5 best and 5 worst places to work

Looking for a new IT gig in 2015? We've compiled a list of the best and worst companies in the tech industry so you know where to apply -- and who to avoid.

best and worst places to work
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The Best and Worst Tech Companies to Work For

While the IT industry enjoys an unemployment rate that's half that of the general workforce, not all IT companies are created equal. Sure, it might be easier to land a high-paying job in IT if you've got the skills, but what about culture, benefits and other perks? Will you be happy where you land? Based on anonymous, employee-submitted reviews from job search and career management site Glassdoor, we've put together the five best and worst IT companies to work for.

best tech companies to work for
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The Best Tech Companies

These five companies are the crème-de-la-crème, the top of the heap, the brightest of the bright. Whether it's because of the culture, the compensation, the benefits or for the sheer joy of creating some of the world's coolest products, here's where everyone in tech wants to be.

google employee reviews
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Not surprisingly, the search and apps giant tops the list of Best Places to Work. While some reviewers mention the difficulty of maintaining a healthy work-life balance, compensation, benefits and perks, are all top-notch and the company actively searches for the best and brightest talent to populate their halls. And, did someone say "free food"?

F5 networks employee reviews

The Seattle, Wash.-based networking technology and solutions firm has doubled in size in the last five years, but has maintained a focus on its culture, as one anonymous reviewer states. "… the company culture is one of integrity, and one that values the employee as a human, not as a cog in the machine… F5 is very consciously protecting the company culture," the employee says.

facebook employee reviews
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Whether you love to hate the social media giant or hate to love them, there's no question it's good to its people, at least according to the Glassdoor reviews. From video game rooms to the (admittedly controversial) egg-freezing perk, CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg knows how to keep employees happy. Open, honest and transparent communication at all levels is also a major differentiator, according to one software engineer reviewer.

adobe employee reviews

The digital media company makes the top 5 list because of its great culture and excellent benefits, according to the anonymous employee reviews. "They are a large company, but they truly care about their employees. They are very diverse in their product (offerings) so there are many opportunities for growth," says one employee.

apple employee reviews
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"We work with geniuses -- in every department. We create innovative products that thrill our customers and create new product categories -- who else can say that?" asks one anonymous employee. The consumer electronics and software maker is frequently near the top of Best Places to Work lists because of its innovation and creative culture, as well as the generous benefits and perks, but beware the lack of work-life balance, many anonymous reviewers warn.

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Worst Tech Companies

To be fair, most IT companies on this list are rated OK compared to some other industries like retail and fast-food, working at any of these would seem like a paradise. But in a lightning-fast IT industry fighting a brutal war for talent, "OK" just isn't going to cut it if IT firms want to gain an competitive advantage, remain relevant and attract great talent. Here are some of the lowest-rated IT companies based on Glassdoor reviews.

microsoft employee reviews
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The software giant still gets fair marks for innovation, benefits and compensation, but as one anonymous reviewer says, corporate bloat is starting to set in and "bureaucracy is creeping in at every level." CEO Satya Nadella's 2014 assertion that women shouldn't ask for raises certainly didn't help.

ibm employee reviews
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Big Blue garners only a 3-star rating, and employees say it's just "OK." Even though it's a telecommuting-friendly organization, anonymous reviewers cite the company's limited growth and promotion opportunities and ineffective bonus and reward structure as reasons for their dissatisfaction. CEO Virginia Rometty's approval rating's at a lackluster 48 percent.

hp employee reviews
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The legendary hardware firm rates below average for compensation and benefits, but with the ouster of former CEO Mark Hurd, employees seem hopeful that HP can move off the Worst list. Under his tenure, one anonymous reviewer says, "[The company] only cared about shareholder value … no long-term vision and no value in employees."

cisco employee reviews
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The networking and unified communications juggernaut does receive high marks for flexibility and work-life balance, but compensation lags and, as one anonymous reviewer says, there's not a unified vision for the company across varying business units.

A mess of bureaucracy among middle-management and a lack of advancement opportunities are stifling innovation, according to reviewers.

accenture employee reviews
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The major downsides to working at the IT consulting giant are the lack of a work-life balance (though many reviewers say the company claims this as a perk), the inability for employees to specialize and develop expertise in one area, and the cutthroat, take-no-prisoners office culture. Of course, for some, these may not be bad things, but overall, reviewers aren't satisfied.

bonus comcast employee reviews
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BONUS: Comcast

The Internet and cable television provider has the distinction of earning Consumerist's Worst Company in America title for 2014 regardless of industry, beating out competitors like Monsanto and Walmart. The proposed merger with Time-Warner Cable didn't help. One anonymous reviewer says, "The only 'pro' to working at Comcast is the super-cheap cable and Internet." Uh, congratulations?