Health workers, food and public transport staff and police have been on the front lines helping keep LA safe these past few weeks. While brick-and-mortar shops and restaurants have been hit hard, remote hiring is on the rise, according to CNBC.
But what are tech companies looking for, especially in a landscape that is changing by the day?
According to the following professionals, the answer is a mix of culture fit and program and language proficiency. Teams at Stem Disintermedia, Boulevard and Papaya Pay are leveraging Elixir, Ruby on Rails, Terraform and Bitrise, to name a few of their core technologies. But they also value engineers that are creative, passionate and thrive in autonomous environments.
Vice President of Engineering Bryan Dickson’s team is coordinating across the company’s entire stack to build an end-to-end platform that enables content development, delivery and analysis in a more efficient and intelligent manner. Talespin engineering efforts touch the art department, business development and data science teams.
“Our team is using SDKs for Magic Leap, Oculus, HTC and iOS,” Dickson said. “We have also developed a proprietary engine and asset creation pipeline for virtual human and other training modules.”
Most interesting project: A learning platform called CoPilot. The VR application uses virtual humans to help employees train and practice soft skills, like leadership or communication.
“I’m enjoying co-engineering solutions that lead us towards a stronger platform-based approach to the problems we are solving,” Dickson said. “There are so many fascinating and active vectors in the mixed reality and learning spaces, which inspires passion and urgency in our work.”
Unique team qualities: Many of his teammates have strong gaming and film backgrounds.
“This provides a very creative and playful environment, which is something we work to bring into everything we build,” Dickson said. “As a team, we value trust, autonomy and efficient communication, especially because we are distributed across several studios worldwide.”
Aspinall likes using GraphQL because it gives her the flexibility to shape the data that gets sent to the front end. Instead of waiting for new service development, her team can combine data from different sources and format it as they see fit. It also allows her to work deeper in the stack than she would otherwise be able to.
Credit Karma’s tech stack: On the back end, Aspinall works with Scala, Thrift and Java. On the front end, she works with React, TypeScript, GraphQL and ApolloClient.
“When I started working at Credit Karma my team was using Typescript,” Aspinall said. “I was hesitant at first but it’s great tooling, ease of debugging and reading code have made me a huge fan.”
Most interesting project: A simulator to help their members shop for auto insurance.
“Although auto insurers typically spend tons of money on advertising, they are typically not transparent about how much their insurance plans actually cost,” Aspinall said. “It was difficult or near impossible for drivers to determine which plans would be the least expensive for their families based on their individual profiles.”
To address this issue, her team built an insurance simulator tool that showed estimated rates for more than 20 providers based on a variety of factors such as number of vehicles, amount of miles driven annually and driving history. Members could adjust these factors and see a new set of estimated monthly rates.
The Honeybee Health engineering team is not afraid of making mistakes. VP of Engineering Dru Goradia said that his ideal candidate sees and solves problems, can read between the lines and will not only think outside the box, but also inspire others to do the same.
“Rails and React allows us to move quickly while supporting best practices such as testability and reusability of components, Goradia said. “Docker and Kubernetes allows us to provide business value with scalability and a continuous delivery pipeline while more efficiently using resources and controlling costs.”
Most interesting project: Automating and streamlining different aspects of their operations. They are deploying intelligent machine learning and data analysis to better inform patient experience.
“We have an opportunity to change the way health care is viewed and delivered in America,” Goradia said.
Unique team qualities: How open they are to getting product input from all organizations within Honeybee Health. Their engineering team believes in meritocracy.
Papaya Pay’s VP of Engineering Navjot Singh appreciates the impact that DevOps has on the team’s ability to write testable code and confidently deploy it.
“Being a small team, we are able to move fast and adopt the latest technologies,” Singh said. “On a personal note, I’m looking forward to writing some back-end code in Kotlin.”
Most interesting project: A DevOps roadmap.
“While it’s not a user-facing feature, the work we are doing (and will do) on DevOps is making it so much easier for the team to write testable and tested code, to deploy it and then monitor its performance, stability and security,” Singh said.
Unique team qualities: The level of alignment around a shared mission.
“We move fast, help without hesitation and enjoy each other’s company,” Singh said. “Operating with clear goals, teams are encouraged to make their own decisions and assume full ownership of all aspects of their work.”
Boulevard CTO Sean Stavropoulos likes Elixir because of its functional nature and real-time capabilities. The patterns of code allow anyone to jump in and clearly understand its flow. Elixir also houses efficient methods for dealing with dynamic experiences across a variety of devices and platforms.
Boulevard’s tech stack: Its platform is built on Elixir.
“Elixir has enabled Boulevard to move quickly,” Stavropoulos said. “GraphQL as an API layer has enabled a robust suite of client web and mobile applications to craft tailored experiences on top of a single, comprehensive API.”
Most interesting project: The company’s online booking system, which includes an optimization engine, combining graph algorithms and constraint-solving processes.
“We are ensuring that customers book appointments during times that minimize gaps and drive real revenue for our customers,” Stavropoulos said.
Unique team qualities: The relatively blank slate they have to work with in terms of culture.
“Each engineer has the opportunity to literally take ownership of our company through equity and shape the future,” Stavropoulos said. “All our engineers are fully trained on all functions of our product by our sales solutions team.”
Software Engineer Mia Huynh’s current full-stack project aligns well with one of Stem’s core values: enabling artists to have financial visibility into their royalty earnings. She likes to use GraphQL for a few reasons, one of which is how it complements React for building reusable components.
Stem Disintermedia’s tech stack: The single page application is built on some Python for back-end and data processes and React for UI components, served over a GraphQL network powered by Apollo Server.
“I’ve enjoyed working with GraphQL over a traditional RESTful architecture and the flexibility it provides with querying,” Huynh said. “We love a project with comprehensive, up-to-date documentation.”
Most interesting project: A product called “Scale” that empowers artists to get interest-free advances to progress their careers while keeping the rights to their master recordings.
“We're excited to embrace the technical challenges inherent in productizing it,” Huynh said. “I’ve enjoyed our design sessions, allowing us to work toward a solution together.”
Unique team qualities: How open their lines of communication are.
“We manifest this in different ways; coffee walks around the block, making our favorite culinary dish to share with everyone or checking in on each other just for the sake of it,” Huynh said.