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Andy Scott: "I was drawn to Stripe because of the confluence of great people and great opportunity."

An infrastructure engineer on the Scala team at Stripe, Andy Scott has a background in systems engineering and a degree in mechanical engineering from Georgia Tech. He’s an occasional contributor to open source projects and thinks graphs and recursive data structures are cool.


At Scale By the Bay, Andy, together with Oli Makhasoeva (47 Degrees) will speak about Recursion schemes with Higherkindness. In advance of the talk, we spoke with Andy about his software engineering journey, the exciting things Stripe's Scala team works at, what Stripe's culture is like and how it translates into the day-to-day, and what he and Oli will cover at Scale By the Bay.




Tell us more about yourself - when did you get interested in software engineering and how did you get started with Infrastructure Engineering?


I work on developer productivity for Scala users - and the path I took to get here feels a bit arbitrary. In college I studied mechanical engineering while doing research writing software for systems engineering using Java. The research code was extremely verbose, and I wound up discovering Scala as a better Java (I also stumbled across early versions of Scalaz and didn’t understand any of it). Years later I decided, on a whim, to quit my job and move across the country to Seattle. I eventually joined the consulting firm 47 Degrees. Clients often needed help with code patterns and infrastructure, and found that I really enjoyed that kind of work. I had known about Stripe for quite a while. An opportunity came up (on Twitter!) and I went for it.



What is your role at Stripe and what exciting things are you working on at the moment?


I work on the Scala team under the developer productivity organization. The Scala team is responsible for Scala developer experience. Our work is varied: often it includes repo/build maintenance, editor/IDE development, general Scala assistance, and security related work.We’ve been doing a lot of work with Bazel, as that powers all of our builds for Scala (and more). I’m excited about this work as Bazel gives us great traceability and makes builds behave like pure function application.


What challenges are you facing in your work and how are you addressing/solving these challenges?


There’s a long - and growing - list of work to improve the developer experience at Stripe. Deciding which work to undertake can be surprisingly tricky. It’s an optimization problem where we often have to weigh making immediate user impact against long term strategy for improving tooling.



What is the culture at Stripe like and what do you think makes Stripe attractive for the candidates who are looking for a new career challenge?


I was drawn to Stripe because of the confluence of great people and great opportunity. In particular, there’s a very human component to the culture Stripe: you matter, as a person, and Stripe goes to lengths to ensure folks are connected across the organization. It’s an evolving process and I’m grateful to be a part of it.


What is your talk at Scale By the Bay focusing on and why did you pick this topic?


Oli and I are going to work our way to practical application of recursion schemes with some (or maybe a lot!) of live coding. We chose the topic because we think it’s both fun and useful.


Who should attend your talk at Scale By the Bay and why?


Anyone who enjoys working with recursive data structures, or is looking for different approaches for dealing with recursive data. As an audience member, you should have a basic understanding of some key functional programming concepts. Words like functor, monad, and traversable shouldn’t scare you.



Don't miss Andy Scott (Stripe) and Oli Makhasoeva (47 Degrees) and their talk Recursion schemes with Higherkindness at Scale By the Bay on November 14th. Tickets are limited so book your ticket now.


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