Experienced Software Engineer - Search & Recommendations



Role Location

  • Remote


101 - 250 people


425 2 Nd St Ste 601
San Francisco, CA, 94107, US

Tech Stack

  • React
  • Javascript
  • Node
  • Express
  • PostgreSQL
  • GraphQL
  • Redshift
  • AWS
  • TypeScript
  • Node.js

Role Description

The Company

Outschool's mission is to inspire kids to love learning. We achieve this by linking learning to kids’ interests, connecting them with other classmates who share their passions, and giving them the autonomy to pick their own paths. Our small group classes meet over live video chat with teachers who celebrate their unique strengths and empower all learners to develop confidence and a strong sense of self.

We're also focused on removing barriers for historically underserved learners who face systemic challenges to their success. In 2020, we started Outschool.org and began offering financial assistance to families in need. We are currently creating an Educator Endowment Fund to appreciate the teachers who are so central to our mission of inspiring kids to love learning.

We believe that diversity drives learning. To meet our mission, we encourage, support, and celebrate different ideas, perspectives, and backgrounds. As a fully distributed (remote) team, we challenge one another to find the most effective way to empower learners, teachers, and parents. Your name, race, religion, gender, nationality, sexual orientation, and age are not barriers; they are why we want to work with you. We invite talented and creative candidates who value the importance of nurturing a child's boundless curiosity to join us on this journey.

The pandemic has been challenging for families all over the globe. We acted quickly and worked together to provide quality resources to learners, parents, and teachers in the past year. As communities worldwide rethink their approach to education, Outschool will continue to innovate and provide kids with unique opportunities to explore their passions.

Earlier this year, Techcrunch recognized Outschool as the newest EdTech unicorn. We've also been named Fast Company’s most innovative EdTech company in the world, and one of the top ten best startups for women from Elpha.

The Role

Outschool has a marketplace of virtual classes from teachers for kids who love to learn -- about anything! Parents and kids are amazed by the variety of classes, from designing paper airplanes to rehearsing Shakespeare to coding in Minecraft. But they’re a little overwhelmed, too.

That’s where you come in! We’re looking for engineers who can sift through hundreds of thousands of classes to find the class and teacher that a learner will love. You will own building the end-to-end ML system, from feature ETL to deploying learning-to-rank models in Elasticsearch. These systems will power parent search, learner search, the recommendation emails that reach tens of thousands of parents a week, and dozens more widgets throughout the Outschool website. You’ll learn how to handle Outschool’s unique challenges of a constantly changing marketplace - matching schedules of kids, teachers, and classes - and do it all in a rapidly scaling engineering team and business. So follow the Gradient down to the Apply button below and let your knowledge of ML Flow, because we have a Deep Belief that you’ll love working with us!

Engineering Culture

We are an effective team of fully remote engineers distributed across the US and Canada. Our philosophy is to start small and then intentionally iterate to test our assumptions and learn quickly (we call this Remixing Our Work, one of our cultural values). We're iteratively building up a complex product for a highly engaged audience, getting a lot done by staying focused on the work that matters.

We work in modern JavaScript (TypeScript), React, GraphQL/Apollo, and Node/Express backed by PostgreSQL. Elasticsearch powers our consumer search, fed with data from Kafka. Our ML stack is still evolving -- and we’d love your help!

We believe the future of education is hybrid — online and in person. We are looking for engineers at various experience levels excited about inspiring children to learn by building tools that allow children to access a fundamentally different learning experience.

Read more about our engineering team on our blog. You can learn about our hiring process, career progression, engineering challenges, and more!

Job Responsibilities

In their first month, this person will:
  • Analyze and understand current gaps and opportunities in our search and recommendations systems
  • Learn Outschool’s systems for moving and storing data, from logging to the database
  • Propose improvements to query understanding, ranking, and filtering capabilities
  • Deploy small improvements in the search and recommendations experience
Within three months, we expect this person to:
  • Learn the unique challenges of Outschool, such as class scheduling, teacher-student matching, and the needs of different types of users
  • Scope and begin work on an end-to-end machine learning system
  • Make significant improvements to our recommendations or search algorithms that result in measurable improvements to the user experience
  • Provide critical contributions to medium sized projects with other engineers and the product team
Within one year:
  • Onboard new data and ML engineers; mentor new hires and interns
  • Expand the use of an end-to-end ML system to new parts of Outschool, so that other teams are independently using the system to successfully deploy models and algorithm improvements
  • Deploy several iterations of models across several domains that have impacted business level metrics, such as enrollment and retention
  • Incorporate best practices and platforms into Outschool’s tech stack
  • Share lessons and insights with the company through demos and retrospectives
  • Keep well-informed of industry and academic trends in machine learning and search

You will work within a cross-functional team that is empowered with end-to-end responsibility and ability to deliver customer value quickly. Teams have dedicated Product Managers and Designers, and work with embedded Data Scientists and User Researchers. Working collaboratively to deliver an amazing experience to customers that works for the business is what we’re all about.

If you have several years of hands-on experience in these areas, please apply -- we’d love to talk with you!

About Outschool

Outschool's mission is to inspire kids to love learning. We believe the best way to do that is by linking learning to kids’ interests, connecting them with others who share those interests, and giving them the autonomy to pick their own path. We provide small group classes that meet over live video chat where learners are connected with teachers and classmates who share their interests. These classes are offered through our marketplace and conducted on our remote learning platform.

Company Culture

Our culture is our shared assumptions about how we work with each other and the wider world. We explored our culture as a team and have codified a core set of shared values. We use these values to guide our work and amplify them through our words and actions. We’ll regularly take stock of our culture to guide its evolution as we build shared experience.


Stand for learners We put learners first ahead of societal or institutional expectations. We listen to kids, respect them, and stand up for them. We trust the next generation’s new perspective.

Bring others in We believe communal effort towards shared goals drives the best results. We look for ways to creatively amplify each others’ work. We involve each other, help each other contribute, and share our strengths with others. We believe our community benefits when we bring in people with different backgrounds and perspectives. We develop authentic human connections so we can move further and faster together.

Remix our work We start small and intentionally iterate so we can test our assumptions and learn quickly. We pay attention to the impact of our work and continuously seek opportunities to adapt and improve. We build on success but aren’t afraid of deconstructing and reassembling if needed.

Embrace challenge We speak up, try new things, drive change and sometimes fail. We are lifelong learners who strive to improve our skills, expand our knowledge, and give and receive feedback. We see the challenges in our work as an adventure with opportunities to learn, succeed, and have fun. We both celebrate progress and acknowledge imperfection.

We use these values as part of hiring decisions and performance reviews, and they drive our everyday work. We don’t expect hires to demonstrate all of these values during interview panels, but we will reject candidates whom we believe would struggle to absorb and live by these values over time.

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