US Naval Research Laboratory Research Engineer Reviews

Updated 14 Jun 2019

To filter reviews, or .
3.7
58%
Recommend to a Friend
56%
Approve of CEO
US Naval Research Laboratory Commanding Officer Scott D Moran
Scott D Moran
2 Ratings
  1. Helpful (1)

    "Stable work but not family friendly"

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Research Physical Scientist in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

    I worked at US Naval Research Laboratory full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    The work is very stable and it's easy to make a career here. It's not uncommon to meet scientists who have been working on the same research for 30+ years. A lot of scientists here are from ivy league schools with impressive pedigrees and dozens of publications in top tier journals. My coworkers and Section Head were fantastic and I loved being surrounded by intelligent people. Despite the dilapidated buildings, there is some state-of-the-art technology to help with your research. The majority of research groups have base funding and don't have to constantly beg for money. My experience here added enough to my resume that I was able to accept a job offering DOUBLE my current pay. Even having the words "Naval Research Lab" on your resume gets you a lot of attention.

    Cons

    With all the good said, I have to focus on the fact that I don't find the NRL to be family friendly at all. There is no parental leave, child care through JBAB has a 2+ year waiting list, and while schedules are largely flexible, my Division Head looked at me like I had two heads when I told him I have to leave by 3 to pick up my daughter from the bus stop. Many people here don't even have families and, as a result, don't understand when you need a day off here or there due to school closings and child care hiccups. I understand that a career in research isn't family friendly to begin with, as taking any kind of extended leave ruins research timelines and screws any collaborators, but the NRL doesn't even try to mitigate this inherent obstacle. I was on the waiting list for a raise for almost 3 years before I decided to look for new employment. I just didn't feel like there was enough opportunity for advancement or broadening my area of research, and that the management didn't understand that there's more to life than conducting research. Looking back on my career, the lack of advancement and stagnated pay make me feel like I was taken advantage of. I wish I had looked for employment elsewhere sooner. It is a shame that these failings make it so appealing to leave an otherwise amazing laboratory.

    Continue reading
  2. Helpful (1)

    "Great research opportunities"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Research Physicist in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

    I have been working at US Naval Research Laboratory full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    Freedom to pursue areas of interest and the opportunity to take advantage of internal funding as well as ties to other DOD funding agencies. Cooperation among different research groups is usually encouraged. For the most part, the employment is stable and cut throat competition is not the norm. The support personnel are helpful and hard working and realize that their primary goal is to enable and support the scientific research.

    Cons

    Although better than most DOD labs, there are still many counterproductive rules - computer security is increasingly intruding into ability to carry out research. There is subtle agism and favoritism in some advancement decisions - group managers are powerless to provide financial incentives. Since all promotions are tied to levels of management, one is stuck with the very poor personnel skills one would expect from manager-scientists with no management training. Quality of life is mediocre. Nice view of the Potomac River plus the odiferous reminder of the Blue Plains sewer treatment plant next door. A once active health club is barely maintained and underutilized. Food service is mediocre and not health promoting - Subway and a cafeteria. Thankfully food trucks are now allowed. Under the FERS retirement system one is at the mercy of the stock market and government contributions are not as attractive as company 401K's

    Continue reading

  3. "Intern Review"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Intern - Research Intern 
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

    I worked at US Naval Research Laboratory for less than a year

    Pros

    Perfect combination of a relaxed and professional environment.

    Cons

    There are zero cons for this internship experience.

  4. "Great experience"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Research Intern in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at US Naval Research Laboratory for more than a year

    Pros

    One of the most rewarding experiences I've had and I had the freedom to work on what I wanted with mentorship from expert researchers

    Cons

    There is a lot of red tape to go through to get papers published, but once you get used to it, it's fine.

  5. "Great resources poor management"

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Materials Research Engineer in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at US Naval Research Laboratory full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    NRL has some of the leading researchers in their field and the latest and greatest equipment. The potential to collaborate and work between disciplines is good.

    Cons

    Management direct as a whole changes frequently and is brutal for entry level scientists look to move up. The moral is low and work expectation are extremely high.

    Continue reading
  6. "Great place to work"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Research Intern in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at US Naval Research Laboratory for more than a year

    Pros

    The environment fosters collaboration and there are many exciting projects.

    Cons

    There is a fair bit of red tape and hoops you need to jump through to get things approved by the Navy.

  7. "Software Engineering Research Intern at NRL"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Intern - Software Engineer Research in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at US Naval Research Laboratory

    Pros

    The people you work with are very nice and smart. The work hours are flexible. You can come in as late as 11am as long as you put in 8 hours. This is a good place to get research experience outside of your university. You get to work with full time researchers who do nothing but research 8 hours a day 40 hours a week. I didn't get any publications out of it as I only worked for 3 months, but I do know people who interned there longer and were able to get publications from it. This was also helpful experience to get me into a phd program (as I was a master's student). My supervisor gave me a good letter of rec. This also helped me get an NSF Fellowship. The reviewers even mentioned it as impressive in their comments. Another intern I worked with during the same summer also received an NSF Fellowship the same time as me. It is a very good place to work.

    Cons

    No one worked there who knew the code base that I needed to work in, and there was no documentation. They did give me time to learn it before programming new features into it. My supervisor and other researchers there did not do any of their own programming so they couldn't help on programming questions or anything like that. Luckily, I was good enough in Java to not need any help. There was a C++ backend, and luckily they did not ask me to modify that. The NRL campus is not an easy place to get to by public transportation. It's off a highway near Bowlings Air Force Base. And sometimes the air smells terrible as it is up wind from a water treatment plant.

    Continue reading
  8. "Good experience"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Intern - Research Intern in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at US Naval Research Laboratory for less than a year

    Pros

    I learned a lot! This was just after my junior year of high school so I had almost no experience, but my mentor was very helpful and I was introduced to new fields of chemistry and physics that I had no idea existed

    Cons

    Administration of SEAP program wasn't as efficient as it could have been, mentors are hit or miss since anyone who works at NRL can just pick someone from the intern pool (there isn't much oversight)

    Continue reading
  9. "Exiting Research, Stifling Bureaucracy"

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Research Physicist in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at US Naval Research Laboratory full-time

    Pros

    As a scientist or engineer you have the opportunity to work on ground-breaking technology.

    Cons

    Administrative support is less than non-existent. In many cases the bureaucracy itself justifies its existence by instituting and/or enforcing rules and processes that stifle creativity and expedient execution of ideas. Expect to spend 25-50% of your time on administrative tasks.

    Continue reading
  10. "Inefficient but relaxed"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Intern - Research Intern in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at US Naval Research Laboratory for more than a year

    Pros

    Relaxed office culture, good place to demonstrate your knowledge, has a lot of equipment on site and around the DC metropolitan area.

    Cons

    A lot of inefficiencies and red tape slow down research. As with any federal position, a lot of paperwork is involved as well.

Found 21 reviews