What it’s like to work as a software engineer at ClassPass
Coming to work for ClassPass last fall felt like a wink from the universe. I had been a devoted ClassPass user since it first launched in the city I call home, San Francisco. And as a woman in tech, I was inspired by what founder Payal Kadakia Pujji had achieved. Few companies have excited me, and changed me, the way ClassPass has.
I joined because it was important to me to work toward a mission I believed in. And I knew from my own experience that ClassPass truly has the power to help people live better lives.
I also came for the supportive environment. I learn best when I’m working with others, and my coworkers have helped me grow. They’ve happily answered the (many) questions I throw at them. But more importantly, they’ve helped teach me how to teach myself.
And I won’t lie. The free ClassPass membership is an incredible perk.
But enough about me. I wanted to understand what attracted my fellow engineers to ClassPass. Not all of them are users of the product sitting squarely in the target demographic like me. So I recently asked them to describe what it’s like to work at ClassPass in their own words. Several clear themes emerged.
Friendly and inviting environment
I asked engineers to choose three words to describe the culture at ClassPass. They shared words like welcoming, engaging, creative and fun. But one word emerged as the clear favorite: friendly.
One engineer elaborated, “You’ll get to work with great people and you’ll likely get in better shape. You may even discover how much fun it is to work out with your co-workers!”
Engineers at ClassPass aren’t always working out, but they are always considerate, helpful and supportive.
Open and honest culture
One of our operating principles is “engage constructively and commit wholeheartedly”. Another encourages us to “presume good intent”. These two principles work together to create a respectful and transparent culture.
Engineers are encouraged to attend their squad’s roadmap planning sessions every six weeks, where, with input from the CEO and relevant executive team members, squad goals are challenged and defended before being set and prioritized. Squads are small, which means everyone has a voice.
Professional and committed coworkers
“Be all in” and “deliver on our promises”. These operating principles speak to what I have observed at ClassPass: people are committed to their work.
Our startup culture rewards initiative. As one engineer put it, “If you’re looking for a place where you are told what to do, this might not be the right place for you. But if you are a self-starter and want to have an impact and be heard, this is a great place to be.”
Another engineer emphasized “how much room there is for growth and how much opportunity there is to make an impact… There really are a lot of interesting problems and the company provides a lot of space for taking initiative on solving them.”
Fun and engaging work
We work with a modern tech stack that includes elements such as Node.js, React, Java, PostgreSQL, Python, AWS, and Terraform. We follow an Agile development process, with most squads running two-week sprints. Our cross-functional squads are structured around business areas such as our Partner Dashboard and our audio-based app, ClassPass Go.
We earmark 20% of our time for addressing tech debt and improving the way we work as engineers. We have cross-cutting guilds to build alignment around functions such as services and front-end web. “No meetings Thursdays” allow us to dive more deeply into challenging problems.
A typical day includes a short stand-up with my squad, a planning meeting such as backlog grooming or a sprint retro, reviewing code for other engineers, and writing code of my own. I might also spend time writing acceptance tests or squashing bugs. My squad keeps open lines of communication throughout the day using Slack and/or quick check-ins.
Making it count
What’s best: all of this work is impactful. A fellow engineer said, “It’s rare you get a chance to work on something that makes people’s lives better. It helps so much to know that our customers are happier and healthier as a result of the work we do every day.”
Faced with this opportunity, our operating principle to “make it count” is especially motivating for me. I love waking up every day and thinking about how I can make my time here count.