6 Boston engineers explain what makes their team unique

by Cailin Crowe
April 10, 2019

No two Boston engineering teams are alike. From clear communication skills to leadership potential, Boston tech companies seek engineers with a range of different strengths and experiences to match their engineering team’s unique culture.

We caught up with six local tech companies for a behind the scenes look at their engineering team’s inner workings — and to uncover their wishlist for new hires.

 

ezcater engineer team boston
photo via ezcater

EzCater, an online marketplace for business catering, is making their mark on the nearly $60 billion catering industry. On the heels of a recent $150 million Series D funding round, the company has plans to hire 300 more employees in 2019.

Senior Engineering Manager Phil Morris told us more about the growing company’s “insanely helpful” engineering team.

 

What are some of the most unique things about your team that make it special?

My team consists of a diverse group of software engineers with complementary skill sets, experiences, and personalities. One of our team members is a long-tenured ezCater engineer who brings an insightful perspective about the evolution of the business and software. Their perspective provides key opportunities for knowledge-sharing, easing the on-boarding process during our rapid growth.

Another team member is a former chemical engineer who applies his scientific research approach to our data-driven development processes. We also have a senior engineer who has 15 years of Rails experience, helping us maintain high coding standards. Each member of the team is a key contributor, providing their own unique perspectives and driving our shared success. Our inclusive and supportive workplace has created an environment filled with great ideas from everyone, while providing many opportunities to learn and grow.

Each member of the team is a key contributor...”

What do you look for when hiring for your engineering team? How can you tell when someone has something unique to add to your culture, and are there any traits that all your team members share?

At ezCater, one of our core values is being “insanely helpful.” As a company where customer service is highly valued, we want our engineers to have a similar mentality. The most successful engineers at ezCater possess a curiosity to deeply understand the business, the customer, and the problems we’re trying to solve. With this depth of knowledge, our engineers are able to make intelligent and thoughtful decisions for the betterment of our customers and our company. In addition to their technical experience, good candidates will demonstrate traits in line with our company values, from being “insanely helpful” to “aiming higher” and “owning it.” We strive to be a better team and company with every person we hire.

 

Drizly app boston
photo via drizly

Founded in 2012, Drizly provides a mobile app for Bostonians to have beer, wine or liquor at their beck and call. The app delivers booze to users’ doorsteps or a local store for pickup.

Vice President of Engineering Dan Chen told us more about what makes the people powering the app — the engineering team — unique.

 

What are some of the most unique things about your team that make it special? 

Our engineering team loves using the Drizly product. We place Drizly orders to the office more than once a week. Many of us also use the product at home or to send gifts.

On top of actually using the product, we're passionate about improving the product. When we go out as a team, we don't shy away from talking about work. We discuss the challenges we're facing and brainstorm creative solutions to solve those problems. It's awesome when everyone is excited about the vision and moves in the same direction.

On top of actually using the product, we're passionate about improving the product.”

What do you look for when hiring for your engineering team? How can you tell when someone has something unique to add to your culture, and are there any traits that all your team members share?

At a minimum, we seek individuals who exemplify our core values and competencies, including: problem-solving, collaboration, critical thinking and self-awareness. For junior engineers, we look for candidates with steep career trajectories, an ability to learn quickly and an openness to receiving feedback. For more senior engineers, we look for leadership potential, a drive to deliver results, and the ability to design and articulate higher level architecture.

Ultimately, we want all of our engineers to think beyond the code they’re writing. While it’s great to shred tickets and burn through the backlog, we always want to think about the bigger picture, and collaborate to find the best solution. Ownership and accountability are two other key traits. Our business operates outside typical nine-to-five hours (i.e. after work, holidays, weekends, etc). We're a small team. Everyone needs to be responsible for their own releases and ready to help teammates when needed.

Catalant technologies Boston
photo via catalant technologies

Catalant Technologies connects top organizations with experts to address a range of on-demand business needs, including finance, sales, product and operations. Those organizations include over 30 percent of the Fortune 100 businesses.

Vice President of Engineering Laura Miyakawa explained what makes the Fort Point-based company’s engineering team special (spoiler: evolution and flexibility are key components).

 

What are some of the most unique things about your team that make it special?

Our unit test coverage is 0 percent. No, that’s not a typo. Writing tests for features that could be thrown out next spring is not the best use of our most critical resource: developers’ time. We’re still learning what our platform needs to be successful. We build features as quickly as possible to discover what sticks. That’s not to say that we don’t care about quality. We run smoke tests, complete thorough code reviews and respond quickly to issues. We fix 30 percent of our high priority bugs within the hour.

Will this always be our stance? Probably not. We’re committed to evolving our process as we scale, but for now, this is just the right balance.

We build features as quickly as possible to discover what sticks.”

What do you look for when hiring for your engineering team? How can you tell when someone has something unique to add to your culture, and are there any traits that all your team members share?

I have two expectations for every engineer on my team: deliver daily customer value and contribute to the team. These expectations lead to better accountability and flexibility.  Engineers do what they say, communicate what they’re doing and indicate when they need help. A few of our scrum teams have started stand-up meetings twice a day to keep the team focused and moving. Flexibility is crucial on our team because we are responsive to customer needs. Each engineer is full stack to achieve that flexibility. An engineer could write SQL scripts today, CSS tomorrow, and everything in between to deliver for our customers.

Klaviyo engineer Boston
photo via klaviyo

Klaviyo uses the power of email — think custom newsletters and automated follow-up notes  — to help e-commerce companies maximize their marketing opportunities. The Financial District-based company boasts a tech-crazed culture and is growing fast with a recent round of $150 million in Series B funding.

Senior Software Engineer Zac Bentley discussed just how tech-obsessed their engineering team is and what they’re looking for in new hires.

 

What are some of the most unique things about your team that make it special?

We’re a very new team (our longest-serving member has only been around for about a year). But in that short time, we have become fearless about making large, sweeping changes to some of Klaviyo’s most important systems! Because our chemistry and cooperation are top-notch, we’re able to sustain an incredibly high rate of change on top of a low defect rate. Another unique aspect of Klaviyo is that while we work mostly on back-end systems, we get direct feedback from customers on the changes we make. Compared to companies where front and backend development are treated very differently, Klaviyo is a breath of fresh air.

We have become fearless about making large, sweeping changes to some of Klaviyo’s most important systems.”

 

What do you look for when hiring for your engineering team? How can you tell when someone has something unique to add to your culture, and are there any traits that all your team members share?

We maintain an atmosphere of mutual respect while defending and revising our decisions in the face of criticism and review. I was initially prepared for a stereotypical environment with strong personalities that prevent collaboration. Instead, I’ve been impressed on a daily basis by the collaboration and camaraderie among engineers. We hire people who can respectfully participate in lively debates and appreciate the circumstances surrounding prior decisions.

We also value the self-driven urge to develop depth of knowledge. Across our team, we have a deep understanding of subjects from operating-system-level memory management and garbage collector design to distributed consensus, and from scalable frontend development to probabilistic data structures. None of us were experts in those topics when we joined! We’re always looking for teammates who love “going deep” and gaining knowledge for its own sake  — before, during, and after that knowledge has been applied to improve product.

ASICS digital team boston
photo via asics digital

You’ve probably seen (or even used) a pair of ASICS shoes to help run your quickest mile time or walk your dog around the block. The ASICS Digital team brings the power of those shoes to the digital world by connecting consumers with solutions like their e-commerce platform and mobile app.

Lead Software Engineer Kreena Mehta explained why a willingness to improvise and share knowledge are two top traits among the engineering team’s culture.

 

What are some of the most unique things about your team that make it special?

The will to “keep improvising” is our team’s most distinct quality. Whether we’re brainstorming ideas, resolving an issue, building a new project feature or communicating with stakeholders, our team believes in constantly improvising and bringing positive changes to the organization. Each team member is unique and willing to share their own knowledge and experiences. We also have a passion to understand the industry and build solutions that enhance customer experience, lead to business growth, and resonate with ASICS’s vision to “get the whole world moving.”

The will to 'keep improvising' is our team’s most distinct quality.”

What do you look for when hiring for your engineering team? How can you tell when someone has something unique to add to your culture, and are there any traits that all your team members share?

Being communicative is one of the qualities we most value in our engineering team. We have engineers working on a wide range of projects that are built and deployed across the globe. Strong communication skills are key to articulate clear ideas and project objectives. When a candidate has a special characteristic to add to our culture, it can be observed through their goals to build creative solutions, passion to learn new technologies and ability to share knowledge that will help the team and product grow. ASICS Digital is a place where everyone strives to make technological advances and push the limits of how we can serve customers a healthier lifestyle.

Markforged boston
photo via markforged

Markforged is on a mission to change manufacturing with their 3D printing platform. And they are well on their way — the Watertown company recently raised $82 million in a Series D round of funding.

We spoke to Software Engineer Corinne Drysdale about her experience working for the team and why they are seeking candidates with diverse STEM field backgrounds.

 

What are some of the most unique things about your team that make it special?

It's wonderful to work in an environment where people believe in the product. The team is also excited by the product, which is likely caused by the team’s access to Markforged’s 3D printers. Morale is high, the people are positive and kind, and motivation is contagious. The culture is generally fun and relaxed, but everyone is still serious about work. It's also cooperative rather than competitive. Competing with each other seems pointless when instead we can build and strengthen the team.

It's wonderful to work in an environment where people believe in the product.”

What do you look for when hiring for your engineering team? How can you tell when someone has something unique to add to your culture, and are there any traits that all your team members share?

Although I'm new to hiring and the team, I’ve already noticed that the team shares a strong sense of self-motivation. In interviews, technical skills are extremely important, but you’ll also stand out if you show pride for a project that you drove to completion. Our team consists of people with a diverse set of experiences, particularly in other STEM fields. Those backgrounds can be especially useful in the development of software to optimize our 3D prints. But despite our different strengths and skills, we all share the same strong drive to finish projects.

 

 

Jobs from companies in this blog140 open jobs
All Jobs
Finance
Data + Analytics
Design + UX
Dev + Engineer
HR
Legal
Marketing
Operations
Product
Project Mgmt
Sales
Content
Developer
new
ezCater
Boston
Operations
new
Klaviyo
Boston
Content
new
ezCater
Boston
Sales
new
ezCater
Boston
Developer
new
Drizly
Boston
Developer
new
ASICS Digital
Boston
Product
new
Drizly
Boston
Developer
new
Catalant Technologies
Boston
Data + Analytics
new
Markforged
Watertown
HR
new
Klaviyo
Boston
Sales
new
ezCater
Boston
Developer
new
ezCater
Boston
Developer
new
ASICS Digital
Boston
Developer
new
Markforged
Watertown
Product
new
Markforged
Watertown
Product
new
Markforged
Watertown
Marketing
new
Markforged
Watertown
Developer
new
ASICS Digital
Boston
Developer
new
ASICS Digital
Boston
Developer
new
ASICS Digital
Boston
Developer
new
Markforged
Watertown
Sales
new
ezCater
Boston
Product
new
Catalant Technologies
Boston
Sales
new
Klaviyo
Boston
Finance
new
ezCater
Boston
Sales
new
Drizly
Boston
Operations
new
Markforged
Watertown
Operations
new
Klaviyo
Boston
Sales
new
Klaviyo
Boston
Developer
new
ezCater
Boston
Developer
new
ezCater
Boston
Developer
new
ezCater
Boston
Operations
new
Markforged
Watertown
Product
new
ASICS Digital
Boston
Developer
new
ezCater
Boston
Operations
new
Klaviyo
Boston
Operations
new
Markforged
Watertown
Developer
new
ezCater
Boston
Developer
new
Markforged
Watertown
Content
new
ezCater
Boston
Sales
new
Markforged
Watertown
Sales
new
Markforged
Watertown
Developer
new
Markforged
Watertown
Sales
new
ezCater
Boston
Design + UX
new
Markforged
Watertown
Developer
new
Markforged
Watertown
Operations
new
Markforged
Watertown
Marketing
new
Klaviyo
Boston
Developer
new
Markforged
Watertown
Marketing
new
Drizly
Boston
Developer
new
Drizly
Boston
Developer
new
Drizly
Boston
Developer
new
Drizly
Boston
Design + UX
new
ASICS Digital
Boston
Sales
new
Klaviyo
Boston
Operations
new
ASICS Digital
Boston
Sales
new
ezCater
Boston
Design + UX
new
Klaviyo
Boston
Operations
new
Klaviyo
Boston
Developer
new
Markforged
Watertown
Sales
new
Klaviyo
Boston
Sales
new
Klaviyo
Boston
Operations
new
ASICS Digital
Boston
Sales
new
ezCater
Boston
Developer
new
ezCater
Boston
Sales
new
Catalant Technologies
Boston
Developer
new
Catalant Technologies
Boston
HR
new
Catalant Technologies
Boston
Project Mgmt
new
Catalant Technologies
Boston
Design + UX
new
Catalant Technologies
Boston
Sales
new
Catalant Technologies
Boston
Sales
new
Catalant Technologies
Boston
Sales
new
Catalant Technologies
Boston
Project Mgmt
new
Catalant Technologies
Boston
Developer
new
Catalant Technologies
Boston
Sales
new
Catalant Technologies
Boston
Marketing
new
Catalant Technologies
Boston
Marketing
new
Klaviyo
Boston
Developer
new
Markforged
Watertown
Content
new
ezCater
Boston
Marketing
new
Markforged
Watertown
Data + Analytics
new
ezCater
Boston
Developer
new
Klaviyo
Boston
Sales
new
Klaviyo
Boston
Data + Analytics
new
Klaviyo
Boston
Data + Analytics
new
Klaviyo
Boston
Data + Analytics
new
Klaviyo
Boston
Sales
new
Klaviyo
Boston
Finance
new
Markforged
Watertown
Operations
new
Markforged
Watertown
Developer
new
Catalant Technologies
Boston
Sales
new
Klaviyo
Boston
Operations
new
Markforged
Watertown
Developer
new
Markforged
Watertown
Sales
new
Klaviyo
Boston
Developer
new
Klaviyo
Boston
Developer
new
Klaviyo
Boston
Sales
new
Klaviyo
Boston
Developer
new
Klaviyo
Boston
Sales
new
Catalant Technologies
Boston
Design + UX
new
Klaviyo
Boston
Product
new
Klaviyo
Boston
Sales
new
Catalant Technologies
Boston
Developer
new
Drizly
Boston
Project Mgmt
new
Drizly
Boston
Operations
new
Klaviyo
Boston
Operations
new
Drizly
Boston
Product
new
Klaviyo
Boston
Developer
new
Klaviyo
Boston
Design + UX
new
ASICS Digital
Boston
Sales
new
Klaviyo
Boston
Data + Analytics
new
ezCater
Boston
Project Mgmt
new
Markforged
Watertown
Developer
new
Markforged
Watertown
Marketing
new
ezCater
Boston
Developer
new
Klaviyo
Boston
Developer
new
Markforged
Watertown
Developer
new
Markforged
Watertown
Operations
new
Markforged
Watertown
Operations
new
ASICS Digital
Boston
Sales
new
Markforged
Watertown
Developer
new
Klaviyo
Boston
Developer
new
Markforged
Watertown
Developer
new
Klaviyo
Boston
Developer
new
Markforged
Watertown
Sales
new
Markforged
Watertown
Developer
new
Markforged
Watertown
Developer
new
Klaviyo
Boston
Developer
new
Klaviyo
Boston
Data + Analytics
new
Drizly
Boston
Operations
new
ezCater
Boston
Project Mgmt
new
ASICS Digital
Boston
Developer
new
ASICS Digital
Boston
Developer
new
Drizly
Boston
Sales
new
Drizly
Boston
Product
new
ASICS Digital
Boston

Boston startup guides

LOCAL GUIDE
Best Companies to Work for in Boston
LOCAL GUIDE
Best Software Engineer Jobs in Boston
LOCAL GUIDE
Coolest Tech Offices in Boston
LOCAL GUIDE
Best Sales Jobs in Boston
LOCAL GUIDE
Best Perks at Boston Tech Companies
LOCAL GUIDE
Best Marketing Jobs in Boston
LOCAL GUIDE
Best Data Scientist Jobs in Boston
LOCAL GUIDE
Best Design Jobs in Boston