Research Engineer at Linguistic
Remote - Anywhere in the U.S.

Founding Backend Engineer

We are focused on a single mission: empower every person in the world to attain fluency in a foreign language.

There’s no sugarcoating it: learning a language is hard. Really hard. Most people learn the basics via a course or an app, but once you finish – what’s next? How do you get to the next level? How do you overcome the dreaded “intermediate plateau”?

We built Linguistic to answer this question once and for all.

Linguistic is an AI-first platform for digital language immersion. With Linguistic, you can learn new vocabulary from anywhere – a news article, a song, a story, and even real conversations! Best of all, the platform automagically infers your proficiency as you learn ✨ Who said you need to travel to surround yourself with a foreign language?

Working with us, you’ll get a chance to solve some extraordinarily interesting problems in the NLP space, help build our core infrastructure from the ground up, and work with a couple of super cool people 😎 We should also mention that we’re backed by the Allen Institute for AI Research, so you’re guaranteed to be in good company.

🏗️ What You’ll Work On

As a founding engineer, you’ll have the opportunity to exhibit ownership over our entire backend, from the API and authentication layer, right down to the nitty gritty NLP side of things (if you’re feeling so adventurous).

Some work you may take on in 2023 might include:

  • Using our backend API layer to support upcoming features around dictionary word lookups, flashcards, translations, and difficulty inference
  • Designing and building out infrastructure around web scraping and document processing
  • Revamping our notification and real-time delivery systems

There is also a wide range of interesting challenges in the field of NLP you’ll have the opportunity to work with us to solve, such as:

  • Automatic detection of language features, document difficulty, and user proficiency
  • Auto-generating and curating learning content and recommendations based on user behavior
  • Extraction of lexical data from unstructured sources

We’re fast-moving and our priorities are always evolving. We like to think of building a company as a pinball game – our user needs dictate where we move as we shoot across the board.

😊 Who You’ll Work With

As our first engineering hire, you’ll be reporting directly to our CTO Tyler (i.e. me), but will collaborate with both Victoria and myself. We’re both language learners ourselves, and honestly think we’re pretty kick-ass people to build a company with:

  • Tyler (CTO) is a full-stack software engineer, designer, and 3x alum of the ed-tech industry. An accomplished serial hacker, Tyler’s software has been used all across the world. He created the PushJS notification framework (3.5M+ downloads worldwide) and founded the Open Dictionary Project (used by Linguistic!). Previously helped build software at Coursera, edX, and Udacity. An avid singer & songwriter studying Chinese & Korean. WPI alum in CS.
  • Victoria (CEO) is a jack-of-all-trades. Experienced in conducting research across applied ML, econCS, and recommender algorithms at Stanford, MIT, and Microsoft Research. 2020 Rising Star in AI for Social Impact (Harvard CRCS). Previously IB @ Goldman Sachs and Consulting @ Auctionomics. Passionate learner of 4+ languages. Stanford alum, MIT PhD dropout.

We’re a remote-first, bi-coastal team based in the U.S. and are careful to move fast while respecting work/life balance to avoid burnout.

🧑🏻‍💻 The Tech Stack

  • Our backend is TypeScript via NestJS, using Apollo GraphQL for our API layer, Passport for our authentication layer, and Prisma for database access. We also talk to a Python gRPC service and invoke some command-line tooling written in Go.
  • Our frontend is built in SvelteKit using TypeScript, leveraging URQL as a networking layer to talk with our GraphQL backend.

We also try to give back to the open-source community as much as possible, as we use a ton of open-source software, so it only makes sense for us to return the favor. So if you have any ideas for open-source packages you’d like to release that don’t spill any trade secrets or proprietary IP, we’d love to support it. 🧡

🔍 Who We’re Looking For

💪 Your experience

You should have…

  • 5+ years of experience architecting and building backend systems
  • Fluent in TypeScript and Node
  • Strong understanding of GraphQL (we use Apollo with NestJS)
  • A solid understanding of various CS concepts, such as:
    • Dependency-injection (providers, modules, etc.)
    • HTTP networking (cookies, caching, etc.)
    • User authentication (sessions, JWTs, etc.)
    • Relational database systems (we use Postgres)
    • Basic data structures and algorithms (but nothing too scary)

It would be nice if you also had…

  • Some experience working in either Python, Go, or Rust
  • Some familiarity with any part of our stack (NestJS, Passport, Fastify, etc.)
  • A side project or two you’re proud of

🧠 Your mindset

  • Autonomous: You exhibit self-reliance and are very self-driven. You’re a fast learner and are willing to pick up the tools required to get the job done and are a bonafide pro at reading documentation.
  • Cooperative: You actively solicit opinions at all stages, and readily incorporate fresh perspectives and company objectives into your work. You feel compelled to reach out and ask questions if you hit any roadblocks along the way (after having timeboxed it and given it your best effort, of course).
  • Development: You approach everything with a growth mindset and are constantly seeking new ways to improve yourself and learn new things.
  • Entrepreneurial: You absolutely love building cool stuff from scratch and are energized by the thought of building a company together from the ground floor.

📍 Your location

  • You should be based in the U.S. and able to work within North American timezones (UTC-7 to UTC-3).
  • You are authorized to work in the U.S. (no sponsorship).

💸 Compensation

  • Our compensation is competitive, reflecting experience and regional cost-of-living. The range for this role is $130-160k.
  • As the third member of our team, you’ll have a generous equity stake in the company. Our equity range is 1-3%.

⚡ Benefits & Perks

  • Full insurance benefits (health, dental, VSP vision)
  • Ability to work remotely from your home office or out of AI2’s co-working incubator space in Seattle, where you’ll get to rub shoulders with a diverse and talented group of founders building AI-first companies
  • A supportive, diverse workplace that encourages growth and maintains well-being, despite how quickly we ship (it’s a marathon, not a sprint!)
  • Chance to get in on the ground floor of a company that is transforming the future of global language education (we have users all the way from the U.S. to Asia!)
  • Unlimited access to all premium features on our platform
  • Opportunity to work on some insanely cool stuff using some of the latest tech & tools out there (spaCy, Notion, Linear, Prisma, and more!)

🤝 Equal Opportunity

At Linguistic, we aim to create an environment of mutual respect where everyone is celebrated and supported, regardless of race, color, religion, marital status, age, ancestry, national origin, physical or mental disability, medical condition, pregnancy, genetic information, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or military and veteran status.

All hiring, promotion, discipline, and discharge decisions are based on merit, competence, performance, and business needs.

We strive to build a diverse and inclusive workspace for everyone.

🎉 Apply

To apply, email with the subject line “Founding Engineer Application” with your resume and 2-3 sentences on why you believe you’d be a good fit for Linguistic. We look forward to hearing from you!

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