Engineering Spotlight

by adeptidstg 07/20/2023

In co-creation with VentureFizz, we connected with our Head of Engineering, Dan Smith, to get an inside look at AdeptID from an engineering and technology perspective.

Can you share a summary of what AdeptID does?

We build best-in-class data models and APIs to power modern talent applications. Our skills-based APIs can provide job seekers with new career opportunities, help employers discover hidden or disadvantaged talent, and help our customers build custom solutions built on their data and our machine learning expertise.

What are some of the different technologies that the engineering team gets to work with and at what scale?

Our system is deployed in Amazon (AWS) and uses a variety of technologies: S3, Cognito, RDS, EC2, Sagemaker, etc. Our data science and engineering teams work in Python 3 with a bit of C# used for performance-critical infrastructure.

What are some of the interesting projects that the engineering team is tackling?

We’re collaborating with IBM and other companies to help OneTen develop their career marketplace. OneTen’s mission is to hire, promote and advance one million Black individuals without four-year degrees into family-sustaining careers over the next ten years by taking a skills-first approach and focusing on competencies. We’re proud to participate in this important project.  

This week the team is also assembling a new GPU server farm to support our data science team. One of our talented engineers is assembling this hardware, and will then develop custom software to help manage the system and later deploy our models to the cloud. The final step will be monitoring our models in production to optimize their performance and reduce costs.

Does your engineering team have a chance to work on projects outside of their day-to-day responsibilities?

We don’t have time set aside to work on personal projects, but the entire team has the opportunity to work across our stack. In a given week, an engineer might work on a custom endpoint for a new customer, automate report generation for a second customer, build infrastructure to support our data science team, optimize the performance of a data model, or integrate our system with a new application monitoring platform.

What is the culture like at AdeptID for the engineering team?

The team enjoys working face-to-face and collaborating, with codes and contributions to the codebase from everyone. Because AdeptID is an early stage startup, working quickly and being flexible to change is important, but making mistakes is also OK so long as we’re learning and improving. We appreciate the opportunity to work on many different problems with a variety of technologies. Larger companies have us beat in scale (for now), but working at a startup accelerates how quickly everyone can learn.

What can a potential employee expect during the interview process?

We conduct interviews in a handful of ways. In an online interview, we share details about our mission, team, technology stack, and future plans. The candidate shares their professional goals, values, and recent projects. We give potential candidates a take-home coding challenge based on solving a typical problem using real-world data, and have an onsite interview at our offices in downtown Boston. Candidates are given an opportunity to meet everyone at the company over lunch, attend a company all-hands meeting, spend time with the founders learning about their plans and values, and receive feedback from the team on their take-home coding challenge. Candidates will also design a solution to a problem the team has been working on, then lead a discussion on their approach.

Our goal is to help candidates present the best version of themselves. As such, we avoid gotcha questions or quizzing on specific knowledge; we want to learn about their professional goals, understand how they solve problems, and see how they work within a team environment. A unique aspect of our interview process is that candidates can opt-in to receive feedback from the team on how they felt the interview went, how they might improve their interview skills, etc. I’ve had candidates contact me weeks after an interview to thank us for the feedback, which helped them get their next job.

Are you involved in any local tech organizations or Meetups?

Not currently. We are interested in supporting tech or diversity organizations, but have not re-engaged since COVID.

Rapid Fire Q&A

Q: Star Wars or Star Trek?

A: Tough choice. If I must choose one: Star Wars

Q: iPhone or Android?

A: iPhone, definitely iPhone.

Q: Coffee – hot or iced?

A: I grew up in the South, so I am a big fan of iced tea.

Q: Favorite employee perk?

A: Working from the office on MWF.

Q: What TV show describes the engineering team’s culture?

A: Hmm… I’m not up on current TV beyond documentaries and spy thrillers. Maybe, Animal Planet?

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