Blog

October 10, 2018

Engineering Spotlight: Quick Base

Quick Base is a provider of a low-code platform designed for teams that don’t have expert coding skills to create applications. Their platform is used by a wide variety of company across several industries.

We connect with Quick Base’s CTO, George Mashini, to learn more about their platform. He also shared details on what kinds of projects the engineering team works on a daily basis and the team's culture.

Interested in working here? Click here for all the available jobs at Quick Base!


Quick Hit Details

  • Year Founded: 1999

  • Number of employees: 314

  • Number of engineers: 81

  • Industry: Online Database Platform/Digital Transformation


What’s it like to work at Quick Base?

Our company, our market, and our customers are growing fast. This means all Quick Base employees are engaged in exciting and challenging work, and we have the opportunity to try new and different things and along with lots of room for career advancement (1/3 of our employees are in a new role from 1 year ago!). We work with exceptional colleagues and foster an environment that empowers those closest to the work to make decisions and provide each other the support to move quickly and learn as we go. Quick Base combines the excitement and pace of a startup with the stability and work/life balance of a market leader. Find out if Quick Base is for you!

George Mashini CTO Quick Base
George Mashini, CTO at Quick Base

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

We’re a huge platform, so we have a little bit of everything. Our technology stack is book-ended by two primary technologies: C++ and React and React Native. The core part of our platform is an in-memory database that’s in C++, so we have to keep that as close to the hardware as humanly possible so we can be fast and efficient. At the other end of the spectrum, we’re creating amazing web and mobile experiences using the latest technology, React and React Native through JavaScript technologies. Both of those came out of Facebook, so they’re very modern and fresh. We have this hardcore database that’s in C++, and we have the really cool stuff in JavaScript. We also use the cloud extensively. We have hundreds of thousands of users who come through our platform every day. To facilitate them across different geographies we use Tier 1 cloud providers to power the platform.​

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

There’s a couple, and one is us being more visual. We’re taking our platform to the next level, by helping a business person design their apps with a drag and drop visual interface; under the covers, we create the database and we build everything needed to make it a full-blown business application. This helps us bring it to more people, both technical and line of business users. The challenge in that is how can we make the building experience simple while continuing to stay as powerful as we are. Our customers can gain insights, automate complex processes, and drive fundamental business changes. That’s constantly our challenge and that’s one of the really cool projects we have going on.

In addition to that, we’re focused on mobility. What’s interesting about mobility is that we get to start to bring no-code to the edge, which is where people are doing their jobs in the field. Therefore, the requirements for doing business are a lot different. If the network goes out it has to work, and it has to be that next level of reliable because people are depending on it to do their daily jobs. That’s a place that no-code hasn’t necessarily gone before, and we’re bringing to them so we’re really innovating at a whole new level.

Quick Base Hackathon

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

Several of our most massive releases this year started as skunk work projects or things that started in our hackathons.

For example, mobility and that ability to extend to native mobile applications started as a skunk work project for a few team members who worked on this in addition to their day jobs. They proved out that no-code platforms can play well in the field and on the edge. We’re making significant investments there and driving it forward. While we have a well-defined product roadmap, we empower our teams to create new ideas and take the initiative to put them into action.

Similarly, our approach to visual design came out of a hackathon and will be in-product this year. Not only do we promote that ability to think outside-the-box, but when we do find that lightning in a bottle, we invest in it significantly and get it out to our customers. That’s what keeps us competitive in the hot market of no-code/low-code platforms.

Quick Base Hackathon


What is the culture like at Quick Base for the engineering team?

It’s challenging to work here because you’re making a tool that can be used a million different ways. So it’s not standard software practices where you make a product, test it, and you have people use it. Inherently, because of that, we have to work closer as teams. What one group does can severely impact what another team is working on; there are no boundaries in our product. So we have a pretty large engineering team (80+) that has to work closely together and has to have visibility across the whole spectrum. In addition to that, because the platform has been around for a long time and has grown, we have career areas where people can specialize in anything from database and database handling and design to user experience to workflows and orchestration. As our employees learn the platform, they can start to pick career paths, and we offer multiple options for them within Quick Base.

One of our company values is customer-obsessed, and if you think about it regarding the art world, we’re not making beautiful portraits, we’re making the paintbrush that makes them. We’re empowering non-technical builders to create their own software, which is a powerful thing. So our customers can express their creativity out in the field with us. We inherently feel a partnership with our customers because together, our tool and their creativity is what makes an ultimate solution.

What can a potential employee expect during the interview process?

Specifically for Engineering Team, we’ve learned through working with coding academies and through quick-start programs that someone who is willing to learn can come in and very quickly advance their technical knowledge. We look for some basis of technical capabilities and willingness to learn, but we primarily focus on the culture fit. We have to work in really tight teams, so you have to be a self-starter and a team player at the same time. If we find that kind of personality and culture fit, we can take them to whatever level we need from a technology fit. That’s what we look for.

Once we have reviewed your resume and see a good match, we will reach out to set up a phone screen with a Dev manager. If there’s a mutual fit, you will be invited on-site to chat with the hiring manager and another Dev manager about our culture and team dynamics. If all goes well, you will be asked to complete a coding exercise (in your preferred language) and return on-site to share your solution and have some technical Q&A with some of your potential team members. Our hiring process moves quickly, so you can expect to complete the interview process in about two weeks!

Are you involved in any local tech organizations or Meetups?

We’re focused on landing early career talent and getting them to the next level. So we’re working with several programs in the Boston area to find those who are eager to learn who have had some degree of software training and have high potential. Some of those programs are YearUp, Resilient Coders, Launch Academy, and the Northeastern Co-op program. Some of our more senior engineers have come from Launch Academy. And, we recently hired 3 of our Northeastern Co-ops for full-time positions! Several of our Developers also regularly attend local Meetups to stay involved in the Boston tech scene.


Rapid Fire Q&A

What’s on tap?

Four rotating types of beer/cider in our keg.

Star Wars or Star Trek?  

Star Wars

iPhone or Android?

iPhone

Coffee - hot or iced?

“Hhhhhot!”

Favorite employee perk?

Quick Base invests in encouraging exercise and an active lifestyle. We have a free on-site gym, allotment to buy exercise equipment or a gym membership, we have a great walking path behind our building, so people like to take some time and go for walks during the day. I think that an active mindset is good and in general, one of our favorite perks.

What TV show describes the engineering team’s culture?

The Office

What music is playing in your office?

We listen to a lot of hip-hop.


Team Profiles

Nick Vanselow Quick Base
Nick Vanselow - Software Engineer

Armelle Dawson
Armelle Dawson - Software Development Manager


Keith Cline is the Founder of VentureFizz.  Follow him on Twitter: @kcline6

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