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My First Job: On Cloud Nine at Clumio

Kabir Peshawaria attended Carnegie Mellon University, where he completed his undergraduate studies in Computer Science and Mathematics. He started working at Clumio full-time June 2020.


One year ago, I accepted a full-time job offer from Clumio. Today, that fantastic decision seems like a no-brainer, but at the time the transition from computer science student to software engineer was hardly straightforward. Choosing a job can feel overwhelming, but luckily this turned out to be exactly what I was looking for. Although Clumio won’t be a perfect fit for everyone, I wanted to share why I’m so drawn to this company. I do hope the thoughts I share here can help guide some people with their job hunts, especially in these extra stressful times. Also, in case anything in this blog post strikes a chord, we are hiring!

Without further ado – here are five reasons why Clumio was an awesome choice.

Reason #1) New Grads can play key roles in high profile projects

At Clumio, management is very open to placing trust in the new grads. Within months of joining, many of us were listed as DRIs (Directly Responsible Individuals) on important components of the codebase. As we invent ourselves, every day is packed with new ideas for growth. There’s a lot of very interesting and technically challenging work to do and only a handful of engineers in total. So, even as newbies, we’re encouraged to step up and take ownership of these tasks whenever possible.

It probably sounds intimidating to have so much responsibility as you start your first job. One day you’re onboarding and asking how to set up your laptop. Next, a senior engineer is asking you to present your design for a customer-facing project. But, you’re not left to fend for yourself. One of the company’s philosophies is to not only hire great engineers, but also build them in-house. Clumio hires new grads for their potential, knowing that they’ll need some guidance. Your manager and mentor will absolutely help you as you work through the initial hurdles, and pretty quickly, you’ll be expected to do the same for the next batch of new hires.

Reason #2) Managers are invested in your growth and development

When I joined, my manager emphasized that hiring a new grad like me was a long term investment. In the not so distant future, I was expected to be the resident expert (or ‘guru’, as we call it at Clumio) in some large domain. Rather than throwing me grunt work, my onboarding tasks were carefully selected to train me for my first important project. My team had a vision for me from day one, and I instantly felt like a valued team member. I’ve already learned so much that it feels like I’m in school – only instead of paying tuition, I’m getting a salary!

Reason #3) Transparency throughout the company

Our CEO highlights during orientation that ‘wanting to learn how to grow a successful startup’ is a pretty common reason for joining among new hires. Because of this, he shares Clumio’s Series A investor deck and walks us through why he included each slide and what, if anything, he would change. For the future entrepreneurs, this is a unique opportunity and something most people don’t ever get to see. In fact, he still shows us unaltered decks from company board meetings – well, he removes the slide that contains all our salary info.

This transparency is a common theme among our upper management. In a one on one with our VP of Finance, I mentioned that I wanted to learn more about his role and day to day job function – I found it pretty amazing that I was even able to schedule this meeting as a Clumio baby – and his response was very positive. Agreeing that as a small company, we should leverage our opportunity to have all departments familiar with each other’s functions, he set up recurring meetings to talk to interested engineers like me. Just last week he gave us a deep dive in business financial planning.

Reason #4) Culture Culture Culture

As I mentioned, transparency and communication is incredible here. For example, we have a couple of Slack channels called “win alerts” and “loss alerts” where our sales team will share specific reasons why we were or weren’t able to close a deal. You get to see firsthand the consequences of the features you build and get feedback from real customers. This is how all companies should operate, with people from all departments looped in and working together effectively. Seeing customer feedback so closely motivates me to be a better engineer.

Everyone I work with is really smart, personable, and, most importantly, helpful. From the day I joined, I had two mentors checking in on me everyday for hours as I got acclimated to the codebase. They were not only extra responsive on Slack, but also willing to let me screen share whenever I was confused. This exemplifies the Clumio philosophy completely. We’re a family that looks out for each other.

At bigger companies, there might be some office politics taking place because realistically, one team’s impact is less likely to radically affect the overall stock price. An “optimal strategy” could be to “climb the ladder” even at the detriment of the overall team. This isn’t optimal at Clumio. We all want the company to succeed, so we’re incentivized to be helpful and build each other up.

Reason #5) Because we have the right engineering philosophy

This was by far the biggest factor to set Clumio apart. It seems like almost every tech startup these days advertises how fast their dev process is. Some will brag about how they’ll conceive an idea on Monday and push it to production by the end of the week. To me, this was a red flag. I wanted to work for a place that had a better balance between building fast and being deliberate.

We’re fortunate to be very well funded at this stage, so we don’t have to take shortcuts to stay alive. Whenever possible, we code things the right way and place a strong emphasis on proper design. In my honest opinion, our codebase is pretty clean. I’ve been thoroughly impressed with the thought behind some of our architecture. In my first Zoom meeting with our CTO, someone asked whether we should hack something to save time. He said no. His philosophy is that we should always think before we code, since rushing to make short-term, localized changes can often lead to downstream complications at later development stages. Hearing that fully reassured me that I had joined the right company.

At Clumio, I don’t feel like a code monkey because my work feels like a natural extension of school. I love that I get to apply the principles I learned in classes to my job and that this effort will actually be valued. Of course, I understand that we’re first and foremost a business, and so our top priority is the experience of our customers and the value we add to them. While the cleanliness of our code might not directly translate to that, I couldn’t agree more with our CTO that thinking through engineering decisions will continue to serve us well as we keep building on top of a bug-free, modular, well designed codebase.

Conclusion:

These are just some of my highlights, and I definitely can’t gush enough about my new job. Hopefully this helps you think about the kind of company you’d like to work at after college. If Clumio sounds like it could be the place for you, our NCG (New College Graduate) roles are now active on our website! Thanks for reading and stay safe.

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