Ciena Reviews

Updated 2 October, 2014
Updated 2 October, 2014
147 Reviews
3.3
147 Reviews
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Ciena President, CEO, and Director Gary B. Smith
Gary B. Smith
86 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • This allows employees to have a great work-life balance (in 20 reviews)

  • Flexible work schedule and good work environment (in 13 reviews)


Cons
  • No career growth plan for employees (in 6 reviews)

  • The upper management does not know what they are doing (in 7 reviews)

More Highlights

15 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1. 2 people found this helpful  

    Good place to start your career with. Very closed culture especially from the Former Nortel employees. Avoid Montreal

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Engineering in Montreal, QC
    Former Employee - Engineering in Montreal, QC

    I worked at Ciena

    Pros

    Local Gym
    Good location if you are in Ville Saint Laurent
    Good startup for engineers eager to work closely with Low Cost Manufacturing
    Health and Dental benefits are reasonable.

    Cons

    Senior Management inherited from the Nortel Era in Montreal.
    Very dysfunctional at the level of cross organizational activities.
    Very short-sighted middle managers and no long term vision
    No formal training. A lot of self preservationist attitude that make you sick to your stomach.

    In brief, the management at Montreal Ciena is the wash off from the bankrupt Nortel days. Unfortunately the flagship products are that of the Ciena Ottawa/Montreal which makes the long term vision very bleak if head office in Linthicum, MD does not do anything about it.
    Very "clicky" and very hard to break into the ranks for the established "hierarchies". A lot of arrogance and attitude. Zero chance for progress and promotion.

    Overall, a place to start with your career but not beyond 3 years maximum. If you are ambitious and looking for new challenges then it will be a hard place to stay in for very long unless you get accepted in the established clicks. You could be the most educated person of the bunch and yet managers will only think of their service impact on the short term rather than benefiting the company with the expertise of the talented and educated professionals.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    To Gary Smith, the time has come to shuffle the middle and senior managers and directors of Montreal office. This is the only way to save the company. New blood and new culture need to develop in Montreal to align with the established vision of the headquarters in Maryland.

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
  2.  

    Overall average

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Leadership Role in Hanover, MD (US)
    Current Employee - Leadership Role in Hanover, MD (US)

    I have been working at Ciena full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    Product technology is leading edge. Market position. Partnership with Ericsson opens up opportunities for growth.

    Cons

    Ciena needed infusion of new more mature and savvy talent. Nortel MEN acquisition provided some of that, but also brought with it a culture that had, over the years during the Nortel downturn, self-selected managers, directors and IC's that were too readily compliant with the direction some execs took. The culture had placed a higher value on compliance ("alignment") over real debate and transparency - this lead to very real situations where the company's ability to achieve its goals were undermined.

    My experience was that the issues with culture and transparency went beyond the former Nortel exec leadership to in some specific cases to the senior exec's as well.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    First phase of the company post-integration was to grow revenue, attack costs and try not to die.
    Next phase needs to be centered around a strong people-first approach to push the culture in a direction that effectively identifies and nurtures talent, provides an environment for growth and allow more effective work/life balance.
    Would add that a selective culling of the ex Nortel leadership is probably necessary to drive the level of change that is required for the company to thrive.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3.  

    Work environment.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Systems Engineer
    Former Employee - Senior Systems Engineer

    I worked at Ciena full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Great benefits. Most positions and managers have a balanced work ethic. Great technology, though not implemented well, too splintered.

    Cons

    Non-test positions and managers have a better grip on reality. Many ex-cisco test employees and managers, who brought along their 'drag-me-down' mentality that ruined Cisco's work environment. Training is not so great, always behind the curve. Upper management is not involved in the trenches, thus they are mis-lead. HR does NOT want to hear what you really have to say!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Train your employees. Listen and follow your employees advise on improving the work atmosphere.
    Get into the trenches!

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5.  

    Hardware Engineer

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Principal Engineer in Linthicum, MD (US)
    Former Employee - Principal Engineer in Linthicum, MD (US)

    I worked at Ciena full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Salary is competitive. Good co-works. New technology

    Cons

    The upper management does not know what they are doing. Short term focused and all are about making themselves rich.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The board is not doing the job.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    Major part of the quality work is Off-shored,

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - IT Analyst in Hanover, MD (US)
    Current Employee - IT Analyst in Hanover, MD (US)

    I have been working at Ciena full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Flexibility. International Presence. Company seems to be growing

    Cons

    Ciena is not a place that will enhance your technical skills. Its a place to do some legacy ownership, and light work. The technical teams are Disorganized, disconnected. This mainly happens because most of the quality work is off-shored, with major control given to off shore teams. The vibes hence is on buying specialized skills from outside rather than build technical expertise, within, but in reality these specialized skills have little experience, and quite little tendency to share the work, or transfer knowledge to those internal to team. Less transparency and reliability witnessed on the culture of the company.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Building internal skills always helps long run. But if outsourcing is the path chosen by company, it maybe a better idea to hire internship managers who can manage this team. Technical people would obviously expect an enhancement of their technical skills, and its only fair hence not to hire them.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    Optical vendor, state of the art technology in long haul and metro DWDM optical solutions for telecommunications.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Lead Engineer P&T in Alpharetta, GA (US)
    Former Employee - Lead Engineer P&T in Alpharetta, GA (US)

    I worked at Ciena full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Best in their niche, one of the few of it's kind that survived the tech bubble

    Cons

    Big H1-B visa house, slave labor for a few years till they get their green card. About 90% Indian at the Alpharetta location. Not a diverse workforce.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get the majority of your employees from US citizens graduating college, with less that 10% H1-B candidates.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8.  

    Accounting Department

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Linthicum, MD (US)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Linthicum, MD (US)

    I have been working at Ciena full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Decent benefits, work life balance, good people to work with

    Cons

    very bureaucratic, still struggling to get back to been a profitable company after the nortel acquisition, layoffs are a common place

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9.  

    Systemically bad management, no investment back into ERP or employees

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Middle Level Management in Linthicum, MD (US)
    Former Employee - Middle Level Management in Linthicum, MD (US)

    I worked at Ciena full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    The increasingly dwindling employee base still had a few folks left who were tenured enough to know the day to day process.

    Cons

    *Extremely high employee turnover
    *Bonuses were a farce
    *Terrible upper management
    *Horrible cross departmental communication/cohesiveness
    *Complete lack of concern about employees
    *Zero corporate culture

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Years before joining Ciena I had heard it was a great place to work - after joining Ciena I heard this used to be such a great place to work. Clean house with old upper level managers/execs and bring in folks who want to work and can respectfully treat employees.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great Place to work 2012 for "Seniors"

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Lead Engineer in Gurgaon, Haryana (India)
    Current Employee - Lead Engineer in Gurgaon, Haryana (India)

    I have been working at Ciena full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    1. Casual Work Environment
    2. No need to inform your supervisor for Leaves, just take and then say "unplanned leave"
    3. Full of extra curricular activities, nothing technical.
    4. Informed (not Mock) Fire Drill every 6 months
    5. Annual Party thrown at Five Star Hotel
    6. Developes everything in software viz. DSP, drivers, embedded applications, user interface in india center only, but you won't get everything to learn because you will be tied up with just one module for years, after all they want to develop expertise for themselves.
    7. Very Good in hand salary

    Cons

    1. No career growth
    2. Either No or very high work pressure
    3. Every hour verbal reporting, email reporting is additional
    4. Management hardly knows people managment, just puppets of their foreign counterpart.
    5. No defined criteria for promotions, may get based on your criticality
    6. Reward program is extremely poor, basically management does not know when to reward an employee, for them it is always expected performance.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Do some full time management course

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    Not what it once was

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Ciena

    Pros

    The people....technology....great benefits....ability to accomplish amazing tasks when everyone works as a team....nice facilities....and again the people, some really great people work at Ciena.

    Cons

    this new upper management team seems to have zero direction, major decisions take forever to be made these days, salaries very much out of whack as some areas pay very well and others have not had raises in years. some areas overworked while constantly having to justify their job. outsourcing effecting quality of product.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Don't fix it if it works....stand behind what you preach.....stop lying.....outsourcing is not the answer, just because it looks good on a spreadsheet doesn't mean it is best for ciena nor does it mean it will work....get the company going in the same direction, it still acts as two not as one.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

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