From Verona, WI — 11/14/2008
I worked at Epic for 7+ years as a developer. Left the company roughly 4 months ago.
Pay: I more than doubled my salary in my 7+ years. Starting pay was so-so but thru nice raises, I quickly felt like I was well compensated.
Respect: I respect the vision of the company. Being privately held in this industry is a huge competitive advantage as Epic can really put the patient and customer ahead of the shareholder, unlike most competitiors. I felt respected by the company for the majority of my time at Epic, until I tried to leave. They make it difficult for you to further your career outside of Epic with nonsensical non-compete agreements with customers, regardless of the reason for leaving.
Benefits: 401k is average. Only had 3 weeks of vacation after 7 years and you can only bank 8 days/year. Bonuses were meager compared to net income. I'm guessing this is due to the cost of the new campus but don't expect something more than a couple of thousand dollars in bonuses in a year.
Job Security: Great if you fit the mold of an Epic employee. Never once did I fear for my job but then again I did my work an didn't ruffle any feathers. Epic has fired people because of some questionable reasons. Do your work well, keep your mouth shut and you won't have any problems. Epic and the industry in general is booming. It's going to be a long time until the dirty "layoff" word makes its way around the halls of the Verona campus.
Work/Life Balance: Really dependent on your role and application you're assigned to. QA and tech writers seem to work more traditional 40 to 45 hour weeks. The other 3 major roles: implementation, developers, and tech services/EDI can vary. The 2 big determining factors for those roles are application and which customer(s) you're assigned to(the latter excludes developers). If you're in a more established application like Cadence (scheduling), life can be a bit easier. 45 to 50 hours is likely. If you're in an immature application like EpicRx or a speciality app, you can average 55 to 60. If you have a high maintenance customer that you're working with, 5 to 10 hours can be added to the totals I listed above. I was rather fortunate to be in a mature app so I usually average 50 hours/week. Averaging 60 hours is not out of the question. If you work closely with Judy, expect to work like a dog. She's incredibly demanding as she expects people to work as hard as she does, i.e. give up your life. Ballpark guess is she averages 90 hours/week and that might even be on the low end. Epic is her baby. She built it up from the ground. She's a micro-manager so just warning you if you're applying for any admin job. She's great for the company as customer's have great faith in her but she does have her drawbacks.
Career Growth/Potential: What you'll find is that you become incredibly marketable for your Epic software and/or cache programming skills. Both skills are in high demand but in low supply. Your only growth potential is outside of Epic because of the flat org chart. When I left, I was only 3 steps from Judy yet I left like I was 1000 steps away. Epic is controlled by roughly a dozen people. That leaves the other 3000 basically on the same level. Within that group of 3000, there are team leads (direct a group of 5 to 7 people) and group leads (direct a subset of team leads) but they have little power or pull. Your job title doesn't change so it's really no boost to your resume. There really is no such thing as a promotion at Epic.
Location: I'm a suburban-type so Verona, WI fit me perfectly. Madison area is small enough where you can live downtown and still have a 20 minute commute to Verona so if you like quasi-big city living, you can get that in Madison. Weather is cold in the winter but it's Wisconsin. What did you expect? I like seasonal changes so it never bothered me but if you have trouble withstanding 40 degree weather, it won't be for you.
Co-worker Competence: Most employees are bright, friendly, and helpful. Most are young as well. I thought I worked directly with competent people. There's not a prestigious school in the country not represented at Epic. Less than 1% of applicants get a job offer so there is a strong weed-out process. Where I downgraded this score was in terms of management competence. It starts out at the top. Judy is directing the company like it's 1995 where there were 200 employees and 10x fewer customers. Growing pains will exist given the growth of Epic but they've been magnified by upper management. Also, don't expect much from "middle management", i.e team leads. The main criteria to become a team lead is work ethic. How is work ethic determined? By basically looking at hours logged. I sat in on meetings to determine who should be a team lead and that's basically it. People skills, communication, etc are rarely considered. As a result, you have "leaders" in the company that have no business being a leader. They do train the newly "promoted" team leads but that training is a joke. If you self-motivated, you'll do fine. If you want some guidence and direction from time to time, pray you get one of the competent team leads. They exist but they're becoming a dying breed. I never needed much direction myself but I've seen many other team leads really just stink up the joint.
Work Environment: Excellent. Verona campus is beautiful. Can't imagine every experiencing something similar in my lifetime. Caf is sweet. Private offices are great. However, don't expect to have a private office once you start as there are many more employees right now compared to offices in Verona. Expect at least 3 to 4 years until you get your own office, or until you become a team lead. It's a casual environment, which is great because it can be stressful around Epic. I liked the stress as it kept things interesting.