Pros: i receive money and get to say i work for playstation, new campus is pretty nice, just added game kiosks, casual dress
Cons: no perks, employee discounts, or participation in many company events for contractors, break-in-service, little chance for career advancement, hierarchy, older work force, limited parking
Feel free to read my detailed experience or skip to the summary at the bottom.
A recruiter set me up here and I was hired as a QA Engineer. I was extremely excited at the start because this is my first job out of college and it's Sony PlayStation!
The first few weeks were spent getting to know my immediate colleagues, feeling out the company, and – more... moving to a new campus. Because of the strict rules regarding internal document, codebase, and site access, there was not much I could do except read some old user guides and an old snapshot of the repository which I was given. I tried to be as proactive as possible in getting up to speed so that as soon as I had access I would be a productive contributor. My initial interactions with the development team who I would be doing QA for were a bit cold. I eventually decided there was no point in asking them questions to help understand aspects of their project because I got the sense that they had no respect for QA and assumed I had little to no programming knowledge.
So I did the best I could to grasp the whole project on my own and was finally granted access. The first thing I noticed was that there was barely anything usable from the existing QA code. I pretty much built the QA codebase from scratch and took a great deal of ownership over my work. Slowly I started gaining the respect of my team as I exposed a large amount of issues with the product and they noticed my coding skills.
Eventually I started receiving more responsibility and tasks which were the responsibility of the developers. My manager would praise me every week and after the first 6 month contract continued making claims that they recognized my value and had great interest in hiring me full-time.
So being fresh out of school, excited to be at this big company, nothing really to compare this job to, I worked my a** off for the project, stayed overtime too many times to count (even though they don't pay extra for overtime unless you receive a very low hourly rate like that of a game tester), and even came in on weekends several times when asked.
Second contract starts coming to an end and I'm waiting to be hired full-time as I had been promised every month during the term. I decide it's time to be aggressive and start asking questions as it nears. Eventually they apologize saying they cannot hire me full-time but will increase my contract rate. So those negotiations go through, I name my price, my contracting company tells me it's approved, then the next day Sony changes their mind.
The option they give me is to work another 6 month contract but with what they call a "Break-in-service" so that they can keep me. There is some law that if you contract anyone for more than 18 months without hiring them full time, then you have to give them benefits and things. Sony doesn't want to do this so they choose to a) have you work the 18 months straight then take 3 whole months off and resign you or b) have you work a weird rotating schedule where any 4 days or more in a row you are off including weekends counts towards 90 days so that they can resign you for 40 hours a week after the 18 months is up.
I say I would rather work 18 months straight full-time. My managers urge me to do the Break-in-service so they can find me a spot with the company next year. I don't argue, agree to it and start using the days off to look for a new job. One month in, my manager tells me he's hired a second QA engineer who will start in 2 weeks and that because of the new project requirements I would have to start working normal 5 day work weeks and then take 3 months straight off once the 18 months is up.
And now here I am writing this review.
Show up, code, possibly attend meetings, take a break (walk around, step outside, play games at the kiosks in the lobby, surf the web, talk with coworkers, etc.), have your lunch (if you use the cafeteria you can feel like you're in high school again), leave. Team retreat once a year, some monthly social events (however if you're a contractor you need to immediately clock out as soon as you take a sip of alcohol)
What you learned:
Besides increasing my programming skill and general work experience...don't work at Sony as a contractor, don't work too hard here as a contractor because it will most likely lead to nothing. Start looking for a new job so you can move on after one year.
Sony is a company that spreads themselves thin. It tries to get its hand in too many areas and ends up hurting itself. Cross-collaboration between departments and divisions is pretty impossible. Even working together with another project on your floor is rare. It doesn't feel like an open environment at all. There is a hierarchy. And sometimes you have to follow orders from Japan because they run the show even if they don't know what's best here in the US.
Mostly mid-30s and up, married, work it like a government job. I'm probably 1/10 in their 20s and 1/2 under 26 on our floor. Surprisingly more women in development than I expected. Typical development job ethnic make-up: Indian, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, White, some Eastern European, some British, a few African Americans
Out of the 3 buildings in the campus our floor is basically the only one with developers. The rest of the employees are in legal, HR, Advertising, Executives, etc. and are mostly White. The women you will see around but the men from these departments are probably off doing their own thing.
Hardest part of the job:
Keeping a straight face and holding back what I want to say in front of my manager and higher ups
Most enjoyable part of the job:
I get paid and can say I work at PlayStation.
Don't work at the San Mateo PlayStation office as a contractor. If you do don't stay for over one year. There is little opportunity for career advancement. – less