WorkDNA is a way to break down a company’s culture into 7 attributes and show how those attributes are backed up by specific actions.
Personal & Professional Growth , Best Technical Practices, Challenging & Interesting Work, A Voice In Product Decisions, A Culture Of Inclusion & Diversity, A High Level Of Autonomy, Promotes From Within
We want your time at Electric to advance your skills and your career as much as possible. This is a core part of who we are, and we are deliberate about this process.
Growth is challenging if you don't have the support to achieve it. How do we bake this into our culture?
One of our senior engineers came to us and said he was ready for the next step in his career but, he was not sure whether he wanted to be a tech lead or an engineering manager. Together, we built a plan for him to try both. After he fell in love with the engineering manager role, we built a six month step-by-step plan for him to take on more engineering manager responsibilities while getting mentored to prepare him to move into that role.
We have a young engineer who is passionate about automation. While he didn’t have much experience, he did have drive. Because of our culture he had the time and freedom to learn and build this new skillset. As a result of this passion, he is now a founding member of our Quality Council, which leads our automation roadmap and other Quality-related initiatives.
We are creating an environment where our entire team has the support to grow professionally and personally.
“As proactive as I am about my professional growth, so is the Electric Engineering Leadership. My manager has routinely challenged me by putting me in lead positions and setting goals on a quarterly basis so I can learn new skills & best practices. I routinely sit down with my manager to create, practice and iterate on weekly/monthly/quarterly planning routines, time management playbooks, engineering operational strategy/tactics, team management tactics and more.
After gaining some experience, we start to make a list of books I should read so I can read on the principles I just practiced. This model of "practice, and then read", has been a fundamental model for me as it gives me the experience to improve on certain skills and then clarify through literature that thoroughly outlines what I just practiced.”
Big technical challenges require well thought out solutions. This is a pattern we follow at every level. We research the best practices, discuss them, and implement them as a team. This isn’t executive-led, this is a bottom-up process supported by our tech leads.
We are in the process of moving to a serverless architecture and laying the foundations of a distributed platform. While there is a learning curve and added operational complexity, this sets us up to handle the huge scaling challenges we face. We have several services and Lambda functions live, and some key pieces of our architecture were built using AWS tools like SQS, SNS, DynamoDB, and GraphQL.
We also recently rebuilt the way we do agile using this process. We gathered feedback from every team, learned what was working, what was painful, and what was frustrating. As a result, we've refined our ceremonies, our approach to agile (build-measure-learn), our tooling, and our metrics.
“Some time ago we had to introduce some custom functionality to resolve a requirement that involved interacting with a module we didn't control. We managed to solve that thanks to the implementation of Python descriptors to simulate a specific behavior provided by the external module, thus integrating both components seamlessly while maintaining high cohesion and low coupling between the modules."
“About a year ago we started migrating from containers to a serverless architecture. As this was a new initiative for us, we had to ensure we used best technical practices in dealing with database connections, message queueing and distributed tracing. For database connections, we aimed to reuse connections at the container level instead of a new connection for each individual invocation. We ensured we had schema validation for messages passing through our system. We set up distributed tracing between our serverless and legacy services so that we had a more complete view in our observability tool."
Our product helps companies manage all of their IT: the laptops and phones, the software, and the internal infrastructure. Our job is to support that entire IT stack for companies around the world using as much automation as possible. The level of complexity is immense and presents huge challenges as we work to expand and automate large swaths of what we do. We also get to play with some really interesting data.
Automation is a huge opportunity for us. We serve our customers through real time chat, and that means diagnosing and fixing issues in real time. We have so many bite-sized pieces that need automation. Like a doctor, we have to diagnose issues using symptoms and customer history. Then, we need to give our support team the automated tools to fix those issues.
Our goal is to solve IT issues without them reaching a human and to make our support team even more effective. The range of what we automate is massive. One day you might be trying to figure out the most efficient way to gather and diagnose data from the 600,000+ devices on our platform, and the next, you may be working on how to integrate a new chat technology into our real-time support platform. If you like solving a wide array of difficult problems in innovative ways, you are going to love what we do.
The data we have is immense, and if you want to use machine learning and predictive analytics to solve real-world problems, then you are in luck. We are just getting started in this area, and it’s a great time to get in on the ground floor.
“We recently rolled out a data pipeline that involved deploying new software to many distributed devices so that we could then receive information from those devices. Coordinating that deployment to the devices as well as working with a team to architect a solution that would allow us to handle all the incoming data from those devices was an awesome challenge and experience."
“We've deployed a custom build distribution of osquery to 15k devices to have a real-time data stream for device monitoring. All kinds of technology, from AWS Lambda, Kinesis, SNS, SQS, Python to also Jamf, Kaseya, Bash Scripting, Powershell, and python-CLI building. Great fun with the team."
“If I get to pick only one (because everything is really interesting), it would be how we automated osquery software installation on almost 15k devices so they can report real time data to us through a data stream. We built a robust and highly capable platform almost from scratch (which we are still improving everyday), that gave us the possibility to know the exact state of a device no matter the operating system, version, or model at any given time. "
Our cross-functioning teams drive projects and decide through brainstorming and negotiation what gets done. How does that work? Our leadership provides alignment and business goals. The teams translate those goals into a quarterly roadmap. Every member of the team has an equal say. And it works because our teams are made up of engineers, designers, and product managers. We work collaboratively, and you have a voice in everything.
In February, we were working on a vital internal tool. When we sat down to plan it, the product and engineering team members had different views of what the product should look like. They went in a room for 45 minutes to hammer out the pros and cons and made a decision as a team. There was no project manager. It was purely the team members and leadership explaining what they needed in terms of a big goal.
“I think I have made a lot of small impacts on product decisions, as the product team has always been very open to feedback.
A big impact I made was working on a customer-facing “IT scorecard”. It was unexpected work but aligned to the company goals. My product manager and designer were thinking how we can show live data from our different services. Due to time constraints I advocated a simpler version of generating that data so we could deliver on time for the customer. They agreed and the team successfully delivered the feature on time and it has a huge impact for our customers. I would always want to have more impact as it makes my work and my team more meaningful. Understanding and aligning ourselves to the Electric business goals and vision is the best way of making that happen. "
Our goal is to build and foster a culture of belonging. With a leadership team trained in inclusivity and diversity awareness, we’ve made great progress, and over the next 12 months we hope to make even more. And as a company, we have a team that meets twice a month to check on progress, plan the next steps, and get any failures out in the open so that we can improve.
Several big initiatives are planned to push us forward faster this year:
"2020 has been a year with some uncertainties, grief, and anxiety. We had COVID-19, passing away of a coworker, and then the Killing of George Floyd, which raised a lot of questions around social justice and discrimination. I think it’s easy for a company to stay aloof and choose not to engage in activities that don't translate to direct financial opportunities. However, Electric’s management and leadership has been transparent about the changing nature of business and the direction the company will take. Regarding the Killing of George Floyd, Electric led a series of open, small group discussions as a safe space to talk about our thoughts, even if the conversation could get uncomfortable. As an employee, I’m proud to work for a company that strives to be socially responsible and embraces the differences.
Furthermore, I would like to add that Electric shows care at an individual level. Last December, I got injured after the company holiday party. When I got my phone back after the surgery, I saw several messages from my coworkers including Vic, the CFO. The recovery took several months and during that time, Electric made sure that I was well cared for. I was able to take days off when I needed to, and the People + Engineering Team sent me a really thoughtful gift. Such support from the Team allowed me to focus on my recovery and feel confident about returning to work. "
"I'm a junior engineer and I was really hoping to find a company prepared to mentor someone. My coworkers at Electric have been very willing to answer questions and explain how things work, and I'm invited to discussions and encouraged to share my opinions as much as everyone else. The company as a whole is also incredibly welcoming -- it feels like there's a lot of active work done to maintain an inclusive culture, and people make a real effort to congratulate and celebrate successes and share them with everyone. I'm not sure they could've made me feel any more welcome, honestly. "
"I was the first engineer brought on fully remote after quarantine began. Electric did an amazing job, both professionally and culturally, of onboarding me into the team. Everyone was very helpful and more than willing to hop on a virtual coffee (or beer!) chat and certainly made the experience feel like I was at the office. "
"I've felt welcome everyday since day 1! Team members are excited about what we're building and our impact to help customers. They're happy to meet with you to discuss features, architecture, customer pain points, etc. Besides the engineering work, we have virtual social events, my manager has been a great supporter of our team's efforts and coworkers enjoy collaborating."
If you would like to talk with one of our female engineers let us know; we can put you in touch for an informal chat.
Rather than micromanaging or putting up a lot of controls, we trust our people to manage their time and energy and to figure out how to do their best work. Our managers appreciate and are fully aligned with this ethos.
If you need downtime, take it.
If you need help, ask for it.
If you need to work from home, do it.
If you need to learn something, go for it.
We recently had a team member who was visiting family and wanted to stay longer because of extenuating circumstances. When they extended their trip and worked remotely, they didn’t get push back, they just acted and kept their team in the loop so everyone knew they were working remotely for another week.
"Electric trusts me to make decisions around architecture and technologies that would impact my team and our engineering organization as a whole. Recently I was put in charge of our Quality council where I was given the autonomy to figure out a plan for implementing test coverage on our codebase. The first step was to implement integration tests for our frontend code base with Cypress. I was given the autonomy to run that project from proof of concept to implementation. "
"Electric has trusted me to be autonomous throughout my entire tenure here. I've had a lot of freedom in executing my projects and coordinating with stakeholders. My opinions are listened to and have helped shape my team's strategy."
As a company who focuses on personal and professional growth, there is tremendous opportunity to advance your career and skills. We’re growing fast, and by the end of the year we intend to have 25 engineers in NYC.
We always look internally before we hire externally. Two of our three engineering directors were our managers first. And three of our five engineering tech leads were first our engineers. Many of those same tech leads are on their way to becoming engineering managers by the end of the year.
We want our engineers to advance without having to go into a management track, and for that we have tech leads. Tech leads focus on advancing their skillset and leading the team from a technical standpoint. Their compensation is the same as our manager track. One of our senior engineers joined us a year ago, and now he is a tech lead and driving our entire move to a serverless architecture.
"I started as a Software Engineer and in just over a year I was promoted to Senior Software Engineer. To accomplish this, I sat down with my manager at the 1-year mark to assess my current performance and the key skills required for a senior position. After gaining clarity on what was required of me, I was challenged to step into a Tech Lead role where I oversaw and/or led day-to-day activities and initiatives for a Pod: overall tech direction, architecture, implementation decisions, cross-pod efforts & alignment, code quality, sprint planning, 1:1's with the engineers on my team. After exceeding or meeting expectations for these things and that of the like, I was gratefully promoted. "
"Generally, promotions beyond the senior level on the IC track are more involved and touch on a variety of competencies. To that end, I've been a tech lead for over a year now, have led 2 major projects, and just started a 3rd. In addition, I'm working on broader tech leadership aspects such as architecture, code quality, and observability. "