National Instruments Reviews

Updated 19 September, 2014
Updated 19 September, 2014
618 Reviews
3.7
618 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
National Instruments Chairman, President, and CEO James J. Truchard
James J. Truchard
481 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • The people are friendly and you are encouraged to maintain a good work life balance (in 83 reviews)

  • The people are generally brilliant and the work environment is healthy (in 51 reviews)


Cons
  • below average compensation, below average work-life balance for managers, leadership lack perspective (in 13 reviews)

  • Organizational structure and consensus culture are huge roadblocks in the decision making process (in 15 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    A very nice place to work at

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

    I worked at National Instruments as an intern

    Pros

    The NI culture borrows a lot from other places but at the same time differs. Everyone is friendly, the people are amiable.

    Cons

    Time-off policies can be a little restrictive for some people and you will find yourself working on various projects at the same time.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep doing what you're doing, and remember to always be considerate of those you manage.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2.  

    Good

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at National Instruments

    Pros

    Good company to work for

    Cons

    Nothing I can't think about

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Good

  3. 18 people found this helpful  

    Aspires to be the North Korea of Tech Companies. A previously admirable company in Decline.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Engineer  in  Austin, TX (US)
    Current Employee - Senior Engineer in Austin, TX (US)

    I have been working at National Instruments full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Great environment for interns and new hires (at the expense of long term employees). It is expected that long term employees bend over backwards to scrape together good projects for you and cater to your every whim in hopes you join and help satisfy the churn of the 5 year treadmill. This works well; interns join until they slowly become disillusioned, and leave after having groomed an intern of their own who will take their place (departing Senior Level engineers are always replaced by fresh grads). The net experience level in this company is constant due to the 5 year treadmill and management seems to scratch their heads in the face of decreasing efficiency and increasing project development cycles when projects become more bloated and difficult while the experience level of the developers has flatlined. Put your five years in and then leave for one of the top tier consumer electronics companies where hard work is valued with compensation and true career growth.

    If you are experienced and value family life, you will find it here. You can "go out to pasture" after 5 years of proving yourself and coast by the rest of your career. This is the only economical and optimal reason to stay after 5 years unless your family can be sustained on nothing but kool aid.

    You obtain valuable skills and experience in the first five years here. If you happen to fall under the newly minted layoff axe, you shouldn't have any difficulty finding a higher compensation position elsewhere.

    You don't even need to shop your salary around; NI has hired a third party company to compare your salary to every podunk competitor with subpar workers and we've made sure to put you just slightly below the industry average because it's so awesome to just BE here! Everyone cheer for the goal of providing average wages for "The best and the brightest!"

    Cons

    NI (don't call it "National Instruments"!) spends an astronomical amount of time and money on sales and marketing (externally AND internally). Rather than improve employee compensation, the company will choose to kick the propaganda up a notch every time - this has been in overdrive in 2014 - "Think of the vision!" "We can do anything together!". It all converges in the cult of personality developed around Dr T and the executives. Do it for the dear leader, don't look outside the window to other companies, it's just as good or better here!

    NI relies on fear of change and lack of knowledge of outside companies to keep people around. Everybody at NI knows nothing BUT NI by design, the company only hires new grads in lieu of any experienced engineers. Thankfully, this company is easier to escape than it's model country as Google, Apple, Amazon, and Facebook are happy to poach the cream of the 5 year crop after they've stagnated (and they will) at NI.

    The benefits of the rank and file are based on NI being a growth company but it is run like (and is) a value company. No risks, extremely high dividend that prevents investment in R&D (and goes straight into the pockets of the executives who still hold a very large amount of outstanding stock), and lack of good business leadership mean that experienced employees get the short end of the stick every quarter.

    NI is so incredibly cheap it is mind boggling. You will share hotel rooms with other (loudly snoring) grown men to save $100/night while you work 16 hour days recruiting, you will pay a hefty monthly penalty fee to provide benefits for your family if they have any other option of coverage (no matter how poor it is), you will take the longest and cheapest flights possible, your expense reports will be scrutinized to no end and every purchase req will demand that your life depends on it.

    No worthwhile career growth past the senior level. You can take on as much responsibility as you like and improve your skills but won't get anything for it in comparison to other top tier companies.

    The company benefits and morals are in constant decline. Higher premiums, worse coverage, worse relative compensation, (NEW!) layoffs, obscured communication, secret promotion freezes, skipped merit increases, layoffs (again! NI is now like every other business in the world - layoffs WILL happen if it makes business sense, even in Austin). The stock is doing fine and the dividends will predictably raise year after year while employee net compensation will fail to keep up with national modest inflation and much more aggressive Austin inflation.

    Your family will be in a worse position every year you stay with this company. You will get to see them nearly as much as you like, however.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Your employees should be more than simple, fungible cogs in the machine of Dr T's legacy. Providing well for the families that sacrifice to enable that legacy should be on just as high a pedestal.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5.  

    Overall a great place to work especially if you're ambitious.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Staff Systems Engineer  in  Austin, TX (US)
    Current Employee - Staff Systems Engineer in Austin, TX (US)

    I have been working at National Instruments full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Great corporate culture.
    Great work life balance.
    Great training and career development.
    If you're ambitious it's possible to create your own path.

    Cons

    Salaries are below average and new hires will suffer salary compression for several years.
    Upper management decision making is super slow. Managers are too concerned with what every other group in the company will think to make decisions.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep salaries competitive, especially for employees that have been at NI for years, they are much more valuable than new hires (even experienced new hires).

    NI needs to figure out how to make decisions faster.

    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO
  6.  

    Great place to work, very positive experience.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Group Manager  in  Austin, TX (US)
    Former Employee - Senior Group Manager in Austin, TX (US)

    I worked at National Instruments full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    This is a great place to start and grow your career. Whatever your job function, there are always opportunities to grow both personally and professionally. I was able to find several great mentors, many of whom became personal friends. Very relaxed and fun work environment. I genuinely enjoyed going to work each day. NI as a company, and every direct manager I had, genuinely care about their employees as a person, you're not just a resource/number. Very nice campus and location in Austin. Very good overall benefits package.

    Cons

    Very consensus driven. This is both good and bad. On the one hand, everyone's feedback is gathered and considered, but on the other hand there tend be 'lurking approvers' who seem to have made a career out of torpedoing decisions at the last possible moment. Id expect this (and worse) at most workplaces, and it is fairly easily managed once you pick out the repeat offenders whose ego tends to make them quite predictable.

    Promotions beyond a certain level become more of a popularity contest, dependent on how much your manager 'cheer-leads' for you.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Metrics drive behavior. In some instances it seems only the goal is looked at (usually in some form of a $ goal: cost reduction, sales numbers, etc), rather than HOW it was achieved. A few of the more aggressive 'corporate climbers' have left a 'trail of bodies' in their wake, going seemingly unnoticed from above.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    Overall, Long-term Great Employer

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Marketing  in  Austin, TX (US)
    Current Employee - Marketing in Austin, TX (US)

    I have been working at National Instruments full-time for more than 8 years

    Pros

    Challenging work environment with lots of energetic and smart employees. Company's products and customer applications are really cool. Work environment is great. Very stable employer. Management cares about employees and works to create meaningful job responsibilities and career paths.

    Cons

    Decision making is slow. Compensation is below average due to large ratio of employees to revenue and profit. Tools and processes are outdated and cumbersome. Difficult for experienced hires to integrate into the home grown culture.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8.  

    Great people and great learning experience

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at National Instruments

    Pros

    Very welcoming and kind
    No micromanagement
    Office has lots of amenities (gym, workout classes, sand volleyball)

    Cons

    Pay is not up to expectations

  9. 2 people found this helpful  

    Fun place to work, but you can hit a ceiling quickly

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Product Marketing Manager  in  Austin, TX (US)
    Current Employee - Product Marketing Manager in Austin, TX (US)

    I have been working at National Instruments full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Great people, a fun atmosphere, and the feeling that the company's products in turn help customers do amazing things.

    Cons

    Compensation could be better and there's not very much upward mobility.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get the company back to growing again.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    Very positive

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at National Instruments full-time

    Pros

    awesome people and funny environment

    Cons

    the salary is low compared to competitors

  11.  

    It was a very good place to work. Good people and company.

    Former Employee - Staff Software Engineer  in  Austin, TX (US)
    Former Employee - Staff Software Engineer in Austin, TX (US)

    I worked at National Instruments full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Great place to work. Good people who really believe in the company and products. It was a very nice work environment, where I think most people really liked working together. There was also good cooperation between the various departments within the company.

    Cons

    Although the work/life balance was in general, sometimes the work could take over. There were a number of times that I had to stay late without any notice to help solve a problem.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Overall, I think they did a good of encouraging a good work environment, while also taking care of the company.

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