7 Chicago Companies That Are Currently Hiring Engineers

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A group of employees at Vouch pose together in front of company banners.
Vouch

Having a passion project can be a creative and fulfilling enterprise. But it’s not often that project is anything more than a personal endeavor on your own time – and certainly not one that contributes to your professional career. 

These seven tech leaders would beg to differ.

By having a diverse tech stack that satisfies specific team needs, engineers are approaching challenging projects with excitement in order to improve current company processes. Tackling these challenges from an innovative perspective also encourages team members to come together and let their unique capabilities shine.

Brad Beiermann, vice president of technology at Everspring, said his team is striving to achieve a narrower technology footprint while simultaneously launching new products in order to streamline their future methods.

Both Topstep and Vouch are transitioning from monolithic architecture methods to microservices in order to scale individual services for improved development. Supriya Kaledhonkar, senior engineering manager at Vouch, said she enjoys this process because it will allow a product to be deployed to market faster and more frequently.

Approaching challenges with a thoroughly tested tech stack keeps things interesting. They require deep knowledge that would be difficult to acquire outside of hands-on professional experience, said M1 Engineering Manager Chris Heikkinen. “As an engineer, being able to pursue a deep understanding of an interesting domain and to build modern software around it is an extremely fulfilling endeavor.”

Built In Chicago recently checked in with Beiermann, Kaledhonkar, Heikkinen and four other leaders across the city to learn more about the technology their teams are embracing to crush the projects that get them out of bed in the morning.

 

Supriya Kaledhonkar

Senior Engineering Manager

San Francisco-based insurance startup Vouch tailors business insurance and risk solutions for fellow startups and founders. The company has designed a digital platform to provide startups with specific insurance packages to help them mitigate risk. 

 

Give us a bit of insight into your tech stack. What are some of your favorite tech tools your team is using?

At Vouch, we use a variety of technologies across our platform stack, especially to enable new services. Some of the technologies we use on the platform team include GraphQL, TypeScript, NodeJS, Ruby on Rails, and PostgreSQL for our services. We also have a couple of supporting technologies such as CircleCI, Docker, Datadog, LaunchDarkly, and a good portion of the AWS stack supporting our deployments.

Some of my favorite tech tools are GraphQL, LaunchDarkly, and TypeScript. GraphQL makes it easy for front end and back end to work independently and move fast. LaunchDarkly can help software delivery move quickly through usage of feature flagging; we’re able to avoid being blocked by regulatory or business complications and enable features as soon as business partners are ready to go. Finally, TypeScript types and interfaces make our development process faster, easier to read and debug code.

 

What’s the most interesting or challenging project you’re working on right now, and what do you enjoy most about it?

Vouch has many interesting engineering challenges, and one I’m personally finding enjoyable is our transition to microservices from a monolith. As we go through this transition, there are opportunities to work through each of the logical components, identify dependencies across the system, refactor existing code and refine/extend our data model. With the proliferation of services, the platform team is also spearheading the API gateway and interservice communication efforts. We’re excited about the transition to microservices because it’ll enable us to develop and deploy faster, allow higher reliability, ownership, and definition among engineers, and provide independent scaling based on need. Due to the smaller size of these services, we expect to deploy more often and faster, bringing improvements to market in a more incremental manner.

 

What’s something unique about your team from other engineering orgs you’ve been part of?

The best thing about Vouch is the cultural values every employee lives in their day-to-day work. Folks on our team are very honest and friendly and allow me to bring my whole self to work. Everyone is enthusiastic to welcome new employees and make every effort to make them comfortable. I felt this during my own onboarding, when the team provided all possible support I needed.

Vouch’s engineering team members are brilliant, highly motivated individuals and eager to learn and build the product with new technology. Vouch is invested in employee growth and provides great learning resources and training. I am honored to work with this motivated and intelligent team. Our cultural team plans Pride events, lunch and learns, team building activities and happy hours. We also have a dedicated diversity, equity and inclusion team that actively focuses on developing programs to support underrepresented communities and enable access to tech/fintech and insurance opportunities.

 

James Gates

Software Engineer

CityBase makes government and utilities easier for everyone. Their technology helps people find, apply, and pay for public services, and helps staff manage those interactions.

 

Give us a bit of insight into your tech stack. What are some of your favorite tech tools your team is using?

As a Rubyist, I am a fan of CityBase’s elegant combination of Ruby and Elixir. Syntactically, it makes switching between projects easier. We deploy our applications with one of my other favorite aspects of our stack: our Kubernetes and Argo implementation. Overall this combination makes deployments a breeze. 

The tech stack allows me to think as both a functional and object-oriented programmer, depending on the situation. That helps me to identify solutions more easily. 

 

What’s the most interesting or challenging project you’re working on right now, and what do you enjoy most about it?

We’re working on the scalability of our third-party client API implementations to make each implementation smoother, faster and more predictable – regardless of what combination of CityBase products a given client is using. I have been able to help architect a simpler onboarding process by designing internal tools that our solutions engineers can leverage. This is productizing the onboarding experience, making each implementation less reliant on custom development and freeing time for developers to focus on product roadmap and backlog projects.

 

What’s something unique about your team from other engineering orgs you’ve been part of?

One of the biggest differences is that we have operated as a remote team for the past year during the pandemic. During this time, our culture and camaraderie has remained resilient, and the team has encouraged pair programming opportunities, virtual social gatherings, and a strong desire to see each other face to face once it’s safe. We have some of the most amazing people on the engineering team and the company at large, who have made my entire time here wonderful over the last three years.

 

Will Sanders

Platform Engineer

Trading platform Topstep enables aspiring traders of all skill levels to safely engage in and profit from financial markets by evaluating their performance in a real-time, simulated account.

 

Give us a bit of insight into your tech stack. What are some of your favorite tech tools your team is using?

Currently, we’re transitioning from a more traditional monolithic architecture to a microservice architecture, which will allow each service to run its own process. This transition also includes a shift away from Ruby on Rails and instead utilizing Node and TypeScript.

Rather than managing and provisioning servers, we’ll also be moving to an entirely managed and serverless AWS infrastructure. Our continuous integration/continuous delivery (CICD) is now done exclusively through GitHub Actions. Our entire backend is managed through a single repository, or monorepo, to minimize the tolls of context switching, making it easier for smaller teams to manage and share best practices and patterns.

 

What’s the most interesting or challenging project you’re working on right now, and what do you enjoy most about it?

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