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Solutions Engineers: Advocating for the Customer

We’re the Solutions Engineering team at Algolia. What does that mean exactly? We do a lot of different things, but they’re all tied together by one philosophy:

We advocate for the customer inside Algolia.

Being a Solutions Engineer requires flexibility above all. On any given day, we speak with customers and future customers, build out proofs of concept that show just what Algolia can do, and even add new features to the product itself. The tasks are varied and no two days are alike. Our priorities are determined by a single question: will this help our customers be more successful?

We’re proud of—and enjoy—what we do. We wanted to share it with you, to pull back the curtain and give you insight into this team you may have interacted with.

A Variety of Job Requirements; A Variety of Backgrounds

To make our customers successful, we need to know what makes us successful. When we are evaluating a potential new SE colleague, what skills should they have?

A successful Engineer on the Solutions Team should have the following qualities:

  • Programming aptitude
  • Communication
  • UX design knowledge
  • Organization
  • Ideation/innovation
  • Proactivity
  • High standards
  • Teamwork

It’s a decently-sized list and the qualities intersect well with each other. An Engineer on the Solutions Team won’t be able to communicate well with our customers and colleagues if she’s disorganized. And we consider good programming and UX knowledge to be siblings of a sort.

We’ve worked for startups, we’ve been at agencies, and we’re former educators. No matter how we got here, we use our experience to the benefit of our customers.

We Superpower Our Customers

On average, 60% of our time has a direct customer impact, with the other 40% spent on projects that look toward the long-term.

Some work that might fall in the “direct customer impact” bucket:

  • A well-known forum wants to search 100s of millions of posts and comments. What’s the best way to organize the data given our infrastructure and their search needs?
  • What’s the best UX for an ecommerce shop that sells books, toys, electronics, lawn equipment, sporting goods, food, DVDs, CDs, & video games?
  • A potential customer wants to see what Algolia would look like on their website. Can you flex your technical muscles to blow them away?

Here are a few examples of our 40% long-term work:

  • There’s a conference in Australia in front of 200 SaaS founders? Sign us up!
  • Need to redesign the dashboard? Let’s assemble a team and make it awesome!
  • How about an improvement to our instantsearch.js library? We’re on it.

I asked my colleagues what they enjoyed most about their jobs. I thought Raph said something particularly interesting. He joined us in the spring of 2016 and he said he would tell people that:

“I love being part of an awesome team that’s tackling a real problem: making content more accessible, and to see that it has a real impact.”

At the end of the day, that’s what makes our job so rewarding: we are making a real difference in our customers’ lives and their customers’ lives. Be it a well-known business or an e-commerce shop just trying to get off the ground, we are helping businesses be more amazing

We Superpower Our People

One of the overarching tenets of working at Algolia is that we hire really talented people and then empower them to do their best work. If you don’t like giving talks to big groups, but you love creating video tutorials, we’re going to encourage you to do what you are best at.

Each person here cares deeply about the success of the others. Take a look again at the key qualities of our team members. Our teammates have high-standards and they value teamwork. We expect each person to look out for the others and to actively assist them when they need help.

And that extends beyond our immediate team. We work closely with every team at Algolia. I often tell people that I’ve learned more in the past year about sales and recruiting than I ever thought I would—or would want to. If I ever left Algolia to build a product, I’m in a much better place than I would have been in a strictly engineering role.

Did I mention that we’re hiring?

If I had to sum us up in a pithy way, I’d say we’re engineers who obsess over our customers. It doesn’t quite fit on a business card, but it works.

If you read the above and thought to yourself, “That’s me!” then we want to hear from you. We are hiring in SF, NYC, and Paris and can’t continue to grow without talented people.

E-mail us at and let’s chat.

About the author
Dustin Coates

Product and GTM Manager


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