The 25 Best Tech Companies To Work For

Google HQ

Photo: Glassdoor.com

Getting a job in the tech business sure has its perks.Many companies have sprawling campuses that are constantly kissed by the California sun and equipped with athletic facilities, Xbox 360s and foosball in break rooms, gourmet cafeterias, and ultra-lax dress codes. It’s enough to make your average office-bound 9-to-5er swoon.

But those cushy tech jobs come with downsides, too.  Even the most avid foosball player can become disenchanted with office culture when the pay is low, the hours are long, and the competition is cutthroat.

With the help of Glassdoor.com. a web site for anonymous employer reviews, we sorted through the good and the bad with tech companies and arrived at a list of the top 25 places to work in tech.

Office politics, overbearing middle management, inadequate company strategy, and a lack of work-life balance were among the most common complaints of tech employees. The leading criticism, though, was inadequate compensation. (No surprise there – who doesn’t feel they should be paid more?)

So do the employees have a legitimate gripe, or have years of tantalizingly indulgent free lunches spoiled techies senseless?

No. 25: Texas Instruments has great benefits but conservative management

Company Rating: 3.4

CEO Approval: Rich Templeton, 65%

Bottom Line: The employee reviews of Texas Instruments range considerably--some laud the company for its tax-free Texas locale, others yearn for a Silicon Valley headquarters; many are content with compensation, while a significant group bemoans the lack of meritocracy; and there is no consensus with regards to mobility.

The two universal truths are the company's longstanding positive reputation and the overly-bureaucratic, conservative, management.

Employee feedback from Glassdoor.com:

'Management respects their employees, feels like going to work each morning, Good place to grow your career, nice work environment, nice work-life balance and you get rewarded for good work.'

'Get some engineering guys on the top management. Replace some of the car-salesman type of top management guys. Invest in R&D and flush out the disastrous middle level managers.'

'There needs to be an incentive for people to work hard, compensation review cycles do not differentiate between those who get the minimum results and the high performers.'

No. 24: Cisco Systems is a big company for better or worse

Company Rating: 3.4

CEO Approval: John Chambers, 80%

Bottom Line: Cisco's size has a huge impact on its employees. To positive reviewers, it enables them to move around different departments within the company. Negative reviewers complain that the company's enormity yields an unresponsive environment.

Employee feedback from Glassdoor.com:

'Good compensation (both salary and benefits), exposure to new technologies (everything continuously changes) opportunity to move to different roles (given the breadth of products and number of organisations, there are continuous opportunities for change). Depending on your manager - and out of 7 managers, I've only had 1 bad manager - you are given a goal and allowed to achieve that goal.'

'Management needs to lighten up and bring back the fun. A couple freebies goes a long way to influence morale. Everything is too organised and corporate, which leads to a sense of unemotionally connected workers and their bosses.'

'Remember when it wasn't about your ego and area of authority? Yes, what a wonderful incubator for open dialog and creative mojo. Gone are the days when we were the mavericks of technology. Today we are so politically correct and discouraged by poor leadership we have become the Silicon Valley's version of 'Stepford Wives'.'

No. 23 SAS Institute is loyal, but maybe to a fault

Company Rating: 3.5

CEO Approval: Jim Goodnight, 79%

Bottom Line: Employees love the work-life benefits at SAS Institute, especially in the Cary, N.C. headquarters, but some are frustrated by the stagnant, 'old fashioned' team.

Employee feedback from Glassdoor.com:

'Great place to work. Employees are very nice and stable. Very comfortable environment. Great benefits and work ethics of all employees is beyond compare'

'Clear out the top management ranks and middle managers and bring in some fresh blood!'

No. 22 Synopsys employees love their CEO, Aart de Geus

Company Rating: 3.5

CEO Approval: Aart J. de Geus, 91%

Bottom Line: The CEO has employees eating out of his hand, but many wish they were being fed higher salaries.

Employee feedback from Glassdoor.com:

'Massive engineering talent, Top management competent, Best CEO you can hope for (Synopsys runs largely because of him, at least 30% of it)'

'Aart de Geus is a fantastic CEO and really does make one feel 'two inch taller' in any interaction with him.'

'What happened to the results of the Global Survey which came out saying recognition and salary were to top most dissatisfaction of employees? What was done to address this?'

No. 21 Citrix Systems: good products and annoying office politics

Company Rating: 3.5

CEO Approval: Mark Templeton, 86%

Bottom Line: Disapproving employees hate Citrix's ubiquitous politics, but the company's respected technology products and compensation packages place it in the top 25.

Employee feedback from Glassdoor.com:

'Great culture, great people, fun, dynamic place to be. This industry is very faced paced, and Citrix is poised to really make some game changing advances in the way the applications and desktops are delivered both for traditional client-server and web-based apps.'

'I am very proud of being part of the Citrix family and that pride has lots to do with the Senior Management. They have a vision, they know the current and future market opportunities for the company, and they have built an organisation that is the envy of many in the industry.'

'People leave Citrix not because of the solutions and products (they are excellent) but because of the lack of real leadership in the middle and upper-middle management ranks.'

No. 20 Nokia needs to focus (among other problems)

Company Rating: 3.6

CEO Approval: Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, 65%

The Bottom Line: The consensus is that Nokia has had too many shifts in strategy in its attempts to stave off competitors and retain its throne atop the global handset market. Employees live with the ever-shifting strategy for the good compensation, benefits, and relative ease of mobility within the company.

Employee feedback from Glassdoor.com:

'Nokia is great. Great Work Life Balance. Managers really care about you. International travel. Laid back atmosphere. Good products.'

'Good benefits, phones and opportunity to work on new stuff. As a big size company, you can expect all the advantages of it.'

'Take a stand. Any stand and stick to it...'

'Needs clear cohesive direction. Stop doing frequent reorgs and slidewares. Look hardly at all levels of management and remove the deadwood. Focus, focus and focus.'

No. 19 SalesForce.com has a young team working long hours--and they're getting frustrated

Company Rating: 3.5

CEO Approval: Marc Benioff, 89%

The Bottom Line: Employees seem to genuinely admire SalesForce.com, its services, and its success in a competitive marketplace, but unrest is growing. The office environment is burdened with politics, an unresponsive HR team, and overworked employees.

Employee feedback from Glassdoor.com:

'If the goal is to work people to death and have them move on after a year or 2 - its working.'

'The best reason to work at salesforce is because you'll get to work in a highly competitive space with some of the smartest people in software. The product is truly innovative, and is a lot of fun to sell. The compensation and perks are great as well, you will get paid fairly, get a great benefits package, and a chance to work in downtown San Francisco.'

'I came aboard and within 2 months I noticed numerous HR violations and lack of professional behaviour ... I have never before seen such an environment, and I have been working for a long time.'

No. 18 EMC has good benefits, which mask falling morale

Company Rating: 3.5

CEO Approval: Joe Tucci, 80%

The Bottom Line: The network storage and information management company has earned a place on this list for its product, its reputation and facilities (there's a gym on site), but employee morale is in decline following recent outsourcing, several rounds of layoffs and and no more intimacy to show for it. However, even the most negative of commenters applaud EMC's compensation.

Employee feedback from Glassdoor.com:

'Very good Benefits. Very good compensation. Good support for education opportunities.'

'Too big to move quickly. Has all the aliments of a big company like bureaucracy, politicking, nepotism etc.'

'EMC headquarter is located in the suburb Hopkinton which is a good working location for your health and sanity. Most of the employee I know are always nice to everybody else.'

'Excellent company, great strategy, great vision, great products, great customer support. Lots of freedom in how you perform your job. Emphasis is on results and not on the process you follow. Ethical.'

'When did EMC go from a company that put the customers and CSAT first to a company that only cares about how much money they can save and many customers they can fool?'

No. 17 Intel has smart people making renowned products, but the stock performance stinks

Company Rating: 3.5

CEO Rating: Paul Otellini, 82%

The Bottom Line: Even the worst of the reviews thank the company's revered name and respected products for drawing intelligent and high-character colleagues to the workplace. But many employees with stock options are frustrated with the company's poor Wall Street performance.

Employee feedback from Glassdoor.com:

'The salary is good and the atmosphere is enthusiastic and competitive. i love to work there with all my colleagues its a great experience.'

'Please start to reward employees with cash upfront in salary vs. backend loaded compensation and flat options'

'Competitive pay in the local area, LOTS of smart people. There are good places w/in the company, but it totally depends on whom you get as a manager as to whether or not you will be successful.'

No. 16 U.S Cellular will pay for your education

Company Rating: 3.6

CEO Approval: Mary Dillon, N/A

The Bottom Line: Employees rave about the competitive pay and the tuition reimbursement plan, but have to put up with a zero-tolerance management that is occasionally condescending.

Employee feedback from Glassdoor.com:

'It's a fun place - tuition reimbursement is 100%. Not as competitive as other professional firm so if you want balance in life - no doubt it's the place. People are very open. Very dynamic place to work for. You won't go wrong with it.'

'US Cellular is sadly becoming known for their hiring & firing techniques. Many people that I know have been let go for minor issues that sometimes were not even job related. While this is wrong on a personal level, they also are losing money on the constant retraining of new hires.'

'US Cellular was an amazing college job. I really could not ask for more. It gave me great sales experience while paying way more than most retail jobs. They also paid for a good amount of my college.'

'People lose their jobs over MISTAKEs. lost some great people. US Cellular's loss'

No. 15 analogue Devices does not pay enough, and more than half the company thinks the CEO is doing a crappy job

Company Rating: 3.6

CEO Approval: Jerry Fishman, 47%

The Bottom Line: For a company that ranks as a top-15 place to work in tech, there sure are a lot of complaints with analogue Devices. Reviewers feel that compensation does not meet industry standards, are not particularly enamoured with senior management, and wish the company was more open to change. Then again, no employee rated the company less than 2 out of 5 as not many firms with similar name recognition offer a good work/life balance and a laid back working atmosphere.

Employee feedback from Glassdoor.com:

'Laid back environment; Time to work on personal projects; Very flexible work time, including work from home; Sometimes free food'

'Excellent work life balance. Values technical skills above management skills. Can be good environment for very technical people.'

'Limited opportunities for promotion. Benefits are below average and getting worse.'

'As opposed to professional growth, the career and salary growth is slow. Again like working at university, you will get rewarded after a decade or two of successfully work and innovations, but don't expect quick appreciation of your efforts.'

Company Rating: 3.6

CEO Approval: Jack Little, 85%

The Bottom Line: Several reviews warn that employees need to 'Drink the MathWorks Kool-Aid,' which can be a nice boost for company morale but seems to get on the nerves of some people. As does the company's focus on the 'Process.' But a good work environment, and free Wednesday breakfasts, help make the work manageable.

Employee feedback from Glassdoor.com:

'Great lifestyle company. Gym classes at lunch, breakfast on Wednesdays, cookies on Fridays. summer outings, very cool company outings. Very stable. Relatively little politics.'

'People like working at MathWorks because of the quality of life it offers; however, they let give up higher pay, chance for career growth, and opportunity of making an impact at the company. MathWorks is focused on the process and that is seen in every aspect of company life: product releases, promotions/hiring, change to benefits. Everything has to go through a process to get approved.'

'There is a strong corporate culture that some may not like; you have to drink the Kool Aid to fit in. Change can happen too slowly for some people's tastes.'

No. 13 SAP America is a disjointed working experience

Company Rating: 3.6

CEO Approval: Bill McDermott, 84%

The Bottom Line: A disjointed management style means that some employees love their manager and their experience at SAP, while others felt the opposite. The same goes for the travel required for sales and consulting people.

Employee feedback from Glassdoor.com:

'Strong company, beautiful campus, treats employees very well. SAP employees (but not contractors) get a decent per diem for lunch in the cafe, which incidentally has good food and alot of variety.'

'Slow to change. Too many decisions need to be approved from Waldorf. Quality of some employees is poor, though this is not across the board. Something you would expect of an organisation of this size.'

'Decent career paths if you have the right manager. Benefits are good (health coverage, regular pay increases and bonuses and 401K). There are a lot of employee education opportunities. Work-life balance is respected.'

No. 12 Juniper Networks has revolutionary technology, an awesome gym, and basketball courts

Company Rating: 3.6

CEO Approval: Kevin Johnson, 79%

The Bottom Line: Engineers and software developers love working with the Juniper technology, while everyone loves the facilities--including a gym and basketball courts--on the companies' campuses. The company changed the pay structure with the bad economy rather than committing to a round of layoffs which pleases some but has others complaining about their compensation.

Employee feedback from Glassdoor.com:

'Technology is truly revolutionary and plenty of free training available. Great and successful/experienced team. Growing company in a great position to continue to grow.'

'The large and wide-ranging cutbacks are understandable in light of the recent economic crisis, but they seriously dampen morale. I hope they can be eliminated or reduced soon, because they're helping drive talented employees away.'

'You can't afford to take away anything else we are already under staffed under resourced and seriously under financed to do our jobs. Wake up !!!!'

No. 11 Microsoft pays well but boy is it huge

Company Rating: 3.6

CEO Approval: Steve Ballmer, 52%

The Bottom Line: It seems that the benefits and drawbacks at Microsoft are all related to the company's immensity. It offers good salaries and there's always room to move up, but with size comes clunkiness and an inability to stand out.

Employee feedback from Glassdoor.com:

'Great benefits, definite growth potential, and the people are second to none. I've made a lot of lifelong friends here. It was one of the best experiences I've had yet!'

'Microsoft is a large company, and often you feel like a fish in a large pond. There are extremely smart people, and you have to work really hard to stand out.'

'It's no secret that Microsoft has quickly became an 'un-cool' place to work for new recruits and has suffered a 'lost decade' in innovation. Ditch the mega corporate image and get back to the visionary company that's always 10 steps ahead of the industry. To do that, you need to focus on agility, innovation, and the right leadership.'

No. 10 Rackspace Is laid back, but people work hard and feel underpaid

Company Rating: 3.7

CEO Approval: A. Lanham Napier, 86%

The Bottom Line: Employees are thankful for the laid back atmosphere at the workplace, which is bolstered by video games, snacks, and table tennis However, it seems most would forgo these perks for fewer hours or a higher salary--the two biggest complaints about work life at RackSpace.

Employee feedback from Glassdoor.com:

'Though a good work-ethic is required to do well, Rackspace offers a very laid back atmosphere where you aren't hovered over while doing your job.'

'The division I work in has a very free-spirited attitude. There are games and activities that allow the staff to mingle inside and outside of the office. Well stocked pantries and other cafeteria style amenities are great for 2nd/3rd shifters. They do well at providing you top-notch equipment to do your job.'

'If companies want to hire skilled labour they should hire from Rackspace it is very good breeding ground for overworked ,underpaid and talented employees.'

'Sell the company before it is too late, and you run it into the ground.'

No. 9 National Instruments has a beloved CEO, but employees complain about their pay

Company Rating: 3.7

CEO Approval: James Truchard, 96%

The Bottom Line: Many reviewers classified National Instruments as steady, which is a welcome attribute in what has otherwise proven to be a time of great upheaval. Though not thrilled with their pay, employees are happy with their colleagues and widely approve of upper management, especially the CEO who they lovingly nickname 'Dr. T.'

Employee feedback from Glassdoor.com:

'Culture and the people that work at NI are two of the best reasons to work at NI. In addition, benefits, job security, and the ability to drive your own career are big reasons that I enjoy working at NI.'

'Keep doing what your doing. and Dr. T please never retire!'

'No lay-off during downturn and good work environment are something to be proud of, but you should also motivate your employees by providing better financial compensation so we can be competitive when the market turns around. Always saying 'At least we're not laying off people like Dell' is hardly motivating after 5+ years.'

Company Rating: 3.7

CEO Approval: Philip Hadley, 88%

The Bottom Line: The financial data and software company has a young workforce, offers free lunch, and has cleared paths for employees to move up within the company. In general, people are happy with the hours and the workplace atmosphere, they only wish FactSet would pay just a little bit more.

Employee feedback from Glassdoor.com:

'This place has work life balance, interesting work, many technologies in use, and is an open and friendly place to work. Factset really values their employees.'

'40-hour workweek, free lunch and snacks, nice office space, lots of talented engineers, bonuses for passing CFA exams'

'Compensation is much higher at Bloomberg, Thomson Reuters so I highly recommend applying there. Capital IQ, Dealogic, IPreo tend to offer you slightly higher pay then what you're receiving at FactSet since they like to draw away from a competitor.'

No. 7 QUALCOMM employees face long hours

Company Rating: 3.7

CEO Approval: Paul Jacobs, 90%

The Bottom Line: The heavy workload is the major concern of employees, when they aren't taking advantage of the beautiful San Diego locale or the gym, athletic fields, and cafeteria on site.

Employee feedback from Glassdoor.com:

'Facilities are very nice - I came from cubicleland and at Qualcomm I have an office - for myself - with door!'

'Great people,very good benefits, the company gives you the possibility and support to do more. I had the best time of my life there. San Diego is a great city to live in.'

'recognise just how much work is on the plate and obtain the appropriate amount of resources to complete the work. Overloading your staff and using the economic situation to explain why staff members must put in more work has led to low team morale and high stress.'

No. 6 Intuit pays its employees well to sit through PowerPoints

Company Rating: 3.7

CEO Approval: Brad Smith, 80%

The Bottom Line: Intuit does a good job of outwardly showing it values its employees, not only by paying them well, but also by stocking the office with amenities and promoting team bonding activities. Still, reviews were not without their complaints. Some disliked middle management, others the direction the company was headed, but the most common gripe was the victory of the presenter over the doer in corporate hierarchy. That probably explains the quantity of meetings and PowerPoint presentations to which employees are subject.

Employee feedback from Glassdoor.com:

'Great reputation, highly trained engineers, benefits are comparable to other Silicon Valley tech companies but the culture and work-life balance are superior to most.'

'Spare us the endless PowerPoints. Less is more, guys!'

No. 5 TripAdvisor hires geniuses

Company Rating: 3.8

CEO Approval: Stephen Kaufer, 81%

The Bottom Line: Just about every review mentioned how smart the employees at TripAdvisor are, and combined with the laid back atmosphere--complete with free lunches, video game systems, and afternoon happy hours--it's a pretty cushy job. But don't flock to TripAdvisor just yet, apparently the company's rapid growth is negatively impacting workforce morale.

Employee feedback from Glassdoor.com:

'The work is challenging but the results from your efforts are immediate. There is never a shortage of complex problems to solve. The people you work with are all extremely smart, which will force you to perform at your best.'

'Some 'growing pains' as the company has doubled in size each of the last several years. What used to be a great feeling of knowing everyone in the company no longer exists.'

No. 4 Apple has nice perks but overemphasizes the customer

Company Rating: 3.8

CEO Approval: Steve Jobs, 98%

The Bottom Line: The old adage 'the customer is always right' is taken too far at Apple, according to some employees. Too often, they feel, customer surveys influence hiring and firing decisions. Once employees graduate from dealing with customers directly they are treated to high salaries, exceptional discounts and freebies, and solid benefits---but occasionally long hours. Oh, and did you notice Jobs' approval rating?

Employee feedback from Glassdoor.com:

'Apple is obviously leading the way in the latest technology. Don't you want to be part of that? You get the latest dibs on new stuff, great discounts, you meet new people everyday, and have the best co-workers on the planet!'

'Pretty good place to work, pays well. You get 25% discounts on computers, etc, and that's nice. Runs like a well-oiled machine.'

'You are there to be kicked by the customer, while management holds you down. They never stop thinking of news ways to work you, while your paycheck stagnates.'

No. 3 MITRE has employees doing really interesting work

Company Rating: 3.9

CEO Approval: Alfred Grasso, 87%

The Bottom Line: MITRE supplies technology resources, systems engineering, and research and development to government organisations, so employees are rarely bored with what they're doing. Combine that with reasonable work hours, great benefits, and a high degree of concern for their workforce, and the company sits near the top of this list.

Employee feedback from Glassdoor.com:

'MITRE treats its employees - not contracts - as the number one asset. I constantly feel like I am being nurtured, challenged, and rewarded for my effort. I admire my colleagues and managers. I am most happy that MITRE never compromises its ethics, and always reinforces its position as working in the public interest.'

'Great family life balance can be had at MITRE. Employees can adjust their hours around their children's schedules. I don't miss a thing with my kids lives and I wouldn't trade that for anything. In addition, the work is very intellectually challenging and employees are given the opportunity to research ideas that are outside of conventional thinking.'

No. 2 Adobe always has an eye on Wall Street

Company Rating: 3.9

CEO Approval: Shantanu Narayen, 78%

The Bottom Line: Reviews cite the Adobe products and the collaborative environment as reasons to love working at the company. But layoffs are constantly a concern as upper management is more concerned with Adobe's performance on Wall Street than it is with employee morale.

Employee feedback from Glassdoor.com:

'Adobe is great at fostering a collegial, collaborative environment, respecting its workers, and taking the time to think problems through. I love working for Adobe, am proud of my company and what we have accomplished, and I hope to be here for a long time.'

' Most of my colleagues are super--smart, hard-working, team-players, operate in the best interests of the company.'

'Start treating employees like valued team members, instead of 'heads' to be cut whenever you want to pretty up the Income Statement.'

'Running in all different directions because 'the street' say that is where growth potential is going to be is just destroying the company.'

No. 1 Google Is not just a glorified five-star restaurant

Company Rating: 3.9

CEO Approval: Eric Schmidt, 97%

The Bottom Line: Everyone knows about the food at Google, but that's not the only reason it reigns supreme over tech companies. Google hires extremely intelligent people and trusts them to improve products and innovate new ones. Most of the negative reviews are directed towards middle management, who were perhaps hired during the early growth years for convenience rather than qualifications. Today, they block career growth.

Employee feedback from Glassdoor.com:

'There is no finer collection of engineering talent on the planet. Good perks, great free food. Fantastic talks from visiting speakers.'

'Energetic, passionate talent pool; way above average perks & benefits; fair compensation for young workforce; Having bragging rights about working for the best place in the US'

'Impact, impact, impact! Imagine what 'translate' alone can do for humanity'

'Management is one of the worse around for the all offices across the globe. There is no career plan nor development for most Googlers and therefore the best people are leaving the company at a fast rate.'

'There is no clear career progression, and senior management is arrogant.'

Honorable Mention: Facebook blows Google out of the water

Company Rating: 4.4

CEO Approval: Mark Zuckerberg, 92%

The Bottom Line: Facebook gets an honorable mention because it has not yet crossed our mimum threshold of 25 reviews needed for conisderation on this list. If there were 25 reviews, Facebook would be the best place to work in tech. Employees say the company combines the terrific food, casual workplace, video games, and energetic atmosphere that tech employees crave with a lack of office politics, few meddling middle managers, and the ability to work across different groups.

Employee feedback from Glassdoor.com

'The people here are both brilliant and humble, making for an incredibly collaborative envirnment for building awesome new stuff. Management process is also great - very hands off, lots of freedom to the engineers to work on what they are interested in, make important decisions. Lots of trust and responsibility in engineers.'

'You can't go on a bus or train ride without seeing someone using or hearing someone talk about Facebook and that's an amazing experience when you work for the business.'

'The biggest downside is the organised chaos (although that's also a plus). At times it can be a bit too chaotic, though even that's improving.'

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