Working in Engineering at Plastiq

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We believe Plastiq Engineering is a unique environment for technologists. We are a small startup company, but we have to meet the security and reliability expectations of a large financial institution. We are a small Engineering team, but the software platform we are building processes billions of dollars in payments from millions of users. Our diverse team includes Engineers who just started their careers in the last few years working alongside startup and financial industry veterans who have been building great software for 15+ years. We have the lowest attrition rate of any startup we know in the area (only 1 Engineer has departed Plastiq in the last 2.5 years).

We are headquartered in San Francisco, the epicenter of technology for the world. We exist in an environment with intense competition from larger, well established companies who can offer high cash compensation, stability and brand name recognition. We differentiate ourselves by offering a great experience to Engineers that they cannot get at those large companies.

If you are a rockstar Engineer, consider this – you can absolutely join one of those large brand name companies, and you will have a good career – but, you won’t get to have a big impact. With large companies, the impact of any one individual is limited, and seeing/experiencing that impact is even more difficult. At Plastiq, you will get to see immediate linkage between your work and its impact on our company. Engineers work on software today that has an impact on our users today (Continuous Delivery is part of our key Engineering Principles). At Plastiq, our Engineers get great flexibility on what they work on – as a small, growing company, our Engineers get to change roles and responsibilities every few months, learning new technologies, building new parts to our system.

 

Here are some key aspects of our culture that differentiate us from all the other options great Engineers have:

  1. We value large contiguous blocks of time so we can focus on building software. To ensure that we have a strict “No meetings after 12pm” – any meetings with Engineers MUST happen before then, so the entire afternoon is free for focusing on building. I will elaborate much more on why we do this in a separate blog post.
  2. We sync up as a group every day, at 10am, for our Daily checkpoint meeting. We talk about our progress, problems and plans. All our Engineers are encouraged to be self-starters and owners who drive their assigned work to completion – this daily checkpoint is an opportunity to raise up what is blocking you from delivering, and solicit help and support from the rest of the team. It’s a daily opportunity for us to take stock of where we are and pivot as necessary.
  3. We value work-life balance – it takes years of hard work to become an overnight success. Building a company is a marathon not a sprint. We believe in pacing ourselves. We do work hard. Sometimes we need to go the extra mile. But we deliberately take time out when we need it. And we care most about getting the work done Prefer to work from home to tackle a really hairy part of a solution? No problem. Need to take the afternoon off to run personal errands, and pick up your work at 8pm at night? Great. As long as the work gets done, we don’t mind.
  4. We care about quality – all Engineers are expected to write and build tests to validate their functionality. The responsibility for quality is on each of us. If a QA engineer finds an issue with our new code, we get embarrassed. If our new code breaks the build, we bring donuts to the team as a peace offering at the next morning’s 10am checkpoint meeting.
  5. We care about teamwork – the engineers get together periodically for what we call “War Room Wednesday”, where we take a topic/problem/project and work on it together as a team in the same room. We have covered topics as diverse as local dev environment setup in Docker, prototyping integrations from Plastiq to accounting systems, building integration tests for our payments flow, building an in-app framework for marketing new features/suggestions to our users, and more.

 

 

At Plastiq we hold a regular “Plastiq Engineering Open House” event, where we welcome Engineers from all backgrounds to come and visit our offices, meet some of the team and talk tech over some beer/wine/pizza. If you’d like to come along, just reach out to our recruiting team and they will add you to the invite list for our next open house.

Author

Head of Technology at Plastiq

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