Ridgeline’s Sweet Tech Stack (and Other Reasons We Love DevOps)

April 20, 2021
Ridgeline Staff Writers
 min read

We know that innovative engineers may be too busy solving problems and implementing new technologies to read this. TLDR: Ridgeline DevOps is a) the best (according to LinkedIn and Glassdoor, anyway), b) hiring, and c) excited to meet you — and your dog.

At Ridgeline, our DevOps team is inventing the tools and processes to disrupt a $112 billion industry. Yes, billion. With a B. It’s no small feat, but we’re up for the challenge — and plan to have a lot of fun while we’re at it. We’re building a cloud-native fintech platform based on a serverless microservices architecture that continuously evolves. Not surprisingly, our talented engineering team is also expanding. But with a lot of companies out there, how do you know that Ridgeline might be the place for you, awesome DevOps person? We understand that being the right fit is more than a technical skill set, so we’ve put together a cheat sheet as well as some insights from our team to help you figure out if Ridgeline has the career you’ve been looking for.

Inside the Mind of A Ridgeline DevOps Teammate

  • You come across a system bug and get excited because solving challenges is your thing.
  • The idea of zero downtime and true continuous deployment in a serverless environment makes your heart go ping.
  • You find yourself hiking along a mountain trail, daydreaming of ways to improve DevOps.
  • You deal with bumps in the road with the same enthusiasm you take on a black diamond mogul run.
  • You think about how cool it would be to work for a company in Tahoe, 1.5 miles from a ski lift, with a Powder Rule that encourages employees to hit the slopes before starting your day in our dog-friendly office.

Intrigued? Read on to learn more about what makes the DevOps team at Ridgeline so special. (Or skip to the end for the scoop on our tech stack if you’re THAT engineer.)

A Typical Day (April Fools! There’s no such thing.)

According to DevOps Manager Chris Petrunik, At Ridgeline, the beauty of DevOps is that days are rarely the same.” Of course, some elements remain constant, such as monitoring systems and troubleshooting incidents. Ian Evans, who recently celebrated his one-year anniversary, appreciates the opportunity for problem solving: “Time spent triaging and debugging production issues is a surprisingly fun process at Ridgeline, given the incredible team spirit and collaboration here.”

Fun truly is a core value at Ridgeline. For example, a recent Technology Show & Tell started off with several April Fool’s presentations, including a deadpan proposal to stage Ridgeline transaction processing in outer space for improved capacity and performance. That same sense of purposeful fun is brought to time spent collaborating on designs and brainstorming solutions. Part of this spirit is due to our commitment to hiring a diverse team: a mix of tech and industry backgrounds, newly-minted college grads collaborating with seasoned senior engineers, and everything in between. The mix results in a wonderfully unique culture and a group of passionate people who really love what they do.

Most days everyone gets some heads-down time to document designs or write code. Senior members of the team mentor individuals and host regular stand-ups to give everyone a chance to quickly check in and stay connected. Maria Olivero joined Ridgeline 18 months ago with a few decades of experience under her belt. As the leader of our Disaster Recovery and Incident Response program, her days are fast-paced, exciting, and fulfilling: “I’m helping people and learning, and really, that’s all I need to be happy.”

Overall, a day in DevOps comes with continuously-evolving conversations that bring opportunity for personal growth, while supporting other teams and the overall DevOps mission to improve the speed and quality of development and deployment.

A Company That Shares Our Vision

Ridgeline’s leadership is dedicated to ensuring that all teams embrace and prioritize DevOps’ mission because they know this will dramatically increase Ridgeline’s capability to deliver market-leading products. Our DevOps Liaison program is one of the ways we unite engineers across functional areas of the organization for knowledge sharing and collaboration.

Liaisons help inform teams about new tools, processes, or issues to keep everyone creating at peak efficiency and avoiding blockers. Liaisons also facilitate communication between teams, ensuring that (1) engineers understand the business need behind every line of code, and (2) non-developers know how you get from writing a line of code through putting it into production.

The result of this well-defined process and infrastructure that systematizes cloud development and constant fine-tuning? More stability in our architecture, a shorter and more automated development lifecycle, and opportunities for engineers to switch teams without needing to learn new standards.

This collaborative mindset means DevOps can gather customer input, release changes, and react based on feedback in a matter of weeks.

What We’re Working On Now

DevOps prioritizes perfecting our pipeline process. These two current initiatives support this objective:

  • Continuous Delivery — The Infrastructure Engineering squad recently kicked off designing continuous deployment of our infrastructure as code (IAC) layers, the Terraform-based services that provide AWS infrastructure to support our microservices. They will be the first team to move from weekly to continuous deployment, which will be a game-changer for our customers, who are accustomed to the notoriously disruptive and costly upgrades of legacy fintech. DevOps at Ridgeline is proud to be on the forefront of changing that perception. “Customers get a more stable experience when they are constantly having code delivered to them,” explains Nathan Yocum, who joined Ridgeline two years ago. The faster we can get changes into customer hands, the faster we can respond to feedback and provide the best possible product.”
  • Environment Manager tool — We created this tool to coordinate deployment of all our microservices and infrastructure layers to AWS. It is at the heart of how releases at Ridgeline happen. Initially it took specially-trained people several hours to build out a new instance of the application. Now anyone can build out a new instance in under an hour with a single command. This allows for a rapid feedback cycle and lets teams focus on their core logic rather than navigating infrastructure.

As Nathan explains, “We spend a lot of time improving developer tooling so that everyone can experience the continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) process. We are constantly refining and automating portions of the software development lifecycle.” Developers across the company know they can jump in to support another team because they are using the exact same infrastructure.

These “behind the scenes” pipeline efforts are essential to Ridgeline’s success, enabling us to develop, debug, and deliver higher-quality code to customers faster.

What’s Next?

DevOps is always at the forefront of innovation at Ridgeline. Recent goals include Continuous Delivery, Zero Downtime (ZDT), Blue/Green Deployment, and Chaos Engineering.

Ridgeline Tech Stack

CI process: AWS CodeBuild
CD process: CodePipeline
Infrastructure: Terraform, Cloudformation
Services infrastructure: CodeBuild, StepFunctions, and CodePipeline
Persistence layer: built with DynamoDB and RDS
Pipelines and Dev tools: written in CDK using TypeScript
Languages: Python (Pycharm), golang, TypeScript
TypescriptServices: deployed as AWS Lambda functions
Libraries: FastAPI, Pydantic, and an in-house deployment library
Other important tools: Insomnia, AWS Serverless Tech, AWS Console, AWS CLI, SAM, Codepipeline, Codebuild, Jupyter, Node JS, Git, and Github.
Connecting: Zoom, Slack, and Google Hangouts
Documentation: GSuite, Confluence, Zendesk, and Google Drive

Other Cool Stuff

Offices: Incline Village, Nevada (HQ); Reno, Nevada; and New York City
LinkedIn Top 50 Startups 2020
Glassdoor Best Places to Work 2021
#1 Best Place to Work in Northern Nevada 2020
AWS SaaS Factory Partner

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