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Engineering Spotlight: Cogito

May 7, 2020

Engineering Spotlight: Cogito

Through behavioral science & AI, Cogito provides human aware technology to help professionals elevate their performance. 

We connected with George Goddard, Senior Software Engineer, and Frank Kelly, Principal Engineer, of Cogito's team to get an inside look at the company's technology, various projects, the team's culture, and more. 

Interested in joining Cogito's engineering team? Take a look at all of the company’s openings on the list to the right!


Quick Hit Details

  • Year Founded:  2007 at the MIT Human Dynamics Lab ​
  • Number of employees: 170
  • Number of engineers: 60
  • Industry: Enterprise Software/SaaS 

Can you share a summary on what Cogito does?

George:  Cogito analyzes telephone conversations between two people providing real time feedback to enhance the quality of the conversation and provide opportunities to communicate with greater emotional intelligence and connection.

Frank: Cogito helps contact agent’s interactions with their customers to be more successful by helping the agent show confidence, connect emotionally and avoid misunderstandings in their communications. Although contact agents do a great job, Cogito’s technology helps smooth out the natural variability each agent experiences within a shift or across shifts for example if they’re just having a rough day for any number reasons.

What are some of the different technologies that the engineering team gets to work with and at what scale?

Frank: Cogito uses many cloud-based technologies - whilst largely AWS-focused we are in the process of shifting to a more cloud native stack employing microservices.

George:  We have the opportunity to work with many current technologies and languages.  We are focused on cloud native solutions, working extensively with AWS.  That work includes traditional services such as EC2, S3, ECS, and EKS but also more recently featured services such as SAM and Step Functions.  Most engineers work across broad portions of the full stack and regularly use languages, tools, and frameworks such as Java, React, Python, C++, Go, Gradle, Groovy, Spring Boot, Puppet, Ansible, Terraform, Docker, Kubernetes, Helm, Binnacle, and Jenkins.

What are some of the interesting projects that the engineering team is tackling?

George:  Some engineering groups are working on modernizing tooling used internally and enhancing production telemetrics.  Others are working on adding behavioral analysis features to our core products.  Others are working on enhancing our platform to be more cloud-agnostic, taking time to re-architect various aspects so we continue to be well-positioned for future development.

Frank: Autoscaling is a well understood problem when it comes to websites and transactional systems but when it comes to Machine Learning algorithms one does not simply “scale-out” processing so easily so how can we create a computational framework support ML models  adapted to each customer which can automatically self-scale as loads increase - allowing increases in “throughput” whilst maintaining our performance SLA so we provide timely feedback to the contact agent.

Does your engineering team have a chance to work on projects outside of their day-to-day responsibilities?  

George:  Recently we have been ultra-focused on how we can best support our customers with the changing business landscape, and continue to augment and encourage emotionally intelligent communication.  In the past, we’ve had informal hackathons with an entrepreneurial focus to explore new applications for behavioral analysis and working groups to research emerging technologies.

Cogito Company Culture

What is the culture like at Cogito for the engineering team? 

Frank: Cogito’s product seeks to create the “Win-win-win” - the win for the customer (getting their problem solved or task completed), the agent (having a successful conclusion to the call), the company (keep customers happy). To do that, everything we do is about emotional intelligence and communication - you can see that throughout all levels of the culture from CEO chat’s and open forums down to developer feedback in code reviews, daily standup meetings and sprint reviews.

George:  The engineering culture at Cogito is very collaborative and supportive.  Even though we are working on different projects, we are all working towards the same goal.  There is much knowledge-sharing and many voices and perspectives are involved with decision making.  We celebrate wins, and tackle shortcomings, together.  An engineer’s well-being, whether physical, mental, emotional, or professional, is consistently a high priority.

Cogito Employees

What can a potential employee expect during the interview process?

We work hard to run an efficient and thorough interview process that allows candidates to fully assess the fit from their end as well.  It usually involves a couple of phone calls, a tech challenge and a round of 1:1 interviews with a cross section of folks relevant to the open role.   

George:  The interview process is not intended to be intimidating or confusing.  It is intended to give the candidate the opportunity to showcase some of their technical skills, and for both sides to evaluate a lasting professional relationship.

Frank: This isn’t a stress interview - Cogito understands that in an interview it HAS to be a win-win - both employer and prospective employee want the right fit. So it starts with respect, open communication and understanding that both parties need to come away from the engagement really understanding what the other party brings to the table.

Are you involved in any local tech organizations or Meetups?

We love to get involved in the tech and start-up community.  We have partnerships with She Geeks Out and The National Center for Women in Technology.  We always enjoy attending events like BostonFest and TechJam, we have hosted the AWS Meetup in the past and we are always looking for new ways to get involved. 

Frank: I try to attend meet-ups  but tend to make it to fewer than I would like - When I do I go to groups focused on Agile management, Python, AI and Machine Learning etc. A few years ago I was the founder of Charles River CoderDojo - a local branch of an Irish-based program designed to help kids of all ages to learn how to code - it was incredibly successful - and, although I stopped participating to get involved in coaching my daughter’s soccer team. It has always stuck with me the importance of mentoring, exciting and engaging the next generation. 


Rapid Fire Q&A

What’s on tap?

New England IPA

Star Wars or Star Trek?

Star Wars 

iPhone or Android?

Android if we have to pick, but it’s a mix. And all Mac computers.

Coffee - hot or iced?

Iced 

Favorite employee perk?

Flexible work from home  (at least 2 days a week in the engineering department) 

What music is playing in your office?

Mostly pop with some electronic

View from your office

Depending on which side of our office you can check out a few views of the financial district- including this one of South Station.

Cogito Office Boston


Team Profiles

George Goddard Cogito

George Goddard - Senior Software Engineer

After working nearly two decades in the hospitality industry, I completed an undergraduate and graduate degree in Computer Science.  When I joined Cogito, we were still a very small company.  I was thrilled to have the opportunity to work alongside such warm, dedicated, and intelligent people on difficult challenges which would have positive impacts on people’s lives.  I genuinely love the people with whom I work, am constantly impressed with what we have been able to accomplish, and am consistently excited for what the future will bring.

Frank Kelly Cogito

Frank Kelly - Principal Engineer

Originally from Ireland I came to the US to pursue my Ph.D. in Computational Neuroscience - modeling perception and behavior with biologically inspired neural network simulations. For the last 20 years I’ve been focused on building high-scale, high-throughput and high-performance mission critical systems for financial institutions and telecommunications services firms. I like working at Cogito because you can really feel the product helps all sides of the customer-agent-brand relationship - the people are incredibly nice, I get to learn new technologies and I get to reconnect not only with Machine Learning but also with my home country of Ireland. 


Want to learn more about Cogito? Check out their BIZZPage