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 to 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 two weeks. Because Ockam is a remote first company the entire process will take place over video calls and through asynchronous collaborations in Github and email.
The hiring manager for the role will reach out to you via email and schedule a 45 minute call.
The purpose of this call is to understand if and how you could fit into the team. By this point in our process we've thrown away the job description for the role you've applied for and have started to co-create a role with you. Help us with this process by giving as much relevant background about your passions as possible. 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:
- How did you find Ockam and what inspired you to apply for this role?
- Why do you want to work at an early stage, 'Silicon Valley' startup?
- What do you think about Ockam's High Performance Team culture, based on this video
- What about the problem that Ockam is solving interests you?
- What level do you think you are? Can you cite examples from your previous work that aligns with specific qualities in our levels guide?
- Tell us about the hardest engineering problem that you've ever had to solve.
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 Mrinal Wadhwa, Ockam's CTO. Mrinal and the hiring manager will want to further discuss your background, and then introduce you to a small project to work on with us over the next week. You will submit your project as a pull request and open source contribution to the code base. We believe that white boarding or live coding examples are a waste of time. They don't mimic a typical work setting, and all of the time spent on the exercise is throw away code for everyone. Time is a virtue at Ockam!
There are two primary goals in this exercise.
- We want to assess your ability to digest a problem, explore solutions, and deliver an open source contribution using our contribution standards. We are equally interested in how you engage with the Ockam team and and our published resources, as we are about your PR.
- The exercise is designed to give you insight into the Ockam Code and The Team. You will get to meet several people on The Team, 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.
This task is custom crafted for every individual, in every role, at every level. The coding aspect of the task should take only a couple hours, however we anticipate that we will spend an additional several hours with you in discussion, ideation, and collaboration.
As you wrap up your OSS collaboration exercise you will 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 full 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.
Internally we will finalize a role that we've custom crafted for you. We collaborate on a memo that includes your level, and our thesis for how your background fits into the problems we are solving at Ockam. We will define the project you will start with so that you are set up for success from the onset.
We will also define a target for the progress and deliverables we anticipate that you will work on in your first 3-4 months on the team.
Finally this memo attempts to predict several growth paths and success outcomes where we think your trajectory could take you in your first 8-12 months with us.
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, and “Measure What Matters” by John Doerr.
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.
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!