Staff ML Engineer, Technical Lead

Remote, USA

Applications have closed
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Drift’s Conversation Cloud helps businesses connect with customers in the moments that matter most — using chat, email, video, and more.


About Drift  

Drift is the Conversational Marketing platform that combines chat, email, video, and AI to remove the friction from business buying. With Drift, you can start conversations with future customers now, on their terms -- not days later. There are over 50,000 businesses that use Drift today to accelerate revenue, shrink sales cycles, and make buying easy. Our mission is to use conversations to make business buying frictionless, more enjoyable, and more human.

About Digital First

Drift is a Digital First company, which means Remote is the primary experience for all employees. For the majority of our positions, your location is flexible! If “Remote” is stated in the job location, that role can be located anywhere Drift is authorized to do business in the United States.

Select roles may require you to be located in a city where we have a Conversation Space (currently Boston, MA, San Francisco, CA, Tampa, FL, and London, UK – with more to come across the globe), or work hours associated with a specific time zone. If this is the case, it will be explicitly stated in the job description. Please work with your recruiter and hiring manager to learn more about where Drift is authorized in the U.S. and to determine if you are eligible for employment based on your location.

About the role

We are looking for an ML Engineering Tech Lead who is passionate and ready to tackle some of the most meaningful problems in the industry — from training AI models for bot-supported conversations, to designing next generation semantic search experiences, to summarizing conversations across the buyer journey and across channels. Are you looking to have more impact and ownership in ML Engineering? 


As a Staff ML Engineer Tech Lead, you will lead the development of one of our ML services, working closely with your Product partners to build out solutions from conceptualization to production, setting goals and milestones, synthesizing customer stories into a development plan. You will be responsible for guiding architectural decisions, ensure excellent engineering quality and mentor engineers to do their best work!

You may be involved in creating infrastructure that classifies billions of messages a minute to extract buyer intent and sentiment for conversations. You could also build tools to evaluate and visualize model quality so our customers can zero in on giving the best buying experience.

Drift AI Tech Stack These are not hard requirements

  • Java
  • Python 
  • AWS
  • Docker/Kubernetes 
  • DynamoDB 
  • Elastic Search
  • PyTorch, Huggingface, SpaCy, and Sklearn

What we’re looking for

  • Passion for scaling Machine Learning applications whether it be multimodal model serving and/or distributed preprocessing/training
  • Being a technical expert on architectural decisions to help us scale!
  • Engineers who enjoy driving best practices by facilitating code reviews and mentoring junior engineers
  • Enthusiasm for owning projects from conceptualization to implementation
  • Engineers with a sense of creating frameworks and products to enhance the work of others.

You may be a fit for this role if you:

  • Have experience designing and building scalable infrastructure that enables deploying machine learning models at scale for real-time predictions
  • Have a firm understanding of latency vs accuracy tradeoffs, and monitoring of server load, connection counts, host health and general app performance
  • Have previous software engineering experience with distributed systems
  • Can put yourself in the shoes of our customers to unite design & code and craft fantastic experiences
  • Enjoy working on the backend to solve problems and delight customers
  • You are a systems thinking and you have experience designing, building and maintaining REST APIs for use in production
  • Have architected RESTful services and understand concepts such as batching, versioning, and idempotency
  • Are considered an expert of a server side programming language (Java8/ Java11)
  • Take pride in creating results quickly by breaking projects down. We execute on small pieces to generate visible results
  • Enjoy working with a diverse group of people with different expertise
  • Can stitch together many different services and processes together even if you have not worked with them before
  • Uphold quality standards in engineering, security, and design 

What you’ll be doing on the team:

Day 1 you will 

  • Use your onboarding time to learn how things work here and to practice writing and shipping software that makes our customers successful
  • Start to dig in and get the basics down about our customers 
  • Learn Drift-specific systems, product information, and review paperwork (we have to get that out of the way). 
  • Have lunch with your manager and maybe your team 


By the end of week 1 you will 

  • Get to know your customer - Every team at Drift owns a different area of the product and our Customers are a super important ingredient to how we build products! 
  • Have received a first look into Drift engineering systems, culture and product process through various conversations;
    • How Product Works at Drift 
    • Engineering Path of Success/ Path of Failure 
    • Auth & Debugging at Drift 
    • Customer-centered Engineering 
    • Review of Drift SDLC 
  • Have transitioned from onboarding to your new team 
  • Have your local dev environment set up and you will have completed your First-day ship!!! 

By the end of month 1 you’ll 

  • Meet all of your members from Design to Product and Customer Advocate! 
  • Work with your manager to identify the “small rocks” (aka Team Goals) for your first month along with any other goals. 
  • Also work with your manager to develop your list of personal/ professional goals. 
  • Ramp up by engaging in these product processes at Drift;
    • Take ownership of a “small rock” from a 1-pager
    • Contribute to story time 
    • Participate in a green-lit kickoff 
    • Write code toward your “small rock” 
    • #Shipyard a completed product 
    • Measure your impact! 



We know that applying for a new job can be intimidating. But guess what? At Drift, there is no such thing as an “ideal candidate.” We believe in the power of teamwork -- and in the desire to learn something new every day. We believe in hiring people, not just skills. Take it from our Founder

If this sounds like a company you would like to join and a role you would thrive in, please don’t hold back from applying! Whatever skills you bring to the table or background you’re coming from, we welcome you to start a conversation with us. We need your unique perspective for our continued innovation and success. We’re looking forward to learning more about you!

Drift is committed to providing reasonable accommodations for candidates with disabilities in our recruiting process. If you need any assistance or accommodations due to a disability, please let us know at

Tags: APIs AWS Distributed Systems Docker DynamoDB Engineering HuggingFace Kubernetes Machine Learning Python PyTorch Scikit-learn SDLC Security spaCy

Perks/benefits: Flex hours Flex vacation Startup environment

Regions: Remote/Anywhere North America
Country: United States
Job stats:  30  3  0

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