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Senior Backend Engineer, Content and Metadata

Scribd · Mar 21st 2020

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At Scribd (pronounced “scribbed”), we believe reading is more important than ever. Join our cast of unique characters as we build the world’s largest and most fascinating digital library: giving subscribers access to a growing collection of ebooks, audiobooks, magazines, documents, and more.

In addition to works from major publishers and top authors, we also create our own original content exclusively for Scribd users.

Our community includes over 1M subscribers in more than 190 countries. Join us in turning screen time into quality time!

Our team

The Content Engineering team is broadly responsible for catalog management and content metadata at Scribd. Supplying supplementary data to ebook and audiobook pages? That’s us. Ensuring that all user-uploaded documents are useful, accessible, and legally available? That’s us. Creating pipelines that build clean and well-structured data for Search, Recommendations, and Data Science to build amazing features from? That’s us. Analyzing user reading activity and translating them into publisher payouts? That’s us. We’re a spoke within Scribd, connecting many engineering, product, and publisher-focused teams through data.

The majority of the team is based in San Francisco but there’s a strong and growing remote contingent as well (much like Scribd overall). We use tools that emphasize asynchronous communication (Slack, Gitlab, Jira, Google Docs) and are ready and able to jump on a video call when text doesn’t cut it. Regardless of the medium, solid communication skills are a must. We operate with autonomy (developers closest to the code will make the most well-informed decisions) while holding ourselves and each other accountable for using good judgement when faced with each day’s unique challenges.

Our technical work is divided between our user-facing Rails application and our offline data warehouse (where much of our processing is done on top of Spark). Many of the systems we’re responsible for – document spam detection, document copyright detection, topic extraction and classification, sitemap generation, and translating user activity into publisher payouts, just to name a few – span both environments, so engineers regularly work within both. Though the tech stacks differ between environments, the engineering work in both is the same – create data pipelines to ingest, process, clean, and layout the metadata coming from publishers and other external sources, as well as create new metadata from our vast content base.

The role

As a Senior Backend Engineer, you’ve probably seen quite a bit in your career, and we want to leverage all of it. Software development will be your primary function, but we’ll expect you to contribute in a number of ways, including advising on technical design, reviewing code, participating in interviews, and mentoring less experienced engineers

When you are doing software development, you’ll be doing more than just coding a ticket handed to you. You’ll own the implementation, delivery, and operation of systems, end-to-end. You’ll consider testability, upgradeability, scale, and observability throughout the development process. You’ll regularly have one or two engineers following your lead, whose output you will be responsible for. On Content Engineering, a Senior Backend Engineer is a leader.

If you’ve been a senior engineer for a while and have been more focused on architectural concerns, cross-team initiatives, and other strategic endeavors, we have a place for you as well. Just know that this is a code-heavy role

Office or remote?

We have a wonderful new office in San Francisco, as well as smaller offices in Toronto and New York. If you live close to one of those you’ll find great people and a nice work environment.

If you don’t live near one of those offices, we’d still love to have you! Scribd is expanding its remote workforce with the goal of finding the best employees regardless of location. Being a remote employee means providing your own productive work environment. Being a remote employee means providing your own productive work environment, and everything else is pretty similar to being an office employee. We expect remote employees to have solid communication skills, good judgement, and demonstrable personal responsibility. We also expect the same from our in-office employees, so you’ll be in good company.

Nitpicky requirements

Backend Engineers on Content Engineering typically have:

  • 8+ years of experience as a professional software engineer
  • Experience or a strong interest in backend systems and data pipelines
  • Experience working with systems at Scribd’s current scale
  • Bachelor’s in CS or equivalent professional experience

We present these in order to detail the picture of what we’re looking for. Of course, every engineer brings something unique to the table, and we like nothing more than finding a diamond in the rough.

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