How to Join The Ockam Team
Matthew Gregory CEO
At Ockam we value our High Performance Team. It is the responsibility of The Team to provide an environment where every individual is empowered to be world-class in their role and to enable individuals to achieve more than they could dream possible for themselves.
We want to support you on your journey with Ockam from Day 1.
Day 1 is today.
Welcome to The Team!
Ockam, the Tool Company, is the maintainer of Ockam, the open source code base. The easiest way to get involved with The Ockam Team is to get involved with the open source code base. We consider all of our open source contributors and industry partners to be part of The Team. We welcome everyone to our community, and simply ask that you reciprocate our community code of conduct.
Open source is exceptionally empowering - no level of involvement is too small. Here are a couple ideas for how to get started:
Easy to do
- Engage with us on Twitter.
- Join the community discussion, star the repo to keep up with updates, and say HI!
- Fix typos on this website and submit a pull request to fix it. Even our website is open source!
Things are getting serious...
- Run and test one of our demos or examples.
- Create an issue.
- Engage with a technical question.
- Update or submit new documentation.
Advanced open sourcing
- Offer a solution to an existing issue.
- Grab a 'help wanted' issue, resolve the issue, and submit a PR.
As a maintainer of an open source code base, it's fantastically flattering when a stranger from internet-land gets involved. In most small to medium sized OSS projects anyone that actively participates is known to the entire team.
Frankly, simply by showing up and getting involved you immediately become one of our heroes!
Getting involved with open source projects is something that you'll never regret. It's a great way to show off your skills and build a portfolio of work that is open and accessible to everyone.
Hint: Open source based companies look at open source histories when reviewing candidates for a full time role. Several of our full time teammates started off as OSS contributors.
You can find open full time roles on The Team here.
We are always adding full time roles at Ockam, the Tool Company. We are exceptionally selective, so even if there isn't a perfect match today, there maybe one just around the corner. Keep in touch with us.
We publish a levels guide to help align expectations and to build bespoke growth paths for everyone on our team. We find that this framework helps us to have honest conversations.
We don't expect a candidate, or full time member of our team, to check every box straight down a single column in this matrix. The matrix is a guide and a way to facilitate a conversation. A Sr Engineer (Level 5) is likely to have a couple Level 4 and Level 6 qualities. That's OK.
Moreover, we are usually open to bring on full time teammates above or below the level that we advertise for. It's exceptionally helpful if you can communicate a level self-assessment as you apply. If we post for a Level 6 Architect and you are a solid Level 3/4 Engineer, we probably still would like to talk with you! As you will see in the following sections we co-create every role for every individual.
This is the easiest part.
Go here and apply for a full time role on the team.
We try to make this as friction free as possible. Please answer all of the questions in the applications. Even better, include your self assessment on your level from our guide, even though we don't explicitly prompt for it.
We attempt to complete the entire process with a candidate within three weeks. Because Ockam is a remote first company the entire process will take place over video calls and through asynchronous collaborations in Google Docs, Github and email.
Our interview process consists of three parts - Hiring Screen, Technical Assessment, Culture connection, and a Starter Project, and then an offer.
We will reach out to you via email to schedule a 25 minute call.
The purpose of this call is to understand if and how you could fit into the team. Help us with this process by giving relevant background about your experiences and interests. If we have a hypothesis for how you could fit into a full time role we will proceed to the second round.
You should be prepared to discuss the following:
- What interests you about Ockam and what inspired you to apply for this role?
- Have you tried to build something with Ockam? What did you build?
- Why do you want to join an early stage, 'Silicon Valley' startup?
- What level do you think you are? Can you cite examples from your previous work that aligns with specific qualities in our levels guide?
- Have you reviewed the Ockam Employee handbook and do you understand how we determine compensation at Ockam? Before you go further in the process you should do some soul searching to determine if the compensation plan, time off policy, and the rest of the items in our Handbook works for you. It's important to know that because we make our compensation public, we don't negotiate offers when we make them at the end of our process. We set everyone's compensation in the middle of the range for the level you are starting at.
Next, you will meet with the hiring manager for the role you are applying for.
You should be prepared to discuss the following:
- Walk us through your experiences.
- What is the hardest engineering problem that you've ever had to solve.
- Be ready to discuss technical components of Ockam in depth. The Ockam documentation pages are a good place to get up to speed with Ockam - quickly.
You will move on to spend time discussing the Ockam culture, and our values and virtues with our CEO, Matthew Gregory. In this stage of our process we want to expose as much of the culture to you as possible to help you make an informed decision about the type of team you will be committing a lot of time to.
Prior to this stage in the interview process you should be familiar with how Ockam defines a High Performance Team. Be prepared to talk about specific examples where you felt like you were (or were not) on a High Performance Team. Also share stories about how you have put your team first and empowered others to be their best selves.
You should be prepared to discuss the following:
- What about Ockam excites you?
- What do you think about Ockam's High Performance Team culture, based on this video?
- Tell us about a time when you went above and beyond to help a teammate win.
- Tell us about a high-performace team that you were a part of.
- Tell us about how previous team's that you were on aligned to objectives. Do you have experience with the OKR or RACI frameworks?
If we ask you to move to this round, we have a strong thesis for your potential on The Team.
We will introduce you to a small project to work on, this will be a relevant issue to our team and codebase. The output to this project will be in the form of a pull request or a writeup in a Google Doc. We will then schedule a Starter Project interview in which you'll talk about the problem you're solving for, your thought process and approach to the solution, we'll have a healthy discussion about it and possibly also ask you questions about your background and experiences that are relevant to the topic of the Starter Project.
There are two primary goals in this exercise.
- We want to assess your ability to digest a problem, explore solutions, and deliver a solution. We are equally interested in how you engage with the Ockam team and our published resources, as we are about your solution.
- The exercise is designed to give you insight into the Ockam Code and The Team. You will get to spend time with our CTO, Mrinal Wadhwa during the Starter Project interview discussion, be able to challenge assumptions, and to ask questions. We know that moving to a new team is a big decision and we want to make sure we give you as much data as possible to facilitate your decision. A real project with our actual team is the best way to accomplish this goal.
We publish our compensation structure in a blog in our employee handbook. You will start in the middle of the band at your level. The numbers in the offer will not be a surprise, and we don't negotiate the offer. We aim to be fair to everyone that goes through our process, and don't bias towards those that are better negotiators than others - so we've removed this from our process.
Starting a new job is really hard. There is a lot to learn, and a lot to do. Be sure to come in rested and recharged. Please give us an honest assessment on your start date. Remember that you've just wrapped up an old job, while you were looking for this role. Be kind to yourself and take some time to charge your batteries and to take on some self-care.
Read the following books for a deeper understanding of our culture and frameworks that we use everyday at Ockam: “The Score Takes Care of Itself” by Bill Walsh, "Growth Mindset" by Carol Dweck, “Measure What Matters” by John Doerr and "The Staff Engineer's Path" by Tanya Reilly.
There is a lot of 'tech' coming your way, your gap time is a great time to ground yourself in Ockam's culture and to do some self-reflecting.
In your first week you will ship production code. We want to give you a win as quickly as possible.
You will be paired with an onboarding buddy to help you get up to speed.
The Team believes in you.
Focus on learning the code base, asking questions, and getting to know our team. Schedule 1:1s. Chip away at issues and push code regularly in little bite sizes.
The opportunity to see something for the first time only happens once. Use your questions and perspectives to fill gaps in documentation. Write guides, build examples, capture this opportunity to bring new perspectives to Ockam. The work you do here is exceptionally valuable.
Use Ockam's Maker Day (Friday) to build. Our team is lean on meetings, but even-so, we dedicate an entire day to uninterrupted building. Use the power of this day to dig deep into hard problems.
Digest the reality that what you are doing is hard and is going to take a lot of time. Read this part of the employee handbook
The Ockam Team is excited to be a part of your journey. We will think of you as a teammate forever. This Team was built to help you succeed, regardless if you are a some-times OSS contributor or a multi-year full-time member of our Team.
Thank you for being a part of it!
Engineering Levels Ladder
How we build Ockam as a High Performance Team