Ada Support

3 years of engineering at Ada

Andre Marcelo-Tanner
Staff DevOps Engineer

In June 18, 2022, Andre celebrated his third Adaversary. In his time here, Ada has tripled in growth and the Engineering Team has matured. We wanted to get a first-hand account of what it’s been like on that side of the org, so we asked Andre to document his journey. Here it is, in his own words.

Joining Ada

The year was 2019, the tech industry was booming, companies were hiring right and left, and there were too many tech conferences to attend. This is where I started my story with Ada.

After almost 20 years as a Software Engineer, I was looking for a new adventure. At the time, I lived in the Philippines and was looking for remote work so I could continue to raise my family without relocating. I was also looking for a company that had good culture from the top down — after several bad experiences, this mattered most to me.

I found both remote work and a great culture in Ada.

I was considering joining a different, much larger company but the people I met at Ada during the interview process won me over. They talked about being able to be their best self while doing their work, how culture mattered, and how people honored their word. And it wasn’t just talk, I experienced this first-hand when I asked Mike Murchison, Ada’s CEO, about the brand’s values and he readily acknowledged the lessons learned from past failures.

This was when I knew I had made the right choice. A company can get many things wrong, but if it has a strong, supportive culture from the top down, then you know you'll be able to grow, and contribute to the company’s growth. I have seen that play out countless times throughout my three years of tenure here at Ada.

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Working remotely and moving to Canada

I joined Ada as the third member of the Infrastructure Team, when the company was just a bit over 100 employees. What may seem normal now after the pandemic was normal for Ada in 2019: my position was completely remote, all interviews and meetings were over Zoom, and my small team and I were working with a full 12-hour time difference between us.

I did fly to Toronto for my onboarding, but when I got to the office at 9 am on my first day I found myself wondering where everyone else was. Eventually people showed up and I learned about how Ada valued your work more than being at work. They trusted their team members to do what they had to do and if they needed to leave for an appointment or continue working from home it was just understood, no butts in seats attitude here.

Ada has since become a digital first company, giving Ada Owners the flexibility to work from home or from one of the global WeWork offices.

Eventually, after two years and probably some pandemic lockdown fatigue, my family decided to move to Canada. Ada supported this and helped me settle into our new home. Now I work in the same timezone as most of my co-workers but still fully remote. Once in a while we get together at a WeWork or a local pub.

Ada’s rapid scale

Ada has certainly grown over the three years I have been here. We have gone through ups and downs — much like everywhere else, the pandemic was not easy on us. Change is hard but I have seen Ada weather massive storms, making both good decisions and mistakes, but always learning and improving.

While in the moment things can seem messy and unorganized, if we look back just 12 months, it’s easy to see the positive trend. It helps to pause and reflect on how we’ve grown as individuals and as a team. And through all this rapid scale, and all these storms, the culture that attracted me to Ada in the first place remains unshaken — we’ve evolved, but our roots are the same.

The company is still growing, but we’ve shifted gears a little. We’re now slowing down a bit to move with more confidence, and strengthening our practices to build a more valuable Ada. I’m constantly amazed by how these strategic shifts open the door for better work, and I think the reason that we’re never knocked off our feet is because of executive leadership’s transparency with decision-making and cross-functional alignment.

What my team looks like now

My once three person team has turned into an entire DevOps department of 30 individuals with four different branches supporting our internal platform and infrastructure. I now work on the core team that automates our Product Team’s toolings and workflows, and enables them to deliver reliable software confidently.

We have teams that specialize in Data Platform, helping teams scale and manage their data easily throughout the org. We have a Quality Enablement team (different from QA) that enables teams to have the highest quality tests and practices. Our Cloud Infrastructure team, a cornerstone, automates through tools like Kubernetes and Terraform, all on AWS.

We are currently focusing on strengthening our core, re-thinking about how we build things, and deciding how we can best support our Engineering organization for the next two to four years. With our growing numbers, specializations, and guiding principles, we are able to make Ada a mission-critical software for enterprises that truly empowers them to create VIP customer experiences at scale.

All of this from being a scrappy team trying to get everything done at once. We have changed so much and there is only so much more to come. I can truly say I have done my best work to date here at Ada.

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