Now Hiring: 6 LA Companies Gearing Up for Fall

Each of these engineering teams has something unique to offer.
Written by Remy Merritt
July 20, 2021Updated: August 2, 2021

In unison with the weather, the Los Angeles job market is heating up. Between May and June 2021, Los Angeles County added 28,700 jobs, according to the Labor Market Information Division.

The volume of open positions is keeping companies in the hot seat. After more than a year of experience with remote work, prospective applicants have had plenty of time to assess what they are looking for in a professional environment. As reopenings move forward, team culture is at the forefront of many new hires’ assessment of job fit. 

In Derek Mooney’s experience as vice president of engineering at Socialive, the spirit of collaboration from all levels keeps his team dynamic and creative.

“We’re not simply looking for new team members who have the right experience and background to be successful, but also those who advocate for great ideas and are excited to learn from others,” he said.

Each of these six Los Angeles engineering teams has something unique to offer. If you’re an engineer looking to grow your career, expand your skill set and get to know a new team, one of their many openings may be for you.

 

Derek Mooney
Vice President of Engineering // Socialive

One of the key differentiators at Socialive, as Vice President of Engineering Derek Mooney has noticed, is the value the team places on input and creativity from all levels of employee experience.

 

Tell us about your tech stack. What are some of your favorite tech tools your team is using?

We’ve grown the engineering team rapidly over the last year, and we continue to accelerate. With that, tools that can enable streamlined growth are critical. We lean on automation testing tools such as Selenium and Appium, and leverage them in scalable ways with cross-browser web testing platforms like Browserstack. Recently, we completed a proof-of-concept with the AWS Cloud Development Kit (AWS CDK), and we’re huge fans of it now. We’re also building in metrics and observability tools like Datadog and code analysis tools like SonarQube. When you select the right tools, there are a lot of opportunities for engineering teams to maximize efficiency. 

 

What’s the most interesting or challenging project you’re working on right now, and what do you enjoy most about it?

When you’re working at a fast-paced, fast-growth startup that is 100% remote, you’re moving from one critical priority to another, simultaneously focused on creating increased stability and innovation. When success hits and the size of your team doubles every six months, the game changes. To continue that innovation, you have to revisit some fundamentals.

We are making that transition on multiple fronts right now. Whether it’s updating our iOS app into Swift, catching all of our web projects up to a consistent architecture, or preparing our backend for higher scale, we position our teams to solve both the day-to-day client needs as well as prepare for the next round of growth. 

It truly is invigorating across the board. For example, our iOS project is currently going through internal testing, and the feedback we’re receiving is amazing. From my perspective, it is only the beginning when that update is released. With a growing mobile team, we will be able to innovate with our iOS apps, and that’s what really excites me. 
 

What’s something unique about your team? 

The culture at Socialive is considerably open to input from new voices. We are focused on hiring all levels — from leaders with decades of experience to fresh talent with untapped potential — and we ensure everyone has a voice in the success story of Socialive. 

Whether it’s a new vice president or junior engineer, new employees see our current state with fresh eyes. They’ve had exposure to a variety of industry standards and innovative ideas, and they bring that perspective to the table. All of that is normal, but what I sense as unique here is how excited Socialive is for that input. We’re not simply looking for new team members who have the right experience and background to be successful, but also those who advocate for great ideas and are excited to learn from others.

 

 

Alex Lang
Director of Perception-Prediction // Motional

In building autonomous vehicle technology, the Motional team understands the importance of having sharp engineers in the driver’s seat. In Alex Lang’s experience as director of perception-prediction, their team is consistently focused on data and metrics and prioritizes scalable solutions over quick fixes.
 

Tell us about your tech stack. What are some of your favorite tech tools your team is using?

We do machine learning every day, and we were early adopters of PyTorch. I enjoy using PyTorch since it is much easier to work with than other machine learning frameworks, and it has been exciting to see it embraced by the machine learning community. 

 

What’s the most interesting or challenging project you’re working on right now, and what do you enjoy most about it?

Autonomous vehicle technology has advanced rapidly over the past few years, so it is now relatively easy to get a baseline perception system up and running. The new challenge has shifted to tackling the long-tail distribution and open-world problems, i.e. the things you rarely see while driving. This is a fun challenge to work on since it is pushing the boundaries of machine learning, and is an essential problem to tackle for fully autonomous vehicles.

 

What's something unique about your team?

Our engineering teams have fully embraced machine learning and all of the cultural changes it implies. This means we are always thinking hard about data and metrics, and looking for a scalable solution. There are times that we have to pass up easy fixes that could be coded by hand, but we know that we are instead embracing a solution that will scale as our cars continue to drive.

 

 

Chiram Littleton
Technical Lead // Verifi

For Technical Lead Chiram Littleton, Verifi’s commitment to individual improvement leads to a stronger engineering team, more creative development and an overall culture of intellectual collaboration.

 

Tell us about your tech stack. What are some of your favorite tech tools your team is using?

Verifi uses Java-based technologies to implement our applications. Currently, we are in the process of evolving into a microservice architecture with container-based deployments. Our typical service is a Spring Boot application that manages one entity and the business logic associated with that entity. The service implements business logic and provides REST endpoints to access that logic, along with a database access service that controls functionality to a relational database (MYSQL).

In order to make sure we have good performance; we use Redis for caching and asynchronous messaging to reduce the number of database hits, taking the work off the critical path of request processing. For messaging, we use Kafka to send events such as logging messages to listeners that handle the request asynchronously. Kafka is the single most useful framework we have introduced into our technology stack in the last few years. It allows an older monolithic system to access new cross-cutting functionality in an easy way without refactoring a lot of code. 

 

What’s the most interesting or challenging project you’re working on right now, and what do you enjoy most about it? 

The most challenging project we’ve worked on this year has been performance-tuning our microservices. Despite the benefits of using a microservice approach, some of the challenges as compared to a monolith are debugging and tuning. Every hop from service to service has a potential to introduce problems. A methodical approach is important when trying to tune because you want to be certain about what effect your changes are having. This challenge required good communication and teamwork, as well as a lot of assistance from our networking experts. Despite the frustration we faced, everyone learned a lot and we all contributed to a successful outcome. The fun part about this kind of challenge is that you have to get creative and learn a lot of details you otherwise wouldn’t need to. In the long run, these kinds of challenges make you a better technologist.

 

What’s something unique about your team?

We’re committed to self-improvement. We dedicate time to learn new technologies, regardless of whether they might be immediately useful. We have a culture of learning and discovery, and we make time to stay intellectually engaged with new things despite business deadlines.

Software engineering is a creative and collaborative process — we try to foster an environment where people are thinking about making smart design choices, and not just cranking something out to hit an important date. Our business partners support and encourage this. The development team feels open and confident about suggesting new ideas, even if they might throw off the schedule in the short term. It’s fun to work at a place where emphasis is placed on individual development and not just the bottom line.

 

 

Lucile Lu
Staff Software Engineer, Data Science // Tinder

In helping to build Tinder’s internal quantitative tools, Lucile Lu has found that the diversity of her team’s experience inspires continuous learning. 

 

Tell us about your tech stack. What are some of your favorite tech tools your team is using?

I work on the Quantitative Tools (QT) team, which aims to provide systematic quantitative solutions to the questions and challenges within the business. Examples of the questions we’re asking include, “How would a new feature launch be received by our members and change our members’ behavior?” and “How do we explain a metric’s new trend that started to emerge in the last month?”

The team comprises engineers and data scientists that specialize in a variety of areas, and each of the roles has its own tech stack. For example, I really like to use SQL and Python for data analysis programming. My teammates working on the backend use Spark as a batch processing computation engine (on AWS EMR), Airflow for orchestration and scheduling, and MySQL (RDS) for serving the insights. The frontend stack is mostly React with some custom controls and a bit of React-Vis for visualizations. For ad-hoc analysis, we leverage Databricks and Mode. We also use Redshift as an analytical store and engine.

 

What’​​​​​​​s the most interesting or challenging project you’​​​​​​​re working on right now, and what do you enjoy most about it?

My team is working on a KPI insights center, which aims to provide the whole company a metric dashboard with supportive features to help us understand the metric patterns and anomalies. As a standout feature of the KPI insights center, the event calendar collects seven different product events, from experiments and CRM campaigns to feature launches and incidents. The consolidated cross-org events information contextualizes and attributes the metric movements. I enjoy seeing how the features are built one by one, and eventually composed into an internal tool that integrates perfectly with the company’s measurements and goals. This would be hard to achieve using a third-party tool without deep domain knowledge about the product.

 

What’​​​​​​​s something unique about your team? 

Unlike most of the engineering teams, the QT team’s customers are internal employees. The products my team builds include the KPI insights center and the AB testing platform, which provide data insights for hundreds of PMs, AMs and engineers on a daily basis. On the one hand, it can be a challenge for us to prioritize the requests from various team members and departments for a large variety of use cases and deliver consistently high-standard work. On the other hand, direct access to those employees allows for unambiguous requirements, which drive our work’s effectiveness and efficiency. 

Another uniqueness of our team lies in the diversity of our team members’ expertise. Our 10 person team has data scientists, visualization engineers, pipeline engineers and front-end developers. Interacting with peers that have different backgrounds and domain knowledge really inspires me in my daily work.

 

 

Elham Sedigh
Senior Software Engineer // Convoso

At Convoso, Senior Software Engineer Elham Sedigh has discovered a team culture that provides opportunities to work on a variety of projects, encouraging personal and professional development.

 

Tell us about your tech stack. What are some of your favorite tech tools your team is using?

We really do use a little bit of everything! We have several codebases, from PHP to Node.js and Python. We also use Jira and Confluence for our ticketing and documentation process and are generally flexible about the integrated development environment (IDE) that developers can use.

 

What’​​​​​​​s the most interesting or challenging project you’​​​​​​​re working on right now, and what do you enjoy most about it?

While in the process of upgrading the Convoso platform to improve virtual call center operations, we had a breakthrough with an improvement in our AI product. We are now in the advanced stages of developing a new AI product called Intelligent Virtual Agent (IVA) that will be used to automate conversations between companies and customers, while providing consistent services without the need to rely on humans. I was given the opportunity to be the first person to work on Convoso’s IVA project. 

This project is interesting and exciting for me because it will help call centers significantly. They can use our IVA solution to reduce the number of agents required to meet their revenue goals while increasing efficiency of the agents they do have for an overall improvement to their workflows. Working on this project has also allowed me to learn more about TypeScript, Node.js, Angular 8, Google Dialogflow API and the overall implementation of its API.

 

What’​​​​​​​s something unique about your team?

At Convoso, I have been given the opportunity to work on so many different projects during my two years here. If you can prove that you are able to do the job, the opportunity is there. 

It is also amazing to feel that you are part of something bigger than just writing lines of code. Our team members have a very close relationship — everyone is trying to help each other to get the job done.

 

 

Austin Steady
Sr. Software Engineer // Metropolis Technologies

With a proprietary AI and computer vision-based operating system, touchless payment, and a modern valet experience, Metropolis is bringing parking into the 21st century. Sr. Software Engineer Austin Steady has seen these goals supported through a team culture of communication, pragmatism and empathy.

 

Tell us about your tech stack. What are some of your favorite tech tools your team is using?

Our primary tech stack is Typescript and React for the web client, Scala and Play for the platform backend, MySql for our database, and AWS for our infrastructure. 

As a backend engineer on the platform team, I work primarily with Scala. I didn’t have Scala experience beforehand, but I’ve become a big proponent of it. I’m impressed with how legible our codebase is, and a large part of that is due to Scala. With Scala, you can simply look at a function’s name and type signature and already have a pretty good idea of what it does. Our team’s primary focus is getting things done pragmatically, so I also appreciate Scala’s flexibility and expressiveness. I never feel hindered by Scala as I sometimes do with other languages.

 

What’​​​​​​​s the most interesting or challenging project you're working on right now, and what do you enjoy most about it?

Metropolis software uses computer vision to make the parking experience seamless. We recently had to add support for parking lots without computer vision. This was a big shift from the assumptions that our business logic relied on. We had to design an entirely new user flow and make sure that everything behaved well with our current system.

From a technical perspective, I enjoyed having to step back and really understand how the platform should behave at a high level before abstracting over some of our app’s core functionality. The best part of this project was undoubtedly seeing the immediate impact it had. We were able to deploy our product in new cities, effectively increasing our number of locations by 50%. 

 

What’​​​​​​​s something unique about your team? 

It’s a combination of no-nonsense pragmatism with lots of empathy. I’m constantly impressed by how quickly the team can turn feature requests into product ideas into working applications. I’ve found that my role models here are both extremely knowledgeable and excellent communicators. The engineers are product-minded, and the product team appreciates the development process. This mutual understanding has allowed us to quickly focus on the highest priority work without accumulating unnecessary complexity.

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