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 WordStream! Backed by Sigma Partners, Egan-Managed Capital, Baird Capital, Wordstream is a provider of software and services that help search marketers maximize the performance of their PPC and SEO campaigns, driving traffic, leads, and sales for lower costs.
What's your engineering team's background?
It’s hard to describe a team as unique as WordStream’s Engineering Team. We pride ourselves on the diversity of character that we bring together and see it as a one of the reasons WordStream is such a great place to work!
One thing that we all share, however, is a strong computer science background, with most of us holding computer science degrees and many holding advanced technical degrees. We are also united by a sense of humor, a thirst for learning, and a desire to write good, clean code.
Here’s our team in a snapshot:
- We range in experience from 1 to 24 years, so clearly we offer opportunities to learn and mentors to learn from!
- We have been educated at colleges and universities as close as our home town of Boston and as far away as India and China. We run the gamut from big name colleges to small technical schools, and from Ivy League universities to State Schools. Where we went to school isn’t important – it’s what we learned while we were there and how we can apply it at WordStream.
- We are beer brewers, gamers, parents, hipsters, athletes, musicians, and everything in between. Basically, we’re just like you.
Highlight a couple of people specifically.
We are lucky to have the WordStream ship steered by our CEO, Ralph Folz, a former software engineer himself. No one can understand the challenges and successes of an engineering team quite like an engineer can. Our team benefits from Ralph’s technical background and business savvy.
It’s been a long time since Ralph has written code, though! We’d love to share a little about a few of our team members who get their hands dirty every day.
Let me first say that I’m pretty laid back and quiet. I don't like to talk about myself…
That being said, I went to UMass Amherst and I’ve been a software engineer for five years. As a software engineer, I enjoy all the new challenges and the ever-changing development process. Every time we build something, we can re-evaluate the process, design, and implementation. It's a field where constant improvement is required and perfection is sought after.
I’ve spent the last two years at WordStream. In this market, software engineers have a lot of choices, but I chose WordStream for the culture and group mentality of the engineering team. The best part about working here is the general atmosphere and attitude towards creating an excellent product. I had the opportunity to lead the team responsible for one of our new micro-services. Seeing the development of a large software product from conception to release was rewarding and a great learning experience.
When I’m not at WordStream, I go to concerts, play the drums, and also teach high school percussion groups. I also play videogames and drink craft beer, both of which I can do at the office sometimes. Not too bad…
When I went to Bentley in 1996, the web was just happening. I had a laptop, made my own website, and caught the bug. I took an internship in my senior year at a streaming media company, where I got lots of on the job learning. I could tell the company was going under, so moved to London for 18 months for a job that I hated in a city that I loved. I returned to the US and started contracting as a web developer. I joined Molecular, a consulting company, as a web developer. I loved the variety, but I never got to say, “Hey, I built this!” because the websites were so impermanent.
I decided I wanted to make a difference and build something that mattered and would be around for a while. I wanted to develop for the future, not just for the now like you do in consulting. I also wanted to work on timelines that made sense for a change!
I’ve been at WordStream for four years and I can honestly say that I love it. I like the people I work with - we have a lot of smart people here! We have a great time together, but we work hard too. We build cool stuff too. The social media platform we’ve built for the product is really pretty great. While I’m really proud of my work here, I think what I’m most proud of is that I work with people I respect who also respect me.
Born and raised in Mumbai, India, I always had passion for web technologies and data analytics. I went to Mumbai University for my Bachelors and Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) for my Masters in Computer Science. During my Masters at WPI, I worked on data streaming, clustering and visualization for large datasets. I have published multiple research papers on data streaming and visualization. In the 15 years I’ve been coding, I have been fortunate enough to learn and grow in the area of web technologies. I have built a lot of web and mobile applications using multiple platforms, programming languages and frameworks. I love the discipline and abstract thinking that comes with architecting and coding software.
As of the publish date, I’ve been at WordStream for 5 months and 9 days. I came here because I was very impressed with the WordStream engineering and leadership team. I spent the last 8 years in consulting services, so when I decided to move to a product company, WordStream was my top choice. I love how everyone at WordStream embraces our core values and stays true to them. Best part of working here from an engineering perspective is dealing with huge amount of data and writing software that scales to meet our increasing demand. I also get to wear many hats at WordStream. In my short time here, we have architected a new workflow model, contributed to an open source project and worked on numerous features that get released with great efficiency.
When I am not at work, I am either practicing Krav Maga (or martial arts) or planning our next trip. My wife and I love traveling. I also love volunteering at an animal shelter and honing my martial arts skills (I am a black belt). That’s usually when I get new work ideas :)
I started coding in college at Southern Connecticut. My father is a software engineer, and had his own company. He taught me some basics, but I really started to get into it more with my school work.
I have been at WordStream, my first professional job, for two and a half years. I came here because I was excited to work with the technology and on a user-facing product that demands high quality. When I was evaluating places to work, I knew that learning was a big priority for me, and so was using that knowledge to making a positive impact. WordStream offers me both of those things. I love to be a part of a team that has strict deadlines with tough tasks, and consistently being able to reach these goals.
The best part about working at WordStream is the people. These are very friendly and intelligent people who are great problem solvers and fun to hang out with. I would describe myself as a pretty laid back person, big Pats fan, someone who enjoys a challenge, and likes to have a good time. When I’m not at work I like to play sports, video games, and enjoy a Miller High Life or two. WordStream gives me a great balance.
What is your tech stack?
Our tech stack includes:
- Open-source software stack
- REST API
We also work with multiple databases, web analytics, content management, and search engines, employing software design concepts such as OOP, caching, concurrency, and API design.
What are some of the cool & interesting problems you're solving?
Our Software Engineers are part of a top-performing team, working to deliver high-quality search engine marketing SaaS solutions to market. We work independently with minimal direction, balance multiple requirements, and coordinate efforts within our Engineering team, Product Management, and QA.
We are a group of quick thinkers who are enthusiastic and passionate about the web and SaaS. We thrive on small teams, fast-paced environments, new technologies, the open-source software stack, and writing clean code!
Some of the more interesting projects that we are currently involved with are:
- Building out a more scalable and robust report generation utilizing Amazon Simple Workflow Service (SWF) to coordinate and distribute the workload.
- Growing our ever expanding list of supported APIs: Google AdWords API, Facebook Ads API, Bing Ads API, and Google Tag Manager API.
- Improving our performance and searching capability utilizing Elasticsearch.
- Creating new bid optimization and keyword expansion algorithms to present more options for our clients.
- Prototyping a data warehouse solution using Bucardo asynchronous replication into a RedShift managed warehouse.
- Improving our monitoring and jobs management to allow for more flexibility and proactive responses.
What is the culture of the engineering team?
The Engineering team at WordStream is a tight-knit group. We work together and play together, both at the office and in our free time. We have an open working environment with no offices, and we only hire the best and the brightest. Not to brag or anything, but we’re pretty darn smart.
Our extra-curricular activities are as diverse as we are. From a cocktail party at the aquarium, to a booze cruise on Boston Harbor, to a clam bake on a private island, to a ping-pong and cornhole tourney at a sports bar, we can get fancy or keep it casual. Whether we’re at the softball field, the bowling alley, the bars in the city, or the poker table, there’s something for everyone.
We also recognize that not everyone is available after-hours, so we take some time for company fun during the work day too. We’ve had lunch-time ice cream socials, pizza parties, all-you-can-eat Taco Friday, late-afternoon game “night,” Friday afternoon beer-tastings, March Madness office pools, and a pretty competitive dart league with heated battles for bragging rights. We even had a Red Sox “Opening Day” celebration in the office, complete with a cotton candy machine, hot dogs, popcorn, and beer. (FYI, cotton candy machines are very messy!) We also try to give back to the community with food drives and other volunteer efforts, contribute to the technical community by hosting events and sharing knowledge, and foster interest in technology by hosting job shadow days with high school kids deciding what majors they’d like to pursue in college.
WordStream also rewards thought leadership and ambition. At our monthly company-wide breakfast, we recognize peers for their diligence. We also review everything that’s going on in the company and have the opportunity to ask questions where no topic is off limits. That’s right, total transparency.
WordStream was recognized as one of the Best Places to Work in Boston by Boston Business Journal. That was no accident! We pride ourselves on the people we hire and the culture we’ve created. We’ve also been named one of the fastest growing companies by Inc. Magazine, and been recognized for both our working environment and the quality of product.
What positions are you looking to hire?
We are always looking for smart, motivated, and fun software developers to join our team. Experience with any specific technologies (e.g., Python) is not a requirement; we're looking for people with a history of leveraging any technology to create masterpieces.
The ideal candidate for our engineering team sounds kinda like this:
- BS/MS in Computer Science (or related field and considerable coding experience)
- Top-notch coding skills
- 5+ years of experience writing code professionally (preferably SaaS)
- Aptitude and desire to learn new technologies
- Experience working on web analytics applications, search engines, content management systems or other Web publishing systems is a plus
- Culture fit is important.
We’re also proud fo offer the best combination of big- and small-company benefits.
- Unlimited vacation time (!) and sick days – that you really can use
- Comprehensive health AND dental insurance
- Competitive pay
- Career growth and support
- Events and contests sponsored by our partners, with prizes including trips to The World Cup and the Super Bowl, cutting edge devices, and fancy dinners
- Fridges stocked with free drinks and snacks
- Open-plan collaborative spaces that foster teamwork and community
- Two kegerators and cold-brew iced coffee and iced tea on tap
- Darts, ping-pong, foosball, and cornhole
- A free gym on-site
- … and all of the other bells and whistles you’d expect at a growing start up!
When you combine our vibrant culture with our commitment to employee satisfaction and top-notch benefits, the result is a dynamic and productive work environment.
If you’re excited about small teams, fast-paced environments, new technologies, the open-source software stack, and you love writing code, we’d like to hear from you!
Check out our openings at http://www.wordstream.com/jobs