Amanda Gellhouse, Senior Engineering Manager, shares an inside look at the engineering team at Hinge Health, a pioneer in digital health space. Learn about Hinge's tech stack, how the engineering team is organized, and tips on the interviewing process.
In this series we talk to people at some of the most admirable companies in The Silicon Forest, simply asking, how do I get a job there? First off, we have an interview with Amanda Gellhouse, Senior Engineering Manager at Hinge. If you or someone you know would like to be interviewed, please contact us.
My name is Amanda Gellhouse and I’m a Senior Engineering Manager at Hinge Health. I joined because several colleagues from a previous company worked here and I had a great deal of respect for their technical skills and integrity. As I moved through the interview process I was delighted to discover that the spirit of collaboration, emotional intelligence, and passion for the product was shared by everyone I met. I manage a cross-functional team of five engineers and one technical lead. (We’re also recruiting a quality engineer - please apply!) We work closely with the product manager and designer on our team to build a product that provides clinicians the ability to configure exercise therapy programs.
My primary responsibility is to my reports - I want to create a safe and supportive environment where they’re empowered to take on challenges that excite them and are given the opportunity to flourish in their career. I strongly believe that creating this kind of environment will lead to happier and more productive engineers who will build amazing products. I also do a lot of work on organizational initiatives. I’m a proponent of healthy processes that optimize the way we work while reducing mental load. My contributions include revamping our onboarding experience for engineers, creating a more streamlined app release process, and leading the Women’s Employee Resource Group.
Hinge Health is pioneering the world's most patient-centered digital hospital, starting with musculoskeletal health. MSK conditions are the #1 medical spend for US employers. Hinge Health is finally making it easier to bring expert-recommended care to millions of patients by being the first company to combine wearable-sensor guided exercise therapy with 1-on-1 health coaching and patient education. Only Hinge Health has clinically validated outcomes across 4 peer-reviewed studies showing reductions in: chronic pain, opioid use, anxiety, depression, absenteeism, and costly surgeries.
As someone who had a pretty traumatic injury while snowboarding, I wish I’d had access to a product like this when I was recovering. After attending months of physical therapy it still took several years before I felt 100%, and that was only after discovering the benefits of exercise therapy through my own roundabout way.
We just closed our Series D round of funding in January 2021 (raising $426M total) and are growing really quickly this year. Our Engineering team has doubled in size since I started and we plan on it doubling again by the end of the year. It’s an exciting time to be a part of the company, as we can make an impact on our participants along with on the company and how we’re building it together.
Our Engineering team has doubled in size since I started and we plan on it doubling again by the end of the year.
We have over 70 people in Engineering and we’re rapidly growing. We’re organized in neighborhoods, where teams who work on similar remits are grouped together. Each neighborhood has engineering, product, and design directors and each team is cross-functional and consists of an engineering manager, the triad (tech lead, product manager, product designer), and engineers (front-end, back-end and quality). The triad collaborates on discovery & design, defining the team’s roadmap, and supporting the team. Engineering managers provide support to the triad and the team. My neighborhood is the Core Components Neighborhood (catchy name to be determined) and our users are teams in other neighborhoods.
We use Slack for the majority of our asynchronous communication, Google Meet for meetings, and Tuple for pair programming. Although we’ve remained productive while working remotely I’m eager to return to an office environment at least part of the week so we can have in-person workshops and easier conversations.
Our tech stack is Nodejs, TypeScript, Nestjs, GraphQL, Docker, React, React Native, Rails, Aptible, AWS, Postgres, Redis, Apollo, and Redux. Our workflow is trunk-based CI/CD, and our security/compliance posture is at the highest standards of healthcare, including HIPAA, HITRUST, SOC 2, CCPA.
Our Site Reliability Engineers are on-call for production incidents, and teams are responsible for supporting services and components that they own. We’re still trying to work out how we want to structure on-call at the team level, but we think it’s important that teams are accountable for monitoring and maintaining their work.
We use a lot of open source projects for our work, including React and Rails.
We have a culture of talented, motivated, collaborative and supportive people coming together to make great things happen. Since we were forced to move to working from home last spring I’ve been thankful that our leadership team has been exceptionally aware of the impact of the pandemic on our mental health and has taken real measures to mitigate burnout, such as encouraging people to use sick leave for mental health, reminding everyone we have a Mental Wellness Budget, and giving us additional holidays.
As managers we are regularly checking in with our team to see how people are doing and that they are maintaining a healthy work/life balance. One of the struggles with moving to a WFH model is that many of us find it difficult to unplug at the end of the day and step back into our personal life when our work laptops are sitting right there waiting for us. We’ve exchanged strategies for making that end of day break a lot cleaner so people can have a relaxing evening, and I encourage my team to remove Slack from their phones and tuck their laptops away at the end of the day so they aren’t interrupted.
In past months we’ve been supporting team building by having virtual lunches (where everyone expenses their lunch and gets together to chat over Google Meet), holiday party events (such as champagne tasting, pasta making, and cocktail parties, where everyone got a kit and could join a virtual party), Hack Days, and an R&D Summit (where we had a full day of programming across 3 tracks of volunteers within the company sharing their knowledge).
We have a Learn-It-All (not Know-It-All) cultural value which carries throughout a lot of what we do. Professional development is a high priority and managers work with their reports to ensure they have a growth plan defined to either continue building their skills at their current level or start demonstrating their skills at the next level. We find opportunities for them to practice new skills and provide the support and coaching they need to feel confident doing so. We get 2 hours of time each week to dedicate to professional development.
I was really pleased that during our last round of promotions I was able to promote several of the engineers I was managing. They worked hard and deserved those promotions and it’s really gratifying to play a role in supporting them!
My favorite part about working here are the people - they’re talented, motivated, collaborative and supportive individuals who care deeply about doing good work and helping our customers. I’m also excited about the potential applications of the technology we’re building and what kind of difference we may be able to make in the future.
We have engineers who went the more traditional path with a CS degree and experience at a big tech company, in addition to people from non-traditional backgrounds where they were self-taught or went to code bootcamps.
Our engineers have come to us through a variety of means, whether they were referred by someone already at the company, sourced by a recruiter, or applied directly. They also come from a variety of backgrounds. We have engineers who went the more traditional path with a CS degree and experience at a big tech company, in addition to people from non-traditional backgrounds where they were self-taught or went to code bootcamps. Collaborative people who show a genuine interest in our mission are the ones who get noticed regardless of the channel they come through.
We lean really heavily on our company values when it comes to selecting great people to join our team. My favorite is “Learn-It-All (not Know-It-All)”. Everyone is always striving to learn more and share that knowledge with others. We have book clubs, !Lunch & Learns (L&Ls not held during lunch), channels where we’ll share articles, summits where our colleagues will lead workshops or give talks, and an annual professional development budget.
Our other values include Trust, Communication, Hustle, and Frugality. In Engineering we additionally focus on people who have domain expertise, leadership abilities, and are great at problem solving. We look for candidates who are effective communicators, know their stuff (or are eager to learn it and good at figuring things out), and are great at collaborating. We value diversity and are always looking for people who come from different backgrounds.
I appreciate it when a candidate has taken the time to learn a little about our product and makes authentic connections with the people they meet throughout the interview process.
The first step in the process is a call with a recruiter and if it’s determined you might be fit we’ll send you a take home exercise. We want to get a sense of your technical abilities, along with how you solve problems and follow instructions. You probably won’t complete your challenge in the allotted time and that’s totally okay. If we move you forward to the onsite then you’ll sit down with two engineers and pair program through the rest of the exercise.
Before the onsite there’s a CV Deep Dive where you’ll be on a 60-90 minute call with a hiring manager who will walk through your work history with you. This gives us a good signal on how you’ve performed in past jobs, where your strengths lie, and how you’ve been able to address your weaknesses.
The virtual onsite takes about a half day and consists of a few different sessions depending on the role you’re applying for. You will often start with a product collaboration session where you’ll get a demo of the product and then you’ll get to work through ideas with a product manager. Next you’ll be in a technical session where you’ll be joined by two engineers to pick up your take home exercise where you left off, and pair program on it together. More senior candidates will have an Architectural Session where they’ll be posed a scenario and asked how they would architect a solution.
We also have a “Meet the Team” session where you’ll have a casual conversation with a few other members of the team you’d be joining and you can ask them questions about working at Hinge Health. Finally, we like to have an Ask Me Anything (AMA) with another member of the Engineering Management team so you can ask them any lingering questions.
Being referred is the easiest way to get that initial screening, so make use of your network and see if you have connections already at the company. You may also find hiring managers on LinkedIn and reach out to them directly with questions, or connect with our in-house recruiters.
I like to see resumes where someone has clearly made an impact on the organization by advocating technology or process changes, sharing their knowledge with others, stepping into more challenging roles, and championing diversity efforts, for example. Showing you’re passionate about the work you do and making your work environment a better place gives me some great initial indicators that you could work well in my team.
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