Coming out of Stanford to start Aster Data five years back, my co-founders and I had to answer a lot of questions. What kind of an engineering team do we want to build? Do we want people experienced in systems or databases? Do we want to hire people from Oracle or another established organization? When you’re just starting a company, embarking on a journey that you know will have many turns, answers are not obvious.
What we ended up doing very early on is bet on intelligent, smart and adaptable engineers, as opposed to experience or a long resume. It turned out that this was the right thing to do because, as a startup, we had react to market needs and change our focus at a blink of an eye. Having a team of people that were used to tackling never-seen-before problems made us super-agile as a product organization. As the company grew, we ended up having a mix of people that combined expertise in certain areas and core engineering talent. But the culture of the company was set in stone even though we didn’t realize it: even today our interview process expects talent, intelligence and flexibility to be there and strongly complement the experience our candidates may have.
There are three things that are great about being an engineer at Aster Data:
Our Technology Stack is Really Tall.
We have people working right above the Kernel on filesystems, workload management, I/O performance, etc. We have many challenging problems that involve very large scale distributed systems – and I’m talking about the whole nine yards, including performance, reliability, manageability, and data management at scale. We have people working on database algorithms from the I/O stack to the SQL planner to no-SQL planners. And we have a team of people working on data mining and statistical algorithms on distributed systems (this is our “quant”? group since people there come with a background in physics as much as computer science). It’s really hard to get bored or stop learning here.
We Build Real Enterprise Software.
There’s a difference between the software one would write in a company like Aster Data versus a company like Facebook. Both companies write software for big data analysis. However, a company like Facebook solves their problem (a very big problem, indeed) for themselves and each engineer gets to work on a small piece of the pie. At Aster Data we write software for enterprises and due to our relatively small size each engineer makes a world of a difference. We also ship software to third-party people and they expect our software to be out-of-the-box resilient, reliable and easy to manage/debug. This makes the problem more challenging but also gives us great leverage: once we get something right, not one, nor two, but potentially hundreds or thousands of companies can benefit from our products. The impact of the work of each engineer at Aster Data is truly significant.
We’re Working on (Perhaps) the Biggest IT Revolution of the 21st Century.
Big Data. Analytics. Insights. Data Intelligence. Commodity hardware. Cloud/elastic data management. You name it. We have it. When we started Aster Data in 2005 we just wanted to help corporations analyze the mountains of data that they generate. We thought it was a critical problem for corporations if they wanted to remain competitive and profitable. But the size and importance of data grew beyond anyone’s expectations over the past few years. We can probably thank Google, Facebook and the other internet companies for demonstrating to the world what data analytics can do. Given the importance and impact of our work, there’s no ceiling on how successful we can become.
You’ve probably guessed it by now, but the reason I’m telling you all this is to also tell you that we’re hiring. If you think you have what it takes to join such an environment, I’d encourage you to apply. We get many applications daily so the best way to get an interview here is through a recommendation and referral. With tools like LinkedIn (who happens to be a customer) it’s really easy to explore your network. My LinkedIn profile is here, so see if we have a professional or academic connection. You can also look at our management team, board of directors, investors and advisors to see if there are any connections there. If there’s no common connection, feel free to email your resume to email@example.com. However, to stand out I’d encourage you to tell us a couple of words about what excites you about Aster Data, large scale distributed systems, databases, analytics and/or startups that work to revolutionize an industry, and why you think you’ll be successful here. Finally, take a look at the events we either organize or participate in – it’s a great way to meet someone from our team and explain why you’re excited to join our quest to revolutionize data management and analytics.