We're Hiring a Humbly Confident Data Scientist


About Us and Why We’re Hiring

We build “You Need a Budget,” the best budgeting software and educational resources around. (But people in the know call us YNAB, which is pronounced “why-nab”). For more than a decade, people have been buying YNAB and then telling their friends what a difference it has made in their lives. Google us, or read some of our reviews on the app store, and you’ll see what we mean. We love building something that has a huge positive impact on peoples’ lives.

Our software ecosystem includes personal budgeting apps for web, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Android phones. Our mission is to make sure the whole world knows that a budget is the best life and financial planning tool ever invented—and help make it simple and joyful to use one.

YNAB is growing, and so is our product development team. We’re now at a point where we need additional expertise to take our data engineering and quantitative research to the next level. That’s where you (our *first* data scientist) come in. We know that data roles come in many shapes, sizes, and flavors (we happen to be very fond of strawberry over here); you’re the data scientist we’re looking for if you’re comfortable navigating a data pipeline from ingestion and storage to experimentation, analysis and visualization. You love helping those around you make good use of data and are experienced in helping build trust and comprehension around the numbers. You appreciate the subjectivity of even the hardest of facts and your eyes light up discussing statistical significance. 

Requirements (These are Real, Actual Requirements): 

  • You have 3+ years of experience working as a data engineer, quantitative researcher, or hybrid role, in a SaaS environment.
  • You’re passionate about data science and have extensive experience using data modelling and statistical analysis to help answer business questions.
  • You’re comfortable with using multiple languages and technologies to help sift through and analyse data. 
  • You know your way around SQL and can write database queries in your sleep.

That’s a super-brief intro to what you’ll be working on. But first, you need to know if you’ll even like working with us. Let’s talk a bit about life at YNAB, and then we’ll go into more detail about what we’re looking for. 

We’re profitable, bootstrapped, and growing. YNAB started in 2004 and we haven’t taken any outside funding—we’re in it for the long haul. We have one overarching requirement when it comes to joining our team: our original Core Values Manifesto has to really click with you. If you’re nodding emphatically while reading it, you’ll probably really like it here, and we can’t wait to hear from you!

We live our Core Values every day at YNAB, and we mean it when we say we are an equal opportunity employer. We believe that a diversity of backgrounds, abilities, beliefs, and experiences are critical to our success, and we are passionate about creating a welcoming, supportive, and collaborative environment for all employees. All are encouraged to apply as we continue to grow a smart, hard-working, and diverse team who loves working together to build something that matters.

We also work really hard, together, to make working at YNAB an amazing experience, and we were (humbly) proud to be named Fortune’s #1 Best Small Company to Work For last year. We have a team full of truly exceptional people—the kind you’ll be excited to work with. We’d love to introduce you to a few of them!

Who You’d Be Working With:

You may be our very first data scientist hire, but you won’t be working in isolation. You’ll be joining a platform team that includes a product manager, design manager and some of our most experienced developers. Here’s a few of the people you’ll get to work with closely!

Hannah is a product manager who loves building empowered, innovative, and trust-filled teams, and is deeply invested in helping individuals and communities change their financial narratives and realities. She has a penchant for prepositional phrases and an abiding absorption with acronyms (and alliteration). She’s also a dancer and performing artist.

Alan is a product designer who can be seen wearing many hats—and loving every second of it. He could be interviewing users one day and programming a prototype in Framer the next. He loves exploring ideas with teammates and lives for that rush when the team discovers a novel solution to a difficult problem. When he’s not busy designing, he’s probably either at Crossfit or working to improve his culinary skills… or contemplating the conflicts that occasionally arise between the two.

Brady is one of our full stack developers, and he’s been with YNAB since before our SaaS launch. He’s a self-declared geek which means you might catch him fiddling with a Raspberry Pi or flying his drone. Oh, and his awesome wife made us all YNAB decals for our laptops!

Sebastian is responsible for development tech and coordination across all of our platforms and teams, and he’s been making YNAB better for more than 11 years! He lives in an old farmhouse in Switzerland with his partner Tina, three dogs, and nine cats. They love living in the countryside, where Sebastian continues to convince himself that handyman skills can be learned.

Jason is the Marketing team’s go-to person for all things data. He runs our paid media efforts and loves building effective campaigns with beautiful dashboards to measure their success. When he’s not helping our subscriber count climb, he is almost certainly literally climbing—either rock outdoors or at a bouldering gym (or maybe even deep water soloing!). He’s a newly minted remote work nomad, so expect many different video call backgrounds from him.

That being said, you’ll also cross paths with—well—probably everyone else. People like Jacob and Elena (a couple of our product managers), Niki or Cindy (both designers), and Jeff (another one of our developers). 

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How You’ll Work at YNAB

Now that you’ve met some of your potential future teammates, let’s talk more about YNAB as a company. Here’s how we operate:

Live Where You Want

We’re a fully remote team, so you can live and work wherever you want (with a reliable internet connection!). That said, you’ll be working predominantly with folks based in North America, so we expect that you’ll be willing and able to work North American hours for a significant portion of your time. This doesn’t mean a “North American 9-5” every day, but flexibility to overlap with those hours to attend meetings with your team. Proximity doesn’t influence productivity, but it sure does help with communication sometimes.

No Outrageous Hours

We want everyone to have a full life outside of YNAB, and we seldom work more than 40 hours per week. There have been a few occasions where things got busy and people had to put some extra time in. But then they took some extra time off, so it all balances out. We work hard and smart but we’re in this for the long haul.

Take Vacation (Seriously)

We want you to take vacation. In fact, we have a minimum vacation policy of three weeks per year. Five weeks feels about right (plus two extra weeks for our company-wide December break). It’s important to get plenty of downtime and get out and do something. We’ll look forward to seeing pictures of your adventures in our #office_wall Slack channel!

The YNAB Retreat

When the pandemic isn’t keeping us from traveling, we get the teams together once a year to catch up on spreadsheets and powerpoints in a Best Western conference room. Just kidding. So far, we’ve done Costa Rica, a gigantic cabin in the mountains, a beach house in the Outer Banks, a ranch in Montana, and most recently, Laguna Beach. We work together, play together, and reinforce the bonds we’ve made as a team and company. Every year, we leave refreshed, motivated, and excited for the year ahead together.

Up Your Game

We’re serious about helping you improve your craft. We budget for it (hey-o!). Think conferences, online courses and subscriptions, dedicated time away from work to learn something new… it’s really up to you and your manager. But we love to see our people growing.  

International is Absolutely Okay

Our team is spread all over the world, including Switzerland, Argentina, Scotland, Canada, and all over the United States. We currently set up team members who live internationally as contractors, and team members who live in the U.S. as W2 employees. You’re an equal part of the team no matter where you live!

Benefits

For our full-time W2 employees, we offer fantastic health, dental, and vision insurance, where we cover 100% of the premium for you and your family. (No need to check your vision, you read that right, 100%. Although if you did need to check your vision, we’ve got you covered!)

We also have a Traditional and Roth 401k option. YNAB matches your contributions, up to six percent of your paycheck. Matches vest immediately. (Are you a personal finance junkie like our founder Jesse? He set up YNAB’s 401k to have the lowest fee structure possible, where all plan costs are paid by YNAB, not your retirement nest egg. The investment funds available are fantastic, passively-managed, ultra low-cost index funds. You’re not a PF junkie? Trust us, it’s awesome.)

Competitive Compensation

We use a leading compensation data provider to set competitive and well-defined pay ranges for all of our positions. Your pay is the same no matter where you live, and our goal is to pay at or above the market rate in the United States. We consider raises every year and have a bonus plan based on profitability, which you’re in on from day one. YNAB wins, you win. That kind of thing.

Other Tidbits

  • Once you start, we DEMAND (in a friendly, ALL CAPS IS YELLING way) that you fill out your “Bucket List” spreadsheet with 50 items. (That’s harder than it sounds!) 
  • The bucket list really helps in deciding what we should give you for your birthday and the holidays.
  • We’re all adults. There’s no need to punch a clock, or ask for permission to take off early one afternoon to go see the doctor. We look at what you accomplish, not how long you’re in front of a computer.
  • We want you firing on all cylinders so we’ll set you up with a shiny new computer and replace it every three years.
  • Did we mention that YNAB makes a huge, positive difference in people’s lives? You may not think that matters much, but then a few months down the road you’ll realize it’s made your job really, really enjoyable. Don’t underestimate this one!

If this sounds like your ideal environment, read on because now we want to talk about you, and how you’ll play a big part in changing people’s lives.

Now, back to you, our new Data Scientist….

What Success Looks Like: 

Our goal is for every user to achieve life-changing financial control—and for the whole planet to realize it is possible. No small thing, right? In 2021, we’re focused on making YNAB effortless for new budgeters from their very first experience, and also helping all users see YNAB fit their needs—functional, social, and emotional—as they resolve financial struggles.

Looking inward, you’ll also help us evolve our systems and processes to deliver top-notch, dare we say life-changing, experiences to our users. We’ve been growing. A lot. We’ve worked hard to create teams that are autonomous and outcome-focused, but we’ll never be ones to rest on our laurels. We expect you to speak up when you see an opportunity to improve our organization and processes, and to embrace change as we continue to grow.

As we mentioned, you’d be the very first data professional we hire, and we want to be totally open about where we’re at and how we hope you can help us:

Data engineering: We have a lot of different data pipelines but we find that some questions are really difficult to answer when combining data from multiple sources (think Amplitude – AppStore Connect and a spreadsheet). We’d like you to help us streamline these resources into something unified and mature that the product team could access and use to help guide our research and decision-making. 

Quantitative research: Sometimes, we look at our data and we’re not quite sure how much we trust the numbers on the screen. We’d love to have someone with the expertise to help us understand if what we’re looking at makes sense or not. We’d like you to help us wrangle that data, then model, visualise and communicate it across various teams.

Ownership and governance: We’d like to have someone (you!) own our metadata taxonomy and naming conventions. You would also be responsible for defining and owning the long term strategy for data ingestion and analytics instrumentation in collaboration with our engineering team.

Communication: Our product team is eager to become more comfortable with using quantitative data in their research and decision making processes, so ideally we’re looking for someone who loves to share their knowledge and passion with others.

When you reflect back on your first three months you might remember how you: 

  • Settled in with your team and got to know the product managers, designers, and developers you interact with on a daily basis. 
  • Helped a team member with a tricky question around subscriber numbers not matching between the App Store and our Amplitude events.
  • Helped to set up a simple dashboard to show the results of an A/B test that one of the product teams is undertaking.
  • Discovered that the way we were tracking and interpreting a key metric was—to put it bluntly—wrong! And you’ve tactfully explained that to the team. They thanked you profusely for sharing that knowledge.

You’re Our Ideal Candidate If:

  • You’re fluent in qualitative data collection and analysis. You’ll synthesize and make sense of ALL THE DATA and information about our products, for yourself and to help others across the organization make better decisions.
  • You’re skilled at communicating, explaining, persuading, exploring and otherwise getting all the things done in asynchronous formats. Yes, we like talking to each other in real time, but as a remote team, much of our collaboration is asynchronous and written.
  • You’re intensely curious. Period.
  • You’re a collaborative team player, but also comfortable working independently with lots of autonomy.
  • You love to share your knowledge and expertise with your coworkers.
  • You are a life-long learner, continuously seeking to improve your craft.
  • “Bonus points” awarded if you already use and love YNAB! 

How to Apply

  • Apply below by August 8th, 2021 @ 11:59PM PST. Firm. It’s a real deadline. The kind you love.
  • Attach a PDF of your cover letter. In your cover letter:
    • Introduce yourself and explain why this position is of interest to you, and why you would be a great fit. Please limit this section of the cover letter to 1.5 pages at most.
    • Include the word “correlate” somewhere in your cover letter. 
    • On a separate page of your cover letter, answer the following questions (with each response being about a paragraph in length):
      • What attracted you to this position? (This is not about what attracted you to the software.)
      • What criteria do you look for when searching for your next company or position?
      • What are your favorite and least favorite parts of your current, or most recent, job?
      • Tell us about a time when you had to learn something new to excel at your job.
      • Tell us about a time when you helped someone else make sense of an insight from data.
      • Finally, what algorithm would you choose to help solve the following business question: “In a list of user bank transactions (date, merchant, amount), which merchants frequently appear together on the same day?” Please keep this to one paragraph—we’re not looking for a thesis!
  • If you have a prepared resume, attach it in PDF form. If you don’t have a resume because you aren’t even sure you’re looking to change jobs, that’s fine! An informal list of your work and education history is all we’re looking for.
  • Please send all attachments as PDFs. (We know, we know, that was the third time we said PDF. But it really does make our lives so much easier!)
  • Though we know it is customary in some countries, we’d prefer if you didn’t share a headshot in your application materials. Thank you!

We’re excited to hear from you!

P.S. We’ll send you a confirmation email once you apply. Please add that email to your safe sender list, to ensure that future emails come through. (If you don’t receive it, please check your Promotions inbox, junk folder, or any filters you may have set up.)

P.P.S. If you’re not interested in or available for this position, but know someone who is, we would really appreciate it if you passed this along!

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