Engineering at CircleCI

Our CI/CD platform lets teams build and deliver great software with confidence, quickly and at scale, in the cloud, or on their own infrastructure. We help innovative organizations ship tomorrow’s software today.

Job Openings at CircleCI

Top Engineering Values

Each team is asked to select, explain, and rank their top 8 values in order of importance.
  • Continuous Delivery

    CI/CD is what we do. It's who we are!

    CircleCI is a modern continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) platform. So, naturally, we practice this ourselves. There are more than 1M+ users on the CircleCI platform, which processes 3M+ builds on a typical weekday. If you’re reading this, it’s very likely you’ve used CircleCI to automate build, test, and deployment of software before at a previous company. Customers like Samsung, Ford Motor Company, and Condé Nast International all rely on CircleCI to operate, and more than 22,000 organizations have integrated CircleCI orbs into 65,000 repositories and nearly 18 million CI/CD pipelines. 🙌


    We dogfood our own product and deploy anywhere from 400 to 700 times every week. We have very little manual testing, but lots of automated unit tests, automated integration tests where feasible, and lots of canaries and A/B testing. In the last 12 months, we’ve released over 100 features in addition to dozens of technical investments in our platform and services. If you love CI/CD, there’s no better place to work!

  • Data-Driven

    We have access to a vast amount of data that lets us measure the impact of our work on real-world user behavior.

    At CircleCI, we are in a unique position to be able to review large amounts of data on how technology delivery teams act in the wild. Our cloud continuous integration and continuous delivery platform processes over 1.6 million job runs per day for more than 40,000 organizations and over 150,000 projects. To that end, we’re constantly looking at data to inform best practices and make improvements.


    Every engineering team has a product manager and data scientist/analyst. Engineers work closely with data scientists to determine what data we should be capturing, how easily we can measure the things we’re interested in, and how to measure the impact our work has on user behavior and usage patterns.


    We track OKRs at the company, department, and team level. For example, at the team level, we pay attention to delivery data (i.e velocity, cycle time, PR review time), SLOs and SLIs, escalation data, and PR review time. For production incidents, we track mean time to diagnosis and resolution.


    We also look at market data, usage data for our product (like adoption rates), and growth metrics using A/B testing. Since insights is part of our product, we’re starting to build out a data intelligence/AI Ops team. Some of our analysis dashboards include Looker, DataDog, Amplitude, Segment, Honeycomb, and more.


    We track the percent of time teams spend on different kinds of work: new features, customer support, and technical investment/maintenance. When we see teams that have a consistently high percentage of support and maintenance work, we might do any of the following:

    • Review our documentation to ensure customers understand how a capability works
    • Identify an opportunity for a new feature to address the need customers are trying to satisfy
    • Split the team to reduce its area of responsibility
    • Focus on reliability or scalability improvements until support requests and maintenance needs are reduced
    • Hire more people to make the team bigger
  • Rapidly Growing Team

    We’re doubling our engineering team in the next nine months.

    Developer productivity and developer tooling is a fast-moving and fast-growing market. Every company is a software company, and every team needs to be able to deliver with confidence in a world where software development is becoming increasingly complex.


    We’re in the process of doubling our engineering team, with the goal of getting to 240 in the next nine months. New hires will span a variety of teams. Some many join existing teams, others will join newly created teams (with a mix of new folks and people who have been with us for a while), or new managers sometimes build out their teams themselves when they join. For the most part, we create new teams by adding new hires to existing teams, then splitting. In some cases (like Growth engineering), teams can primarily be new hires, building new services from scratch.


    We have an extensive onboarding program in place to support new hires and set you up for success from day one. In fact, there’s even a group of managers and engineers from across the organization driving an initiative to support new teams by putting together specific programs and trainings for new hires. Currently, the onboarding process includes company-wide CircleCI University (CCIU) training, Engineering onboarding, team-specific onboarding, and a Circle Up learning platform.


    Regardless of what team you’re on, you’ll collaborate closely with existing teammates, which is why we discuss team missions, goals and projects during the interview process. If this sounds like a good fit, we’d love to hear from you!

  • Open Communication

    We believe in a high degree of transparency – starting with our leadership.

    At CircleCi, transparency is a core company value. Our leadership exemplifies a high degree of transparency with company calls every two weeks, where they share insight into business events, metrics, goals, and strategy. Similarly, we have department calls every two weeks, to dive deeper into how we’re tracking toward our goals. Managers also regularly communicate strategy, direction, and relevant tactical details to their teams – we believe it’s almost impossible to over-communicate these details. “Always repeat what’s important” is a motto we live by.


    There’s also a high degree of visibility across teams. We have open team channels in Slack and also rely on open documentation (think shared docs and Confluence) to keep things visible and accessible. We’re also currently building out a knowledge repository, which includes info about each team (what they do, what they own), operating documentation about our services, architectural and system design documents, and how-to documentation for processes, tools, and best practices. We created an engineering competency matrix, which is woven into everything we do. From hiring, to structured feedback, to performance reviews, it helps us hold everyone to the same standards and clarify expectations as we scale.


    How you talk about learning – especially the way you discuss mistakes – matters. That’s why we use blameless postmortems to help understand problems and drive solutions. We want everyone to feel safe while continually learning how to improve and better work together.

  • Heavily Team Oriented

    We believe strong teams are greater than individual “heroes.”

    At CircleCI, we place an emphasis on collaboration and helping each other out. Each team has around 6-8 engineers (sometimes more when growing) and an engineering manager. Product engineering teams also have a product manager, data analyst, and designer. It’s important that everyone can participate and have their voice heard when making decisions. We aim for long-running teams, with relatively stable members and areas of ownership.


    Since we’re distributed, part of building a strong culture is with regular team meetings, where we get to know each other, build relationships, align and calibrate ourselves, collaborate, and strategize face-to-face (virtually). Those who stand out at CircleCI are willing to exchange ideas, information, and knowledge whenever possible to help any and all team members, not just those on their direct team.


    Because we’re growing rapidly, we highly value engineers who can help us scale our human systems. We expect engineers at all levels to be effective mentors and sponsors, to continually improve our onboarding, to eliminate knowledge silos, to make implicit knowledge explicit, and to actively prevent the tyranny of structurelessness. Pair programming and mobbing are regular practices.


    While focus time is important, if you’re someone who wants to do their own thing all the time, this is probably not the best fit.

  • Fast-Paced Environment

    We’ve grown from 120 employees in early 2018, to roughly 470 in early 2021, and are continuing to add new members.

    As a result, we’ve created fast-moving teams with a high degree of information flow that innovate around how to reduce time on feedback loops and delivery. Our development process focuses on a very short cycle where small changes are iterated on incrementally and delivered quickly. There’s very low lead time to make changes and we follow a dual-track agile development process, where experimentation and discovery are equally important.


    We build, continuously release, gather feedback early and often, and aren’t afraid to course correct when needed. While there’s a high rate of change (from a DevOps culture sense), a fast-paced environment doesn’t require burnout. As Lena Reinhard, our VP of Product Engineering, puts it: we avoid burnout by keeping the bigger picture in mind and focusing on clear communication, expectations, and trust.


    In 2020, we had 100% YoY credit growth and raised $215.5M in venture capital, and we have no intention of slowing down. Not only will we grow in number (we doubled our product and engineering organization in 2020 compared to 2019), but we’ll also accelerate our productivity. We shipped 100+ features and bug fixes last year (compared to 40 the year before) and we hope you’ll help us set a new record this year.

  • Pair Programs

    Our teams value close collaboration.

    The majority of engineering folks work remotely and not from an office, so pair programming is typically virtually (even during non-COVID times). As a distributed company, pair programming helps build and strengthen relationships among teammates. It helps us avoid knowledge silos, distribute information, and serves as a means of quality assurance. We’ve found it’s also a really great tool for onboarding new hires. Almost all teams at CircleCI pair some of the time, but how much varies from team to team depending on personal preferences and timezone distributions.


    We also understand you can’t pair effectively through an entire work day. Teams use pragmatic approaches, with a mix of pair programming and solo work time. Some teams also do mobbing sessions. At the end of the day, cowboy coders don’t help us scale, which is why we’re looking for people who are willing to learn from one another and level up via pair programming as needed.

  • Work/Life Balance

    There’s no regular weekend work expected – we actively work against that.

    Our goal is to grow sustainably, which means ensuring good work/life balance. For the most part, no regular weekend work is expected, and we’re actively working to limit that. The only exception is for teams that own services which get paged more frequently, meaning some engineers might need to be on-call on weekends. However, we’re investing in our tech to decrease issues like this and minimize any hours outside the typical work week.


    We also want you to feel free to do your best work wherever that might be. All engineers can work remotely. Or, if you live near one of our offices and prefer to work there (when it’s safe to do so), that’s fine too!


    While we work hard, we also make time to have some fun and decompress, with activities like weekly crosswords, guided yoga and meditation, virtual happy hours, and team building events such as “show & tell,” “stand-downs” for purely social conversation, and online games.


    Our most popular Slack channels include #babies, #plants, and #gratitude (where people shout each other out and celebrate accomplishments). When a new addition joins your family, we offer 12 weeks paid leave for the primary caregiver, and 8 weeks for the secondary caregiver.


    CircleCI also currently sponsors four Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), including CircleSHEi, Queersphere, The Onyx Circle, and Circle Minds, which focuses on mental wellness and neurodiversity. These groups meet regularly to discuss the individual needs of each group, any corporate policies or benefits that need to be in place, and what the company can do to better meet their needs.


    You can read more about why Forbes named CircleCI one of America’s Best Startup Employers in 2021 here.

Values

  • Continuous Delivery
  • Data-Driven
  • Rapidly Growing Team
  • Open Communication
  • Heavily Team Oriented
  • Fast-Paced Environment
  • Pair Programs
  • Work/Life Balance

Company Properties

  • B2B
  • B2C
  • Technical Founder(s)
  • Remote-OK

Team Members

  • 9 Data Analysts
  • 17 Designers or Researchers
  • 160 Engineers
  • 15 Product Managers

Vacation Policy

Flexible PTO - take time when you need/want it, just talk with your manager in advance

Tech Stack

Clojure backend, React front end, MongoDB, Kubernetes, AWS. Full stack here.

Interview Process

It depends on the role, but overall our process looks like this: The process involves a call with a recruiter, the hiring manager for the role, followed by a technical assessment with our partner Karat, which is reviewed by a CircleCI Engineer. The final round entails a meeting with the team and another with the recruiter; for more staff level roles and above, we also include an architecture interview, delivery interview, and a conversation with the Director for the team’s domain.

Find out more about our hiring process for engineers in this blog post, and our process for hiring engineering managers here.