Stop by @TheLadders for some @Java

Posted by Todd Hoza

January 12, 2012

If you are a Lead Java Engineer (code monkey or hands-on manager)…or…a Senior Front-End Architect…or a wee bit less senior Java Engineer, I want you to know about TheLadders – both our development environment and our social mission (to help people manage their careers).

But first I’d like to talk about the 3 types of technology companies who hire developers…one of them is TheLadders:

One type is those with a sexy name, lots of funding, and a great social buzz; everyone wants to work at one of these “west coast”-like firms and discussions about the stack often produce religiously fervent comments. This isn’t TheLadders – although we do have many of the same perks.

Then there are those where the product or service doesn’t set the tech world on fire; the stack isn’t a featured discussion on code forums and programming is as essential as plumbing is to a house. But the programming challenges aren’t going to be ones that set the code forums on fire either. This is definitely not TheLadders.

TheLadders is the final type of tech organization. Despite the stack not receiving top public billing, it is architecture, programming, and SQA that enable our job-seeking customers to receive highly customized career content. Everyone knows someone who is looking for work or simply a better career opportunity; these are our customers and our mission is to help them succeed.

In a nutshell, there are three types of developers TheLadders is interested in:

    • Those with a keen interest in the scientific end of programming. You will be charged with designing and developing software to make content recommendations to users (AKA customer merchandizing).

    • Those with a keen interest in UX programming. This is where the customer merchandizing piece becomes interesting and focuses on the architecture and building of lightweight mashups.

    • Those with a keen interest in “plumbing” programming. Here the work revolves around architectural patterns and scalability particularly SOA.

Do you fall into one or more of these buckets and have a desire to architect and build a high-volume, SaaS platform that helps people identify and achieve their career goals? Are you the kind of engineer who wishes you were also a product manager? Do you prefer to work in a fast-paced, open environment where innovation and participation is encouraged through blogging, custom tool development, hack-day events and other out-of-the-box techniques?

If so, you will love it at TheLadders.

Our Software Development Story

To know where you will go when you pick TheLadders, it helps to know how much we improved. During 2011, our technology team:

    • Implemented the groundwork for SOA

    • Successfully modeled the core domains (jobs, jobseekers, recruiters) that will be incorporated into 2012 front-end/back-end development efforts

    • Developed a Continuous Deployment Roadmap that shortened deployment cycle time from every 2 weeks (requiring 6+ hours) to 2-3 times per week (requiring 30 minutes-1 hour)

    • Increased overall test coverage from fully manual to fully automated during development

    • Introduced Scala into the stack

In 2012, technology will continue to drive improvements in our product development environment and will likely involve new architectures, stack changes, and delivery platforms. Perhaps you’ve been part of large scale efforts to make these changes happen; if so, then you’ll like what you’re going to read next.

Although the stack is heavily oriented towards Java leveraging Spring and built upon Soir/Lucene, MySQL, and Avro – meaning you know Java, the JVM and the ecosystem of supporting tools and libraries – we’re becoming more code agnostic (you will probably have a say in what stack will become).

On the front-end, it’s JQuery, HTML5, CSS3, JS, JSTL, JSP tags, and associated frameworks not to mention the potential use of Backbone, Ember , Less, Sass, Node, Mustache, Handlebars, haml-js, Coffeescript, and Sinatra. What else should we be looking at?

What’s important to us is that you’ve embraced and are active in the open source community; you’re willing to debate and discuss architecture and stacks; your coding style is best described by others as “craftsman”-like in style and quality.


The Positions

Hands-on Front-end Architect

You must be a natural-born problem-solver with exceptional hands-on technical skills. We’ve moving to a REST service-based architecture which will be a large factor in our applications future capabilities.

This role is all about leading us into the future, and we are definitely open to change. This role will be charged with guiding our front-end architecture as we grow and build new products. You will be a decision maker on what frameworks we use, how we build web applications, and ultimately determine what web app development at TheLadders looks like in the future.

Your job will be to help us build highly interactive, visually compelling solutions that will guide our customers to the right opportunities or individuals, and surface and merchandise candidates and careers in the most flattering and authentic light.  This is not a job-board development role; this is a chance to create a new product in a category with a solid social mission – helping people manage their careers by delivering them with customized career content.

You will be working in a young team that will appreciate your wisdom, experience, and creative problem-solving skills but also likes to debate, push back, and discuss options. You’ll be given the autonomy to make the important decisions that will drive front-end development; you will not work for a boss who hovers over you.


Lead Software Engineer (could be a Manager)

You are already a real software development leader in your Scrum and you are comfortable with challenging your team – and yourself – to make better strategic and tactical decisions. You have shipped large projects working as part of a cohesive team…and you can point to them online.

You enjoy mentoring younger team members in an XP environment and take pride in seeing them mature into future engineering leaders. You abide by the “best tool for the job” approach to selecting technologies and languages. You are known for the beauty of your code and are an evangelist for craftsman-like programming.

Your job will be to contribute to the end-to-end implementation of our highest profile projects especially those that focus on the ultra-complex goal of making content recommendations to users.

As a leader in the group – again, you can be a code monkey or a hands-on manager, you will suggest tools and best practices that will continuously improve the quality of design and implementation as well as site performance.

Finally, you’ll have the chance to leave your mark by helping us to staff, grow, and cultivate a very-high performing engineering team.


Java Engineers

Both front-end and back-end teams are also looking for less senior developers who enjoy the Scrum, thrive in technology-driven environments, and are looking for places to make a mark (TheLadders is a meritocracy – you are recognized for what you do not how many years of experience you bring). I’ve written about the contents of the stack and the development environment earlier; interested?


Next Step?

Email me about your interest; send a resume if you’d like. There’s no relocation per se because frankly the New York Metro area has plenty of incredible Java programmers. I’ll be happy to talk to you about the role of interest and answer all your questions.

In the end, TheLadders is all about high-tech meeting high-touch and making a difference. If you’ve read this far, I’m guessing this is what you’re looking for…

Steve Levy is Principal of outside-the-box Consulting and works as the Lead Technology Recruiter at TheLadders. He's focused on recruiting, career counseling, social media, and organizational development consulting; he has been referred to as “the recruiting industry’s answer to Tom Peters”.

Topics: TheLadders Dev