R&D Engineer (Remote)

Job description

Location: Remote, mainly UK based, as travel to our London hub will be required from time to time.
Team: R&D


As Ably enters its next stage of growth, we’re looking for talented and curious engineers to help us build and deliver the platform to power synchronized digital experiences in realtime for one billion devices every week by 2024.

Our everyday digital experiences are in the midst of a realtime revolution. Whether attending an event in a virtual venue, receiving realtime financial information, or monitoring live car performance data – consumers simply expect realtime digital experiences as standard. As such, synchronized data in realtime is now business critical for many organisations. Yet, at the same time, organizations don’t have the in-house capabilities nor the time to do this efficiently at scale. That’s where Ably comes in.

We provide a suite of APIs to build, extend, and deliver powerful digital experiences in realtime for more than 265 million devices across 80 countries each month. Organizations like Toyota, Bloomberg, HubSpot, and Hopin depend on Ably’s platform to offload the growing complexity of business-critical realtime data synchronization at global scale.

Working at Ably means helping to build the infrastructure and technology that will power and shape the future of the internet. The opportunity in front of us is immense. But we can’t rest yet. And we’d like your help.

To see what life’s like at Ably, check out our careers page at ably.com/careers and read the story of how Ably's core values came to be.

What we do

Ably’s engineering team is deeply technical, collectively bringing a wealth of experience and broad technology skills across infrastructure, security, distributed systems, and much more. The calibre of the code we produce is what excites and motivates us each day. If you enjoy solving hard distributed system problems that are mostly platform agnostic and theoretical in nature, then you'll love working at Ably.

In this role

Ably is an engineering company at its heart. Our audience ranges from software engineers to CIOs and it’s our job to make sure the world knows about Ably.

Ably’s aims are to create technically superior products and features, and the company’s newly formed R&D function is tasked with establishing the technical underpinnings for future product development. You will belong to the R&D team working under the direction of Ably’s Co-founder and Chief Scientist. You will contribute to all of the aims of the R&D team, which include:

  • Building awareness of the technology landscape by evaluating new technologies, approaches, academic and other research results, and software offerings;

  • Undertaking applied research and development directly, creating and developing new concepts and approaches as software deliverables;

  • Advancing Ably’s community presence and standing by a combination of research publications, blog posts, conference presentations and open source software offerings, where these are relevant to the specific R&D initiatives being undertaken.

We are looking for candidates who are very strong technically with an established interest in distributed systems who can contribute to these aims.

Day to day, you will:

  • Work as a software developer on new features or other enhancements related to the Ably product, working both on existing codebases and green-field projects.

  • Review, and gain a theoretical and practical understanding of technology developments that are potentially applicable, whether those are other research outputs, open source software projects, or competitive product offering.

  • Generate original contributions, either theoretical or practical, to address specific product challenges.

  • Generate research outputs ranging from conference or journal papers, blog or other online content, to open source software.

  • Participate in customer and market research to understand current and future use-cases for Ably’s projects, including talking directly to developers within Ably’s customer community.

  • Analyse Ably’s existing code and services, to understand its behaviour, design features and limitations, and its operation in practice.

  • Assist in realisation of the results of R&D as project features, working with the engineering and product teams.


Skills & Experience

General: We are looking for candidates that can demonstrate an interest in technically challenging topics in computing, especially relating to realtime and distributed systems, networking and systems programming. Successful candidates will be able to demonstrate their ability to contribute and solve problems in these areas via professional experience and/or personal projects. Ultimately, ability will outweigh specific experience when reviewing candidates for this position.

Experience: Prior experience of working in a computing science or mathematics research setting is preferred, either in industry or academia, ideally with a relevant postgraduate research qualification. However, we don't have any specific experience requirements that are essential for the role. We will strongly prefer candidates that do have a track record in Node.js or Go, or can show experience in solving problems in distributed systems, and ideally have some familiarity with systems-level programming as well experience with high-level languages.

Open source: We prefer developers who have contributed to the open source community, even if those contributions are small.

It would be great if you have:
  • An active interest, and a track record of working on, distributed systems problems. Find out what it takes to be a distributed systems engineer.

  • Excellent analytical skills backed by a strong academic background in Computing Science or Maths.

  • Professional development experience in Go and/or Nodejs.

  • An excellent practical understanding of distributed systems software, networking, protocols and systems programming.

It would be nice if you have:
  • Experience of building and operating production systems at scale.

  • Experience in a research setting involving topics relevant to our product including realtime and distributed systems, protocols, collaboration and associated technologies.

What’s it like to work at Ably?

Ably is entering a new phase of growth led by an experienced senior team. You’ll be part of a successful, highly motivated, and extremely collaborative team.

To provide the infrastructure required for the next generation of the internet, to tell the world about it, and to support everyone inside Ably to do so we hire people who are ready and capable of taking on challenging problems in a high-growth environment.

We want to work in a company of inclusive people who treat each other well. To really thrive at Ably, you’ll need to believe in and be prepared to do your work in line with our values, which are:

  • Open for all. Open is a mindset. When open, we’re better collaborators, communicators and creators. Whether open source, standards, or protocols, open hearts, minds, and eyes. It’s better when it’s open.

  • Bias for action. We avoid analysis paralysis at all costs. We lean into doing in order to move us forward. When we have enough of what we need to act, we act. 

  • Even the best do better. We want to be the best - but that doesn’t mean we rest when we are. Improvement and growth  - true betterment - is an ongoing journey. One fuelled by curiosity and taking risks. 

  • Technology needs humanity. Our technology means little without people - whether that’s how we treat our colleagues, or how we design developer experiences. Being human matters.

  • Dependable by default. Dependability is integral to our mission and technology, but being dependable starts with our people. When we care enough to take real ownership of our products and problems - all else will follow. 

  • Bold creativity wins. When viewed through a different lens, what stands in the way can become the way. The bigger the challenge the easier the choice: bold creativity will always move us forward, create better outcomes, and set us apart.

What’s in it for you?
  • A great company culture

  • Share options

  • The chance to learn and grow with a fast-moving company, supported by a learning budget that gives you access to professional training, events, conferences, workshops etc.

  • Remote first: Unless you want to pop into our communal office space in Shoreditch, London, you’ll work from home most of the time, apart from when we have planning sessions and Summits. Travel to the office is at the employee's expense, apart from when we have Ably Summits

  • Your choice of high quality tech kit to work on

  • Home workstation set up budget of £500, plus an annual top-up of £150

  • Regular company away days and social events

  • Friday need-to-know drinks and snacks

  • Private health insurance, including Doctor@Hand

  • Access to private and confidential coaching with Sanctus

  • 24/7 Employee Assistance Programme with AXA

  • A monthly wellbeing budget with Juno

  • 25 days of paid annual leave (33 days including bank holidays)

  • 10 days of paid sick leave (including mental health days) per year

  • Dog friendly office for when you’re in the office!

If you enjoy working as part of a technology company, value open source, and love solving hard problems - then we’d love to hear from you, regardless of whether you fit the job description exactly or not. If in doubt, drop us an email; we’d be more than happy to give you some advice on your application.

We believe our differences as individuals is what makes us great. Our people are at the heart of what we do, and we encourage everyone to be their most authentic self at Ably: we see inclusivity and openness as fundamental to creating long-term success as an organization. We encourage applications from all backgrounds regardless of age, disability, gender, sexual orientation, parental status, race, religion, educational background or neurodiversity. Ably has an amazing opportunity ahead of us, and we want anyone to be able to contribute to that opportunity.