Why constant learners thrive at Vistar Media
Tucked away in the far corner of a hallway at 1420 Walnut, Vistar Media’s offices are quiet. The four-year-old adtech company is split between two floors, exclusively by engineers sporting Vistar Media branded hoodies. Vistar Media’s Platform and Business teams are located in New York or other satellite locations, leaving engineers to have the Philly office all to themselves.
It’s ironic that quiet ends up being a dominant adjective to describe Vistar Media’s culture considering the company is obsessed with languages. Languages cover the walls in framed lists of German phrases, on the bookshelves in books like Seven Languages in Seven Weeks and of course in the work, where engineers are “agnostic to tools,” using and learning any language necessary for the task at hand.
Candidates can expect interviews over coffee first, then a take-home code puzzle before a formal interview. Vistar Media is a fast-paced engineering shop, but if you’re willing to learn — a major quality Vistar Media looks for in applicants — the company and your coworkers will champion each person’s skills and work-life balance.
- Do I need to specialize in one language to be a viable candidate?
Not necessarily. Vistar Media looks for full-stack generalists who love constantly learning. In fact, the freedom of language choice and coding ability is a compelling plus to working at Vistar.
- How will I get to know my coworkers?
Mostly likely at lunch. Everyone gathers in the kitchen at least twice a week to eat lunch together.
- Any team bonding outside of office?
Once a year the entire company gets together for a meetup to bring the two offices together. At Vistar, the social life aspect of the culture isn’t forced but rather is what you make it. There are occasional poker nights, a strong bike-to-work community and an overall “nerdy” sense of humor.
- What is the sprint schedule like?
Vistar Media’s ‘Code Review’ is an important part of the daily tech workflow. Every line of code is reviewed by at least two people before being cut, an impressive feat considering that Vistar Media has a one week development cycle. That means almost every week, employees are working on a new set of code or new product.
- What does productivity look like as an engineer?
Vistar wants its engineers focusing on coding as much as possible. This means meetings are minimized, an office IRC channel (think of it as the grandfather to Slack) is utilized extensively and through the code review process, almost everyone has a hand in everyone else’s code.
Tom FleischerDirector of EngineeringAs Vistar Media’s Director of Engineering, Fleischer is tasked with maintaining the office culture, supervising schedules and of course, writing code. Read More »
“Everyone here just wants to be coding. I think that’s because the work we are doing here is interesting enough and varied enough. People get engrossed in it and they want to get it done. We give people a lot of autonomy.”
Phil SimmonsSoftware EngineerSimmons works on Vistar Media’s ad serving team which supports their legacy code and adding new features. After working in operations and as a tech consultant, Simmons joined Vistar Media ten months ago after he talked to a recruiter and realized he could be working on “languages and tech he actually liked.” Read More »
“One thing that is cool about [Vistar] is that we don’t box people into a specific skill. It’s not like ‘This person is UI, this person is back-end.’ There are no explicit divisions. People gravitate towards what they like.”
Gabriel FarrellSoftware EngineerHired in April 2016, Farrell is one of Vistar Media’s newest employees. He describes Vistar Media as a “challenging and collaborative” workplace. Read More »
“As I was looking across the landscape of tech jobs in Philly, I was looking for something that felt like a stable ship. Vistar has a good product that brings in revenue and we have a strong code review process. That kind of takes away the fear of trying something new.”
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