NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Project Staff IV Reviews

Updated 5 Dec 2016

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3.7
95%
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NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Director Michael Watkins
Michael Watkins
0 Rating
  1. "Amazing place"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Technologist IV in Riverside, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Cutting edge of science and technology, being part of something so big is awesome.

    Cons

    Red tape and bureaucracy makes it difficult to be productive and timely.

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  2. Helpful (2)

    "Where else can you go to Mars?"

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Engineer IV in Pasadena, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    Get to work with world experts in fields, just down the hall. One of a kind projects (go to Mars, Europa, etc.) Nice people and campus to work at

    Cons

    The space business is very conservative - you're not going to be using the latest and greatest components. The lab is a hybrid of academia and industry - some organizations are very "peer reviewed publication" centric, others are not. The space business is very process intensive, while academic research tends to be more ad-hoc, so there is a tension as ideas move from low TRL research to higher TRL implementation and the required level of rigor jumps dramatically. Physical infrastructure and test equipment inventory is aging - an artifact of being a government facility.

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  3. Helpful (1)

    "Dream job. Period."

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Engineer IV in Pasadena, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    Great benefits, flexible with personal life demands (time), very interesting work, ability to change focus of career to multiple areas. Offers unique intersection of Federally funded work, scientific academia, and engineering industry at one single location, without the drawbacks of being a civil servant government employee.

    Cons

    Very intellectually demanding, organizational hubris at times both internal and external to the Lab, sometimes long hours or long travel required to support projects, single salary cannot support buying a home in a decent public school district within a 30 minute commute from the lab.

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  4. Helpful (6)

    "There is perception and then there is reality"

    3.0
    Current Employee - Research Scientist IV 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

    I have been working at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    You will experience a broad range of research activities and interests. There are numerous specialists in virtually every field of science and technology.

    Cons

    There is limited upward mobility. It is an extremely competitive work environment ( can't have too many specialists!). Wages are so-called soft money so you spend more time writing proposals than performing research. It is difficult and will soon be impossible to perform any significant or substantial experimental research at this institution due to aging infrastructure and funding levels being disproportionate to modern research costs.

  5. Helpful (2)

    "Long term employee, have supported numerous projects."

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Engineer IV in Pasadena, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

    I have been working at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    Get to work with some of the most brilliant minds in the world doing incredible work. Since we are part of Cal Tech there is opportunity for collaboration with they university faculty and staff. There is ample opportunity for technical and professional growth. The 9/80 work week is a blessing for those allowed to use it. Unfortunately it can be taken away by capricious management.

    Cons

    JPL is a huge bureaucracy where people get things done despite the system. The bureaucratic nature of the system eats up a large portion of the laboratory budget and results in a lot of the equipment and facilities being out dated. Managers tend to embody the Peter Principle having risen to their level of incompetence.

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  6. Helpful (1)

    "Fun and diverse, but large government employer"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Engineer IV in Pasadena, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    Work on one of a kind projects (robots go to Mars or other planets) Interact with world experts Casual work environment Good cafeterias

    Cons

    Space business is conservative, so there's a gap between cutting edge new developments and what people are willing to launch into space where you can't fix it. Many year project life cycle for spacecraft means that institutional processes are not very nimble. Nobody ever leaves, so not much room for promotions.

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  7. "Learning experience."

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Compensation and Benefits
    Current Intern - Software Computing Systems Undergraduate Student IV in Pasadena, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory for less than a year

    Pros

    Competitive pay, variety of projects, friendly setting, lots of networking, diverse workforce, located in Sol Cal, fairly relaxing atmosphere

    Cons

    Parking can be a hassle

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