Working in Boston Tech: DigitalOcean
DigitalOcean is a venture backed company that competes in the cloud computing infrastructure market against all the major players in the industry. The company has been able to differentiate itself from the giants by focusing on simplifying the challenges with cloud computing and building products that ultimately make developers' lives easier.
Headquartered in New York City, DigitalOcean officially opened their office in Cambridge earlier this year. As evident by their recent appearances in our Talent on the Move series, the company's local employee ranks in Cambridge have been growing rapidly.
The local office is led by Julia Austin, the company's CTO. Austin was previously the VP, Innovation at VMware and VP of Engineering at Akamai. In addition to her success as an executive in the tech industry, so has also been a very active member of the Boston startup community as a mentor and advisor to several companies.
We connected with Loren Boyce, DigitalOcean’s Director of Talent Acquisition, to chat about the company’s culture and what it's like to work there. Plus, we learned about their own version of SharkWeek every summer! Read more below.
DigitalOcean is hiring! Check out their BIZZpage for all of the company’s openings in Cambridge!
Quick Hit Company Details
- Year Founded: June 2012
- Number of employees/number of employees in Cambridge: 350 / 20
- Industry: Cloud Computing
- Stage & Total Funding to Date: $123M in 4 rounds
Can you share the details on what DigitalOcean does?
DigitalOcean has built a platform that developers love and engineering teams trust to build, deploy and scale applications in the cloud. DigitalOcean simplifies complexity for its highly engaged developer community by providing transparent and affordable pricing, a simple and elegant user experience.
There’s a lot of talk about “simplifying cloud infrastructure for developers” on your website. Can you share some info about what that means?
Developers and engineering teams around the world rely on DigitalOcean for simple solutions they love and trust to run their application workloads. Our servers scale up in seconds and we have intuitive solutions for high availability, storage, security, and networking. Developers rely on DigitalOcean to uncomplicate their infrastructure; they can run distributed SaaS applications, process and analyze data sets, automate code testing, deploy open source tools and more.
Who are some of your customers?
Our infrastructure is used by teams and companies building innovative, next generation businesses on the cloud, across multiple industries, including e-commerce, adtech, healthcare and financial services. DigitalOcean’s developer community is engaged and active, with one of the largest libraries of open source resources available in the world.
Some of our customers include TaskRabbit, Compose, InfluxDB, and local neighbors Databox, Vaultive, Wegowise and Alignable.
You recently opened an office Cambridge. Which teams work from the Cambridge office?
Several teams are represented here at DigitalOcean’s Cambridge office, including Customer Success, People, Engineering, Product, and Interns. The cool thing about DO is that almost every open job you see on our website can be based in our Cambridge office!
What are your plans for growth in terms of hiring in Cambridge for 2017 and for what positions?
We plan to grow the Cambridge office by 50% by year end, and that growth is projected to continue into 2018. Almost every team at DO is hiring, and because we’re committed to hiring the best people, we’re flexible on location. There are a ton of talented engineers in Cambridge, and we want to hire them where they want to work. The same goes for Product, People, and any other team at DO.
What are your company’s core values or how would you best describe the culture and working environment at DigitalOcean?
Our values are mapped to things like simplicity, transparency, collaboration, listening well and speaking up, and love for what we do, for each other, and for our customers. We value our values, and when we’re hiring, we look for people that embody these attributes. Our culture could be best described as developmental and people first.
This means we are dedicated to helping our employees reach their professional potential through learning opportunities, career growth, and constant feedback. We have annual Live 360s for people in leadership positions, and we hold New Leader Integration meetings for every new manager after they reach the three-month mark at the company. NLI sessions promote the development of stronger working relationships within the team and candid two-way communication regarding relevant issues.
The vibe of our offices is cool, clean, crisp, and creative. The architects and designers who helped build our spaces have created an amazing environment that suits and speaks to all types of employees. You’ll find a place here to get your best work done. My personal favorite spot to hang out and get into the zone is in a conference room named Jaws in Cambridge, or The Beach in NYC. Yes, everything is ocean themed.
Is there anything that you’d like to share in terms of promoting diversity across your company and hiring practices?
Like every company, we’re focused on building a diverse and inclusive workforce here at DigitalOcean. We have tremendous support from our leadership team, including an executive sponsor who is working closely with one of our recruiters on diversity initiatives. (Shhh...she’s going to be moving into a new role soon, where she’ll be focused on building out programs to support all of our company’s D&I initiatives!)
As far as hiring goes, we are constantly looking at ways to improve our processes to make them more inclusive. For example, we anonymize assessments, we use gender neutral language and have removed required years of experience from our job postings. We educate all interviewers on how to avoid unconscious bias. We also have a diversity committee that meets regularly to support employees and raise overall awareness about D&I efforts at DigitalOcean and in our tech community.
From a big picture point of view, what experience or traits do you typically look for when interviewing and hiring new employees into DigitalOcean?
Aside from looking for people that share our values, we look for people who are curious, motivated, interested in cloud infrastructure, and feel connected to the developer community. For some roles, we look for a successful track record in similar positions, but that’s not always necessary. We value aptitude and learning agility above all.
What’s the best way to get a job at DigitalOcean?
Reach out to people that work here, reach out to me, connect with our employees online, or simply apply! The fastest way to get in touch with us is to apply. My team does an amazing job of monitoring all applications and providing feedback in a timely manner.
What can someone expect during the interview process?
You can expect a great experience. You’ll probably be challenged. You’ll get to ask questions. You’ll learn about more than just the role; you’ll leave with an understanding of the people and team(s) you’ll be working with, the projects you’ll be working on, and the culture at DO. You can expect to be treated with respect and you’ll be kept informed throughout the process.
During the interview process, you might be asked to do a take-home assignment, presentation, or technical assessment. Some of your interviews might happen via Google Hangouts. You’ll definitely have access to our fully stocked pantry.
What can people expect over the course of their career at DigitalOcean?
You can expect an enormous opportunity for career growth at DO. You will be given the tools, resources, and support to increase your knowledge, expand your skills, become a stronger communicator and learn to give and receive feedback in a healthy way. This isn’t a company where you are going to sit in your comfort zone - you’ll be stretched, and I guarantee you’ll learn more working here than anywhere else.
Share a random fun fact.
Every summer, we host a week-long company on site called SharkWeek, filled with team building workshops, guest speakers, and activities. This year, the week wrapped up with a Red Sox / Yankee game at Yankee Stadium.
Rapid Fire Questions
What’s on tap? Kombucha and Stumptown Cold Brew
Star Wars or Star Trek? Star Wars
Favorite employee perk? Endless food.
Coffee - hot or iced? Both and multiple kinds of each.
What TV show or movie describes your culture? Silicon Valley = conjoined triangle of success
Wake up before the alarm or hit the snooze button? Snooze, for sure.
What super hero could you see working at DigitalOcean? Iron Man
What music is playing in your office? A collaborative Sonos playlist curated by employees.
- View from your office:
“I love working at DigitalOcean! I am inspired by the energy and commitment everyone brings to improving the capability of the developer community and to any business that is building new products and services. We get to be part of a very innovative community and the learning is non-stop. The company encourages a collaborative and open culture, where people give feedback on products, strategy, anything really. At DO, what we do matters and there is a real sense of partnership amongst the employees and with our developer community.”
Customer Success Manager
"I felt compelled to leave a larger tech company for the shores of Digital Ocean because of what I saw as the unique combination of virtues offered by DO; as a rapidly growing start up, DO offers me the opportunity to really shape the product organization and how we go about building software going forward as we scale. That opportunity combined with DO's core values and mission cemented it for me. It is early in my tenure here but so far I feel strongly that I've made the right choice.”
Senior Technical Program Manager, Product
Images courtesy of DigitalOcean.