Principal Engineer at Ascent

| Chicago
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Who We Are

Ascent is a Chicago-based startup that closed a $19.3M Series B funding round in Fall 2019. Founded only four years ago, the team has since grown to almost 50 full time employees, led and supported by an executive team and board of directors with extensive experience in technology, regulatory compliance, sales and business operations. Ascent serves global financial institutions such as ING and CommBank, and is also working directly with regulators around the world to continually improve and advance our product.

We’re not an e-commerce or traditional SaaS company.  Fundamentally, we’re building data pipelines to turn public regulatory information into a relevant, streamlined, comprehensive to-do list for compliance officers.  We deliver a web app (think Trello/Jira but pre-filled with your tasks) and an API, and much of our customers’ excitement is centered on the data we’re providing and the insights we pull from that data.  We call it Knowledge-as-a-Service, and to create this type of product requires some very interesting and impactful technical projects.

The scalability of our data is an important aspect of our customers’ excitement, which we accomplish through an internal app we call Sage.  It’s a collaboration platform for our domain experts and data scientists, and it’s one of the most innovative and powerful tools we’ve built.  It facilitates human-in-the-loop AI, collects training data, and allows us to iteratively automate our data pipelines — all while those pipelines are actually being used in production.

Once we’ve extracted everything we need from the public data set, we store the newly minted proprietary data set in a graph database.  It’s a great fit for the type of data we’re working with (very hierarchical, but with many interconnections) and we’re only just beginning to explore the full power and potential of this representation of our data.  For example, soon we’ll be able to see how laws are turned into regulations and subsequently enforced, allowing us to help regulators and legislators find the most effective ways to structure their work.

Another unique aspect of Ascent is that we’ve assembled an impressive team of devs, data scientists, and domain-expert lawyers.  We’re solving really hard problems, and no single discipline holds the key; we’re only as successful as our ability to find ways to communicate and collaborate effectively.  We prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion and believe strongly that a team with various backgrounds and perspectives produces better results.

Who You Are

We’ve had some exciting success but by no means do we have all the answers!  There are still a ton of challenges ahead of us as we look to continue automating, expanding our data sets, and booking customers at a global scale.  The only way we’re going to achieve our ambitions and our potential is with the help of some really thoughtful technical leaders. Finding a compelling Principal Engineers is a key strategic goal this quarter.

As a Series-B company, we need to start looking a little further into the future so we can make longer-term investments. We need to explore new ideas, new approaches, new arenas.  We also need to make strides in articulating our vision so as the team grows everyone can still see how their piece fits into the bigger puzzle and we can all move together in the same direction.  That’s where you come in!

As a Principal Engineer at Ascent you’ll be working directly for the CTO. 

You’ll undertake projects such as:

  • Collaborating with the CTO to set and champion the technical vision of the company.
  • Owning various strategic initiatives.
  • Guiding team-level architectural decisions and cross-pollinating ideas across teams.
  • Cultivating new ideas into roadmap-worthy projects through proofs of concept, reference implementations, and research.
  • Mentoring and coaching devs.
  • Creating, communicating, defending, and evolving a strong perspective on our conceptual models / data model.

This is a high-level individual contributor role providing substantial technical leadership at the company level, solving novel technical challenges with significant creative flexibility.


We expect successful candidates:

  • Have 10+ years development experience
  • Routinely work with many of our current technologies (ruby, react, postgres, elasticsearch, neo4j, heroku) or similar
  • Are comfortable architecting large systems
  • Experienced a significant expansion of a company’s technical team
  • Live in or are willing to move to the Chicago area


Ascent employees enjoy many benefits and perks, including:

  • Competitive compensation
  • Medical, dental, and vision insurance; premiums paid 95% for the individual
  • Medical premiums paid 50% for covered dependents
  • Life insurance
  • 401K
  • Commuter benefits
  • Unlimited PTO
  • Professional development stipend
  • The opportunity to work with smart people on challenging problems!
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Technology we use

  • Engineering
    • JavascriptLanguages
    • PythonLanguages
    • RubyLanguages
    • jQueryLibraries
    • ReactLibraries
    • Twitter BootstrapLibraries
    • DjangoFrameworks
    • FlaskFrameworks
    • Ruby on RailsFrameworks
    • MongoDBDatabases
    • Neo4jDatabases
    • PostgreSQLDatabases
    • RedisDatabases


Our neighborhood is your neighborhood! Ascent has embraced a remote culture with a collective commitment to virtual teamwork and open communication.

An Insider's view of Ascent

What are some social events your company does?

Our leadership really believes in building and strengthening our community here at Ascent. We have regular, non-work-related opportunities to connect virtually, including social breakout sessions, lunch & learns (including cooking demos and magic shows!) and games.


Regulatory Intelligence Analyst

What's the biggest problem your team is solving?

My team coordinates work that needs to be done by both people and machines. We do this by creating delightful interfaces/experiences for our users and by augmenting our workflows with machine learning to produce work that’s intuitive and efficient. This means my team gets to play with fun tech from the frontend all the way to the back.


Senior Software Engineer

What makes someone successful on your team?

Prior to joining Ascent, I used to believe "brilliance is evenly distributed but opportunity is not". Here at Ascent, irrespective of your gender, race or color, the opportunity to impact and change the world around you is evenly distributed and all anyone would require to succeed is the passion and desire to solve problems.


Software Developer

How do your team's ideas influence the company's direction?

Our job as a leadership team is to provide context, not solutions. The people working directly on a project are in the best position to make decisions, so we hire smart people and then trust them. We're here to support our teams and to make sure efforts are aligned across the company.



What are Ascent Perks + Benefits

Ascent Benefits Overview

Everyone brings a unique set of skills and talents, and we want to take advantage of everything you have to offer. We also want to make sure you get as much out of this opportunity as you put in, and we’ll give you the support you need for Ascent to be a transformational period of growth in your career.

Our team enjoys a number of benefits and perks, including:

- Competitive compensation
- Medical, dental, vision, mental health insurance – with individual premiums 95% paid by Ascent
- 401K offered
- Unlimited PTO and Bank Holidays
- Flexible work schedule
- Charitable Matching Gift Program
- Professional development stipend
- Commuter benefits
- The opportunity to work with smart people on challenging problems!

Friends outside of work
Eat lunch together
Daily stand up
Open door policy
Team owned deliverables
Team based strategic planning
Group brainstorming sessions
Pair programming
Open office floor plan
Highly diverse management team
Unconscious bias training
Mean gender pay gap below 10%
Health Insurance & Wellness Benefits
Flexible Spending Account (FSA)
Disability Insurance
Employer-paid Long Term Disability provided, covering up to 60% of annual salary. Voluntary Short Term Disability is also available.
Dental Benefits
Vision Benefits
Health Insurance Benefits
Multiple plan options with Blue Cross Blue Shield, as well an HSA (Heath Savings Account).
Life Insurance
Wellness Programs
Onsite Gym
There is an on-site gym in Prudential Plaza which is free to employees.
Mental Health Benefits
Retirement & Stock Options Benefits
Company Equity
Match charitable contributions
Child Care & Parental Leave Benefits
Child Care Benefits
Ascent offers Dependent Care FSA
Generous Parental Leave
We provide up to 12 weeks of parental leave for the primary caretaker. Ascent also provides 3 weeks of leave for the secondary caretaker.
Flexible Work Schedule
Ascent offers a completely flexible scheduling and work from home policy.
Remote Work Program
Family Medical Leave
Return-to-work program post parental leave
Vacation & Time Off Benefits
Unlimited Vacation Policy
Generous PTO
Paid Holidays
Paid Sick Days
Perks & Discounts
Casual Dress
Commuter Benefits
Company Outings
Stocked Kitchen
Some Meals Provided
Happy Hours
Professional Development Benefits
Job Training & Conferences
Ascent offers a generous professional development stipend per year.
Lunch and learns
Ascent hosts bi-weekly lunch and learn meetings with internal and external speakers.
Promote from within
Continuing Education stipend

Additional Perks + Benefits

We want to create an environment where people can do their best work. That means supporting our employees in their careers, in their health, and in their lives. We're always looking for ways to concretely demonstrate these values. For example, we pay 95% of our employees' individual health premiums!

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