The Best Places to Work Are Here

Tech companies still among the best

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Scott Budman

    They'll wash your car!  Do your laundry! Give you great meals with food from around the world!  And, you never have to leave the building. 

    The perks of the tech industry are, by now, well known.  But talk to tech workers here in Silicon Valley, and they'll say it's not just the fact that you can get your dentistry done in the parking lot, or choose from 154 kinds of food in the cafeteria that keeps them grounded.  Salaries that are still growing despite the recession, and red-hot stocks help, too.

    Fortune magazine just came out with its annual "Best Places to Work" issue, and tech is well-represented again.  Of the top five workplaces in the entire country, two are within a few miles of each other in Silicon Valley.  One (Google) you probably guessed; the other (NetApp), might not be top of mind.

    So we visited the Sunnyvale campus of NetApp (formerly Network Appliance), to find out why people like working here so much. 

    Last year, it was No. 7 in the Fortune poll, this year, it's up to No. 5.  Yes, there are perks, but it's a fairly simple work environment -- most of the attention is payed not to what's going on in the cubicles or cafeteria, but rather, what's going on in the server rooms. 

    NetApp is a leader when it comes to database storage.  Not sexy when you look at it, but a big seller to everyone from government agencies to movie studios.  If it needs to be stored, NetApp has a machine for it.  As cloud computing becomes big and cool, that means more sales for NetApp.

    Which brings us to money.  NetApp paid one of the highest average salaries on the fortune list.  Add to that a stock price (trading under the symbol NTAP) that's doubled over the last 12 months, and you have a lot of incentive to stay, and do so with a smile on your face. 

    While admitting that they do pretty well, NetApp employees also say they like the fact that both co-founders still work at the company, and have a keen sense of who the employees are.  By now, it's a giant family, but it's a family nonetheless.

    It says something when employees who admit that even their family members don't really know what they do -- unlike, say, Google, or Whole Foods, or Intuit - everybody knows those guys -- still consider themselves among the luckiest people in the industry.  They like working here, and Fortune is taking notice.  Again.

    Scott can be reached on Twitter: @scottbudman