Introducing the Skyscanner Tech Engineering BlogPosted on by Bryan Dove
Welcome to Skyscanner’s engineering blog. Thanks for taking the time to stop by.
It is early days, but you can see from our first few blogs that you should expect a wide range of articles, from technology insights to the theory behind product decisions to thought leadership. We’ve been inspired by the other tech company blogs that we as engineers love – Etsy and Netflix to name just two.
At Skyscanner we put emphasis on sharing ideas, both internally and externally. This blog is an extension of that, and so too are our community support initiatives and Technical Thought Leader Series– more on these below.
But back to our engineering blog. You might be asking – why open up this information, whether it be through world-class speakers or internal Skyscanner insights and learnings? It goes back to Skyscanner’s roots and our culture. We’re a team of entrepreneurs, and we want to share what we’ve learned along the way with the broader community, to support and inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs. We believe this is the way the tech community should work.
Our hope is that you find real insight and inspiration within this blog and within our community programme. We aim to be a unique voice amongst the cacophony of tech companies sharing what they are working on and how they think.
- We will be as open as possible, talking about both our successes and our failures. Internally we capture so much learning through our mistakes, and we want to disseminate this more broadly than just our organization
- In addition to talking about technology, we will also share our successes and failures when it comes to scaling our company. There is a ton of information about how to scale your technology stack, but there is a dearth of information about how to scale your business. You can’t have one without the other.
We believe these two dimensions deliver a unique perspective.
Why might that interest to you? Well, we’re a global travel search company with over 50m MAUs across the world. We’re solving complex problems every single day – the challenges that existed in the sector when we were founded 10 years ago still exist. We’re on a technology journey; for example, we’ve a goal to transition 100% to AWS in under two years. It’s ambitious: Netflix did it in seven. We have our work cut out and we’ll regularly post updates and lessons, such as an upcoming article on how we make trade-offs between building solutions in EC2 vs. using AWS Lambda.
You’ll also see blogs about how we are setting up the dev environment to drive ideal productivity with Docker, ECS, and automated, progressive production deployments. On an organizational level, we’ll share with you how we’re managing the mind-set change where architecture and cost are now directly related. Blogs will be published at least once a week, so I urge you to keep coming back for fresh content and ideas. And of course, we’d love to hear your feedback and questions too.
However, our outreach doesn’t start and stop with this blog. Here are other ways we’ll be sharing insights and knowledge.
Open Source Contributions
We’ve recently opened an engineering hub in London, where we’re very excited to expand our community initiatives both locally and across the world. These include our regular Open Source contributions (check us out at Github.com/Skyscanner).
Our philosophy on Open Source is that we want to be open by default, as much as is possible. We will continue to publish on Github, and expect to accelerate our pace of publishing over the coming year. At present, we’d love your comments on Dixie, our Open Source iOS testing framework.
I mentioned our migration to AWS earlier. We expect to encounter a number of new technologies that we’ll have to create or contribute back to enable Skyscanner, as a globally and technologically diversified company, to successfully migrate 100% of its operations to AWS.
Community Meetups and Sponsorship
We’re keen supporters of the local engineering community surrounding our nine other offices across the world and we’ll continue this approach as we integrate into the tech community in London. This may take many forms, and includes sponsoring local meetups with a combination of funding and hosting in our office space. This blog will be the prime area to get visibility of these – we’ll give as much advance warning as possible, as we know you’re a busy lot. With that in mind, we’ll also post recordings of those talks, when appropriate, so a wider audience may access them.
Increasing diversity in technology is critical. We want to do everything we can to increase diversity across the industry. To this end, we’re actively sponsoring programmes focussed on increasing the number of women working in technology, like the brilliant RailsGirls. Our support doesn’t stop there, so if there are other organizations with similar goals looking for partners, please get in contact with us.
Technical Thought Leaders Series
We’re also launching, initially in London, our Technical Thought Leader Series (or the TTL Series for short). This is a series of talks focused on bringing top tier speakers to share knowledge with our active start-up communities. I hope to meet many of our neighbours and fellow community members at these events.
The start-up scene in Europe has exploded in recent years and London is one of the epicentres of this movement. The TTL Series will bring a unique set of presenters to London to share their content, for free. Topics will be diverse, from growing and scaling a start-up to technology to engineering leadership to business leadership. There’s no focus on any specific format; we’ll move between panel discussions, open Q&A and presentations as appropriate.
We’ll also record and publish the TTL sessions here to ensure that this knowledge is preserved and is available to the community outside across the world.
Our first is on November 23rd, where Sir Michael Moritz, chairman of Sequoia Capital and board member at Skyscanner, will speak.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, and I hope that you’re as excited as we are at our forthcoming activities. This is the first of many blogs that will provide insight into what we’re doing and why. The Skyscanner engineering team hope that by providing a unique level of transparency we are adding value to the community and that others can learn from our successes and failures to help accelerate their own journey.
We are always looking for feedback on ways to improve and content to include. Please reach out at email@example.com.