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Dana Dzivinski

June 03, 2024

People in Focus: Unveiling Opportunities as a Senior Software Engineer in App Studio

I'm Dana Dzivinski, People Operations Specialist at Plotly, and I'm excited to launch a new blog series at Plotly: People in Focus. You'll be able to read interviews with our teams and learn what it's like to build one of the most exciting platforms for data science!

For this first edition, I caught up with our App Studio team, a key segment of our Engineering Department. What's App Studio? It's Plotly's new offering, a notebook-to-app tool that speeds up data app development and helps data scientists convert prototypes into interactive applications for production.

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Plotly Technical Product Manager, Nathan Drezner, demos Plotly App Studio, a notebook-to-app tool.

Getting to know the App Studio engineering team at Plotly

Without further ado, I share snippets from my chat with the App Studio team on what it means to be an App Studio staff software engineer on this innovative team.

What excites you most about the potential impact you are having as an App Studio Software Engineer on Plotly's product development and user community?

We are truly creating something new and exciting, not merely copying an existing product and tweaking it around the edges. There's a lot of excitement and opportunity for us and new team members to bring significant contributions and explore many new avenues. I find it motivating when customers express their desire for the innovations we're developing and see our work make a substantial impact. Having someone on the team to further amplify this excitement is important.

"I find it motivating when customers express their desire for the innovations we're developing and see our work make a substantial impact."

App Studio is one of our most innovative software applications, and it has very good initial reviews. Being a senior software engineer working on App Studio allows us to work on leading technologies, use the latest trends and tools in software development, and have a chance to make an impact in the data science world.

What qualities and skills should an ideal candidate for the Staff Software Engineer role possess, and how will this role drive Plotly's product growth and innovation?

App Studio is a major initiative for the company, and any work in this area represents a huge opportunity for innovation and fun. You'll be at the forefront of where Plotly is aiming to take its business. The qualities we're looking for in a candidate are important; having a creative and ambitious spirit is important for the team. We are inventing something new with App Studio and need that creativity to push the boundaries of what we want to accomplish. It's up to you to bring the drive to really move the product forward and contribute a diversity of ideas.

"You need to be a problem solver, and have experience in the data sciences domain and the problems associated with data analysis and visualization."

You need to be a problem solver, and have experience in the data sciences domain and the problems associated with data analysis and visualization. You should also have good knowledge of web architecture and some knowledge of the internal workings of libraries and modules in Python as well as Python AST.

Can you share some of the key challenges and opportunities that the App Studio team is currently tackling?

On a technical level, we generate a lot of code in App Studio. We take something as basic and static as a customer's notebook and transform it into a fully interactive web app, complete with all the bells and whistles. The challenge and opportunity lie in adding all these features seamlessly. Our platform enables users to update data, sort, filter, search, and gain insights. We integrate no-code AI automatically and focus on UI/UX to make these advanced features simple and accessible to our customers.

The App Studio team is continuously working to solve real-world problems in data science and visualization. Our goal is to make it easier to create highly functional, beautiful, and shareable dashboards using basic Python, UI, and data analysis knowledge.

"We take something as basic and static as a customer's notebook and transform it into a fully interactive web app, complete with all the bells and whistles"

What aspects of Plotly's culture and values do you think make it an exciting and rewarding place to work for someone interested in this role?

The team trusts and empowers each other to tackle really difficult problems, providing the space to explore creative ideas. Since no one has the answers for us, we are figuring it out together, with the freedom to do so. I feel celebrated when I succeed and supported when I am struggling.

What advice would you give to candidates looking to join Plotly as our Staff Software Engineer?

As a staff software engineer on the App Studio team, the candidate should have a strong understanding of the stack, which includes Python, TypeScript, React, Python AST, Jupyter notebooks, etc. Additionally, they must possess critical thinking skills to solve complex technical problems effectively.

Maintain an attitude of readiness and willingness to dive into the deep end. There are a ton of interesting problems and opportunities ready for you to pick up and run with. Curiosity and a willingness to learn are key. I didn't know anything about AST when I joined the team, but now I've learned a lot, and it's been incredibly rewarding. It’s fulfilling to say that our customers couldn't do something before, but now they can!

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An interactive Python Dash app

Plotly is hiring!

Don’t miss your chance to be a part of something big. Apply today to join the Plotly App Studio team as a Staff Software Engineer, Full Stack. For more details and to submit your application, please visit our careers page.

Want to learn more about life at Plotly? Check out our monthly employee spotlights, which feature inspiring stories from employees across our organization.

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Join the Plotly App Studio team as a Staff Software Engineer.

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