Search Engineer, Tumblr (Content Discovery)

Tumblr launched in 2007 with the belief that people need a place to say what they want, be who they want, and connect over what they love. We continue to build out Tumblr as a platform for free expression, individuality, and human connection. A key part of fostering an ecosystem of free expression is getting the right content in front of the audience who is most interested in it.

Tumblr’s Search and Dashboards Backend Engineering team is looking for a motivated and independent engineer who is excited to develop and maintain algorithms for selecting, promoting, and ordering Tumblr content, including GIFs, memes, and posts. You’ll have the ability to influence the content included in thousands of sessions per second, and will solve problems pertaining to the sourcing, ranking, filtering, and personalization of content viewed on Tumblr, both in the mobile applications and on the website, in the context of the Dashboard (Tumblr’s “home page”) and the Tumblr search engine(s).

The Role

This person will be building and maintaining our content sourcing infrastructure. They will be responsible for surfacing the best Tumblr content from 380+ million blogs, 150+ billion posts – inventing and implementing the algorithms underlying the Dashboard, Search, and Explore experiences on Tumblr.

You will use data to drive decision-making and push the product forward and work on all levels of the tech stack. Day-to-day you will:

  • Deploy high-performance distributed microservices and systems for search and discovery.
  • Train and deploy machine learning models for classification, filtering, and ranking.
  • Iterate on versions of Tumblr Search and Dashboards products, with input from product goals and engineering needs.
  • Launch A/B tests to validate hypothesis.
  • Explore and implement new signals and features to improve content quality and relevancy as well as build tools to experiment and evaluate new approaches.
  • Run analytics on historic Tumblr event data to quantify the behavioral and technical performance characteristics of different approaches to content sourcing.
  • Build out new content datasets using Hadoop, Kafka, Druid and/or Spark.
  • Maintain a fleet of servers responsible for core content sourcing services, including full-text search engines and high-performance shared data-structures.
  • Orchestrate via configuration management with Puppet and Kubernetes.
  • Work closely with our infrastructure and SRE teams to craft and maintain architectures that support efficient development and deployment of your ideas.
  • Team up with the Search and Dashboards Frontend team to integrate your systems into our client platforms, including mobile, web, and public API

About you

You are a motivated individual with a track record of solving hard problems and getting things done. You are a highly productive developer in PHP, Java, Golang, and/or Scala, with deep knowledge in Machine Learning, Information Retrieval, Full-Text Search, and/or Ranking functions. You also have:

  • Familiarity with Hadoop and MapReduce, Including frameworks such as Spark, Hive, or Scalding.
  • Familiarity with Full-Text indexing libraries such as Apache Lucene or Solr.
  • Comfortable developing and deploying to Linux-based systems.
  • Bachelor’s degree or greater in Computer Science or a similar field.
  • At least two years of industry work experience using similar technologies.

Tools we use:

  • PHP, Golang, Scala, Java
  • Scalding, Hadoop, Spark
  • Puppet, Kubernetes
  • MySQL, Memcached, Redis
  • Solr, Lucene, Elasticsearch

Here are some areas in which you can grow and have further impact in the future at the company:

  • Leadership – we offer a variety of leadership options to those who have interest, including becoming a team lead and managing releases.
  • Learning and development – we have a generous personal development budget and encourage you to grow your skills through courses, books and conferences.
  • Architecture – we encourage developers to develop expertise in the systems they work with, guide their evolution and mentor other developers working on them.
  • Engineering effectiveness – we believe in helping other developers become more effective through tools, practices, cross-team collaborations, and process improvements.

How do we work?

  • We’re kind to each other and our users – we strive to build a positive, supportive, and inclusive culture of cohesive teams focused on delivering value to our customers.
  • We work as a global and distributed workforce resulting in a unique way of working built around our creed
  • We offer flexible work arrangements allowing our team members to work when they feel best.
  • We open-source! We’re cool with open-sourcing everything except passwords, or secret keys.
  • We ship often, deploying many times daily with the help of peer code review, continuous integration, and our global workforce in over 70 countries.
  • We welcome collaboration, and you can be involved in any discussion across our many communication channels.

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion at Automattic

We’re improving diversity in the tech industry. At Automattic, we want people to love their work and show respect and empathy to all. We welcome differences and strive to increase participation from traditionally underrepresented groups. Our DEI committee involves Automatticians across the company and drives grassroots change. For example, this group has helped facilitate private online spaces for affiliated Automatticians to gather and helps run a monthly DEI People Lab series for further learning. DEI is a priority at Automattic, though our dedication influences far more than just Automatticians: We make our products freely available and translate our products into and offer customer support in numerous languages. We require unconscious bias training for our hiring teams and ensure our products are accessible across different bandwidths and devices. Learn more about our dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion and our Employee Resource Groups.

Curious who works in engineering at Automattic? Meet our JavaScript Engineers – Lena and Riad!


Does this sound interesting? If yes, click the Apply button below and fill out our application form. In your cover letter, let us know what you’re passionate about and why you’d like to join Tumblr!

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