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Product Reliability touches all aspects of Palantir’s work, from diving into code to reinforcing deployments. Our team acts as a bridge between Product Development, the team that creates our software, and Business Development, the team that deploys our software. We advise Product Development about issues that come up in the field to help shape their understanding of what’s working and what needs to be tweaked. For Business Development, we serve as the last line of defense, tackling problems no one else has been able to solve. Every member of the Product Reliability team must have the technical expertise to work with software developers and the communication skills to effectively engage with deployments on the ground.
We are former engineers, consultants, developers, teachers, and more. This diversity of backgrounds fuels our team’s ability to solve mission-critical issues. Despite our range of experience, we are united in our interest in technology, our desire to help people, and our ability to work under pressure. We rely on our intelligence and resourcefulness to address the urgent requests we receive every day—we don’t have a set script or escalation process. Product Reliability is plugged in to the most urgent issues in our deployments and has the unique opportunity to gain exposure to all of Palantir’s customers across sectors such as law enforcement, intelligence, health, finance, military, and retail.
Product Reliability Engineers are part of the Product Support Organization. Formerly known as Product Support Engineers, our role has evolved as our infrastructure and tooling has changed the way we operate. Our mission is still very much the same: to wield expertise and problem-solving skills so people can use our software to do important work. Now, our overarching mandate as a team is to ensure the constant reliability and availability of our systems. The articles below shed further light on our team and what we do.
Find out why people love working in Product Reliability
There was one day when I fielded a question from every continent except Antarctica, but to be fair we don’t have a Palantir deployment there yet!
Variety. In college, I had something of an identity crisis: I was a computer science guy who couldn’t see myself writing code all day. While searching for my niche in the tech world, I began interning for Palantir Product Reliability. I was floored by what a cool position I had stumbled into. Every day I got to collaborate with Palantirians all around the world, dive into code, and tackle critical problems for some of the most important institutions in the world. That combination of working with people and working with code is really hard to find. At the end of my internship I got a full-time offer, and I’ve been here ever since.
My younger brother is about to graduate from West Point, and I never dreamed that my background in computer science would intersect with his career. Now, I regularly find myself working on tasks that could directly impact him and his colleagues, so those are of special significance to me.
I started an internal webpage called “Pups of Palantir,” which is a directory of every dog I can find in the office. I love dogs.
Coming through in the clutch. Every day we’re approached by Palantirians who are struggling with complex issues, and it feels great to be able to provide them with solutions. We do whatever is necessary to ensure that Business Development and Product Development can operate efficiently—it’s a great mix of working with people and working with code, which can be a hard balance to find.
Flexibility. We’re encouraged to take on projects outside of our normal scope of work and pursue our personal interests. For me, that means integrating myself with the development team for Palantir Phoenix. I attend their team meetings, communicate issues that Business Development is facing, and give them proactive feedback. I get to be their liaison to Business Development and our deployments, and I’m the resident Phoenix expert on Product Reliability.
I was the third person on Product Reliability when I joined Palantir in 2008.
This team is a great place to be if you like solving puzzles, and increasingly complex puzzles at that—as Palantir matures, our software becomes more sophisticated, our use cases expand, and our number of products grows. As a result, the Support team is constantly challenged to learn new skills and adapt to new situations in order to effectively address the issues that come our way.
The people. I’m one of the Support team leads, so a big part of my job is ensuring that my teammates are exploring their interests, pursuing new skills, and progressing towards their career goals. Basically, being a team lead on Support is like being a Support Engineer for other Support Engineers.
I use the music room at Palantir every Tuesday evening for band practice!
Our team feels like a family. We make an effort to build strong relationships outside of work, so there’s genuine social harmony on the Support team. This also means that we really pay attention to areas of expertise and do our best to balance workloads based on individual strengths and interests.
Deep diving into code. I have a computer science background, so I really enjoy immersing myself in the inner workings of our products. We get to deal with the problems that Forward Deployed Engineers—all very intelligent and technically savvy—can’t figure out. These are challenging issues that require a lot of creativity to resolve, and doing so means having a real impact on important organizations all over the world.
After dealing with an emergency I enjoy taking a break with my dog, Sasha, who joins me at the office every day.
Support rises and falls as a team. We have a heap of work that we need to get done, and we all approach it together. When someone gets overwhelmed, another Support member will always jump in to help.
Working directly with customers while still maintaining my technical chops. With previous jobs I was required to either move away from my technical background and take on customer-facing roles, or lock myself into a programming role that didn’t allow for much growth. I found this to be an issue throughout the technical job market—you either commit to coding for the rest of your life, or you have to let those skills fade and move towards a business role. With Product Reliability I get to grow without sacrificing either skillset.
I was the first Support Engineer in Palantir’s London office.
Being on Support is like working in the Emergency Room of a hospital. Every day you know you’ll get a new set of challenges, but you have no idea what they’re going to be. Sometimes you get many people with minor injuries; other times you’re working on one patient with an issue that’s more difficult to diagnose and treat. Either way, you get to see how Palantir reacts to challenges and what it takes to make a software company run successfully.
Being a generalist. We have to be prepared to tackle any request that comes our way, so we get to learn about all of Palantir’s products and deployments. I also really value how self-directed we can be in how we address problems—it really comes down to what you’re most comfortable with. For example, I like solving problems by reproducing the issue with the Forward Deployed Engineers first, but others prefer to initially dive into the code.
When Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines in 2013, Palantir’s Philanthropy Engineering Team partnered with Team Rubicon and Direct Relief to provide aid to affected areas. Palantir Raven, our powerful geospatial analysis tool, was critical to the disaster response strategy. Palantir’s team on the ground quickly realized that the default map resolution was too low for coordinating disaster relief efforts, so they reached out to Product Reliability for help.