TripAdvisor Strategy: No Architects, Engineers Work Across the Entire Stack

If you are an insect, don't work at TripAdvisor, specialization is out. One of the most commented on strategies from the TripAdvisor architecture article is their rather opinionated take on the role of engineers in the organization.

Typically engineers live in a box. They are specialized, they do database work and not much else, and they just do programming, not much else. TripAdvisor takes the road less traveled:

  • Engineers work across entire stack - HTML, CSS, JS, Java, scripting. If you do not know something, you learn it. The only thing that gets in the way of delivering your project is you, as you are expected to work at all levels - design, code, test, monitoring, CSS, JS, Java, SQL, scripting.
  • We do not have "architects."  At TripAdvisor, if you design something, your code it, and if you code it you test it. Engineers who do not like to go outside their comfort zone, or who feel certain work is "beneath" them will simply get in the way.

A radical take for an established organization. We've seen companies where backend engineers are also responsible for front-line site support, but I don't recall, other than for startups obviously, where engineers have such breadth and depth of responsibility. It's not right or wrong, but something outside-the-box to consider, especially if you are an Agile shop.