Backend Engineering Lead

San Francisco, CA
About Us

Holloway is a new publishing and technology company in San Francisco that publishes comprehensive, practical Guides researched, written, and refined by experts. Our first Guide, The Holloway Guide to Equity Compensation, is now one of the most trusted resources on the web for navigating the swamp of challenges related to equity-based compensation.

We’re a six-person team with deep experience in writing, machine learning, and search that believes we can create a world where access to existing knowledge isn't a barrier to making progress in our careers.

The Opportunity

This role is the technical lead covering the backend engineering for a complex search and document processing pipeline. Depending on skills and qualifications, this role can also involve significant data science-related efforts. This is a broad, senior technical role where you can significantly shape the architecture of the product, and where leadership will be expected as the team grows.


    • Improve and scale one of the most advanced document publishing pipelines ever built, including web crawling, data curation, search and query analytics, and machine learning models. Includes responsibilities for end-to-end functionality as well as supporting infrastructure, such as AWS-deployed databases and job scheduling.
    • Maintain and scale cloud-based infrastructure for data processing and serving systems in AWS (Beanstalk, RDS, Lambda, Batch, EC2, S3). Select appropriate new tools and services to deploy and maintain infrastructure in a scalable way.
    • Work with front-end engineering team to integrate and produce a great and reliable user experience.
    • Manage tools and processes for handling analytics data and metrics that measure and evaluate quality of user experience.
    • Other duties as needed or required.
    • Optional but fun: Collaborate or assist experts and authors writing on machine learning, software engineering, startup-related topics, and related areas where we publish.


    • You are excited about making the Web a better and more informative place.
    • Strong sense of ownership and a love for learning about new tools and kinds of problems, suitable for an early stage team, where all kinds of work needs to be done.
    • Experience writing and shipping significant amounts of production code, especially full stack web engineering or data-intensive use cases like ETL or search systems.
    • Strong in Python. Strong JavaScript and Node experience a plus.
    • Strong understanding of algorithms and distributed systems.
    • BS in computer science or related field (master's degree a strong plus).
    • Minimum of 3-5 years of experience in industry, or equivalent practical experience in school—or any successful open source project you can show us that's compelling
    • Preferred: Cloud devops experience, such as Docker and AWS. Some knowledge or interest in standard machine learning toolkits and algorithms in practice, including modern Python and data science tools for exploratory data analysis and modeling.

Our commitments to you

    • You'll go to work knowing you're working on making the web a better place.
    • We'll ship things we're proud of and that our readers find deep value in.
    • We'll do everything we can to make you the most effective engineer you can be.
The Holloway Story

Holloway started with two people: Andy Sparks and Josh Levy. Andy left his last company fascinated by one question, "What are all the questions Google doesn't provide a good answer for?" Josh, inspired by Doug Engelbart's theory of "intelligence augmentation (or IA)" not "artificial intelligence (AI)" wanted to create a place to share and collaborate on deeply practical knowledge.The two got together in early 2017 with a shared commitment to spend at least ten years working on creating a company that would make it easy for everyone to find the best knowledge, you know, the stuff the top 1% of people in a field know.

Many of the ideas for Holloway came from open source experiments Josh ran on GitHub from 2015-2016. First, he publishedThe Art of the Command Line, which would go on to see more than 800K visitors. Second, he publishedThe Open Guide to Equity Compensation, in the fall of 2015, a collaboration between Josh and several startup lawyers. Third, he publishedThe Open Guide to Amazon Web Services (AWS) in the summer of 2016. The latter two each saw hundreds of thousands of visitors to the GitHub README page and hundreds of contributors.

Andy, on the other hand, had just left a company he co-founded, Mattermark, had spent months researching the clean water industry, and kept finding the best knowledge on clean water wasn't showing up in Google searches, but instead through conversations with venture capitalists he knew from Mattermark. What if the knowledge these experts knew was widely available? What would the world look like then? To test whether people would care, he began exploring publishing collections of knowledge on specific subjects for others to learn from such as "Everything You Should Know About CRISPR—And Where to Learn More."

Shortly thereafter, a mutual friend put two and two together and introduced Andy and Josh. The two spent months learning about each other and reconciling their differing ideas, and decided to join forces in February of 2017