After a long day of interviews, I wrapped up with a candidate the other day. Among other things, I tend to ask our guests what they’ve learned about the team, the position, and the company. Turns out, this particular candidate kept a close tab on her interviewers and noticed that all of them had Ph.D. degrees in databases or a closely related field. “So, what’s up with that?” she asked, “Is this a requirement for the job?”
Well, fact is, about 30% of our core engine development team are Ph.D.’s – with even higher numbers in some teams. Having said this, it might sound a bit unbelievable but we actually do not care much about degrees. So, how come we have such a high density of Ph.D.’s?
Well, it’s easy to confuse cause and symptom. Remember, I’ve written in the past about what kind of people I’m looking to hire: smart people who get stuff done. And although I value experience in engineers, it ranks lower than raw smarts and attitude – I know that’s quite a contrast to most of our competitors: the more established a company becomes the more it slows down and focuses on tried-and-true rather than on can-do.
Anyhow, what really matters is education – formal nor not – and attitude. People who find pleasure in solving hard problems and come up with elegant solutions that will enable not only products but also lay the foundation to addressing the next harder set of problems.
Not quite coincidentally, people with this sort of mindset are often the same people who are pursuing an advanced degree. Naturally, once they are done they are looking for new challenges – and that’s where we come in. If you’ve seen our UAP pitch lately you noticed we’re quite proud of the teams we build and the results they produce; be it in the area of analytics and statistics or core engineering. We do like to take on hard problems and celebrate success!
By the way, if you find yourself in the above description, are passionate about building systems, and happen to be graduating soon, shoot me an email with your resume and we’ll take it from there!