Remote Principal (Senior) Engineer at The Explanation Company

Time zones: EST (UTC -5), CST (UTC -6), MST (UTC -7), PST (UTC -8)

The Explanation Company is hiring a Principal Engineer who may act as a Site Reliability Engineer till the day that we rent a devoted SRE. We’re a small staff so it’s vital that we rent individuals who can play a number of roles. We’re in search of somebody to carry deep expertise on planning for scale, diagnosing efficiency points, and web site safety—whereas nonetheless with the ability to contribute code, each for brand spanking new options & refactoring, when applicable. Our backend language is Ruby on Rails so we’re in search of somebody with this expertise, however a part of scaling could also be implementing key options in different languages. This is a distant position becoming a member of a totally distant staff.

We’re constructing an web app for youngsters that allows them to video name their mates and search the net. There are a billion youngsters on the earth who now have an web gadget and the prevailing communication & browser apps don’t work effectively for youths. This is a chance to scale a brand new video calling app from the bottom up with an skilled staff who is aware of methods to construct superb merchandise. You’ll be becoming a member of on the enjoyable second the place our product is getting traction with customers and we’ve began to expertise rising pains as issues scale up.

About The Work


In this position, you’ll be working alongside three different senior engineers constructing a cellular app in React Native with a heavy server part (in Rails). All three engineers have deep expertise as full stack product engineers, working throughout internet and cellular improvement. Our engineers have effectively organized code, a strong steady integration pipeline, and are aware about gradual queries and extreme API calls. You aren’t entering into a multitude that wants cleansing up. Instead, we’re wanting so as to add somebody to the staff who may also help with the subsequent layer of efficiency optimization and reliability. In this position you’ll take the lead on diagnosing rivalry points inside the database, optimizing HTTP request routing to keep away from request queuing, and determining a failover technique to keep away from downtime when an availability zone goes down.

An enormous a part of your job is contemplating and mitigating all of the issues that would go improper earlier than they do, in order that our system operations stays as boring as attainable. We know that making it in order that methods simply run is difficult work that may profit from deep expertise within the area.

Part of the work contains being out there for on-call obligation, for these occasions when one thing we didn’t anticipate occurs. With good planning, it will likely be uncommon that you simply’re woken up in the course of the evening. But the height utilization of our product is on evenings and weekends, so once we do have points they often happen throughout these hours. For this position it’s vital that your work hours can flex relying on what we have now occurring and that you would be able to typically regulate issues, even when off work. This just isn’t a very good position for somebody who wants extremely common hours and desires to completely unplug when off work. We’ll be working to remain one step forward, but when issues go effectively, there will likely be busy occasions.

To provide you with a clearer image of what the job might entail, our server backend is an API-only Ruby app utilizing Rails. Our frontend is React Native utilizing Typescript and the Expo library. We’re at the moment hosted on Heroku with Postgres and Redis. We use Docker for key methods comparable to our GitHub Actions CI pipeline.

Here are actual examples of labor we’re prioritizing within the close to future:

  • Dig into NewRelic (or your most popular software) to give you a plan for maintaining 95% of API calls beneath 500 ms and 99% of our API calls beneath 1 second. Also, develop a very good understanding of the outliers and why they happen.
  • Figure out why some a few of our queries sometimes take a surprisingly very long time to return, despite the fact that they’re quick 99% of the time and we’ve coated all of the fundamentals (e.g. SQL EXPLAIN to verify indexes, affirm indexes are loaded in ram, and no desk locks).
  • Evaluate the potential of our video calling and texting API suppliers to verify they will meet our capability wants, reliability targets, and that we begin together with them in our capability planning.
  • Develop a plan for spreading our site visitors throughout a number of areas comparable to contemplating a master-master Postgresql setup.
  • Deciding once we ought to transfer to an on-prem servers that we management to keep away from among the complexity of constructing within the cloud.
  • Refactor our cellular push notifications to incorporate payload information to be able to cut back API calls we make to our server. Currently, we ship a push notification to a consumer, they open our app and we question our server to retrieve information. This is an instance of a process which might contact backend Rails, front-end React Native code to obtain the push payload and proactively replace a front-end information retailer.
  • Architect and implement an inner library for sending a lot of SMS messages. We might want to ship periodic blasts to a lot of individuals. This can be carried out in Rails, more than likely on prime of Sidekiq for queuing and Postgresql for message historical past. We additionally want an inner interface for different elements of the applying to ship & allow replies to one-off SMS as an interactive expertise. For instance, children would possibly take an motion within the app, we textual content their mother and father to say, “Jonny wants to do video call X, please reply Yes if this okay?”

About You

You’re somebody who has been doing this work for awhile. You’ve had years of your profession the place you had been targeted on programming, doing all features of bringing a brand new product to life. You are skilled with the Rails framework, with Ruby, and with the layers of full-stack internet improvement: HTTP, HTML, JavaScript, and CSS. You even have a number of expertise with a pair information shops. We use Postgresql and Redis, however it’s okay in case your expertise is with completely different ones. You’re somebody who is sweet at ramping up with a brand new software.

You’ve additionally had years of your profession the place you had been primarily targeted on scaling methods and determining methods to work round previous structure choices which are arduous to undo. You’ve executed fundamental load testing and safety audits—and know when to usher in extra skilled individuals. You’re snug organising a devoted server from scratch and managing it in a manufacturing setting.

You’re snug with distant work since it is a distant position. Our full staff of six-people are unfold throughout 4 timezones within the United States and Canada. To make sure that time zones overlap with our staff, we’re seeking to rent somebody primarily based within the continental US or Canada.

You’re somebody who’s a robust communicator. You are good at speaking by way of issues verbally with teammates, explaining a fancy concept. And you’re additionally a transparent and concise author, each in long-form proposals and in code.

The Company

At The Explanation Company, we’re getting down to deal with an enormous problem: we’re constructing out the lacking web instruments for youngsters. As a grown-up, it’s simple to take with no consideration that everytime you marvel one thing or need to ask a buddy a query, you pull out your cellphone and have a solution in seconds. Children who’re 10 years previous and youthful have been left behind by this and we’re going to repair this. We’re making it attainable for youngsters to independently lookup something they’re inquisitive about and to independently talk with mates.

We’re a well-funded startup backed by among the best funding funds so we have now the runway to tug this off, however we’re early in constructing the staff and shaping our tradition.

Our tradition is quick paced, targeted on getting issues executed. We make huge plans, establish the core assumptions in these plans, and take small steps rapidly to attempt to validate these assumptions. The quantity of labor we have to get executed with the small staff we have now is a little bit nuts, so we have now to seek out intelligent shortcuts to tug this off. If you are in search of work-life stability, this is not the place. At this early stage you may have an enormous scope of accountability, however it additionally implies that issues will come up at odd hours and you will be the go-to particular person for these.

Our tradition is one the place the enjoyable of the work comes from fixing arduous issues with amazingly proficient colleagues. If your core motivation is to “work on something that’s good for the world”, this isn’t the place for that. That’s not our lens so it will be higher to seek out an schooling or healthcare startup. We are a proud for-profit firm, though with a very-long time period mindset. Our purpose is to succeed in as many youngsters as we are able to, whereas producing a wholesome income within the course of and constructing an awesome enterprise, as our means to maximise impression.

You can anticipate finding teammates who belief you and assist you, so you are able to do your finest work. You’ll be given a excessive diploma of autonomy and be anticipated to determine issues out, each when targeted on long-term tasks and when advert hoc requests come up.

As a staff, we’re desirous to find out about issues we don’t perceive. We problem one another’s concepts, however we accomplish that respectfully. We have a bias for motion, so we’re fast to attempt an concept slightly than spend an excessive amount of time debating it within the summary. We recognize individuals who have sturdy opinions and share these, however we additionally decide to transferring ahead after a call is made even when everybody doesn’t agree. As an organization, we keep away from having political conversations internally and don’t weigh in on politics publicly, until instantly associated to our enterprise. We’re in search of teammates who’re right here to do nice work on constructing nice merchandise for youths, and who reserve advocating for societal change for out of doors of the office.


The Team

A bit of background on a few of your key colleagues:

Keith Schacht, our CEO

Keith was the co-founder and CEO of Mystery Science which offered to Discovery Education in 2020. Prior to this, he was a product supervisor at Facebook, first main News Feed after which main Messenger. Keith is an skilled entrepreneur who has began and had exits for a number of corporations. As a colleague, he is an engineer concerned in a number of key structure choices and sometimes steps in as a designer and development hacker.

David Vinca, our President

David leads operations on the firm. He was beforehand the founder and CEO of eSpark Learning, a software program firm that helps elementary college children be taught studying and math. eSpark grew to serve 1 out of each 4 elementary faculties within the United States. Prior to this he was a administration marketing consultant. David has two children, Devin and Nyla who enthusiastically use the corporate’s product.

Anand Chhatpar, our Founding Engineer

Anand is a full-stack product engineer. He was beforehand at Mystery Science as the expansion lead. There, he was instrumental in growing core features of the corporate’s technique for buying clients which contributed to it changing into essentially the most extensively used science useful resource in faculties throughout the nation. Prior to Mystery, Anand based three corporations together with a shopper app firm that acquired 20M customers. He’s a generalist engineer with a particular expertise for fast options to issues and discovering artistic methods for a product to unfold.

Nick Bonatsakis, our Founding Engineer

Nick can be a full-stack product engineer who specializes on the cellular aspect. He beforehand based an organization constructing a set of iOS and Android apps which acquired greater than one million installs. He was additionally an early engineer at Brightcove with expertise in video and audio. Nick has a robust product sense and with younger youngsters of his personal, he is well-calibrated on children.

To Apply

If you are intrigued by this chance, we might love to listen to from you!

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