Work with us at WhiteHat

January 23, 2015

Reading time ~8 minutes

Update: I no longer work at WhiteHat and neither does this team. Hire them!

I work for WhiteHat Security and I lead a team called The Shire. Our team primarily builds web applications in Ruby on Rails and we're based in downtown Pittsburgh.

We're hiring a couple more developers to join our outstanding team. I'm fortunate enough to work with some of the best people in Pittsburgh. Bright, curious, hilarious, and they're good hackers1, too! We're interested in talking to programmers of all levels. Don't shy away if you are interested but have limited experience. We want to hire great people who put in the effort, and you are hard enough to find as it is.

It's difficult to write a "please come work with me" essay so here's my plan: I'm going to tell you about our team culture, then about what we're looking for in a candidate. The method I'm using is to post our internal team culture document verbatim, and our internal job position document. They're both on our team wiki, and editable by anyone on the team.

If you read all this and you'd like to work with us please email me to talk about it. You can reach me at work with the following obfuscated email address:

 1name    = %w(Casey West)
 2company = %q(WhiteHat Security)
 3email   = [
 4  name.join('.'),
 5  [
 6    company.tr(' ','')[0..10], # We go to 11. \o/
 7    'com'
 8  ].join('.')
 9].join('@').downcase
10
11puts email

You can also find links to me on social media on the left if you'd like to chat casually.

Shire Culture

The Shire operates under two guiding principles: trust and transparency. As a member of the team you are trusted to use the best ideas to do the most important work. As a team we agree to be transparent in our work, our ideas, and our struggles.

This means we are all accountable for the success of our work as a team. It doesn't matter what functional role you have, which skills you bring to the team when you start, or where you are located. If there's work that needs to be done we take responsibility for it, complete it, and ship it as a team.

If we succeed in our goals it's because we did it together. If we fail it's because we all failed together. Thankfully, failure is not terminal. We learn from it, adapt, and do better going forward.

This brings us to The Shire Motto: If something is broken we fix it.

We don't put a ticket on another team's queue and wait around or complain. We do all the work we can to fix whatever is broken. We accept external roadblocks only when we are physically or administratively blocked, and we try to avoid those blockers in the future, too.

The Shire has adopted this attitude. Doing so has meant we've accumulated a wealth of knowledge about much of the WhiteHat Architecture. Everything from the hardware we run on to the way we document our APIs.

We are not afraid of solving hard problems correctly, and we're not afraid to spend the time getting things right. We’re not afraid to make good change anywhere in the company with whatever the right tool for the job is: technology, knowledge, experience, culture, or even a good hearty laugh.

With this understanding of our Shire culture it's clear to see what your role as a team member is: Get the job done. Do whatever it takes, and do it well.

We work at WhiteHat to meet customer needs with positive business outcomes.

Here are some things we don't work at WhiteHat to do:

  • Write beautiful code.
  • Test everything.
  • Make it pixel perfect.
  • Handle every edge case.
  • Document every process.

When we are doing well we get some of these for free, which is a wonderful thing, but they are not our primary objective.

We don't work beyond our physical limits. Each team member should work to maintain their health and happiness, and the team should hold each other accountable for that. If someone is burning out we should encourage them to rest. Take care of yourself and each other.

What does this mean for you, for each team member? Lets consider it by functional team, since we already understand we're all in this together, anyway.

Hackers1

You are the expert on the software we create. You know where it is, how it's organized, how it's tested, and how it's deployed. If a problem can be solved by writing some code you know how to do that and you will. If you don't know how—no problem—you will soon. You aren't afraid of a challenge. You're courageous!

You know how to test what the team has created. You collaborate with other team members regularly to share knowledge and ideas, and to work together to find the best way to do the work because, after all, the team is all responsible for it.

When you're concerned there's a problem you raise the issue openly, trust the team to respond, and get to work fixing it with the team.

You help others always, especially lending support in areas of your expertise. You take care to teach others what you know so we all learn and grow.

You know what to do next because you follow the team's progress. If ever you don't know you will soon because you'll ask. Nobody has to give you a detailed task list, though, because you're self motivated and will dig into the next unsolved problem.

Developers: See Hackers

Testers: See Hackers

Product Management and Design: See Hackers

Scrum Master: See Hackers

Interns: See Hackers

These are the expectations the team has of every member. Regardless of your title or tenure this is your charge.

Everyone on The Shire is a hacker, so happy hacking!

Shire Hacker Job Description

About Us

WhiteHat Security helps prevent website attacks by providing the most complete Web security solution. We keep our customers safe in some of the most heavily regulated and attacked industries out there.

At WhiteHat we code and have fun. We're hacker culture1. We're focused on delivering quality code every day and we do that by taking risks, staying flexible, and moving fast. Our work is challenging and our team is passionate about it. We're creative and dedicated.

Position Summary

Do you want to be challenged by your job and overcome those challenges with awesome people? If you do we want you on the team!

We want full stack, modern web application developers: polyglots who use the right tool for the job. As a team member you will work on products that run our business. We need you to passionately champion great ideas, collaborate on a distributed team, and exercise unencumbered intellectual curiosity so we can ship fantastic software together.

Desired Skills and Experience

A qualified candidate will:

  • Have experience writing applications that are secure and have to scale.
  • Have experience with responsible development practices: writing unit and functional tests as part of development; writing maintainable, well structured code thoughtfully.
  • Be comfortable working collaboratively with distributed teams.
  • Have some exposure to the full stack: *nix, devops, automated systems, application development, javascript, CSS, and HTML5.
  • Be fearless: you know how to find the answer and you're not afraid to take a risk and try things that might not work.
  • Be a scientist: collect data and make informed decisions whenever possible.

An ideal candidate will also:

  • Love beautiful code: elegant code is often the result of elegant solutions.
  • Have extensive hands-on experience with web application frameworks such as Ruby on Rails, Django, or Express.
  • Contribute to open source projects and participate in technical communities.
  • Understand distributed architectures such as data sharding, service oriented architecture (SOA), and load balancing, and know when to use them.

This position will likely be filled at our headquarters in Santa Clara, or our downtown Pittsburgh office. Remote work may be an option for an exceptional candidate with remote work experience outside the Bay Area or Pittsburgh. Please apply if you are an exceptional candidate!

Thank you for considering WhiteHat Security. When you apply please include your GitHub user ID and tell us which open source project really excites you right now, and why.

WhiteHat Security is an equal employment opportunity company.

  1. "The act of engaging in activities (such as programming or other media) in a spirit of playfulness and exploration is termed hacking. However the defining characteristic of a hacker is not the activities performed themselves (e.g. programming), but the manner in which it is done: Hacking entails some form of excellence, for example exploring the limits of what is possible, thereby doing something exciting and meaningful." — Hacker (programming subculture), Wikipedia 2 3

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