Naval Surface Warfare Center
3.0 of 5 31 reviews
www.navsea.com 1000 to 5000 Employees

Naval Surface Warfare Center Reviews

Updated Mar 29, 2014

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3.0 31 reviews

                             
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NSWC Dahlgren Review

Electrical Engineer (Former Employee)
Dahlgren, VA (US)

I worked at Naval Surface Warfare Center full-time for more than 8 years

Pros- Good salary (Washington DC locality pay)
- Broad range of technical opportunities
- Excellent benefits and education support (paid for my Master's Degree)
- Obtain government security clearance

Cons- Slow and steady career progression
- Long project cycles
- Overbearing administrative requirements / mandatory training

Advice to Senior ManagementTry to incorporate more innovative development strategies for newer employees so that they don't feel stuck in the "step by step" government career progression model

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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A Mixed Bag

Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)
Dahlgren, VA (US)

I have been working at Naval Surface Warfare Center full-time for more than 10 years

ProsUsed to be a center of innovation
Good vacation benefits
Flexible work schedules
Job security
Health insurance

ConsInnovation is being stifled
Too many hurtles created against doing real technical work
"We want to do that, but there isn't a process for it."
Technical innovation takes a far back seat to electron pushing
Bureaucracy has become horrific, especially over the last 5 years
Local management is impotent
Corporate management completely detached from needs of workers
Technical people aren't considered as important as programmatic types
No real technical career ladder
Research has been almost been eliminated - farmed out to universities and contractors
Horrible IT policies and capabilities - practically impossible to install newer software or develop it

Advice to Senior ManagementCorporate: let local managers manage. Give them authority and let them be responsible.
Drop all the processes and focus on good people - they will create the necessary processes if needed
Remind yourself every day that the mission is about the sailors and the marines and giving them superior technology to prevail in their mission - not about having a process and boxes checked in a spread sheet or on a web site

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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Engineer

Engineering Manager (Current Employee)
West Bethesda, MD (US)

I have been working at Naval Surface Warfare Center full-time for more than 10 years

ProsInteresting work, strong values, good benefits, stable work

ConsThis is a federal government organization

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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A roller coaster ride

Engineer (Former Employee)
Indian Head, MD (US)

I worked at Naval Surface Warfare Center full-time

ProsPay, benefits, flex schedule were OK

ConsProfessional Development:
This is the wrong place to start if you're a young aspiring engineer looking to pursue a technical path. This place is behind in terms of skills and facilities and you will find it difficult to move forward in your career or find a job elsewhere. There is a big hype for "professional development" but that really means program management, sales training and "how to talk to people". There's no balance between technical and management skills. This place might just end up a base with all managers, all selling empty cans to ONR.

Work Environment, Culture and Values:
Competition for research funding is rough everywhere but there's a good way and a bad way to compete. I've only seen the bad side here...

Most proposals for the programs I've worked on had been written by "technical" leads without consideration for the time, training, and resources available to the poor souls tasked to implement them. Instead, proposals were written with the promise of delivering faster than the competition. Moreover, review panels on existing programs were not all from independent parties. Some programs were so desperate that they even tried to exploit my friendships and professional network.

There was also this overwhelming and distressing culture of helping and intervention. If you're dissatisfied with your work one day, all of a sudden everybody will be all over your entire life, not just your work life. There was no respect for personal space. There was this big brotherish sense of "helping". My career is forever marred by the people who "spoke (and still do) on my behalf." I have tried to start over but it seems like any place I go I will always have to deal with an awkward work environment.

Advice to Senior Managementand to senior engineers-

You won't boost morale, build good rapport, or gain any respect by just calculating what to say to people based on their interactions with their friends, what hobbies they like, and other nonsense. You can try the power of suggestion and your business psychology tactics all you want, but getting people to listen or follow your lead is as simple as showing that you are working hard and doing your own job with integrity.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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Provides unique opportunities to explore some exciting technologies.

Mechanical Engineer (Current Employee)
Philadelphia, PA (US)

I have been working at Naval Surface Warfare Center full-time for more than 10 years

ProsAbility to serve the fleet and the sailor
Job stability
Flexible work hours
Leave and benefits
Education Opportunities

ConsPay
Advancement based on time not performance
High performers rarely rewarded and rewards are minimal
Managers lack training and knowledge
Lots of dead weight and low performers due to antiquated policies

Advice to Senior ManagementHire managers instead of promoting engineers, change policies to get rid of dead weight and reward high performers.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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Electronics Engineer

Electronics Engineer (Former Employee)
Norco, CA (US)

I worked at Naval Surface Warfare Center full-time for more than 10 years

ProsInteresting work. Job stability. Pay & Compensation. Supportive of continuous learning to obtain industry standard certifications.

ConsIt's easy for employees to become complacent and it appears that little is/can be done. Policies are not fairly applied throughout the Command.

Advice to Senior ManagementProvide effective supervisor training.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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I learned what technicians do to help electrical engineers hands on!

Electrical Technician (Former Employee)
Bethesda, MD (US)

I worked at Naval Surface Warfare Center full-time for more than a year

ProsFlex time, relaxed environment sometimes, and nice coworkers

ConsExpected to work alone most of the time, on projects you may not have experience in.

Advice to Senior ManagementTrain employees more.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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Administration Manager

Operations Research Analyst (Current Employee)
Norfolk, VA (US)

I have been working at Naval Surface Warfare Center full-time for more than 10 years

ProsRequired Working hours are too long for the amount of work

ConsPay is great and pensions are great

Advice to Senior ManagementRecommend 4 day work week

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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1 person found this helpful  

Decent for starting a career but doesn't offer much afterwards

Electrical Engineer (Current Employee)
Norco, CA (US)

I have been working at Naval Surface Warfare Center full-time for more than 3 years

ProsThis place has very good benefits. You have lots of vacation and sick leave available. Also you do get a pension which is becoming a lot less common in industry. Lots of good experience and projects that are available to work on. Job is highly stable and secure. Salary starting to mid-level is pretty decent. Environment tends to be fairly relaxed. Benefit of training under many experience senior engineers. Moving up at this organization is a really good deal if you have the opportunity.

ConsOnce you reach a certain level it is very difficult to get promoted into higher level jobs. Most of the time promotions are based on how chummy you are with management and acceleration often has little to do with performance. Even then acceleration is still fairly slow. It is expected that young employees with drive and skill will work here a few years and then look somewhere else. Here there are a higher percentage of people who take advantage of the system and get away with things they are not supposed to do.

Advice to Senior ManagementAddress all items mentioned in the cons. They bring the organization down. Reward employees more for performance by offering more acceleration. Take better care of your employees because we work hard for you.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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Not a place for career development nor direction from management!

Engineer (Former Employee)
Indian Head, MD (US)

I worked at Naval Surface Warfare Center full-time for more than 3 years

Pros-The pay and benefits are OK.
-Long nigths and weekend work was not mandated for support/indirect employees.
-If you can dismiss the busy work you will have free time to do some self-learning.
-General training offered through Defense Acquisition University and opportunities for further academic development (Corporate Development Education Program and certain Masters Degrees)

Cons-There is very little job specific training to become more proficient in the work you are employed in.
-Co-workers will discredit your work accomplishments or cast doubt on your character to prevent you from receiving praises.
-Management pays most of their attention to trouble-maker employees.
-Technology (computers, information systems, databases) is avoided and not used in a way to facilitate the workforce.
-Management will not give you feedback as to how you can improve in your current assignment.
-Management is content with employees doing what they did last year; very little progress and communication on what needs to be done to be better for the future.
-The work load is decreasing and is sporadic.
-The work and office facilities are so dilapidated they communicate in a non-verbal way that employees and the work they do is only worthy of an unsightly building.

Advice to Senior ManagementManagement needs to realize that the work environment at NSWC Indian Head is stifling the existing, potential and new talent. Employees from multiple levels of experience and demographic backgrounds are frustrated which leads to two things; resignation or complacency.

The chain-of-command is so focused on getting work done (sometimes busy work) that development and utilization of employees is overlooked, opportunities for improvement are dismissed, and a sub-culture now exists where employees create empires to raise themselves by casting doubt on another employee.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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