I’m the CEO and founder of Academia.edu. We are looking to hire an
exceptional Rails developer to join our VC-funded startup. I have put
the job description below. You can also find out more at our overall
jobs page www.academia.edu and the page for the specific job
Thanks for your time,
Richard P., Ph.D
Academia.edu helps academics answer the question ‘who’s researching
what?’. It applies to any research area: you can type in ‘thermophilic
organisms’, or one of 12,420 other research interests, and find out
who is working in that area worldwide, as well as what they are
working on – the latest papers, conferences, blog posts, status
Academia.edu launched 11 months ago, and is now one of the largest
online communities of researchers in the world; we now have 59,074
profiles, and are growing by about 5,000 profiles a month. We have
about 240,000 unique monthly visitors.
We are looking for an exceptional software engineer to join our team.
Academia.edu has a very engineer-driven culture. We describe below how
we think about our culture, and also the qualities of the person we
want to join us.
Professional qualities – you are:
- An exceptional engineer: you are able to innovate at the cutting
edge of web development to overcome the complex challenges that can
- Product and user experience focused: you are obsessed with creating
a great product, and a great user experience. You feel anguish and
pain when your site is slow, or when your user interface or feature is
bad, and you feel pleasure when the site is fast and intuitive.
- A problem solver: you derive huge intellectual satisfaction from
solving problems. You are always focused on finding the best and
quickest solution to the problem you are working on.
- Technically ambitious: you are the kind of person who enjoys
pushing the boundaries of the technologies you work with. For example,
when thinking about the best UI for a feature, you would have no fear
required to make it work right.
- A finisher: you care about finishing products and deploying code.
You understand that exceptional engineering, combined with exceptional
creativity, are what makes a startup succeed.
- Versatile: you are comfortable tweaking a CSS style or optimizing a
SQL query all in the same morning
- Able to prioritize features: you can look at a ton of possible
features on a whiteboard, be able to add your own ideas to the mix,
and then intelligently choose which one has the highest priority
- Thoughtful about productivity: you think about what working
environments and structures make you optimally productive. You try to
ensure that the right environment and structures are in place for you.
- Dedicated: you are willing to get up at 4am to restart the servers,
and then build something the next day so the servers don’t go down
- Personally invested in what you work on: you care personally about
the impact of your work on people around the world
Personal qualities – you are:
- An independent thinker: you are able to learn from people around
you when you need to, and also challenge them when they need to be
- Inquisitive: you naturally think of ways of improving things that
you interact with
- Creative: you are able to develop new ideas for the product and
enhance the vision of the company
- Excited about Academia.edu: you are excited about building a
platform that could change the way that research is shared and
- Keen to have an impact on the world around you: you are keen to be
the one to build the platform behind Academia.edu. You don’t just want
it to happen: you want the challenge of building it yourself.
Positively improving the lives of millions of people via software is
something that really excites you.
- Visionary: you are the kind of person who thinks ‘What will the
world look like in 10 years’ time, and how can we build that now?’
What is most important, by far, is that you are a quick learner who
can discover and pick up new techniques fast.
- Web development: you have 2+ years of web development experience
- Full stack: you have experience designing and implementing the full
stack of a web application: sysadmin, database implementation and
optimization, application development, front-end CSS, HTML and
- Scaling: ideally you have some experience scaling an application to
deal with an increasing user base. This is not essential though.
Here are some of the technologies that we work with:
- Ruby on Rails
- ActionScript 3
- Scribd/iPaper API
- Facebook Connect
You should be comfortable finding the right tools for the job while
becoming great at whatever tool you’re using.
Apart from an incredibly fun engineering and product challenge, we
offer some nice benefits! You will get a market salary and stock
options. We want to hire someone exceptional, and we want to be
generous with stock options to make this happen. In addition, you will
also get health insurance, any ergonomic chair of your choosing, a
laptop with two huge monitors, and a smartphone with monthly bills
The job is based in San Francisco. We will help with visas and other
issues relating to re-location. If you are interested to learn more,
please email Richard P. at richard – at sign – academia.edu.