Blog

June 19, 2019

Engineering Spotlight: Pixability

Pixability is a video advertising software company that uses data science to optimize large, complex campaigns across YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Connected TV.

We connected with Lata Ahuja, VP of Engineering of Pixability, to get an inside look at the company's engineering team. Lata also went into lots of details about the company’s technology, the various projects, the team's culture and more.

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


Quick Hit Details

  • Year Founded: 2008

  • Number of employees: 80-100

  • Number of engineers: 22-25

  • Industry: Advertising


Can you share a summary on what Pixability does? 

Lata Ahuja
Lata Ahuja, VP of Engineering at Pixability

Pixability is a video software & insights company that uses machine learning to target and optimize audiences on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Connected TV to drive better performance for brands and agencies.

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

Our core product is comprised of several Python-based microservices which is front-ended by React. The Engineering Team’s mission is to serve the business by providing additional functionality to our core product. In order to meet this mission, the Engineering Team leverages AWS technologies to reduce the operational overhead and increase the agility of development and deployment. To name a few technologies employed, the Engineering Team uses SnowFlake, EC2, ECS, RDS, and other AWS technologies for key infrastructure. Central to our product is the vast amount of big data that is collected, organized, and indexed which allows our data science team the ability to create their models. We have adopted Kafka as a primary solution to shuttle data across our core product as it acts as a durable message aggregation solution.

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

We work on a variety of projects at any given time, including (but not limited to) architecture, new features, infrastructure, and key platform initiatives. Some of our key initiatives center around complex data ingestion, cloud workflows, automating client reporting, and targeting solutions. We're currently developing a new ingestion architecture to expand our unstructured data processing solution to enable us to efficiently perform ETL of petabytes of data, persist it, and use it for analysis, computation, and data science purposes.

Does your engineering team have a chance to work on projects outside of their day-to-day responsibilities?  For example - skunk work projects, open source projects?

In the past, we’ve set aside time for day-long hackathons — and we’re planning another hackathon this fall. Some projects included a fantasy ad tech league, conference room booking, and chart visualizations. We also have several engineers contributing to open source projects and writing articles that are published on our tech blog and external publications.

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

At Pixability, we strive to cultivate a relaxed and informal environment. Our culture is very flexible, part of it is due to our flexible time off and the fact that we want our engineers to have ownership over what they do. We are a distributed team, with some engineers working in different time zones, but we’re all focused on getting the work done and being proud of the work we do.

The team is comprised of high-performing teams that are passionate about building software. Each engineer is part of a 5-10 person agile team working on frontend, backend, testing, DevOps or UX wherein the focus is on teamwork and collaboration.

What can a potential employee expect during the interview process?

We’re a fairly typical company when it comes to hiring, with phone screens and one-on-one conversations with the larger team. Where we are different is that we hire remotely (given we are a distributed company) and the entire process moves very quickly.

We also have an online technical exercise which enables us to get a sense of the candidate’s coding and problem-solving ability, their ability to dissect an issue, and to gauge how well they can collaborate with other team members. It helps the candidate showcase their skills and understand how we work.

Are you involved in any local tech organizations or Meetups?

We volunteer at career days in high schools. We also attend technical conferences — most recently we had engineers attend the Snowflake Summit in San Francisco. Some of the folks attend meetups such as Google Developer Group and Boston Python Group.


Rapid Fire Q&A

What’s on tap?

We have a rotating list of beers at any given time. However, a crowd favorite for the engineering team is Treehouse.

Star Wars or Star Trek?

Star Wars

iPhone or Android?

Android

Coffee - hot or iced?

Hot

Favorite employee perk?

Flexible work schedule, work-life balance

What TV show describes the engineering team’s culture?

We are hard pressed to let one TV show define us as a team.  The commonality between us is our passion for our interests, Our passions range from mixology, board games, home brewing, single malt scotches, coffee, music to the latest electronics.   We relish discovering these communities of people on YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook to find the next greatest influencer. However in finding that next great video, we are just as likely to stumble on an errant episode of Peppa Pig or the ever militant Paw Patrol.

What music is playing in your office?

Hard to say with folks wearing headphones

View from your office:

View from Pixability's office

Cleanest desk / Messiest desk:

Pixability Clean and Messy Desk


Team Profiles


Jonathan Greene
, Principal Engineer

Jonathan has been with Pixability for almost two years and leads the planning, architecture, and implementation of Pixability’s user interfaces. He enjoys mentoring his teammates to develop their careers and is at the forefront of Pixability's migration of UI apps to React. As one of Pixability's remote engineers, Jonathan models and promotes effective collaboration and communication, from pair programming to group homebrewing sessions. He learned to program in Flash way back before it was cool; and found his start building things for his friends. He has a degree in Photography and is the proud dad of two cute kiddos. He lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where he is active within the city’s various Javascript meetups, and is excited to help teach more classes with the local chapter of Girl Develop It. Oh, and he thinks TypeScript is just the best.

Michael Habib
Michael Habib
, Software Engineer

Michael joined Pixability shortly after graduating as a software engineer. When he joined Pixability, Michael was on a backend team; Now you can find him working on our data architecture team. He is always eager to learn more about our systems  and routinely works on both the code base and infrastructure. Michael has contributed significantly to the current data pipeline, creating monitoring, batch, and harvester systems. Aside from work tasks he enjoys contributing to open source projects written in Golang and Rust.


Colin Barry is the Content Manager to VentureFizz. Follow him on Twitter @ColinKrash.

Images courtesy of Pixability

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