Principal Engineer – Root | Built In

rincipal Engineer


HQ: Columbus, OHIO

The engineering team at Root strives to be one of the most transformative engineering teams ever. We’re changing the way an industry works by leveraging technology and data to build the best products possible. Even with our significant growth, we operate in small teams that are given ownership over projects and results. We’ve found that the people closest to the problems are the best at solving them. We’re actively hiring Engineers remotely and excited to announce that Root is a “work where it works best” company. Meaning we will support you working in whatever location that works best for you across the US. We will continue to have our headquarters in Columbus and offices in other locations to give more flexibility and more choice about how we live and work.

Our tech stack includes:

  • Ruby / Rails backend, RSpec for testing
  • Javascript / React Native frontend, Jest for testing
  • Small amounts of native iOS and Android
  • Small amounts of Rust for high performance use cases
  • Deployment to AWS ECS using containers
  • Buildkite for CI

Our team excels at delivering software to solve the problems in front of us at Root: presently, a suite of world-class mobile, web, and server-based products obsessed with the customer experience. We’ve shaped our team and process around this; we know that constant iteration and experimentation produce the best results.

We divide the areas of responsibility for engineers into three major areas:

Technical: The skills and knowledge that make up an engineer’s basic problem-solving toolbox.

Planning and Execution: The ability to plan and execute work across a team of engineers beyond basic technical solutions.

Working with Others: The ability to work effectively with other engineers and people in other functions.

What we look for in Principal Engineers:

Technical Skills

  • Designs and evolves software systems that span multiple domains and hardware platforms within a business
  • Operates across multiple levels of abstraction, from high-level design and orchestration to low-level logic
  • Understands test strategies, best practices, and tools used in front-end and back-end frameworks 
  • Experience with functional, procedural, and object-oriented programming techniques

Planning and Execution

  • Plans and completes very large and complex org-wide and cross-org projects requiring multiple levels of technical coordination
  • Foresees issues and clarifies requirements for very large projects and business initiatives
  • Outlines, publicizes, and oversees long-term strategic technical initiatives
  • Thinks critically about work to guarantee business functionality
  • Advises business leaders on when and how to apply technology to problems
  • Can break down very large initiatives into incrementally implementable deliverables

Working with Others

  • Provides effective and accurate technical feedback in code reviews and design documents
  • Able to work throughout the engineering org and with leaders in other business divisions to tackle complex issues
  • Able to positively influence other engineers and engineering leaders, both directly and indirectly
  • Able to coach engineers up to Staff level on software engineering techniques and best practices
  • Works with executives, business leaders, product owners, analysts, and other functions to move the company’s priorities forward

What you would have done here in the last year

Principal Engineers at Root work in coordination with the CTO to assist with work that spans the entire engineering org and other business divisions. Often this work spans multiple or all major business functions, such as Quoting, Policies, or Claims. Principal Engineers generally think up to a year ahead of engineering teams, advising the CTO on technical initiatives and contributing to the planning process through forward technical investigation and design at a strategic level. Principal Engineers may also contribute directly to the execution, writing and reviewing code and guiding decisions at a tactical level. Frequently Principal Engineers are involved in several efforts at a time.


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