Leela Senthil Nathan on growing with engineering teams

Stripe
Stripe
Feb 5, 2019 · 3 min read
Leela is a software engineer on Stripe’s Radar team in Seattle.

I came to Stripe after spending nearly four years at a much larger organization. When I joined the company in the summer of 2017, the Seattle office comprised 25 people, of which just eight were engineers — the entire engineering cohort was smaller than the team I’d left at my previous job. We had three engineering teams that were starting to grow from the ground up, simultaneously learning about the Stripe’ technical ecosystem (and beginning to contribute to it) while establishing strong roots in Seattle to enable healthy further expansion.

In the early days of the Seattle office, engineers frequently leaned on each other to understand how Stripe worked from a technical standpoint — if one of us had touched a codebase that no one else was familiar with yet, they were now the de facto expert that everyone flocked to! Having a local User Operations presence also helped immensely, as we quickly learned that Stripe operating principles placed the user experience of every product first and foremost. For anything that the Seattle hive mind couldn’t answer, helpful Stripes (in San Francisco and elsewhere) were a quick video call away and were always more than happy to help out.

We not only had to be engineers working on improving Stripe products and infrastructure, but also brand ambassadors and recruiting partners for the new Stripe office. We had coffee chats with candidates who were curious about what Stripe was doing in Seattle, conducted countless interviews, and hosted tech talks for the local engineering community.

Today, a year and a half later, Stripe Seattle is home to over 50 engineers working across most of the Stripe engineering pillars. We have teams working on Stripe’s secure credit card vault, search infrastructure, fraud prevention, and global expansion, just to name a few. Multiple candidates that I interviewed over the months are now my colleagues, and I love knowing that I personally contributed to the growth of the Stripe engineering presence in Seattle. While technical prowess and decision-making are core skills that every engineer seeks to develop — and will get the chance to do so over the course of their career — it’s rare to be able to define and contribute to the engineering culture of an office in its early stages. I’m thankful that I had the opportunity to both participate in and witness this firsthand at Stripe Seattle, and I couldn’t have chosen a better group of engineers with which to do so.


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Life at Stripe

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Life at Stripe

Stripes around the globe are working together to increase the GDP of the internet.

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