by Katie Fustich
July 23, 2018

In the ever-evolving advertising industry, The Trade Desk has been at the forefront of technology, offering a platform capable of capturing the entire consumer journey.

To do so, the company has built a global team that values collaboration, dedication, diversity and critical thinking. Though they deal with vast quantities of data, processed at rapid speeds, the engineers within the company are encouraged to own their work, go at their own pace and ask for mentorship and resources when and where they need support.

We caught up with four team members to learn more about their team culture, their tech and their collaboration across the world.

Colorful murals in The Trade Desk's NYC office
PHOTO BY HANNAH COHEN
Cartoon and comic illustrations on a wall inside The Trade Desk's NYC office
PHOTO BY HANNAH COHEN
The Trade Desk Engineering Team
PHOTO BY HANNAH COHEN

 

FOUNDED: 2009

EMPLOYEES: 180 in New York City; 850 globally

WHAT THEY DO: The Trade Desk combines big data, artificial intelligence, cloud technology and global connectivity to give ad-buyers precise control over the advertisements they purchase. The Trade Desk’s platform ensures both maximum efficiency and impact for their clients.

WHERE THEY DO IT: The Trade Desk has 22 locations around the world, including a Ventura, California headquarters and locations in New York City, Chicago, Paris, Tokyo and more.

WHO THEY HELP: Brands and advertising agencies seeking to connect with audiences across all devices and media types.

FORECASTING THE FUTURE: At The Trade Desk, several women in leadership roles are helping to change the future of advertising. Learn more

 

The Trade Desk engineering team playing pool
PHOTO BY HANNAH COHEN
The Trade Desk Engineering Team
PHOTO BY HANNAH COHEN
Portrait of Tim Caro, a lead software engineer at The Trade Desk
PHOTO BY HANNAH COHEN

 

Tim Caro, Lead Software Engineer

No two days are the same for Lead Software Engineer Tim Caro. He works with his team at every stage of the development process, from writing and testing to shipping code. Caro also takes his role as an advocate for his team members seriously, mentoring them and working to understand their career paths. As Caro put it, he does “a little bit of everything.”

BEYOND WORK: When not at his desk, Caro can be found cooking. “The best part though is sharing what I create with friends,” he said.

 

Describe what your team does. What’s your mission? What problems are you solving?

The individuals here in New York are spread across different teams within the company. We work with each other a lot, but also collaborate with many people across the engineering team. I've recently been working on a team building our next generation platform, including a host of new products and enhancements that we call the Next Wave. My work involves scaling the performance of our services, across all of our data centers and across thousands of machines.

We process upwards of 9 million requests per second and have to compute millions of combinations for each request. This can lead to some serious performance issues if we aren't smart in the way that we build our software. I have been working with a few people in London, NYC and California on how our next generation platform impacts the overall performance of our system. This is super important because we needed to make sure every one of those 9 million requests per second are processed just as efficiently in our Next Wave platform as they were previously.

 

What is the breakdown of a developer's day? What’s unique about it?

Our day is split up based mainly on the phase of the project we are working on. Work is very self-directed with the only required meeting being a daily stand-up with our scrum team. The rest of the time is spent either designing a solution, discussing it with other subject matter experts to gather feedback, heads down coding, testing locally or in production, coordinating the releases and finally gathering feedback or measuring the success of our work.

What's unique is the level of ownership and self-direction on our team. Engineers are trusted to get their work done, to think about the impact and to be creative about their solutions. This allows us to express our workday in a way that reflects our own unique approaches to life.

 

What sets The Trade Desk apart from other engineering teams you’ve worked on?

A family of scale. I've never worked at a scale this large or with such a tight-knit group of engineers. I'm working on some of the hardest challenges, by far, that I've ever worked on in my career. It's hard enough building some of our features, but building them to process 9 million requests per second sometimes feels impossible. However, I feel like I work with some of the smartest and most generous people I know. Whenever I'm stuck I know the team will have my back.

Additionally, I feel like I have a lot of ownership over the work I am doing. I'm given hard problems to solve but it's up to me to figure out how to solve them. It really makes me appreciate the impact I have when I finish a project.

The Trade Desk Engineering Team
PHOTO BY HANNAH COHEN
The Trade Desk Engineering Team
PHOTO BY HANNAH COHEN

 

Samantha Emanuele, Data Analyst

As a member of the data analysis team, Samantha Emanuele’s work involves parsing key insights from “hundreds of terabytes of data” and sharing those results with teams across the company.

BEYOND WORK: Samantha enjoys baking. Samantha recently completed a 12-week pastry course and noted that her colleagues at The Trade Desk are fans of her work.

 

Tell us about your favorite work perk.

One of my favorite perks is lunch roulette. Every month the entire NYC office gets randomly grouped into teams of four to go out to lunch, paid for by the company. It’s a great way to meet and interact with people from different teams that you might not work with day to day. It helps make our office of 180 feel a little bit smaller.

 

How does the engineering team foster a culture of diversity?

In NYC, the data science team is mostly female! Since I am still relatively new in my career, I greatly appreciate having so many intelligent, successful and motivated female role models to look up to. It can be hard for women in tech to find mentors, so I definitely lucked out.

Back in March, another coworker and I gave a presentation to the entire NYC office for International Women’s Day. We highlighted 10 different badass women in STEM that people might not know about. The last woman we featured was The Trade Desk’s first female principal lead engineer, who is responsible for building the algorithm that powers our next-generation platform. It was so exciting to see so many people, both men and women, show up and support women in STEM.

 

What sets The Trade Desk apart from other engineering teams you’ve worked on?

Every engineer at The Trade Desk is not only incredibly smart but also incredibly humble. We talk a lot about how our culture starts from “yes” — this is especially true amongst the engineers. Everyone is willing to help and often will stop what they are doing to answer a question, help you get unblocked or explain a specific part of our platform. It’s a pretty cool thing to be surrounded by some of the smartest people you will ever meet and to know that they truly care about your growth and success at the company!

 

MORE ON THE TRADE DESKAt The Trade Desk, women leaders are helping to change the future of advertising

 

The Trade Desk Engineering Team
PHOTO BY HANNAH COHEN
The Trade Desk Engineering Team
PHOTO BY HANNAH COHEN

 

Kruti Doshi, Senior Software Engineer

Senior Software Engineer Kruti Doshi is responsible for keeping the internal operational workflows of The Trade Desk running smoothly. Whether it be invoicing, marketing or operations, Doshi and their team are dedicated to the efficiency and scalability of these processes.

BEYOND WORK: Doshi de-stresses by practicing Indian classical dance — and has even received professional training in the art. Doshi feels that dancing helps inspire creativity and recharge the analytical parts of the brain.

 

What does your tech stack look like? Tell me about the tools your team uses on a daily basis.

Our tech stack consists of several programming languages such as C#, JavaScript, React/Redux and data technologies like SQL Server, Vertica, etc. My team specifically works with tools like Boomi and Tableau also.

 

How does the engineering team foster a culture of diversity?

The engineering culture at The Trade Desk is very unique and differs in many ways from other companies I have worked for. But I think the most important one is the global distribution of individual scrum teams. A scrum team is a pod of people who work toward one part of The Trade Desk’s business or platform.

Although the entire team is working toward this one goal, the teams are usually very well distributed across the globe. This is unlike most other tech companies where a single feature team is usually located in one place. The Trade Desk’s approach helps foster the culture of virtual collaboration without encouraging isolated conversations in a single location. It also fosters a culture of every engineer needing to — and thus learning to — work with others from different parts of the world across different cultures. We use advanced tools like Zoom to video conference and have never felt any less close to someone from Sydney versus New York, where I am physically located.

 

The Trade Desk Engineering Team
PHOTO BY HANNAH COHEN
The Trade Desk Engineering Team
PHOTO BY HANNAH COHEN

 

Carlos Orrego, Software Engineer

Software Engineer Carlos Orrego is a member of the Data Engineering team, who works to ingest, process and store the vast quantities of data The Trade Desk works with. His engineering tasks run the gamut from component development to full-stack work.

BEYOND WORK: Both in and out of the office, playing the guitar helps Orrego think. While he may not be in a band anymore, the guitar next to his desk helps him work through difficult problems.

 

How does the engineering team bond, perhaps after finishing a big project?

Given the global nature of our team, we bond in a few different ways. We do activities with the local team such as going out for dinner or having some fun. For example, we visited the Spy Museum in NYC a couple months ago — it was great!

Additionally, the entire company gets together once a year in California for a week. This is the perfect opportunity to catch up in real life with people we’ve only seen through a screen for the past 12 months. There are lots of hugs, laughs and I personally feel there’s not enough time to spend with everyone I’d like to see, but I love the opportunity of having the entire engineering team in the same room.

 

How does the team help existing employees grow and learn new tech?

We try to be technology-agnostic when possible. An engineer working on a problem has the freedom to suggest alternative solutions using different technologies. As part of the planning process, we can allocate time for researching and developing alternative solutions. This is encouraged. When I joined, one of my first was to migrate a process from SQL server to Hive. I had never used Hive before, but I was given all the resources needed for learning and developing the new system. The migration was a success and with all that I learned, I now help other engineers and data scientists with their Hive questions.

 

What sets The Trade Desk apart from other engineering teams you’ve worked on?

This is by far the best team I’ve had the opportunity to work with. Everyone around me is so smart! One of the dangers of putting so many smart people together is that egos might get in the way. But that doesn’t happen here. In all of my time at The Trade Desk, every argument about competing ideas has been solved based solely on technical merit. Ideas are discussed in an open way where open minds and humility guide the conversation. We encourage collaboration, all ideas are welcome and being wrong is okay. It just means I learned something new.

 

MORE ON THE TRADE DESKAt The Trade Desk, women leaders are helping to change the future of advertising

 

 

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