Engineering Team at Lightstep

Lightstep enables teams to detect and resolve regressions quickly, regardless of system scale or complexity. We integrate seamlessly into daily workflows, whether you are proactively optimizing performance or investigating a root cause so you can quickly get back to building features.

Job Openings at Lightstep

Top Engineering Values

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

    “Thoughtful” is the most salient trait of people who work at Lightstep.

    Joe Blubaugh, sums it up well: “My co-workers care about me as a person first, and that helps us have the kind of trust and candor that brings out my best work. I love that everyone at Lightstep is so low-ego and my brilliant colleagues love explaining what they're working on to others. I get to share their excitement and we get to learn from each other.”

  • Work/Life Balance

    We cultivate trust with each other so team members can thrive both at work and out of the office.

    We directly assess teamwork and communication in our paired interview processes and day-to-day work. This means that when teammates need to leave early, arrive late, work from home, take a self-care day, or use some of their (unlimited) PTO, we can genuinely support them in life’s ever-changing needs. Many of our individual contributors, managers, leaders, and even our founders take care of young children; we take pride in our generous maternity and paternity leave policies and respect each other’s offline time, which allows people to continue growing their careers at Lightstep after becoming parents.

    Additionally, many Lightsteppers lead passions outside of development and tech, from soccer players to trapeze artists to musicians and fire spinners. We also enjoy getting involved in the community by giving our time with local nonprofits like 826 Valencia.

  • Internal Mobility

    At Lightstep, you're not restricted to checkboxes on a job description.

    While we provide support for both management and individual contributor tracks, where we shine most at Lightstep is in the agency we give team members to define their roles at the company, whether that’s through internal transitions or career coaching.

    Ultimately, our leadership genuinely cares about finding the right alignment between each person’s interests and the company’s business needs. In the search for our first engineering managers, we hired experienced external candidates and also shifted Daniela Miao, one of our early software engineers, into an EM role to help her realize her career goals. She’s since played a crucial role in designing our new interview processes and keeping Lightstep’s focus on people as we grow.

    One of our earlier product engineers, Valjean Clark, mixed his technical background with his design experience in stepping up as our Director of Product Design this year. And Stephanie Baum had been working in our customer success department as a solutions architect before transitioning to a full-time member of our engineering team.

  • High Quality Code Base

    We care deeply about fast development, thorough testing, continuous delivery, and good algorithms.

    It can be hard to find the perfect balance of all of these factors, but one thing we particularly care about at Lightstep is good instrumentation. A high-quality code base that's easy to understand and diagnose is what makes a great work environment.

    To that end, we take code reviews extremely seriously. It's an opportunity for shared learning, so we spend a non-trivial amount of time understanding each other's code. We use data and metrics to track software quality, and discuss these metrics at our weekly meeting. We also have a streamlined process for prioritizing and triaging all reported bugs; they are automatically assigned an owner so none fall through the cracks.

    In our previous work as engineers at big companies like Google and Amazon, we were responsible for maintaining code quality and writing our own automated tests. This practice is something we brought to Lightstep – we do not have a separate QA team, so we are accountable for the quality of the code we write, and are on-call for issues that arise in production. This motivates us to build robust monitoring, comprehensive alerts, and automated CI/CD pipelines.

  • Team is Diverse

    Diversity in its many shapes and forms is top of mind for company growth.

    We have team members who grew up in software engineer families, used to be English teachers and musicians, have finished renowned PhD programs or are self-taught without degrees. But don’t be fooled: the technical bar is incredibly high at Lightstep for everyone from engineering to sales and marketing.

    What makes us cohesive as a team is our commitment to each other, to doing quality work, and to growing our business in line with our values. To that end, here’s what one of our recruiters has to say:

    “It was crucial for me when choosing a team, and continues to drive the work I do here at all levels,” says Austen Yueh, a recruiter with a degree in computer science from MIT. “When I joined, nearly half the IC engineers were women, and senior women at that. As we scaled our engineering teams, we have kept the percentage of female engineers at about one-third, well above the industry average - and this is just one dimension of many dimensions of diversity.” She and many others look forward to regular Ladies of Lightstep gatherings both in and out of the office.

    We’re also very family-friendly. Many of our office events are kid-friendly and organized with families in mind. One time we invited all of our employees’ families to the office to play with (adorable) pigs!

  • Heavily Team Oriented

    We have collaborative, cross-functional teams composed of designers, product managers, and engineers.

    As of August 2019, we have three overarching themes to which smaller teams of 3-6 engineers each belong:

    • Product: Lightstep’s several product-themed teams build towards better features, usability, and value for our customers. Check out our demo – it’s one of the many experiences we’ve been working on that ties together all of the other work our teams do!
    • OpenTelemetry: The OpenTracing-OpenCensus merger into the OpenTelemetry project comprises a critical piece of Lightstep’s work in observability overall. Engineers on this team are focused on the open source ecosystem. Their work can vary from hosting podcasts, giving talks at developer conferences, and building functionality on our open source roadmap. We also look for language specialists for this team to create and support client libraries (e.g. iOS, Android, Python).
    • Platform: Lightstep’s platform engineering theme consists of two main initiatives – one in site reliability, and the other in building a unified data/metrics platform.

    In addition, any engineer can propose a new project, which goes through a selection process. All projects typically start with a conversation with the product manager (PM) on your team, followed by a collaborative drafting of a 1-2 page brief that outlines the problem space, potential impact, and engineering effort level required to complete a solution. Briefs are then grouped together, reviewed, and further vetted by the entire team, including the PM, EM, engineers, and designers. During this process, we have both verbal and written mediums for anyone to provide feedback. Ultimately, the teams make a collective decision to work on the highest impact projects.

    Even our interview process reflects how collaborative we are. Every engineering candidate meets with panels of two team members who focus on productivity and teamwork. Having a pair of interviewers lead each onsite panel helps reduce bias in the hiring process and more accurately assess a candidate’s ability to collaborate and work with diverse perspectives. Using the feedback from both interviewers, we can continuously reflect on and improve our interview practices. We’ve heard from candidates that they also appreciate this setup, since more people in the room adds greater perspective and generally yields more interesting conversations.

  • Open Source Contributor

    Progress in observability is progress for the industry overall - and we’re pretty transparent about how our tech works.

    We’ve got engineers in several countries making up our dedicated open source team. In addition to day-to-day software engineering work, they regularly speak at conferences, engage the community, and host a (free) podcast called On-Call Me Maybe.

    The support for open source started long ago with our CEO, Ben Sigelman, who co-founded the OpenTracing project (recently merged with OpenCensus into the OpenTelemetry project). OpenTracing is a vendor-neutral standard used by Lightstep, but also by internal tools at Pinterest, Twitter, Uber, Elastic, and Couchbase, to name a few. The idea here is that tracing shouldn’t be some big secret held from the world. We believe progress in observability is progress for the industry overall, which is why we’re transparent about how our tech works.

    As this article describes, we believe encouraging open source is key to our lives as developers but that tying it directly to a business’s profitability can backfire.


  • EQ > IQ
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Internal Mobility
  • High Quality Code Base
  • Team is Diverse
  • Heavily Team Oriented
  • Open Source Contributor

Company Properties

  • B2B
  • Technical Founder(s)

Team Members

  • 3 Engineering Managers and Directors of Engineering
  • 5 Product Managers
  • 30 Software Engineers
  • 1 Vice President of Engineering

Vacation Policy

Unlimited! Just keep your manager and team posted.

Tech Stack

d3.js/React/Redux single page webapp, Go backend, multi-language support for client libraries

Interview Process

Our interview process focuses on collaboration and identifying strengths (instead of tallying weaknesses). We do not whiteboard algorithms. Instead, we focus on how you’d reason about systems or features and guide others toward successful code-level implementations – all in the context of technical challenges you might encounter at Lightstep.

You can expect an initial call with a member of the recruiting team. If both sides are mutually interested in moving forward, you’d then speak with someone in engineering management in more depth, for about an hour. The following stage would be a 4-hour onsite at our San Francisco headquarters. We have a behavioral panel and three technical panels; they each last an hour and are hosted by two interviewers. The exact content depends on the engineering role you’re going for. It’s a time-consuming process, but we feel it’s well worth it to minimize bias, showcase as many perspectives on the team as possible, and get deeper insights into a candidate’s collaboration skills.