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Senior Web App Backend Engineer

Company: Instrumental Inc.
Location: Palo Alto
Posted on: January 12, 2022

Job Description:

About Instrumental:

Instrumental is a global electronics manufacturing optimization platform headquartered in Palo Alto, CA with offices in Shenzhen, China.

Founded by a team of ex-Apple engineers, Instrumental provides a collection of software technologies that enable brands and manufacturers to optimize their manufacturing process to cut waste by orders of magnitude compared to conventional solutions. This waste is non-trivial: 20 cents on every dollar spent in manufacturing is lost to mistakes, experiments, downtime, yield loss, scrap, and returns. Our customers are top electronics companies, including Motorola, Lenovo, Meraki, Bose, and others.

The Instrumental platform collects, intelligently transforms, and contextually presents manufacturing data to technical end-users, enabling them to close loops in their manufacturing process in real-time. Our core technology is proprietary ML algorithms. We leverage these through a clever user interface that enables Instrumental's users to rapidly deploy AI with no code and minimal training. Over the next few years, we will refine and amplify this value, while also moving into new market segments requiring even more investment in core tech.

The Instrumental product requires an engineering leader who prioritizes customer success through the performance and availability of the platform, great application usability, and the continuous delivery of features that unlock customer value.

Summary of Position:

Instrumental provides a web application to our customers where they can interact with data from their assembly lines. As a backend engineer, you will extend this web app with new ways for customers to learn from and add to that data. You'll also work on internal tools that help our machine learning and operations teams deliver great customer experiences. You'll have significant autonomy to help define and implement these high-impact solutions.

Our web app's frontend and backend are separate codebases that communicate via APIs. This role is only expected to focus on the backend, which includes a number of web services written in Scala with Play Framework. Experience with Scala is not required, though we do expect applicants to be familiar with developing web services and to be comfortable working with a JVM language (e.g. Java).

We value best practices. For example, we practice infrastructure-as-code; we have robust tests; we have a straightforward and frequent deployment process; and we have good monitoring with useful alarms.

What Success Looks Like in This Role:

  • Solving problems through clean, concise, and well-tested code
  • Leading an endeavor to improve customer experience, expand our data pipeline, expose new APIs, or scale our infrastructure, taking product specifications through the prototyping phase to production-ready solutions
  • Communicating progress in the development cycle from sprint planning to daily stand-ups to retrospectives
  • Growing as an engineer by learning from others and by becoming somebody that people go to for technical help
  • Gaining real-world knowledge of the manufacturing domain and how our software helps
  • We're looking for someone who is thorough and internally motivated. Someone who cares about getting the details right, but recognizes the benefits of feedback-driven iteration. Someone who will strive to see their work from our users' perspectives
  • Prior experience with manufacturing is not expected. Prior experience with functional programming (for example in Scala, Haskell, OCaml, etc.) is a bonus

    • 5+ years of professional experience writing and maintaining stable production-quality web services
    • Comfortability working in a JVM language like Java, Scala, Clojure, or Kotlin
    • Comfortability working with SQL databases (we use PostgreSQL) - including things like designing schemas for scale and optimizing complex JOINs
    • Familiarity with web security to spot risks of common vulnerabilities like SQL injection, XSS, CSRF, etc. in code reviews
    • Experience tackling scaling pitfalls for web services, preferably with a JVM language, for example having to do with the JVM itself or with distributed systems
    • Ability to break down broad user requirements into smaller actionable engineering tasks
    • Cares about attention-to-details, but recognizes the benefits of feedback-driven iteration
    • Enjoys the energy of a small team pushing the needle in a dynamic industry
    • Commitment and desire to continue growing as an engineer (weekly engineering sessions - maybe lead some of these sessions)


      At Instrumental, we aim to build a great company that is also a great place to work. We look for diverse teammates with low ego, who are excited about our mission to modernize manufacturing, and who naturally take ownership of their work and build up others. Then we pursue inclusion and equity. To help Instrumentalists grow and thrive, we are also proud to offer the following benefits:
      • Competitive, market-based salary commensurate with experience including stock options
      • Professional development and learning opportunities
      • Stay healthy and happy through our comprehensive medical, dental and vision insurance including other ancillary benefits
      • Save for the future with our 401(k) program + matching
      • Take time away from the office through our Flexible Time Off and 70 hours of annual sick pay
      • We are committed to fostering a positive work-life balance culture
      • Be a part of a community and take part in our company and team outings
      • We are a "Growth Culture" that provides opportunities for career advancement in a fast-growing company

        In addition, we work hard on transparency. For example, you'll learn what's going on throughout the company at all-hands meetings every two weeks, and we have regular knowledge-sharing and demo events. You can read about our interview process - it's designed to understand what it would be like to work together with empathy, not to surprise you or put you on the spot.

        Not sure you tick all the boxes? We encourage you to apply. We have a culture of learning, and if this job description sounds exciting, we'd love to hear from you.

        Instrumental recruits, employs, trains, compensates and promotes regardless of race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, family status, veteran status, and other protected status as required by applicable law.

Keywords: Instrumental Inc., Palo Alto , Senior Web App Backend Engineer, Engineering , Palo Alto, California

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