Engineering Team at Carbon Five

Carbon Five is a digital product development consultancy. We partner with our clients to create exceptional products and grow effective teams. We work with numerous startups in addition to companies and organizations like Chime, StitchFix, Filecoin, IPFS, Compass, Everlane, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and Signal.

Job Openings at Carbon Five

Top Engineering Values

Each team is asked to select, explain, and rank their top 8 values in order of importance.
  • Work/Life Balance

    Work/life balance is precisely why we started this company.

    When we started in 2000, engineers were often siloed. There seemed to be a lack of respect for both the work engineers were doing and their balance between work and personal commitments. Carbon Five was founded by a group who saw value in people’s ability to focus very intensely during the day and then completely unplug at night. To us, work/life balance means that when you come into work, you work hard and when you’re done, you’re completely done. You get to work on really interesting things without the overhead of politics, harsh deadlines, working weekends, or pagerduty. This holds true even after 20 years in the business and now with a team of 70+ software engineers, designers, product managers, and an operations crew spanning our U.S. offices.

    We also offer sabbaticals. One of the benefits of being a consulting company is that it’s natural and easy for people to take time off. After one project ends, there’s a wrap up period, which provides an opportunity to take time off without disruption. Once you’ve been with the company for two years, you can take three months off (unpaid). It is an uninterrupted block of time that people use to spend the entire summer with their kids, surf, launch an album, or go rock climbing.

  • Actively Practices Inclusion

    We are committed to doing the hard work required for true institutional change.

    We strive to be a community where everyone is welcome to be themselves without fear of discrimination and encouraging of each other. We want all of our team members to feel empowered to stand up for themselves and each other.

    Our leadership team has made concrete commitments toward fostering diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) at the company. For example, we hold ourselves accountable by using data to ensure our pay bands are equitable for each role. Being open, honest, and transparent with our staff about both our findings, as well as our plans to improve is important to us. Moreover, we have a very clear goal to build a team that reflects the diverse communities we live in, not just the dominant paradigm in the tech world.

    We also maintain safe spaces to engage in open dialogue and provide our team members with monthly DEIB open forums, workshops, book clubs, guest speakers, cultural month celebrations, and more. You can read our complete DEIB mission statement here.

  • Uses Agile Methodologies

    We practice a certain flavor of Agile known as Agile XP.

    We advocate frequent release of working software. Sometimes the hardest thing to put into practice for larger companies is pushing code continuously. We use continuous integration, do test driven development, and try to deliver something that has business value to actual customers as often as possible. We have weekly iteration planning meetings, where developers, product managers, designers, and the project owner (usually from the client’s side) come together to plan the work for the week. It’s an open, collaborative discussion to identify what the highest value work is and estimate each unit of work. We’re pragmatic about pair programming and leave it up to individuals to decide. Most of the people here have had 8+ years of experience in the industry, so we trust each other to reach out for a pair when needed. Some people pair all the time, some less than that, but everyone pairs some of the time. At the end of the week, we do a demo as well as a retrospective (with everyone from our team and from the client) to go over what went well and what didn’t go well this last week.

  • High Employee Retention

    The average tenure at Carbon Five is 5 years.

    All of the partners have been here for 11 or more years. There is a big difference between having a product-type versus a consulting-type of involvement at a company. Some people want to have ownership in a product over many years, and potentially move up in title and in a hierarchy. However, for us on the consulting side, we love learning, leveling up our skills, and enjoy doing it quickly. You might go from doing data-warehousing work with Java to building a platform with Node to developing in React Native for a mobile application. People who like diving into different domains and code flourish here.

    Each year, we provide our team members with an annual professional development budget of $2,000 to attend conferences, complete certifications, and enroll in classes or other training relevant to their field. If working on new things every 4-6 months with a senior team appeals to you, we’d love to hear from you. (Note: we usually hire about one associate engineer per year per office.)

  • Fosters Psychological Safety

    We’ve worked with a lot of companies. The #1 thing that we see in companies that can grow, scale, and move quickly is a sense of psychological safety.

    It’s amazing how companies are able to move quickly when they give a certain level of autonomy and agency to their team. Whether it’s through an actual system or by teaching inherent values within the working paradigm, it’s necessary for teams to have a way to do risk assessment. What is reversible risk? What isn’t reversible? When everyone trusts that they are within those guardrails, the team can move and make decisions quickly. We are incredibly thoughtful about this not only at Carbon Five but also when assessing the companies we take on as clients. We gather a lot of metrics for all of the companies that we work with, and demonstrating psychological safety is one of the strongest signals for success that we’ve seen over the years.

  • Cross-Department Collaboration

    We have this venn diagram of developers, designers, and product-focused leaders to create our balanced team.

    We really push hard within Carbon Five, as well as with our clients, to have diversity across skills. We also look for people that have low ego; strong opinions are welcome if they are loosely held. Almost every one of our developers wants to know that the thing they’re building is being used. Even if it’s not specific to product or design, they like understanding the value of what it is they’re building and having input on it.

  • Engages with Community

    We encourage everyone to write blogs, give talks, and contribute to the community in any way.

    Our team members speak at conferences all over the country including Railsconf, ElixirConf, QCon, O’Reilly, Strangeloop, SXSW, Lean Startup Conference, LeadDev Conference, among many others. Public speaking allows you to distill your knowledge into something that is accessible to others, become a part of the greater community, and mentor and inspire others in the community. We also provide assistance for travel. For example, one of our engineers, Anna, is on the board of RailsBridge and runs ElixirBridge, and we fly her around the country to do Elixir workshops on the weekends.

    To many team members at Carbon Five, speaking at conferences is important on a personal level. Courtney, who supports a variety of initiatives like Railsbridge, Women Who Code, and Balanced Team, says, “I think seeing women on stage speaking about something that they know showcases that there is a body of work that a diverse set of humans is responsible for. To me, that is the greatest opposing argument to the anti-diversity mindset. Plus, it’s just fun.”

    Locally, we also sponsor Meetups, speaker series, and hack nights that are open to the community. Check out our talks and events, you’re always welcome to attend.

  • Ideal for Parents

    The flexibility, balance, and resources at Carbon Five are great for parents. That’s why there are so many here!

    We provide no-cost health insurance and cover premiums not only for people who work at Carbon Five, but also their families. We also have a parental leave policy that provides equal support to parents of all genders who want to be at home when they welcome a new baby into their family. We round that out with a dependent care flexible spending account to help out with the costs that come with kids.

    Along with those resources, we just recognize that our families are central to our lives! Our company barbecues are always family-friendly and we encourage everyone to bring their kids. Across our four offices, parents make up a large proportion of the company (maybe about a third), which makes our Slack channel for parents a great place for stories and support. The work/life balance and flexibility we have, along with the resources we provide for people who work here make Carbon Five a great place to work for anyone with a growing family that also likes to have fun with the people they work with.


  • Work/Life Balance
  • Actively Practices Inclusion
  • Uses Agile Methodologies
  • High Employee Retention
  • Fosters Psychological Safety
  • Cross-Department Collaboration
  • Engages with Community
  • Ideal for Parents

Company Properties

  • B2B
  • Technical Founder(s)

Team Members

  • 8 Designers
  • 40 Full-Stack Engineers
  • 7 Product Managers

Vacation Policy

Three weeks with a week for the winter holiday which becomes 4 weeks after 2 years.

Tech Stack

The majority of our work is in Rails, Node, and Java, but almost everything is up for grabs. The only tech we don’t work in is .NET and PHP.

Interview Process

After meeting one of the hiring managers over coffee or video, there’s a short in-person second round. If that goes well, you’ll come in for a whole afternoon with the company that involves pair programming on actual code and a series of technical and product management interviews.