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So you want to work at Twitch? Meet the IVS Core team, with Song King!

Oct 25 2021 - By Angelo Paxinos, Song King

This is part of a series highlighting our Interactive Video Service (IVS) team, who pioneer low-latency live streaming solutions at Twitch and other companies. 

Learn more about how we’re changing the game by reading about how IVS works, and our Global Service Operations Center, who are the first responders to infrastructure failures world-wide.

The creator and viewer experience on Twitch is built around interactivity. Our low-latency streaming allows everyone to participate and create never-to-be-repeated movements, in nearly real-time. In fact, the experience is so quick and responsive that the Emmy-award winning TV show, Artificial, even lets viewers participate and change the story as it is happening. 

But Twitch isn’t the only company that benefits from our low-latency tech. Our Interactive Video Service (IVS) Core team takes our technology and makes it accessible for other companies. Chances are, you’ve already seen their handiwork in action. Whether you’re streaming video from your GoPro camera to your phone, or tuning into your class via Blackboard, it was the IVS Core team’s hard work that made that possible. Companies get all the benefits of a global, low-latency,  distribution service, while being able to focus on what they do best. But the IVS Core team doesn’t stop there. They use data to drive innovation, and build features companies will need–before they ever ask for it. 

So what is it like to work on this team? We spoke with Song King, a Software Developer on the IVS Core team, to find out what it is like to work on her team, how they juggle cross-team projects, and how her team promotes learning and development.

Angelo Paxinos: Before we get into the specifics of your team, can you share a bit about your background and how you got to Twitch?

Song King: Definitely! I studied software engineering at UC Berkeley because I loved playing video games growing up, specifically MMORPGS. Before starting at Twitch, I interned as a software engineer at Electronic Arts (EA), which was my first glimpse into the games industry. Afterwards, I ended up working at Amazon as a software development engineer. 

When I saw the opportunity to join Twitch, I knew I had to take it. One of the awesome things about working here is that you’re in the broader gaming world, but you don’t have to actually develop games. Turns out, I have more fun playing games than creating them! 

AP:  What does the IVS Core team do?

SK: We bridge the gap between Twitch’s Interactive Video Service (IVS) team and the Amazon Web Service (AWS) team, which gives companies scalable, and inexpensive cloud computing services. We’re responsible for many of the customer-facing aspects of IVS, including the developer console, Application Programming Interface (API) endpoints, Metrics Dashboards and billing. If you want to see our handiwork, go to the AWS console and start streaming in a few clicks! 

We’ve developed IVS into a complete live streaming solution that is easy for companies to set up and integrate into their websites and apps. Basically, it makes Twitch’s low-latency live streaming technology available to everyone. Companies can focus on what they do best, while getting a great tool that lets them easily connect with the viewers on their site. You can check out the companies we’ve partnered with and see how our streaming solutions fit their needs.

AP: How do you get all of this done?

SK: To get all of this done we partner with teams at both Twitch and Amazon, while also navigating their respective goals and deadlines. The secret to our team’s success is our ability to project manage effectively and to weave those different threads into a cohesive project. Internally, this leads to a smooth, collaborative project. Externally, it leads to great tools and interfaces for IVS customers.

AP: What is the IVS Core team’s main challenge? 

SK: Many of the projects we’re responsible for aren’t necessarily things that we directly own. We’re always coordinating and collaborating with teams at both Amazon and Twitch in order to solve problems and make sure users have a seamless experience. We might work on the “front” of things, but once we find a problem, we have to collaborate with the team that ultimately owns that feature. 

AP: Partnering with so many teams and tackling so many challenges must give your teammates a lot of opportunities to learn.  

SK: Yes, our team is in a very unique position to learn and grow. Completing projects with so many stakeholders, and at such a large scale, means that ambiguity is part of the process. But ambiguity isn’t something we worry about; quite the opposite. We see it as a chance for us to solve a new puzzle, and an opportunity to learn and develop new tools. 

Here is a great example: IVS was launched right as the global pandemic hit. And I think this was one of the best ways to underscore how we took an extremely ambiguous situation (all of our initial plans went right out the window), and ended up launching a brand new product without a hitch. That said, I do wish that we could have celebrated in the office! 

AP: What kind of candidates does the team look for? 

SK: First and foremost, we look for great problem solvers who are also eager to work with others to accomplish tasks. Yes, engineering experience directly related to video is important, but due to the highly collaborative nature of the team, strong soft skills are just as valuable.

AP: I can imagine that someone who is willing to get creative and try new solutions  would also be a great candidate.

SK: Exactly! Since we work with so many different teams, sometimes we have to create our own solutions, so we’re really supportive of “just trying things.” Failure isn’t something that is looked down upon on the team, it is something that we all can learn from, and creates opportunities for iteration. Building a culture where you can work without fear of failure leaves the door wide-open for everyone to contribute something new and unique to the team. Often these projects lead to career advancement and growth.

For example, a member of my team built a Command Line Interface (CLI) tool which helped automate complex or redundant tasks, alleviating the most tedious parts of our operational load. That passion project ended up getting adopted by the rest of the team, and eventually shared with the rest of the IVS organization. So this is a team where, if you want to develop the skills that will help you become a better engineer, collaborator, and project manager, you’ll be right at home.

Again, this is a highly collaborative team, and it is the perfect place for engineers to hone their project management and collaborative skills. You’re working with teams at Twitch and Amazon, and you’ll develop products that make a big impact on our community. So if these are things that interest you, or you just want to be on a team with a culture centered around learning, then check out our open roles!

This is part of a series highlighting our Interactive Video Service (IVS) team, who pioneer low-latency live streaming solutions at Twitch and other companies. 

Learn more about how we’re changing the game by reading about how IVS works, and our Global Service Operations Center, who are the first responders to infrastructure failures world-wide.

Want to Join Our Quest to empower live communities on the internet? Find out more about what it is like to work at Twitch on our Career Site,  LinkedIn, and Instagram, or check out our Job Openings and apply

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