Job Description & How to Apply Below
Avalara is the worldwide leader in sales and use tax calculation. We're the first to admit it - sales tax isn't sexy. But revolutionizing fundamental business processes -- that's big time. And that's what we're doing every day, bringing technology to bear on arcane, tedious tasks that every business in the world must deal with.
We are investing heavily in business registrations and license management to expand our product portfolio and strengthen our market leadership. And that's where you come in, to develop and expand the core layers that define Avalara's One Registration and Licensing (ORL) product line.
As a Senior Software Engineer, you will apply your skills to work among a team and create patentable and market-leading technology. We have a phenomenal team working in an open, collaborative environment that makes taxes and compliance less taxing to deal with. It will be up to you and the team to convert product vision and requirements into a finished product. While you will have the opportunity to work on different products and parts of the stack, the initial team you join will focus on bringing the best of Avalara into our recently acquired products and visa versa. Don't mistake that as code name for porting existing code back and forth. It's far from that. In finding synergies between existing products, you will have ample opportunity to create something new from scratch as well as finding best ways to optimize usage of existing code.
Avalara is a global, publicly-traded company. Despite our size, we maintain a startup culture focused on building great software and having the maximum impact on the world that we can and having fun while doing it. Check us out. We'd love to talk to you about what we are up to.
Here are some of the things we expect you to do when you join us:
Avalara One Registration and Licensing: Dig into our multi-patented, cloud-native product suite. We are looking to build a totally flexible, extensible platform capable of handling any registration and licensing process for any industry in any geography. Show us how to create that while maximizing performance, scalability, and reliability while making it ‘oh-so-simple' to operate.
Design with The Vision in Mind: You know how to take requirements and create software designs and other forms of architectural documentation. In doing so, you can exert technical influence over the team, increasing their productivity and effectiveness by sharing your deep knowledge and experience.
Code, Review, Commit: Become part of the team to deliver more than you ever thought possible. Research, identify, and utilize appropriate tools, libraries, frameworks, and languages to solve problems and deliver results using the most effective methods. Document functionality of the software, including public APIs and customer-facing UIs. Participate in project estimation and scoping exercises. Perform code reviews and have your code reviewed by peers.
Create Industry-Leading Products: Avalara is the market leader and we intend on staying that way. That means we can't be complacent. Own key areas within our platform, make bold moves, and keep testing the limits. Innovation is what drives our success - help us keep pushing the bar higher.
Automation vs People Power. Computers are great for process automation but there's a limit to what they can do. You and the team will tackle the unique challenges that occur at the intersection of software and people-driven tasks and apply these solutions to the novel business automation that Avalara aims to create.
You + Avalara = Infinity: Avalara's vision is to be part of every transaction for every business around the world. That means making Avalara ORL a platform that can handle not just registrations and licensing but process any interaction with any agency in any geography. In fact, we want every agency to use Avalara on their end as well! The possibilities of what Avalara can do and what you can do for it is open-ended! You are not just another engineer when you join Avalara. You + Avalara equal endless possibilities!
Wildcard: Anything else that is needed to make Avalara into a wildly successful company.
For us, qualifications are whatever enables you to meet and exceed your performance objectives. We will not specify the number of years of experience, tell you what degrees you must have, or require that you be proficient with a certain set of algorithms. But we will provide you with some thoughts on what you, the perfect candidate, might have worked on, played around with, or even just contemplated in your spare time (and to be honest, this section also helps us with SEO):
You have a track record of delivering valuable, high-quality features into production. If we ask you to tell us about your work, you can substantiate the claim by telling us about specific examples and how you knew it was done well.
You know what's fundamentally different between software designed for cloud vs. on-premise, not because you read about it but because you've been knee-deep in SaaS. That means you have experience with things like service-oriented architectures, microservices, and web application development. You have a firm understanding of system performance trade-offs, load balancing, and engineering for high availability.
You have experience solving specific “ility” problems – extensibility, flexibility, observability, scalability, and reliability, just to name a few. Maybe it was at a system level (dealing with resource constraints), in the database (reducing complex queries to save time), dealing with elasticity & clustering (while avoiding startup/latency issues), network, and security issues.
While many parts of ORL are implemented using C#/.NET Core and React, we also have parts of the product in node.js, Python, and other technologies. So, experience and willingness to use a wide set of technologies while being able to claim expertise in some is a real plus with us. We call that a T-shaped person.
As far as other technologies, we use PostgreSQL as our main transactional RDBMS, and we are introducing many other cloud technologies Redis, Snowflake, Prometheus. Streaming technologies like Kafka, Kinesis, and visualization tools like Grafana are regularly in the conversation. And of course, containerization using Docker and orchestration using Kubernetes. We are an AWS shop, but a background in Azure or GCP is also welcome.
Obvious but needs to be stated… this isn't your first job in software engineering, and you've probably worked over 5 years in the industry. If you are fresh out of boot camp, this particular position as a Senior Software Engineer isn't for you (But do look for another opening at Avalara that is a fit for your career level!)
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, Engineering, or related field is definitely desirable. But really, it's not required if you can demonstrate that you have the right stuff. A track record that proves that is more important to us.
Culture / Behavioral Characteristics We Want To See
At Avalara, we put a great deal of emphasis on collaboration and maintaining an open working environment - having great coworkers is one of the biggest determinants for enjoying your work, and we take our enjoyment of work very seriously.
You take pride in delivering your work to production. If the business needs change and that feature is no longer important, you want to be asking yourself “why didn't I see it coming?”
You take quality seriously. You hate running the same test over and over. But even worse is you take it personally when something breaks. You've seen, or better yet implemented, a CICD pipeline with automated testing. Today, we use xUnit.net and Cypress.io along with Gitlab, so it'd be a plus if you know how to use them.
You hate being woken up in the middle of the night with a production issue. You are familiar with tools like OpsGenie or PagerDuty. But because you hate it so much, what you really do well is build products where it never happens in the first place and are sure to write detailed SOP (standard operating procedures) and runbooks with monitoring and alerting baked in. At Avalara, heroism is appreciated. But the absence of situations that require anyone to be a hero is what's really valued.
Avalara is a scrum shop. You've participated in daily standup and know the difference between backlog grooming and sprint planning, how to do estimation, and how not to plan. When we ask you why retrospectives are important, you should have a great answer with specific examples that show how you and the team have improved through iterations.
Your opinions matter. We are driven by technology and innovation, and we look to the smartest, most passionate people on the team as the source of ideas.
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