can't be replaced shortly. This has worsen the situation of the failing project.
4. The company is over-hierarchied causing lots of overhead as well as confusions.
5. Unlike the past, the company is now driven by a group of management people who don't understand the products iDirect develops.
Roughly half of the technical managers (who only manage 3, 4 engineers on hands-on product development) have no idea about how satellite system works, even though they go from meeting to meeting everyday just to make them visible.
6. Satellite technology is not as cool as it sounds. It is actually made of a mix of sophisticated (outdated) technologies due to its high requirements of reliability and stability. For entry-levels, it is impossible to learn here the cutting-edge techniques and skills.
7. Many other big companies like Google, Facebook, SpaceX had already started its satellite projects or replacement projects. iDirect will face the most fearful challenges in the next few years. Are we ready for it? Sadly no.
Advice to Management
We have to be realistic and stay focus only on the core business.
I have been working at iDirect Technologies full-time
Being involved with lots of new technology. Friendly environment and nice coworkers. Management is well intentioned even when they make plenty of planning mistakes.
Expected to work 60+ hours every week for several months without extra compensation. Projects are late and managers are in panic/firefighting mode with lot of inefficient decisions. I would not recommend the company to my friends eventhough I would get a $5K referral bonus.
Advice to Management
Plan projects better
Lots to learn about the satellite communication industry.
You get to do more than you think. a good experience learned here.
Some good smart colleagues around.
Some Managers/directors act like kids driving engineers to leave the place.
Unfairness and disrespect to employees.
HR department is not for the employees. I feel the place like a big gangster company.
Advice to Management
Focus on the company growth first before your personal growth.
Put a process and follow it for god's sake.
Be fair on applying your promotion guidelines on all employees.
If 5 engineers left in less than a year complaining about a director. Most likey they are right HR!
Idirect is very good on time flexibility. Taking time off to handle personal issues is very well supported at Idirect.
The downside of working Idirect lies with its senior management. They do a horrible job managing highly skilled professionals. Senior Mgmt gets defensive and intimidated very easy when dealing with direct reports who are highly skilled.
Advice to Management
The leadership needs to acquired the skilles necessary to lead talented people and not feel intimidated.
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