Principal Engineer

Published on April 02, 2023

How someone builds their career is foundational. We believe in working with the higher education community to help students build meaningful careers. We are at the nexus of universities, students and employers— and we’re able to connect the very best pieces of each side. We’re proud to create a community where students can be more successful.

Everyone is welcome at Handshake. We know diverse teams build better products and we are committed to creating an inclusive culture built on a foundation of respect for all individuals. We strongly encourage candidates from non-traditional backgrounds, historically marginalized or underrepresented groups to apply.
Want to learn more about what it's like to work at Handshake? Check out these interviews from our team members!
Your Impact:
Handshake is hiring a Principal Engineer reporting to our VP of Engineering. In this role, you will work with and through our managers and technical leads to develop internal talent and make teams more effective. This is a hands-on role, for a leader prepared to engage with a team in solving challenging problems in the Consumer Marketplace space. The ideal candidate will leverage their deep understanding of the technical and business environment to drive and shape the way Handshake solves difficult problems. As a Sr. Staff/Principal Engineer, you will inspire the Engineering organization to embrace quality by setting technical and cultural norms across the organization. Your decisions will not only have an impact on the way we build our product, but also on the end-user experience of all our students.
Your Role
  • Own the technical vision and strategy for one or more teams. This includes painting an inspiring technical picture for your team(s), working with other leaders and executives, getting buy in from Design and Product counterparts, and breaking down this vision into a clear direction for how to achieve those goals.
  • Regularly generate and lead the Engineering organization to develop and execute on new ideas that have a measurable and lasting impact on Engineering’s stability, efficiency, and technical excellence.
  • Work hand-in-hand with senior and non-senior engineers as you actively contribute to Handshake’s code base on your team’s top and/or most complex technical initiatives.
  • Inspire the Engineering organization to embrace quality by setting technical and cultural norms across the organization.
  • Influence Handshake’s long-term, Engineering-wide architectural investments.
  • Leverage deep understanding of the technical and business environment to drive and shape the way Handshake solves difficult problems.
  • Plan and advocate for engineering-wide staffing changes, including hiring, informed by product and engineering strategy and long-term goals.
  • Drive changes to Handshake Engineering’s processes and culture to drive organizational technical excellence and efficiency.
  • Communicate effectively on behalf of Handshake. Create communication pathways that allow for psychological safety and organizational transparency.
  • Raise Handshake Engineering’s public employment brand.
  • Connect with industry leadership to set best-in-class development standards
  • Attract and retain top, diverse talent.
Your Experience:
  • You have a deep understanding of modern web technologies, data engineering, data science, and/or infrastructure.
  • You are steeped in scalability, a steadfast advocate for software quality, and appreciate the differences between B2B design and consumer design. 
  • You are profoundly full-stack and conversant with front-end, back-end, infrastructure, and data.
  • You might not be keen to manage engineers directly, but you have a history of investing in mentoring and growing other engineers.  
  • You have driven large-scale, significant technical efforts at previous companies that played a key role in advancing the company’s mission and/or growth. You have played both a technical lead and contributor to these efforts.
  • You have represented multiple technical teams as a technical leader and driven the adoption of new processes and best practices to ensure your teams' technical excellence and efficiency.
  • You have led teams at similarly sized or larger engineering teams, ideally through hyper-growth periods.
  • You are fully committed to increasing representation at all levels of Engineering.
Bonus Areas of Expertise: 
  • Experience with one or more of the following technologies:
    • Ruby on Rails
    • Typescript, React, Redux
    • Postgres, Elasticsearch
    • Google Cloud Platform
    • BigQuery, Airflow, Datatable
  • Experience driving architectural transitions from monoliths to microservices
Compensation Range:
For cash compensation, we set standard ranges for all U.S.-based roles based on function, level, and geographic location, benchmarked against similar stage growth companies. In order to be compliant with local legislation, as well as to provide greater transparency to candidates, we share salary ranges on all job postings regardless of desired hiring location. Final offer amounts are determined by multiple factors, including geographic location as well as candidate experience and expertise, and may vary from the amounts listed above.
About Us:
Handshake is the #1 place to launch a career with no connections, experience, or luck required. The platform connects up-and-coming talent with 750,000+ employers - from Fortune 500 companies like Google, Nike, and Target to thousands of public school districts, healthcare systems, and nonprofits. In 2022 we announced our $200M Series F funding round. This Series F fundraise and valuation of $3.5B will fuel Handshake’s next phase of growth and propel our mission to help more people start, restart, and jumpstart their careers.
When it comes to our workforce strategy, we’ve thought deeply about how work-life should look here at Handshake. With our Hub-Based Remote Working strategy, employees can enjoy the flexibility of remote work, whilst ensuring collaboration and team experiences in a shared space remains possible. Handshake is headquartered in San Francisco with offices in Denver, New York, and London and teammates working globally. 
Check out our careers site to find a hub near you!
What We Offer:
At Handshake, we'll give you the tools to feel healthy, happy and secure.
  • 💰Equity and ownership in a fast-growing company.
  • 🍼16 Weeks of paid parental leave for birth giving parents & 10 weeks of paid parental leave for non-birth giving parents.
  • 💝Comprehensive medical, dental, and vision policies including LGTBQ+ Coverage. We also provide resources for Mental Health Assistance, Employee Assistance Programs and counseling support.
  • 💻Handshake offers $500/£360 home office stipend for you to spend during your first 3 months to create a productive and comfortable workspace at home.
  • 📚Generous learning & development opportunities and an annual $2,000/£1,500 stipend for you to grow your skills and career.
(US Handshakers)
  • 🏦401k Match: Handshake offers a dollar-for-dollar match on 1% of deferred salary, up to a maximum of $1,200 per year.
  • 🏝All full-time US-based Handshakers are eligible for our flexible time off policy to get out and see the world. In addition, we offer 8 standardized holidays, and 2 additional days of flexible holiday time off. Lastly, we have a Winter #ShakeBreak, a one-week period of Collective Time Off. 
(UK Handshakers) 
  • 🏦Pension Scheme: Handshake will provide you with a workplace pension, where you will make contributions based on 5% of your salary. Handshake will pay the equivalent of 3% towards your pension plan, subject to qualifying earnings limits.
  • 🏝Up to 25 days of vacation to encourage people to reset, recharge, and refresh, in addition to 8 bank holidays throughout the year.
For roles based in Berlin, Spain, and Romania: Please ask your recruiter about region specific benefits.
Benefits above apply to employees in full-time positions.
Looking for more? Explore our mission, values and comprehensive US benefits at