Our most popular engineering posts of 2016

by Basil Shikin on Dec 22, 2016

This year, we made a priority of showcasing the incredible expertise of our engineers and technical recruiters here on the AppLovin blog. We’ve hired a smart, inquisitive bunch — they’re outstanding problem solvers, and their work forms the backbone of our success. Here’s a recap of engineering-related posts we’ve run this past year.

Three of our engineers covered the nuts and bolts of what they do and offer tips on how to plan for every eventuality and problem solve when issues do arise. Tariq Ahmed, a UI architect here who was one of our first engineering hires, covered how to build an effective UI for analytics — and he would know. He covers how we’ve made the most of HTML5 in our web application, how we make our UI so fast given the enormous amount of data we deal with, and some tips for data visualization.

Another great post was by Rob Russo, our platform architect, covering scalable applications. He explains how and why we scale horizontally whenever possible (using a microservice architecture), and explains in detail how we’ve designed our pub/sub system, which “handles the backlog when services go down or fall behind [and] even centralizes this information so it’s easy to see if each and every service and task is keeping up with the volume.” Robbie also explains how monitoring is key to everything we do.

One thing we’re very conscious of at AppLovin is not “resting on our laurels” — even when things are going really well, we’re driven to continue to innovate. Laura Pfister, one of our software engineers who works on our ad server team, wrote a great post that speaks to this. She advises owning your features, communicating with your team members, and being comfortable with failure. “One of the most liberating aspects of working on a great product is that there is room for failure,” she writes, “and failure is healthy and instructive…by seeing what doesn’t work, we can learn much faster what does work and make improvements accordingly. This recognition that failure is actually helpful gives us freedom. We can innovate without fear, which truly means we are limited only by our creativity.” I couldn’t agree with her more, and that the connections between failure, creativity, and innovation are important to honor on teams of engineers.

In addition to the more technical blog posts, we also had a few that touch on career planning. Our CTO John Krystynak shared some thoughts on what it takes to be a successful programmer (hint: you’d better be passionate about problem solving!), and our intern from last summer, Justin Lee, recounted how his time with AppLovin helped him to understand how important teamwork is in engineering. Finally, Amery Zhen, our technical recruiter, shared her perspective on how those just graduating with an engineering can ace their first interviews. (Do your research. Ask informed questions. Be prepared to strut your stuff.)

Heading into 2017, we’ll have still more posts from our engineers offering technical tips and perspective on our field. Stay tuned!

Basil Shikin is AppLovin’s VP of Engineering.