Fortune's Best Companies #7: NetApp

netappEmployees raved about the work-life balance and work flexibility as some of the main reasons that NetApp has consistently made many "best places to work" lists the last few years. I talked to a number of employees who shared their ideas about what it's like to work at NetApp, the data storage specialists.

I interviewed a post-sales engineer (name withheld) with NetApp, who talked about the great work-life balance that the company encourages and explained that the "middle and senior management makes work-life balance more than just a catchphrase." He also liked the flexible work environment, describing "little to no micromanaging – employees are given enough latitude to work well."

This engineer also commented that pay and benefits are better than at most companies, and that NetApp provides great training. He described NetApp's corporate culture as "a nice surprise. It really does exist, and really is as advertised!"

I also talked to a technical-marketing specialist at NetApp, who shared her thoughts on the company. She liked NetApp's "excellent growth, fantastic culture for technical people. There are lots of venues to learn and share information, but it really boils down to how much trust you can build. Tenure doesn't mean much since most of the senior staff have been there for long times, but if you're willing to work hard to get ahead, there's lots of opportunities. The culture is one of fostering growth."

On the downside, our technical-marketing specialist thought that "there would be more career opportunities if the economy was better."

Another technical staff member (name withheld) of NetApp shared that "NetApp is in a unique position. It is the behemoth underdog in the storage market. That means that it has been through the growing pains of a startup and become a successful company in the process, but realized at the same time that it has to stick to its startup roots and remain nimble. The senior management is top notch."

However, this staff member had some interesting "cons" to offer in contrast. "There's nothing 'sexy' about telling your friends and family that you work at NetApp. Luckily the name was recently changed from 'Network Appliance.' Before that, I had to explain when people thought I made network-attached refrigerators."

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