Not a family friendly environment. They will require you to work weekends and evenings. Basically you are working all the time despite your family responsibilities. All the parties and other actives are geared towards adults. If you have kids or a family you won't fit in at Ciena.
Support from management
Management is supportive of their team.
You don't really work as a team, its more like everyone is on their own team working on their own projects. Getting help isn't something that is encouraged.
Freedom to work independently
Absolutely. You are strongly encouraged to work independently. In fact working too much with co-workers is discouraged as it can distract your co-workers from their tasks. It is important to figure things out on your own even if someone else may be able to help you solve the problem faster.
Communication is decent but they do want you to keep to yourself as much as possible, collaboration is allowed if scheduled properly.
Again, a lot of what you will learn at Ciena is very specific to Ciena build systems and software. Aside from learning Linux (which is fairly significant) I found that most of the principles used to develop software at Ciena are not transferable to other companies.
Overall compensation for your work
Pay is great
Office / Work Environment
Ciena has a complete and total disregard for family life. They reserve the right to have you work any time and for any amount of time; it is the culture and the expectation. Your family needs must take a back seat to the company's needs. If you are single and have no plans for a family Ciena would be a better fit for you.
Ciena taught me a lot about embedded systems. That being said, the overly complex and outdated software they are trying to maintain is only exceeded in its poor quality by the new software they are trying to implement. It takes Ciena engineers 3 to 4 times as long to implement a software feature than it does for the competitors due to an overly complicated build system.
Looking at the US job openings vs the out-of-country openings and considering some of the recent changes in the company I believe that Ciena is looking to outsource all of their engineering staff to countries where they are less expensive. If you are an engineer in the US and looking at Ciena; don't expect any job security.
Once again we come to the issue of things being far more complex than necessary. Adding features to the Ciena code base takes 3 to 4 times as long as it would for a typical code base. I actually found it easier to work directly with the lwip library at a previous company than making changes to the Ciena code.
Suggestions for improvement
- Oh where to start...The new build system (you Ciena engineers know exactly what I am talking about) is far to complex to be maintainable. There is not enough automation in the build process and feature implementation requires too many file touches. All your competitors need to do is come up with the same thing you have but fully automate the build system. Then they can crank out features 4 times faster than you can. If you don't fix that new architecture then its over.
I would give you some rather pointed advice about the importance of family life balance however I am afraid that advice would fall on deaf ears; you have no regard for work-family balance and that is an unchangable fact.
What I like about the company
I like that you pay your employees well. I also like that you allow employees to learn new things.
What I dislike about the company
Overly complex software base
The fact that you are closing the office in Spokane and putting 50 employees out of work after they spent the past six months sacrificing their weekends and evenings to help you with your new software base. Many of these employees are highly skilled engineers; you are giving up valuable resources to save a few bucks.