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Lead Backend Engineer



Software Engineering
Chicago, IL, USA
Posted on Friday, June 2, 2023

Trala is a tech-powered online music school. We are the fastest growing music school in the world, with over 1000% growth in 2022. Our mission is to make world-class music education accessible to every single person on Earth.

Right now, music education is only accessible to the privileged, rich, and urban. Imagine instead a world where all 4 billion people who will pick up an instrument in the next 30 years could get a world-class education. That is the future we’re obsessed with creating.

At Trala, we’re pushing forward music education in three huge ways:

  1. We invented signal processing technology that listens to students play their real instruments and gives instant feedback on every mistake.
  2. We wrote the first major method of music instruction geared towards adult learners and the first to prioritize accessibility and diversity.
  3. We personally match every student with a teacher to make sure there’s a great fit.

Over the last 6 years, we’ve gotten 600,000+ downloads of our companion app, taught lessons to students in 183 countries, and earned support from great musicians like Joshua Bell. Our students are ages 5 to 90 and live in rural Montana, Lebanon, tiny Pacific islands, Hong Kong, and our hometown of Chicago.

In the next 12 months, we will:

  • Grow from teaching 2,500 lessons/month to 10,000 lessons/month.
  • Turn our companion app into the best place on earth for musicians to practice.
  • Create an initial web presence for our scheduling and subscription tools.
  • Build the vast set of internal and backend tools needed to achieve the above.

You will own the backend infrastructure and architecture with a focus on reliability while scaling. That means working closely with our other engineers, product manager, our teachers, our sales team, and our students to build both customer facing and internal applications. If you're the type to be just as excited to meet with a student as you are to ship code, then you might be a fit.

Our ideal candidate has:

  • Been a lead engineer or are ready to take that leap.
  • A strong understanding of scalable, maintainable, and reliable system architectures.
  • Expertise in designing and implementing comprehensive testing strategies for backend systems.
  • Experience analyzing system failures and troubleshooting complex issues.
  • Deep knowledge of AWS Infrastructure / DevOps
  • High familiarity with monitoring and observability tools and strategies for distributed systems.
  • Skills in designing robust error handling and fault tolerance mechanisms.
  • Experience building data pipelines.
  • Experience with our tech-stack: Restful API, Hapi (Node), PostgresSQL, AWS Infrastructure
    • AWS: CloudFront, CloudWatch, EC2, ECR, ECS, EFS, IAM, Lambda, RDS, Route 53, S3, SNS, SQS
  • Strong points of view on the right way to build software. We’ll expect to hear them from day 1.
  • Exceptional communication skills.
  • A passion for continuous learning. Great engineers aren’t born. They’re made.
  • Ideally, a music background.

Why Trala?

  • You’ll make an immediate impact on the team with a high degree of growth potential. If done correctly, this could be the defining role of your career.
  • Trala is funded by amazing people like the CEOs of Reddit, LinkedIn, and Duolingo. They’re betting on Trala’s team — a team we hope you’ll join. In this executive role, you will likely be working with some of these people.
  • Trala prioritizes diversity, inclusion, and righting economic and social wrongs in the music space. We strive to make our corner of the world a better place.
  • Trala deeply impacts peoples’ lives all across the world. These are dreams we are fulfilling. Not “leveraged data monetization” or whatever value Facebook claims to provide these days.
  • This is a full-time, remote role, though if you happen to be based in Chicago we’d love to invite you to do hybrid work in our office.

Some of the people you would work with:

  • Vish: CTO. Signal processing expert. Armchair economist. Private pilot in the making. Vibes: 00000KT 10SM CLR.
  • Sam: CEO. Violinist and engineer. Architect of Trala’s musical pedagogy. Uses words like ‘pedagogy’.
  • Mariah: Lead Android Engineer. Former D1 Athlete at Princeton. Named after Mariah Carey. Spongebob Enthusiast. Believes in the sanctity of Arby’s.
  • Matthew: Lead API engineer. Boilermaker. Enjoys golf, video games, and piano. Suspiciously good at poker. Knows [editor’s note: thinks] dogs are better than cats. Rescues pitbulls. Sometimes builds websites.
  • Josh: Programmer of things that go “bleep” and “bloop” (and things that could go “bleep” or “bloop” if they really wanted to).
  • Christian: Lead Front-End Engineer. Rhythm games enthusiast, Collector of board games, quotes Kung Pow far too often
  • Johnny: Lead Front-End Engineer. Avid basketball fan who loves watching and playing. Often plans vacations around favorite artists' tour dates and interesting hikes.
  • Sean: Senior UX Designer. Student experience advocate, stripped-down drummer, and owner of too many black t-shirts.
  • Jeremy von Halle: RevOps nerd turned growth leader. Picky eater turned Chicago foodie. Considered a rebel for preferring Excel on a Mac vs a PC.
  • Erik: VP of Operations. Avid traveller, aspiring drummer, and constantly in search of the perfect one-liner. Won Wheel of Fortune. Lowkey.