Three years in, Marcus Greer is still excited about the work he does at Confluent. As a software engineer in the Cloud Manageability organization, Marcus helps make customers’ lives easier – giving them insight into the complex systems their businesses depend on.
Let’s learn more about Marcus and hear about how his love of distributed systems engineering led him to Confluent.
Tell us about your path to Confluent and what got you here? Tell us about your team and what role do you play?
I joined Confluent right after completing my Master’s at Carnegie Mellon. I am a software engineer on the Observability team. We write and maintain systems that provide observability to our internal and external customers. The work we do allows other teams at Confluent and our customers to know how their data systems are performing at all times.
Now that you’ve been here for three years, how would you describe Confluent’s company culture?
When I first joined, Confluent was still a private company with all of the positives and negatives of an early to mid-stage startup. Everyone had a lot of tasks on their plate, but the work was really impactful, especially as we prepared to become a public company.
We always had a pretty high bar when it came to the products we brought to market. Now there’s a lot more formalization and consistency around the processes that we follow. The checks we have in place ensure we fulfill our security best practices and compliance requirements.
What does a typical work day look like for you? How do you stay engaged at a remote-first company?
Since a lot of my coworkers are on the East Coast, in Europe, or in India – while I’m on the West Coast – I tend to start my workday pretty early. After we get our meetings out of the way, I usually have a block of focus time that I can dedicate to writing and reviewing code or ironing out specific implementation details in design documents.
At my level a lot of the work that I do involves piecing out initiatives from broader company goals, and then executing on that work. I take loosely defined problems, devise a plan for how I think it should be solved, and then present that plan to other engineers. Once we all agree on a plan and understand how we’ll each contribute, we get to work – whether that means building new features, debugging existing code, or anything else we need to do to meet our goals.
Tell us about an interesting project that you are currently working on.
Right now, I’m working on our telemetry pipeline to enable a big improvement to our internal monitoring tools. We’re pretty deep into our efforts to modernize our metrics and tracing pipeline with OpenTelemetry.
Building this pipeline will help us standardize the collection and reporting of metrics across our organization.
Why were you interested in working at Confluent? What was the deciding factor?
Throughout undergraduate, I was really interested in computer graphics, which led me to take a class called Parallel Computing and Architecture, which discussed ways that we can coordinate different processes to collaborate on singular bodies of work.
This class went beyond graphics and discussed distributed systems. By the time that I was looking for a full time job, I had interned in the graphics space and felt like the industry side of it wasn’t as compelling to me as the research side.
I decided to take a leap of faith and look for distributed systems jobs even though I’d never worked in the space professionally. That was how I learned about Confluent.
The people I met while interviewing were definitely a big part of my decision. I was choosing between Confluent and a much larger company. After having interned at a larger company before, I knew that while I’d have stability in my day to day work, junior engineers would rarely have the same freedom to grow.
When I interviewed here, I felt a certain level of energy from the people I met. They were focused on getting things done and passionate about their work. That energy was infectious, and we’ve maintained that enthusiasm as we continue to grow.
What’s one thing you would want to see Confluent do differently?
We're still evolving as a remote-first company. A lot of companies are facing the same transition and learning how to deal with this challenge is important for onboarding and integrating new employees into the organization.
I want to make sure we have welcoming communities for the people who join Confluent now. A lot of coworkers have never met one another and that can change the relationships we build. Something as simple as making time for team lunches has had a huge impact on my experience when it comes to connecting with teammates and mentors. I hope we make time for these in-person interactions as we continue to grow.