5 fast-growing Austin tech companies share the technologies that power them

by Kelly O'Halloran
July 11, 2018

Working with cutting-edge technologies represents only a fraction of what makes an engineer’s experience invigorating. The people around you, the projects you work on and the opportunities you get can all add value to a happy work life. We spoke with leaders at five Austin tech companies about the most interesting challenges their teams are taking on — and the tools they leverage to make it all happen.

 

retailmenot austin engineers
photo provided by retailmenot

Evan Dragic has been a member of RetailMeNot’s engineering team since 2013. What’s kept him there? The ability to build things from scratch. Dragic said his role continues to offer great opportunities for launching new products and rapidly iterating on them. Working alongside curious and engaged coworkers doesn’t hurt, either.

Open positions:

 

Tech they use:

  • Languages: JavaScript (browser and NodeJS), Python, Scala, PHP and Java

  • Frameworks: VueJs, Express, React, Spring, Tornado, Kubernetes, Terraform and AWS

  • Libraries: Vuex, Lodash, Webpack, Karma, Selenium, NightWatch and their own published open-source tools

  • Databases: CloudSQL, GCloud’s Datastore, MySQL, Postgres, MongoDB, DynamoDB and Amazon RedShift
     

Describe your team’s most interesting tech challenges:

From the extension side, we have to work to ensure our code is as resilient as possible to changes on merchant sites in terms of applying coupon codes. The RetailMeNot website team has an extreme focus on performance, so ensuring our pages load lightning fast for our users is a top priority. Additionally, we are all working to leverage large amounts of data to better personalize and test our products, and we have recently started a designs systems initiative that will be a major boon to how we build new applications and interfaces.

 

cleardata team
photo provided by cleardata

ClearDATA CTO Matt Ferrari leads a team of passionate developers laser-focused on innovation. Ferrari said it’s this department-wide energy plus his team’s ability to create automation, security and compliance services for healthcare that keep him both happy and humbled.  

Open positions:

 

Tech they use:

  • Languages: Node.js, Python and GoLang

  • Frameworks: Configuration Management tools like SaltStack, Ansible and Chef

  • Databases: AWS-based databases, such as RDS, DynamoDB and Redshift
     

Describe your team’s most interesting tech challenges:

Our product team is challenged to keep up with the incredible speed of innovation from the three largest public cloud providers: AWS, Google and Microsoft. They are empowered to work with the newest public cloud services and build automation, compliance and security rigor around each of those services, so that they can be applied to service healthcare use cases. This entails a steep learning curve, as our product developers embed themselves into learning about the newest services like machine learning, artificial intelligence, serverless architecture and containers.

 

modernize engineers
photo provided by modernize

After spending all day together Monday through Friday, most people might need a break from their coworkers. But at Modernize, it’s quite the opposite. Software engineering manager Cliff Berinti said that not only does his team consist of some of the best developers he’s ever worked with, but they also willingly choose to spend time with one another outside of the office regularly.

Open positions:

What technology do you use?

  • Languages: PHP, JavaScript, Python, HTML and CSS

  • Frameworks: Laravel, React and Doctrine

  • Libraries: Codeception, Guzzle, Carbon, Redis, phpunit, mockery, phpbrake, Authorize.net, aws-sdk, Faker and PHP_CodeSniffer

  • Databases: MySQL and Redshift
     

Describe your team’s most interesting tech challenges:

We integrate cutting-edge technologies to help best inform homeowners about the expected costs of their upcoming projects. And we do this while managing all the different products we support for our homeowners and contractors to work harmoniously together, without stepping on each other’s toes. Right now we’re focused on moving our homegrown framework and ORM into Laravel and Doctrine.

 

alertmedia engineering team
photo provided by alertmedia

Every project that AlertMedia’s engineers work on directly impacts the success of their customers. CTO Jeff Branc said carrying this responsibility requires every team member to contribute across all levels. This means a developer could be coding one week and working on infrastructure improvements the following. But Branc said that’s what makes working on his growing team fun.

Open positions:

 

Tech they use:

  • Languages: Python and JavaScript

  • Frameworks: Django, Angular and Node.js

  • Libraries: Just enough, but too many to list

  • Databases: PostgreSQL and DynamoDB
     

Describe your team’s most interesting tech challenges:

We provide mass communication software that our customers use to protect their people and businesses during critical events. These unplanned events can occur anywhere in the world, at any time, and affect any number of people, so we operate with zero margin for error. We’re equal parts challenged and inspired by our global footprint, large customer base, and ability to get the message out as fast as possible.

 

blacklocus austin team
photo provided by blacklocus

For Kayla Reynolds, a senior data scientist at BlackLocus, the best part of the job is the variety of projects she gets to work on. That — and just generally appreciating the people she’s surrounded by. Reynolds described her team as a close-knit, smart, passionate and creative group dedicated to finding the right solutions for the right kinds of problems.

Open positions:

Tech they use:

  • Statistical programming: R (tidyverse, ggplot, Shiny) and Python (NumPy, SciPy, pandas, NLTK, scikit-learn, StatsModels)

  • Framework: Spark

  • Databases: MySQL, mssql, Redshift, Teradata, BigQuery and EMR


Describe your team’s most interesting tech challenges:

From a data science perspective, there are a number of interesting technology challenges. The Home Depot, which acquired us in 2012, is a very large, complex organization, and we seek to provide innovative solutions that are able to handle the sheer size and complexity of the business as well as remain flexible enough to react to the quick pace of competitive retail. Often, the types of problems we get to work on are areas of active research in the data science field, and I like being able to contribute to the community.

 

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