November 16, 2015
Engineering Spotlight: CarGurus

Engineering Spotlight is our newest series which offers our readers a closer look at some of the best engineering teams in and around Boston. 

Today we're featuring CarGurus! Headquartered in Kendall Square in Cambridge, CarGurus uses data and technology to help consumers find the best car deals from car dealers they can trust. Founded in 2006 by Langley Steinert, also a co-founder of TripAdvisor, they’re now the 2nd largest and fastest growing auto-shopping website in the U.S. by daily user traffic.

What's your engineering team's background?  

The CarGurus engineering team is a diverse group of developers. Our team is proficient in full stack development, product design, and architecture. Developers at CarGurus come from many countries and industries. Each engineer is charged with taking their projects from inception to production release. We speak many languages; Croatian, Spanish, Russian, English and more.  We are parents, athletes, musicians, artists, and avid cyclists. Our team is self-motivated, able to handle a range of challenges, and entrepreneurial by nature.            


Highlight a couple of people specifically.


Igor Kaplansky

Igor is one of our first engineers and a modern day Renaissance man.  Originally from Ukraine, he spent his childhood in the Soviet Union. Luckily for us, he was able to move to the United States to study at MIT. Igor excels at playing the piano and violin (of course he’s played at weddings). He is known as a formidable chess opponent, a black belt martial artist, and as a really good software developer. Igor even teaches martial arts in his spare time! His breadth of skills gives him the ability to be imaginative at work and deliver creative solutions. 


Laura Lu

Laura joined us almost four years ago and currently leads a group of engineers focused on CarGurus’ international expansion.  Laura is an avid artist, gamer, and self-described “troublemaker”. She is always first in line with ideas for the next CarGurus April Fools joke. Laura loves to travel and in the past few years has been to China, Thailand, Myanmar, Greece, and Egypt.  Now you know why she loves developing our international sites! Having already successfully rolled out CarGurus Canada and UK, she has yet to convince us that she needs to travel to Paris for research.

What is your tech stack? 

The CarGurus website is built on an open source Java stack:  Hibernate, Spring, Freemarker, Tomcat, jQuery, MySQL.  We also use Ruby on Rails and Python for back end processing, reports and analytics.  One of the great things about having such a diverse team is that we are constantly getting an injection of folks experienced in new technologies and tools.  We aren’t interested in using something just because it is new and shiny, but we readily adopt tools that will make our jobs easier and development more efficient.  For example, we recently migrated our code repository to Git and have started using MongoDB for real-time site statistics. 

What are some of the cool / interesting problems that you're solving?

CarGurus is determined to help people find the right car at the best price from a great dealer as fast and as transparently as possible. It boils down to a difficult search problem. How do you rank used cars which are unique items against each other? How do a variety of countries sell cars?  How do we represent their nomenclature? We use math and statistics (and a little brute force) to create a simple experience to guide people through a complex and expensive purchase. Our site now reaches over 15 million unique visitors a month which presents its own set of performance and scaling challenges. Over time, we have seen our traffic transform to be nearly two thirds mobile. This has required us to reimagine how we support the smartphone car shopper. 


What is the culture of the engineering team?  

Our CEO, Langley Steinert lives by the belief “Building a company is a marathon not a sprint.” CarGurus has successfully maintained this work/life balance from the early days where we were a scrappy five-person startup to the profitable company we are today. We trust our engineers to deliver results and manage their time accordingly.  Our schedules are flexible and fit our day to day lives whether a parent comes in early to beat traffic or a night owl rolls in at noon.  Collaboration and trust are the foundation of our engineering culture. You won’t find mandatory two hour standup meetings at CarGurus. Developers meet when necessary, not by an arbitrary schedule. There are no egos and your teammates are always here to help.

 We have plenty of fun as an office and team with many perks (being profitable for six years helps). Since our founding in 2006 we have continued our quarterly Fun Fridays. These are workdays where we set off on an all company excursion. We have kayaked at Crane’s Beach, raced each other at the Gran Prix and played paint ball(ouch). Recently engineering took off for a day of bowling, pool and wings. In the office we run ping pong, foosball and FIFA tournaments between all departments. Team building is a natural result of the time we have invested at work without sacrificing family time.



What positions are you looking to hire?  

Our team solves challenging problems which has created a high bar for talent and we are constantly looking for smart, motivated engineers to help us build our core features, algorithms, and achieve transparency for car shoppers.  Our engineers take pride in having full ownership of a project and seeing their projects go live to our site as soon as they are completed.  

We are looking for Sr. Fullstack Engineers, SEM Analytics, and Senior UI/UX developers.   If you would like to learn more  please view and apply here:  

CarGurus is hiring in additional departments such as Finance, Marketing, Sales and HR.  Scaling and finding the right people is an exciting challenge.  We are always interested in meeting people, so if a role isn’t the right fit today let’s stay in touch for the future. 


See Also: Langley Steinert and CarGurus Bring Transparency to the Car Buying Experience