An API Platform Reliability Engineer At Stripe

I find that the most interesting and telling API building blocks come out of the companies who are furthest along in their API journey, and have made the conscious effort to heavily invest in their platforms. I try to regularly visit API platforms who are doing the most interesting work on a regular basis, because I am almost always able to find some gem of an approach that I can showcase here on the blog.

This weeks gem is from API rockstar Stripe, and their posting for a reliability engineer for their API platform. Here is a summary from their job posting:

As a Reliability Engineer, you’ll help lead an active area of high impact by defining and building proactive ways to further hone the reliability of our API. You’ll collaborate with team members across Engineering, as well as with our business, sales and operations teams to determine areas of greatest leverage.

You Will:

  • Work with engineers across the company to identify key areas for reliability improvement.
  • Gather requirements and make thoughtful tradeoffs to ensure we are focusing our efforts on the most impactful projects.
  • Work on services and tools to proactively improve the quality and reliability of our production API.
  • Debug production issues across services and multiple levels of the stack. Improve operational standards, tooling, and processes.

I’ve studied thousands of APIs over almost a decade, and seeing a company invest this heavily in API reliability is a rare thing. For me, this demonstrates two things, that Stripe takes their API seriously, and that it takes a huge amount of investment and resources to do APIs right. Something I don’t think many API providers realize as they try to do APIs as a side project, and wonder why they aren’t seeing the results they want.

I find that the job postings for API providers is one of the most telling signals I can harvest to understand how committed a company is to their APIs. Human Resources is one of the most areas to be investing in when it comes to your API operations, and the frequency and type of API job postings tells a lot about the API journey a company is on. Hiring API engineers is an important role to be hiring for, but it will also take hiring someone dedicated to reliability to make the impact with your platform that you desire.