"We work on so many platforms, this is a great opportunity to learn the differences between UNIX."
– Chip Ziering, Vice President of R&D

Software development, 4GL and relational DBMS
Sun workstations, UNIX, MS-DOS C, Progress
Start-up Medium-sized shop


Progress Software Corporation has developed an application development system called Progress that combines the development productivity of a fourth-generation language with a relational data base management system that runs on minis, micros, and workstations.

Progress Software was founded in 1981. The company has 210 employees in the United States, with offices in Europe and Australia as well. The Boston area has 180 employees. Corporate headquarters is in Bedford, Massachusetts. Progress Software is privately-held. Revenue in 1990 was $40 million.



Most development is on UNIX-based machines, primarily on a network of Sun workstations. The Progress software also runs on IBM PCs, under MS-DOS, under VMS on DEC hardware and CTOS on UNISYS machines. Programming is mostly in C, partly in the Progress language itself.

Progress Software has 85 computer professionals. They work in Research and Development, Product Services and Sales, with a small Technology group in New Hampshire responsible for investigating new products. Job titles include Software Engineer, Senior Software Engineer, Senior Software Specialist, and Project Leader in the Research and Development and Technology groups; and Technical Support and Senior Technical Support in the Product Services group. There is a dual career path for software specialists and project leaders. There is little MIS applications work; most work is concentrated in support of Research and Development.

Computer professionals recently developed a new release of Progress software that enables users to support distributed databases. Thus, if a customer has a Progress database on a UNIX machine and wants to draw information from an ORACLE database on a DEC VAX platform, the Progress software will make the connection.


Computer professionals work at corporate headquarters in Bedford in shared offices and private offices. Considerate smokers are tolerated (there are only two staff members who smoke). All have terminals or workstations on their desks and there are PCs available to work on at home. Those professionals in the Research and Development group rarely travel, but technical support and product specialists often need to travel. Working at Progress Software is not considered a 9 AM to 5 PM job, but hours are flexible with peaks just before a new product release.

Progress Software is particularly proud of its growth, moving from $6 million in revenue in 1987 to $40 million in 1990. They believe they offer computer professionals a challenging environment in a start-up company that is doing very well.

The company observes 10 fixed holidays, plus 2 floating holidays. Employees earn 10 days of vacation the first year, 12 days after 1 year, 15 days after 3 years, and 18 days after 5 years. The company pays for medical insurance, long- and short-term disability, dental insurance, life insurance (two times the annual salary), and tuition reimbursement. Depending on company performance, profits may be contributed to a 401(k) plan for employees. The company also contributes up to $200 toward a health club membership for employees. There have been no layoffs.


Progress Software looks for bright people who have systems-level experience. C, UNIX, and VMS or MS-DOS experience are all pluses. A college degree is not required, but half of the employees have a Bachelor's or Master's degree in Computer Science. Computer professionals at Progress Software range in experience from 2 to 8 years.

Progress Software does hire entry-level computer professionals, especially into the group porting the product to different hardware platforms. Candidates should have some programming experience from their college curriculum. New employees are found through employment agencies, ads, and employee referrals. The company hired 28 computer professionals in the last year for which figures are available.


Letters with resumes are preferred; they will be shown to hiring managers.

Ms. Marjorie S. Kimball, Manager of Human Resource Services

(617) 275-4500

Progress Software Corporation

5 Oak Park

Bedford, Massachusetts 01730

Copyright 1991. Vandamere Press. Covin’s New England Computer Job Guide