In this employee spotlight, see what a day in the life looks like for Alec Deitloff, Frontend Web Developer at Verkada. (And if you’re interested in joining us in our mission of making the world safer, check out our open positions!)
What made you want to join Verkada’s engineering team?
Prior to working at Verkada, I worked in the gaming industry and I was expecting to stay in that space my entire life. I was looking at a bunch of places for my next job, and Verkada was one of them. At first I was like, “This is a video surveillance company, how can anything possibly be as interesting as gaming?” But as soon as I read more about the company, I knew what Verkada had was an amazing product. The security solution here is just so intuitive and clean, and it was obvious how powerful it was. When I went to my interview and spoke with the engineers, I felt like I was the stupidest person in the room every round (in the best of ways). I wound up speaking with every engineer at the company at the time, and I felt like I was talking to people who were just experts at their job and very, very smart.
“When it came time to look at the job offers, Verkada was the place that was going to bring me to the next level. I was going to be surrounded by people who would push me out of my comfort zone, but also had fantastic personalities. In the end, between having a fantastic product and a truly world-class engineering team, the choice was obvious.”
What’s a difficult problem that you have solved recently?
I’m on the home and streaming team, and we’re responsible for the front page of our Command platform, including the home page, grids, archives and similar pages. With Command 2.0, it was a chance for us to look back over the three years and figure out how we can really improve Command — how we can really create a new era for our software. The main question was how can we build a system that really shows how much we’ve grown as a company?
It was a fantastically huge problem to basically redo all of the most visited pages on Commands. One of the things I focused on was building a powerful page header that works elegantly for any device, browser, or screen size; and one that offers rich features to the customers (and to other developers here). I worked tirelessly alongside John, our VP of Design, to iron out logic and implementation to ensure that no user ever faced a broken-looking page. We also wanted to make sure that it took other developers just minutes to set up a fully-featured Command 2.0 header for their page that was consistent with our application. We wanted to ensure consistency and make sure that Verkada’s world-class technology standard is exceeded on every page.
What are you most proud of achieving at Verkada?
There are a lot of things that I’m proud of achieving at Verkada, but I think having web ownership of streaming for a year is one of the biggest. Prior to taking it on, I had never done video streaming in my life, and I didn’t really know how it worked. But because we were a small team and had a small startup at the time, someone needed to own it. I took it on, and there were so many things that I learned on the job. I learned how streaming was done and how to start building things that would create better performance, both in terms of playback and video quality. We wanted to implement features that provide optimal streaming technologies to give the customers high video quality with minimal bandwidth.
Every project begins with the sentiment of “This is impossible.” But then I would work with the right, talented people, and I would learn. They elevated me up to the level where I was able to actually succeed at this project, and I’d come away looking at this with a very good understanding of the principles of video streaming. I feel like I’ve made a lot of contributions to the company. I’m super proud looking back at the challenges and seeing what I’ve been able to accomplish.
What do you look forward to everyday that you’re here?
I feel like I’m challenged everyday and Verkada is always pushing me to that next level. As a web engineer, it’s easy to find projects that are just making this button pretty, or that text italic, and so on. It’s just the nature of what we do. But at Verkada, I’ve never had a project where the goal was just to make something look pretty — every project looks to add new, groundbreaking features and functionality. Every time I get a new project at Verkada, I think there’s absolutely no way we can accomplish it, but that challenge is exactly what brought me to programming. We’re solving so many things that are just so tantalizingly exciting. I come to work and I’m always looking forward to seeing what impossible thing I’m going to solve today, and how that is going to make me a better engineer.
I have grown leaps and bounds since I joined Verkada and I’ve gotten to solve so many things that even looking back at them, I wind up thinking, “I’m not sure how we did that.” But we did it. I think it’s a testament to not just the engineers that we’ve hired at Verkada, but to the culture and to what Verkada is aspiring to do. That makes me extremely excited to come to work.