Interesting Data Gigs # 14: Staff Software Engineer - Big Data Platform at Rippling
Help to build the Employee Management System of the Future
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Hello Data people.
Today, we will be discussing a very interesting role in one of my favorite companies out there: Staff Software Engineer - Data Platform at Rippling.
Let’s talk about some interesting facts about Rippling
First things first: Rippling is Parker Conrad’s “Third Act“, and I truly love that.
Because Parker is a very experienced founder who has experienced almost everything as an entrepreneur.
So, let me tell you why you should work side by side with Parker and his crew at Rippling:
He has deep expertise and knowledge about the problems he is solving with Rippling, thanks to his former company Zenefits
He has learned from his mistakes and is taking the industry by storm.
He has assembled a very interesting team there, where former founders are welcome to drive the direction of a suite of products
Brad Armstrong, SVP of Business and Corporate Development at Rippling wrote about it:
All former founders at Rippling are placed in positions to do their best work. Some run entire products and teams within Rippling.
We believe that giving former founders autonomy, plus access to all the existing teams and tools within Rippling helps create genuinely better products.
It’s how we can engineer all the interrelated facets of a compound startup and have them work together seamlessly.
And Parker feels the same:
But, let’s talk about the actual problems that Rippling is solving right now.
This team is building the Employee Management System of the Future literally.
Allow me to explain to you what this means, or even better, just watch how Garry Tan introduced Rippling in his incredible conversation with Parker on his YouTube channel:
If you're running a company one of the things you've probably noticed is there's a lot of menial admin work it takes hours to onboard new employees and with org chart changes or sending out annual reminders for training it's a ton of work.
So it's no wonder that most startup founders simply can't afford to deal with that mountain of paperwork that has to be handled manually.
That's where Rippling comes in founded in 2018 the company's mission is to create a single system for employee information that companies can plug and play right into hr and payroll software might be unsexy but the total market is actually going to be 35 billion dollars.
In the next six years, Ripling's platform allows for one-click hiring payroll benefits training and a lot more than that actually we're gonna find out today it's one of the biggest and best redemption stories I've ever seen Rippling already grown to be valued at 6.5 billion dollars in just the four years since we were the first investor we're proud to be one of the earliest believers and one of the best founders I've ever met Parker Conrad.
Let's get started
The company now is valued at $11.25 Billion, after the raising of its Series D of $250 Million, co-led by Bedrock and Kleiner Perkins, and the total funding until this date is $700 Million.
But it’s like Bedrock wrote here: Rippling is built different:
All of the above created the perfect – albeit unfortunate – set of conditions for Rippling to be radically underestimated by most venture capitalists at the outset; save for a few wise seed investors.
What so few understood then – but what has been powerfully proven out over time – is that Parker Conrad is one of very few individuals on the planet with the capacity to channel being scapegoated – an ugly act – into something beautiful: the creation of a product so transformational – and the construction of a team so extraordinary – that all of us at Bedrock are certain Rippling will bend reality for decades to come.
By the time he incorporated Rippling on May 10, 2016, Parker Conrad had been forged by a set of experiences so extreme, so trying, and so specific that they could only be healthily channeled into one thing; building this specific company.
Parker is built different.
When you see a founder with that tough skin and that drive, the wise move is to actually help to build that rocketship, and boy: Rippling is firing at all cylinders, and the last proof of that is the launch of Rippling Spend Management, part of what they call as the Rippling Finance Cloud with now three suites of products: Spend Management, Corporate Cards, Payroll and Bill Pay (not launched yet).
But the real deal here is the whole platform:
Can you imagine that with all those separated systems, you can actually “merge them” into a single platform? That’s the beauty of Rippling here.
They are truly building something different here. As Parker shared at Forbes:
Conrad’s thesis is that by connecting traditional HR and IT tools like payroll and device management with the financial component of the business, customers are able to save time and unlock insights that would be unavailable were the data to be housed in different products.
For example, Rippling can automatically decline employees’ attempts to purchase Microsoft Office if the company prefers that they use Google’s Workspace instead.
It can create a one-off corporate credit card for remote employees who plan to fly into a company’s headquarters for a holiday party. For someone like Conrad who tracks every expense, the software can automatically approve expenses based on HR data like how long the employee has worked at a company.
It might also flag the expenses of an employee that were especially high compared to their colleagues.
With its new offering, Rippling is challenging both buzzy corporate card startups like Brex (last valued at $12.3 billion), and more established fintechs like bookkeeping company Bill.com (market capitalization of $15.1 billion) and expense manager Expensify ($1.2 billion).
“I think that the difference between us and these other businesses is that most of them don’t have the depth of understanding of employee data that our own native products will,” Conrad said.
This is the big win here: what they called the Employee Graph.
So, it’s the perfect time to join this rocketship, my friend.
Let’s talk about the position
Let’s analyze the job description first:
About The Role
Rippling is the system of record for employee data - a complete Employee Management System. To solve this broad problem, a variety of applications and datasets need to come together as a graph connected through the employee record at its center. The graph needs to be represented in a data lake represented in forms efficient for variety of user requests to be processed on that data.
We need a data platform to make it easy to add all forms of data into this data lake, perform various transformations and query efficiently for a variety of online and offline use cases. You will be working on building this distributed data platform, defining key APIs, designing to scale, high availability, and handling both streaming and batch scenarios.
At Rippling, we want users to configure and customize our features/products without complexity. Therefore, we’ve created a new language called Rippling Query Language (RQL) which is used across the product. You will be working to scale RQL on top of the data platform using distributed query processing engines (Apache Presto), and a distributed datastore (Apache Pinot).
There are several insights here:
The Employee Graph
Rippling Query Language
What You'll Do:
Work on distributed processing engines and distributed databases.
Create data platforms, data lakes, and data ingestion systems that work at scale.
Build custom programming languages within the Rippling Platform.
Design, develop, code, and test software systems, improvements, products and user-facing experiences
Leverage big data technologies like Apache Presto, Apache Pinot, Apache Ray, Flink, and Airflow.
They continued sharing more of the tech stack there: Apache Ray, Flink and Airflow. But I visited another similar position and I found this:
At Rippling, to support various use cases we use Redis, Mongo, Postgres to serve APIs, Kafka for streaming, Apache Pinot and Apache Presto for OLAP, and S3 and Snowflake for data lake and warehousing.
This means that Rippling is an AWS shop, and for all the insights here: this is a very important role for the future of the company, due to you will build some of the data-related foundations for the business.
So, let’s share some ideas on how to approach this application
Let’s discuss two ideas on how to approach this job application (THE REAL MEAT)
Idea # 1: Get familiar with the tech stack
I know that is a lot of things to think about here, but you should read at least about some of the underlying tech here, and of course: identify ways to accelerate the speed of innovation at Rippling, or a way to save money on the ops.
My first advice if you are using Amazon Web Services is the same: Use AWS Graviton.
I will let you some resources to read about it:
High-Performance SQL: AWS Graviton2 Benchmarks with Presto and Treasure Data CDP
Amazon ElastiCache now supports M6g and R6g Graviton2-based instances
Key considerations in moving to Graviton2 for Amazon RDS and Amazon Aurora databases
Rippling’s team loves speed and cost savings, so Graviton is perfect for it.
Idea # 2: Find ways to save money on AWS Bills at Rippling
There are so many ways to save money with AWS, but I’m a practical man, so I will let you one of my favorite ones to do it:
and my personal favorite: Migrate your Amazon EBS volumes from gp2 to gp3 and save up to 20% on costs
Rippling is in the business of efficiency and time saving, so you can do both if you take these ideas and implement them.
Idea # 3: Reach out to the Rippling team
It's always a good idea to chat with someone from the company. So, I will let some members of the team here:
Rishab Hegde (Product Lead at Rippling)
Louis Hellman (Product Lead at Rippling)
Vahid Fazel-Rezai (Product Lead at Rippling)
Himank Yadav (co-founder of Reploy, acquired by Rippling)
Neha Deshmukh (Software Engineer at Rippling)
Albert Strasheim (CTO and SVP of Engineering)
Good luck with your application, buddy.
Interesting resources of the week
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