Leveraging the Social Graph to Find Jobs

"Within hours, within days, we were addressing our business problem, not weeks."

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A team of developers at CareerBuilder decided it was time to expand the company’s reach beyond its traditional audience to leverage the social graph of Facebook. They conceived an app called NetworkEffect, which leverages your Facebook Friends’ contacts to help you find your next dream job. CareerBuilder CTO Eric Presley, the lead developer on the project, explained that getting this app to production in one of CareerBuilder’s many data centers would be easier said than done.

“I had seen us experiment in the past and always felt that experimenting on our internal platform was very slow – very slow to get the code released, very slow to react,” said Presley. “The whole ecosystem around social evolves so fast and so we wanted to be on a cloud provider that would allow us to evolve quickly and not have to think so much about operations, but think about the domain problem that we’re trying to solve.”

Addressing the Business Problem, Not the Server Problem

When Presley first started with his team building NetworkEffect, another developer at CareerBuilder started developing a similar project. The other project, however, would be hosted on CareerBuilder’s own servers. According to Presley, this has made all the difference.

“We have been so much more efficient by leveraging Heroku and providers. He’s having to do all this configuration. He has to get our Ops guys to allocate resources, get him configured in the firewall, add another machine. We’ve been able to be almost 100% focused on our business problem. He has had to spend a lot of time in the admin space,” said Presley. “Within hours, within days, we were addressing our business problem, not weeks.”

Giving up Hassle, Hanging on to Control

Presley said that he was concerned at first about moving to a cloud provider. He feared that the move would mean giving up control, but soon after the switch he was convinced it was the right move.

“I hadn’t used a provider like this before, so I thought ‘Will I have access to the console?’ Of course I will, there it is! And then I thought, ‘Can I get SQL access into my database through a Postgres client?’ Sure I can, there’s the URL,” explained Presley. “I used to think that I was going to really give up a lot by going with a cloud provider in terms of those kinds of access things, but we haven’t.”

Let Developers Be Developers

“Developers think they can do anything. We think we can system admin, we can do DBA, we can do it all, but we don’t want to do any of it. We just want to write the code. That’s what’s great,” said Presley. “Why do you want to be in the system administration business? Why not leverage a cloud provider that is providing you an even higher layer of abstraction than you having to do everything yourself? Why do you want to spend your time not focused on solving your business problem?”