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This is the latest in our “Inside the Stack” series featuring Underdog.io customers. This week, we hear from Tor Erik, a Technical Director at AlphaSights. AlphaSights is hiring engineers, designers, product analysts, and business experts.


Describe AlphaSights in 2-3 sentences.

AlphaSights is an information services firm with offices in New York, London, Dubai, and Hong Kong. We help our global clients get answers to tough problems by finding and connecting them with subject matter experts.

As a global firm, our engineering team is distributed across several different locations and offices. We work on building custom software to meet the unique needs of our business, including tools for sourcing experts, managing projects, hosting calls, and automating payments for our experts.

What are your primary programming languages?

Ruby is our language of choice.  We love Ruby for its elegance and clarity, robust testing, and community. We’ve always used JavaScript. Lately, we’ve been focused on creating richer client-side experiences and have built out several pure JavaScript applications.

As we grow and build new applications and services, we’ll be exploring other languages, choosing the best for the job. Elixir and Clojure are two such examples of languages we’ve been experimenting with recently.

What are your primary web frameworks?

Rails is the main framework we use to create apps and APIs.  When the company first started over six years ago, we chose Rails because of its huge boosts to developer productivity. Over the years, as both our company and Rails have matured, we’ve found that it’s continued to be the best choice for many of the services we build and problems we solve.

While Rails is our main framework on the back-end, on the front-end, our project teams are using Ember or React in various applications, depending on their needs.


What are your primary databases?

Postgres is our primary database. First, we love that it’s open-source. We’ve also been impressed with some of Postgres’ recent advancements, such as adding JSON-B support. Changes such as this confer many of the benefits of using a NoSQL database, while still providing the reliability of using a SQL store.

Which DevOps tools do you use?

Heroku and CircleCI are our main DevOps tools. We practice continuous deployment and they allow us to constantly ship code to our various apps. All of our deploys are managed in chat using Hubot.

Which part of your stack are you most excited about?

There are several different projects we’re excited about:

Improving User Experience - Our main application is a cross between a project management tool and CRM that helps our analysts better serve our clients. We’ve built out the core components over the years, and now we’re taking a much more fine-grained and holistic approach to make the user experience as streamlined and intuitive as possible. To accomplish this, we’ve been re-engineering the interface using Ember.

Building Client & Advisor Portals - Our business is built on connecting our clients with advisors (subject matter experts) who can help them find answers to tough questions. Creating portals for both clients and advisors to manage their projects, invoicing, scheduling, communication, and more is essential for scaling our business.

Refining Our Recruiting App - Each month, our company receives up to 3,000 job applications. To sift through this large pool of applicants and find the best talent, we’ve built an internal tool to serve as our applicant tracking system. Recently, we’ve been using React to polish and refine the user experience.

Thanks to Tor and the whole AlphaSights team for a great post. Visit alphasights.com for more information about the company and their open positions. Companies: email [email protected] if you’d like to be featured in this series.

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