SPACEX Employee Reviews

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One star to many
Quality Inspector (Current Employee) –  Hawthorne, CADecember 25, 2013
I have been in aerospace for 10 years now and I am at a complete loss for words with how this company is run. There is no tool control which anyone who has been in aviation has had pounded into their head. There is no formal training and worst of all there are no specifications! i.e. there is both a MIL-SPEC and FAA AC 43.13-1B that cover the acceptable criteria of a button head AD rivet (most common fastener in aviation) but not at SpaceX! To back that up most of the tech they hire have little to no experience, best case scenario they spent a few years in the military but thats a select few. The lack of quality is another mind blower. There are very few inspection steps when building some flight critical components which most technicians just skip and hope the inspectors will just shrug it off (most of them do). I have also watched techs forge a signature for an engineer to inspect the turbine wheel after a test run, no big deal.

When I first hired on I was unsure if I had what it took to be an inspector at SpaceX but after a few weeks I quickly realized I was the most qualified. The less experience you have the better so you wont realize how out of control this place is. If the FAA or DCMA ever do an audit this place is going to be shutdown until they get their head out of their behind.

Most of the management has no experience in aviation. For some reason they love to hire foreign car people from BMW and Mini to build rocket ships. Hey how about going down the road to Aviation Blvd and snagging some Lockheed, Boeing or raytheon guys?

Don't worry though, there is an anonymous
  more... email you can send to upper management to express concerns about the company. Weird thing is when you send a nasty gram "anonymously" and get pulled into a meeting with the same people you sent it to the next day.

All in all if you have any sort of professionalism or care for aviation this place is not for you. You can't argue you points to management because they A: Don't know anything about aviation/aerospace and wont know what your talking about B: Respond with the generic "Thats how we do it at SpaceX" answer or C: Get upset for not drinking the SpaceX juice and shutting up like the rest of them.

I hate to bash on the company so hard but for a place that has the resources to do everything right and yet they still do it so wrong is completely unacceptable. I hope the company gets some real management to turn thing around soon before it is to late.
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Pros
ping pong, poor management
Cons
poor management, long hours, no training, poor quality
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Top to bottom it is catagorically the best place I have ever worked
Loads Engineer (Current Employee) –  Hawthorne, CAApril 16, 2013
I won't lie, working at SpaceX isn't for everyone. It requires both capability as well as a stern willingness. There is a great deal of responsibility placed on everyone. We're still too small a company with too much work for poor performers to hide in the numbers. Greater still, is the rule to always get the job done. Every company I've worked for had this 'rule', but SpaceX has actually provided the management/environment to allow for this statement to be possible.

They have removed almost all of the stops which get in the way of every motivated engineer. There will always be 'hoops' to jump through, but they all serve legitimate roles, it isn't chaos in here.
Since I arrived here 6 months ago, I have, without exaggeration, accomplished more legitimate work and made a larger impact on the tasks at hand, than I had in the previous 3 years at jobs with other '5S' and 'streamlined' companies. While the pace is ferocious, everyone's willingness to make changes rapidly allow us to correct problems and move on. Other jobs would ponder and debate the merit of fixing a known issue.

Most importantly, I have enjoyed working here. I rarely work fewer than 12 hours a day simply because the job can always be stimulating. The typical employee here is not average. They are the greatest collection of legitimate, hardworking, brilliant, well-rounded engineers I've ever known. I have yet to meet an employee here whom didn't simply impress me or lack in capability. There are no weak links, and that feeling has instilled confidence in every task I do or hand-off to someone. They are all thinkers,
  more... all willing to ask questions, will figure it out on their own, is capable of making a decision, won't take suggestions personally (most of the time), and no one hides or plays the blame game when something goes wrong. Everyone jumps on the grenade and fixes the problem together. Simply amazing.

I gave a low rating to the Work/Life balance because it is VERY easy to get sucked into and do nothing but work and the rest of your life will suffer. These are sacrifices which you must honestly be willing to make from time-to-time. It isn't constant though.

Technology like this won't manifest itself, it takes honest hard work; but, working here you know, feel, witness, and experience that work make an immediate difference.
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Pros
fast paced, exciting
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Amazing opportunities and job satisfaction awaiting those willing to put in the effort.
Engineer (Current Employee) –  Hawthorne, CAMarch 20, 2013
Pros – Note: This is from an Engineer's perspective.

SpaceX has been in a state of growth since I first started at the company, constantly increasing the scope of it's projects, it's capabilities, and it's vision. With that comes the amazing opportunities that only comes from a small/medium sized company!

There aren't many companies where you can have something you designed or built in space within 1~2 years! If flying something you've worked on in space is a career goal of yours, I can't think of a better place to be.

Another side effect of a rapidly growing company is the opoprtunities for increased responsibility. SpaceX employees often find themselves responsible for very important elements very quickly. Responsibility it placed upon people based more on merit than tenure, which allows for career growth not possible with larger aerospace companes.

In my experience, SpaceX does a good job of rewarding efforts and successes with perks and bonuses. While compensations may be below aerospace industry standards initially, SpaceX (in my opinion) does a better job of rewarding performance.

At the end of the day, there isn't any thing quite like watching a rocket take off and a spacecraft at the space stations, and SpaceX captures that excitement and passion of that dream!

Cons – Hours and work/life balance at SpaceX is likely the biggest and most-common complaint, but in my experience it is what each person wants to make of it. SpaceX will take as much as you want to give it, which for a lot of energetic fresh from college engineers is alot. There are lots of folks who have
  more... made a successful transition from 60+ hour workweeks to something more sustainable, but you must make a concious decision to do so.

For better or worse, there is definitely less structure, organization, and training at SpaceX than other companies. Nearly all of the training and learning is "on the job" training, as there are minimal mentoring programs. Also, some of the institutional protections of larger companies will not there at SpaceX (for better or worse).
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professional atmosphere in workplace, for first 4 months, later some employees in my department were verbally unprofessional with slang.
sheetmetal deburr and finishing sanding technician (Former Employee) –  hawthorne, californiaJuly 21, 2013
Hired as a tech trainee; I have an A&P license. I was not given a preference on what department to work in. I was placed in sheet metal manufacturing. The first 3 months were great; training superb towards me; I was a deburr tech and finishing parts. The management gave me the word that I was to be a permanent employee, passing probation period. I said some wrong things to my immediate supervisor, not serious mistakes and I made some mistakes on my work; but I worked well for them. They let me go after 7 months, dragging my transfer to permanent. No specific reason was given to me, but I figured my immediate supervisor desired to move me, for personality reasons. I do not feel my performance was bad enough to be let go and I think spacex could have counseled me and given me a chance in another department. I was in the only department swing shift dominated by latinos and I was mistreated verbally towards the end. That is just a statement, spacex desires to have the best employees in the industry and I made some work related errors and said a couple wrong things to my supervisor; but I was fully trained and independent and I was doing fine for them and I wanted a long term career. That is how the world is; I have worked for many companies and people within the company always hurt the company. Examples are fine hotels, restaurants, anything; the people make the company. I have read some other reviews and I am suprised to hear so many negative comments. That shows you that the people make and break the company. Best wishes working for spacex; I met some nice professional people,  more... who went the extra mile to help me succeed in the sheet metal shop; Maybe I can work for them again. I am starting a new job as a composite technician, and I read negative reviews about them also. We are expendable; that is reality.  less
Pros
free gourmet food for break; incredible, a 50.00 meal for free.
Cons
a professional workplace.
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The most enjoyable challenges you'll ever have.
Avionics Engineer (Current Employee) –  HawthotneMarch 19, 2013
Typical day at work for me:
10am: Arrive, drink large mug of free hot chocolate. Review and reply to emails.
10:30: Vehicle assembly design in CAD.
1:00pm: Grab free lunch from kitchen or buy from food trucks outside, bring back to desk. More CAD. Occasionally called down to factory floor to review fabrication element or installation verification.
2-5pm: meeting. Scheduled for half an hour, cut down to 20 minutes because we're done talking and have stuff to do. Average 1 nerdy reference per meeting.
6pm: Free coffee/frozen yogurt. Walk around the factory with it to see what's new. Back to work after about 20 minutes.
8:00pm: on a normal/light day, wrap up and go home. Before a milestone, though, this is dinner time before returning to work.

Management:
Highly variable between groups, but usually amazing. My boss is a year older than I am (we're both in our 20s), and our interactions are uniformly positive. She is supportive, facilitates getting me the tools I need, and has a great sense of humor.

Your co-workers:
In a word: amazing. They are passionate, intelligent (often mind-bogglingly so), dedicated, accomplished, friendly, and funny. They are more than coworkers: they are friends. They are the proverbial "best and brightest" and it is an honor and a pleasure to work with them every day. I have experienced a few isolated cases of certain individuals being persistently rude or arrogant, but they are in the tiny minority. The application and interview process is rigorous; the occasional lazy/incompetent/untruthful person that gets through washes out in short order.

The hardest
  more... part of the job:
We engineer and send things into space. That's extremely hard. Also sleep deprivation sometimes.

The most enjoyable part of the job:
We engineer and send things into space. That's extremely enjoyable.
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Pros
see your designs operating in space, stock options, free food/frozen yogurt/coffee, subsidized massages, laundry service, in addition to good health/dental benefits, lasik is reimbursed
Cons
long, occasionally brutal, work hours
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Comment – July 16, 2013

I've applied several times and i would like to receive more info regarding my hiring process or is Spacex are actually hiring?

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Interesting Work, But You Sell Your Soul ....
Technician (Former Employee) –  Hawthorne, CAJuly 14, 2015
I absolutely Loved that I was working on innovative space exploration vehicles ! They provided a perfect opportunity for me to utilize my obsessive attention-to-detail. That pretty much sums up the Good.

Middle Management was completely detached from the actual Operations, relying on Metrics for all analysis/decision-making. Oblivious to work environment - specifically OSHA matters, encouraging a healthy work/Life balance, etc. The absurdly demanding work schedule is Most Definitely contributory to manufacturing imperfections, and workplace injury.

The Productivity Schedule far exceeds the capacity of the facility AND operations staff. And, unless you are proactive at Creating opportunities to learn/train, you will receive Zero. They rely solely on paper experience, and don't do any real screening of candidates for Work Ethic, Attitude, etc.

The youngsters that are fresh out of college, ready to conquer the world, come in and think that getting free lattes, and frozen yogurt is a "Benefit" .... no, that's a Perk [at best]. A Benefit is Paid Holidays, Medical, Dental, etc. SpaceX provides good benefits, it's just absurd that these wet-behind-the-ears pups place such a Value on free yogurt or cappuccino. How About A DAY OFF ?!
Pros
Fascinating Cutting-Edge Innovation, Being part of something that is changing space exploration.
Cons
Absurd Work Schedule - 70hrs/wk, Unsafe Work Practices / Environment, Compensation NOT based upon Performance
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Up and Coming company -- high stress environment
Communications Principal Engineer (Current Employee) –  Los AngelesSeptember 6, 2013
The successes of Elon Musk with Paypal, Tesla, Spacex is a tribute to a real innovator--unfortunately this results in inadequate time to collect feedback on managers. The high pressure and "fear of god" if something goes wrong attitude is instilled in all the managers.

The place looks cool on the outside and the stock options are enticing, but the cubicle farm produces many good engineers who make terrible managers---most vest their stock and leave. Anyone in a Sr management post is typically fired at some point.

I was the communications expert and designed several successful communications systems that are very difficult in terms of Specifications on Doppler, frequency uncertainty etc--these were fun because I got to design and manage the progress.

]The hardest part is management that thinks creativity can be well represented by a Gantt chart rather than the real way it works," 80% of time to figure out the 20% of the design critical for the "difficult" part of the system. Thus it looks like no progress is made for a while and then boom! the answer and approach come. These guys have no idea of this.

Great co-workers but most are burned-out due to the work environment flaws.
Pros
financial upside
Cons
covered below
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Poor Leadership, Poor Decisions
Quality Inspector (Former Employee) –  Hawthorne, CAMay 7, 2015
There is a huge push for production, but there is also a huge push for advancing engineering. As you can imagine this creates a conflict when the product being made is always changing and never tested.

Engineering is always going to be the winners, the inexperienced new engineer will win over the production supervisors, he will even win with no background in the field at which he is arguing.

The quality of the rocket is not the top priority. Building the rocket is the top priority. The quality inspectors on the floor fall under the PRODUCTION DIRECTORS. This is one of the most absurd things I had ever seen. Conflict of interests were always in jeopardy when a part was needed elsewhere and production pushed to get it out.

I saw many an instance when a poor production director or manager hired someone under them that was questioning the process and identifying issues and then they are quickly let go. There has been so many amazing people let go or quick from the company that the only ones left are sad, beaten employees.

Standard 10 hour days 5+ days a week is not a quality environment. That's burn out poor decision making on management.
Pros
There's a few good guys left
Cons
Management, hours, engineering leaders, production, no quality
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SpaceX will - Low ball your pay
mechanical engineer (Former Employee) –  Hawthorne, CANovember 26, 2015
I looked at going to SpaceX but then I saw how they had posted jobs for contractors to go and live remotely near Hawthorne California but only wanted to pay about $37.50 an hour.

You can bet that the job description was for advanced level work and the expectation that you could conceive and complete hand calculations on spacecraft and use sophisticated software.

Even a direct employee (4-6 years experience) with benefits ( Relocation, Vacation, Holidays) in this area gets a median income of about $101,000 per year.

Oh, but they want you to come and stay there for a few months on your dime, in this high cost area for a paltry $37.50/hr.

This is unethical and abusive for them to have shops advertise this absurd for long periods of time.

This practice speaks volumes about the nature of SpaceX management.

As the management, in all their file clerking glory, if they would work out of state for this this rate. For a certainty, the answer would be a resounding NO !!.

If they can sucker you into it, well all the better for them in their review.
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Interesting face paced work place
Structures and Dynamics Engineer (Former Employee) –  Hawthorne, CaliforniaSeptember 14, 2015
SpaceX was a very interesting, fast paced, and intellectually stimulating work place. Every day came with different challenges and involved juggling many tasks and interfacing with many people throughout the company. People at the company were generally very friendly and helpful but at times could be short on time. This definitely forced me to be self sufficient and figure things out for myself at work. There was also a lack of organization at the company which also made it harder to find things on your own initially as information was scattered among databases and people. The work/life balance was very work intensive and at times work could take over ones life very easily. The lack of a regular lifestyle is what at times lead to a decrease in my happiness at work and question my ability to perform at that level in a long term situation.
Pros
low cost lunch and dinner
Cons
extremely demanding work hours
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Sorry I ever took this job
Inventory control clerk (Current Employee) –  Hawthorne, CAApril 19, 2014
Long hours, no personal life, I'm either at work or sleeping with one day off a week. Unprofessional coworkers, a lot of flirting, favoritism, affairs. Leadmen with no experience rule by their own personal judgement on each worker. Obvious they are not leaders and they receive no training. Employees disrespect the leads and yell at them in front of others. Work weeks 60-72 hrs/wk but mostly the latter, therefore, Spacex has become the dating pool and social life for the employees including the married ones. No positive feedback, only negative. Employees in trouble because of what leads tell manager but employee never asked their side. No opinions, feedback, ideas or suggestions ever asked from employees. Company makes employees believe they are the elite to be privileged to work here but mostly it's entry level employees that get sucked in and stuck here.
Cons
working conditions, coworkers, management
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Not fit for professional parents
Statics Engineer (Former Employee) –  Hawthorne, CANovember 25, 2012
Great place for an intern but not so much for professional parents that need the stability of a set work schedule. The company is growing through some growing pains and your happiness here will depend on how much you are willing to tolerate. If you mind a harsh non-collaborative culture that endorses the use of profane language, and work hours in the rage of 13 hrs daily then this place might not be for you.
Pros
great and exciting product, the engineering team is wise and most of them very fun to work with, the company sponsors fun events to keep employees happy.
Cons
spacex will hire and fire as quick as the flavor of the months comes and goes, some management is comprised by inexperienced youngsters with no leadership skills, profane language is widely used, the team practices very little fellowship, work hours are in the range of 13 hrs daily including weekends.
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Racism will always be there!
Avionics (Current Employee) –  Hawthorne, CAMarch 27, 2013
As a Asian-American employee I have a friend who was hired (African American). Advancement has come come a lot easier for me without really trying being honest. We have the same experience we used to work together at small machine company. I have notice that most of the African Americans either work in the inventory, shipping & receiving or the cleaning up something. I'm writing this review because I know he has child and he is a smart guy who is highly motivated. The problem space x is a private company which means they can do whatever they want because here is no government funding. They promote advance and train whoever they like and from looks of things it's not black. I can go on-on but if you planning on working here be aware of the racism it's quiet but if you look around its extremely loud!!!!
Pros
benefits
Cons
racism, no structure training, no advancement
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Comment – April 12, 2013

you are right racism is very ovbious, most of the hispanic, african americans and old (well experienced workers) are being left behind. while everybody else works, in some departments caucasians get the lead positions (even if they started as general helpers with not experience at all, or recently hired), they spend the day texting on cell phone or playing at computer, one simple work order takes days to be finished, stay at work 12-14 hours doing nothing, and or brown nosing... ! ... poor training and managment is making this company spend tons of money on failured proyects. does the big fishes at spacex know how bad is the managment????

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Dishonest
Analyst (Former Employee) –  Hawtrone, CAOctober 11, 2013
Suckered to come aboard. Left another company after being offered a good package by Space X. Lied job was long term. Lasted less than month. Job eliminated after department was "realigned". Alignment was already in planning before first day on job. Interviewing people for positions before I arrived on day one. Leaked accidently by those involved.

Lots of work and overtime. But can be steam lined if open to suggestions and given any sense of direction. Team lead insisted on his way despite coworkers found more efficient ways to deal with problems.

Training was questionable. Hard to get trained by those responsible. Co-workers got ticked at team leader's moron attitude to train people under him. Co-workers helped to perform training during spare time. They were always there to help. Team lead wasn't.
Pros
free soda, coffee and ice cream
Cons
dishonest. poorly lead.
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Great benefits if given time to use
Technician (Former Employee) –  HawthorneNovember 25, 2012
If you have an interest in aerospace but have no prior experience in aerospace than SpaceX is the place for you. Do you wake up every day looking forward to working in an environment that is unnecessarily full of stress and where the coworkers that you are working closest to are always ready to direct their faults on you? Than come on and join the team! No life? Perfect! That's why you'll fit in. Spend your life away at Spacex. Believe me they won't mind at all. Don't let me forget to mention the excitement of all the dangers associated with this wonderful dream job where most of the company is being built on employee mistakes because there is no official training. Good luck!
Pros
health benefits, sodas, frozen yogurt
Cons
work/life balance. favoritism, racism a few more isms.
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Comment – December 11, 2012

How much did they pay you to start?

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This worse job for experience aircraft worker
Dragon Structure tech (Former Employee) –  hawthrone, caJanuary 14, 2014
This place is a mess , they shadow tool boxes and throw tools on top of it. The only meeting is with leads and supervisor no employee input at all. they hire automotive people to drill holes and do aircraft work. No training at all. The young kids have no chance to learn. The Supv are a buddy buddy system no chance for advancement. The upper management is all from BMW and car places trying to build a rocket that is the same as aircraft they have no clue. They are more worried about coffee and lunch then building a rocket. If you have any experience don't go, If you have none its a good place. I don't now how they get that rocket in the air, I guess enough failed attempts everything will fly
Pros
lots of free coffee lunch is 5bucks
Cons
they dont have a clue
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Launches and Rockets
Busser/Hostess (Former Employee) –  Hawthorne, CAFebruary 18, 2015
A typical day at work is busy, fast pace and there is always something that needs to be done.
I learned more about working as a team even when there is drama involved.
Management was not good, communication was horrible, but that was only in my work area, I cant speak for other parts of Spacex.
Co-workers were amazing aside from the everyday drama.
The hardest part of my job was staying awake, our days are 10 hour days, I mean who wouldn't be tired.
Pros
great environment, you get to see things no one els can and its an amazing experiance.
Cons
have no time to get things done in your normal life, your always at work, and the people at work become yoiur family because your not with your own half the time.
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Miserable Experience
FINAL INTERGRATION TECHNICIAN (Former Employee) –  Hawthorne, CAAugust 13, 2014
Company is young and has much to learn about the aerospace industry's procedures and work practices. Mid Management needs a lot of work on how to treat employees on a professional level. Technicians are treated poorly and have no value. On the other hand the H/R department was very professional, they did their job well. They tell you that you could make a lateral move if you have a positive attitude but its at the Supervisor's discretion. If you have a grievance with your supervisor, you basically have no grounds to move to another shop.
Pros
free work boots, decent pay, severence package.
Cons
timeclocks, poor middle management, no 401kmatch
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A Great Place To Work For Any Hard Charger
Propulsion Tech Lead (Current Employee) –  Hawthorne, CaMarch 27, 2013
I have been here for less than three months, I have been cross-trained in three departments and now I am a lead man for a shop that has new challenges every day. I have learned much from the veterans here at SpaceX. I am encouraged to think outside the box, my supervisor allows me to figure things out on my own. My position as a lead man is tentative, so far I am doing a great job. It is stressful at times but i work best when I am under pressure, thanks to my Military experiance. I would recomend this place to any hard charger.
Pros
systems i work on will be in orbit
Cons
tough schedule to balance personal life but i still make things happen
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Comment – April 14, 2013

really? three months and they promoted you as a lead man? you are lucky , that sounds very "interesting" tell me the secret! good workers have been working there since falcon 1 and they still unapreciatted. the ethics of the staff in production is horrible, new hires -leadman- harass the workers just because they feel superior. good workers are walking away because of the environment,staff does not have any managament or people skills. favoristism and buddy groups are the main support of this company. the long hours working there is because of the failures and mistakes in proyects that unexperienced workers made. ( guess who is fixing those mistakes: the unappreciated worker). i hope your new career is giving you the opportunity to see how pushy and stressful your manager could be. (make a difference and do not promote brown nosing as still now)

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Inspiring and Challenging
Propulsion Engineer (Current Employee) –  Hawthorne, CAApril 5, 2013
I love coming into work every day knowing I'll be working on rockets and spacecraft. I get to work with very intelligent and accomplished engineers on developing the hardware that will be part of something historic. Additionally, because I interact with several different groups at SpaceX and it is so integrated, it has allowed me to develop to become a well-rounded engineer and professional. It is somewhat difficult as there is a lot of responsibility given right away and priorities can shift, but it keeps the job interesting and challenging.
Pros
free lunches occasionally, ice cream, good benefits, and stocks
Cons
long hours
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Overall rating

3.4
Based on 52 reviews
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