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Enabling New Projects At The Recurse Center

We’re big fans of the Recurse Center. RC runs retreats for programmers, in which engineers spend six to twelve weeks working on self-directed projects. It attracts an eclectic crew of smart, curious people. As such, it’s an excellent organization for us to partner with.

We started working with RC in 2015, and since then Recursers have become a whopping 20% of our engineering team.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the structure of the program and who applies to it, Recursers make wonderful teammates. The ones we’ve worked with have been thoughtful, motivated, and passionate about building great software. Recursers are a self-selected tribe of people who love to experiment and learn systems deeply. Recursers tend to be intentional about their communication, which is important when working in a distributed engineering organization like ours.

Another reason we fit so well together is that both Heap and RC care so little about pedigree. We care about how engineers think about problems and whether they can build high quality software. For our onsite, instead of the usual sequence of 45 minute whiteboard interviews, engineering candidates build a feature.

Late last year, we sat down with some Recursers to figure out how we can help support this community. One idea was to sponsor a cluster of powerful servers. Lots of Recursers have project ideas that one can’t really build on a laptop. We were happy to contribute to the community, and I am excited to share that this cluster is now live.

It’s equipped with 48 cores, 2 GPUs, and 2 TB of SSD space. We hope it helps Recursers learn about machine learning, databases, distributed systems, and all manner of other new subject areas!

If the idea of a programming sabbatical appeals to you, we encourage you to apply to RC! Or, if you’d like to work in the kind of environment where RC alums often choose to work, reach out to us.

Dan Robinson