Senior software engineering manager Tamar Weseley joined Addepar more than four years ago after graduating from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. At Addepar, Tamar leads multiple product engineering teams guiding the development of the company’s core data aggregation, analytics and reporting platform, which has grown to serve more than 700 of the world’s leading financial services providers with over $3.5 trillion of client assets on its platform. She brings impactful solutions to technical and product challenges that unlock the possibility of informed, data-driven investing and advice, while also mentoring the next generation of software engineers in the fast-growing fintech space.
What is your role at Addepar?
I lead four engineering teams focused on developing the functionality and features on the Addepar platform for advisors to leverage to serve their clients. We make sure data on the platform is accurate, that its workflows are intuitive and that it offers ample flexibility to support each advisor’s unique needs.
I ensure my teams operate efficiently and guide the prioritization of product development to align our outputs to Addepar’s overall business goals and strategy. I collaborate cross-functionally with our product managers and product designers to keep a pulse on what my teams should be working on in the backend of the platform to have the most impact and meet key product launch dates.
In my role, I’m also able to mentor and support the career growth of the engineers on the teams I manage, which has been a really rewarding facet of my job.
What brought you to Addepar and what has kept you there over the past four years?
During my time interning at other companies prior to graduation, I often felt most fulfilled when my work on the backend of a product or platform had a big impact on the business. I ultimately decided to join Addepar post-grad as a backend engineer for the opportunity to build robust, flexible and high-quality software, with the ability to handle the complexity and scale required to manage and advise on some of the largest pools of capital in the world. Advisors use the platform daily in their jobs, so I’m able to see the direct impact of my teams’ work, which is incredibly motivating and exciting.
Tell us about your career journey at Addepar from a backend engineer to a senior software engineering manager.
I started out at Addepar working on the backend of our product, and during my first year at the company, I honed my skills as a software engineer and became deeply familiar with the platform from a technical point of view. By year two, I was pretty involved in project management and answering a multitude of product-related questions from teammates. I also started leading our engineering internship program, which I’m still involved in today, and running company-wide Hackathons. Eventually, I became a manager, which is a path I’d always been interested in.
As a manager, I’ve been able to combine my deep knowledge of the product with my technical expertise to harness a more holistic and business-outcome-oriented view to lead my teams. This perspective helps me identify where we can make improvements to the product and how to prioritize developing new features so that our work can have the largest impact.
Describe a project you’re particularly proud of.
About a year ago, I identified that a part of our core application wasn’t as efficient as it could be. Our application would automatically recompute calculations after each change, rather than update once a user had confirmed they were done making changes. It works well when you’re handling small data sets because you get automatic feedback without having to initiate a confirmation, but when you're working on massive data sets, it can take a long time to load, and can be more costly.
I wrote a brief outlining my recommendations for how to change our computational paradigm from a reactive model to one that needs to be initiated to recompute, as well as the benefits we’d see from it. My proposal was approved and the new computational paradigm has started to be put into effect! I am proud of this project because I combined my backend product knowledge with my deep understanding of the user experience to make improvements that provided a solution to best serve my colleagues, and ultimately, Addepar’s clients.
How would you characterize Addepar’s culture on the engineering team?
Our culture is very focused on building together toward Addepar’s vision of maximizing the positive impact of the world’s capital. It’s a collaborative, mentorship-driven environment where your colleagues at every level will take the time to answer a question, teach you a new skill or help you solve a hard problem. Ultimately, we’re all working towards a common goal and want to succeed together; that’s why “letting the best ideas win” is a principle that we’ve built the team upon. By encouraging idea sharing, we create a culture that never settles for the status quo and is always looking to improve.
What do you look for when hiring an engineer to join your team?
When I’m interviewing an engineer, I don’t just look at their technical skill level today, I focus on their growth potential and ability for long-term success at Addepar. To assess this potential, I try to identify if each candidate possesses a problem-solving mindset, strong communication skills and teachability. For example, a candidate may not get as far along in a problem during the technical interview as we might expect at a certain title or experience level, but if they demonstrate a good problem-solving thought process and an openness to collaboration, then I see that they’re willing to grow and learn. That’s the kind of engineer I want on my team.