Software Engineer #1 at Vanta (YC W18): Tom Denham

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Tom Denham is an early engineer at Vanta (YC W18), automating security and compliance, starting up with SOC 2, to give protection to customer records and assemble belief in web companies. Learn more about his expertise picking up stout stack trend and turning into a jack-of-all trades on the early levels of YC company.

Learn more about inaugurate roles at Vanta, or join Work at a Startup to make one profile to enlighten to an entire bunch of instrument engineering jobs at smartly-funded and actively hiring YC companies.


Ryan: So that you just’ve had a handsome sufficient expertise as an engineer — what drew you to witness for a feature on Work at a Startup?

I’d been working largely for the identical company for the final eight years, and I used to be at a fork in the boulevard. I used to be working for a startup which had spun out from the corporate I used to be working for beforehand and I’d the truth is loved the startup expertise. The startup was a success nonetheless I used to be searching for a switch. I regarded as though-provoking against a extraordinary increased company the place I would even own an outlined profession direction, nonetheless share of me wished to elevate out something fully diversified and scuttle the truth is cramped.

Work at a Startup was immense for finding deal of smaller startups, and rapidly. I used to be alive to to derive a company with some traction, product market match. A lot of YC companies on it already own every.

Ryan: What was your expertise the use of the positioning, and in the end finding Vanta?

I liked the directness and ease of Work at a Startup. I wasn’t being forced by some obtain of procedure, or being forced to use a proprietary messaging platform. It was more inaugurate-ended, and let me stumble on companies I belief had been attention-grabbing.

Even so, I almost straightaway got emails from diversified founders. And Vanta was surely one of them. Their space of labor was interior gape, so I answered by task of email and met with Christina and Erik two days later. It felt the truth is personal and was a immense procedure to acquire to grab the workers — by sitting down and chatting with the founders.

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Ryan: One thing in particular that stood out about Vanta?

At the 2nd, Vanta was so cramped, and the replacement was the truth is intimidating. I wouldn’t be leveraging all inaugurate supply expertise I’d built up contributing to the networking in Docker and Kubernetes. That felt admire a little bit of a step attend in my profession.

But it absolutely was ticking deal of boxes. I might perchance perchance be coming into into the ground floor at a startup, attending to form issues. I’d be in a place of living to learn a load of most recent technologies, and be a stout stack engineer — entrance finish, Typescript, React. My work might perchance perchance be shipped to production, which was loads diversified than working on inaugurate supply infrastructure libraries. And I’d serene obtain to work a bit on infra and devops issues that me; there were loads of alternatives to toughen issues.

But principal, I used to be very impressed with Christina & Erik — their technical skill, what they’d already created, and their decision making. They had been the truth is bright about exploring the market and validating their belief with a product that already had prospects. It gave me a the truth is like minded sense that the corporate would build success.

Ryan: So then you with out a doubt joined. Used to be being at a startup all that of us create it out to be?

They disclose you about startup rising be troubled, and we had them for definite. In my first year, we tripled in headcount. There had been deal of rising be troubled; we needed to head from one to four rooms, and at one point even the lunch room was crammed with desks. I obtain of liked early on, when we had been a scrappy workers in the Mechanics Institute Library, this 100 year outmoded building with creaky pipes, dodgy wiring, and it sounds as if the longest repeatedly working chess membership in the US.

And as we grew, I got to own a enlighten in who I started working with. I got to meet my advise supervisor, and quiz myself, “Will I revel in working for you?” At a increased company, you don’t obtain that — you interview with one space of of us, and likewise you might perchance perchance also doubtless be working with an completely diversified space of of us on day one.

From a product perspective, it was deal of enjoyable building stuff with completely a pair of prospects. I mean prior to we presented Circle CI, we would factual hope our Javascript compiled, I instruct. Now we now own got a hundred prospects, and it’s a enjoyable discipline to ship product updates with out inflicting problems for diversified prospects.

We’ve needed to develop up gorgeous rapidly and build collectively completely practices. I got to introduce Circle CI as our CD pipeline. And since then, I’ve labored on factual about every little thing: our records pipeline, infrastructure, attend finish systems and even some entrance finish adjustments. I got to put in power DataDog for infra monitoring and Sentry for extra reporting. For all we feature out in security, observability is essentially crucial.

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Ryan: One thing glorious you about working at this form of cramped company?

As extraordinary as I’d admire to own my very own company and be a founder, I do know I don’t own the abilities. I love seeing how the enterprise facet works, nonetheless I’m tickled there are better of us than me working out issues admire gross sales and marketing.

I furthermore admire the level of openness and sharing that we now own got at Vanta. In our conferences per week, we obtain to witness the monetary institution steadiness. Where else elevate out the engineers obtain that level of transparency? Even prior to I joined, the founders shared with me their approach, customer feedback, and what they’re even paying. Given a suitable level of element, it helps me better perceive what we would like to point of curiosity on — something I didn’t essentially obtain at places I’d been beforehand.

Ryan: That’s superior to hear. What elevate out you have faith you studied makes that likely?

It’s the custom that Christina and Erik own built. Founders own to affix that transparency and willingness. All exterior communications, all strengthen emails, all gross sales calls — it’s accessible to us. We’re diligent on conserving notes about conferences, weekly syncs, and sharing them out. It’s a firehose of recordsdata. But one which I love. I obtain to witness a stout stumble on of the enterprise, if I wish to, or factual point of curiosity on compliance and security if I don’t.

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