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Staff Machine Learning Engineer



Software Engineering
Palo Alto, CA, USA
Posted on Tuesday, March 12, 2024

About Ladder

We saw a problem within the life insurance industry: getting covered took too long, involved too much paperwork, and required too many in-person meetings with sales agents. Having lost his father at a young age, our CEO, Jamie, was determined to make it easier for people to get the coverage they needed to provide for their families. So, we got to work. We developed a method of real-time underwriting and, in doing so, reduced the months-long process of applying for life insurance to minutes. Our digital experience is quick (instant decisions!), loved by users (check out our Trustpilot or Google reviews) and prolific ($74 billion+ in coverage provided).

About the role

As a Staff Machine Learning Engineer at Ladder, you're an integral part of our engineering team playing a critical role in designing, developing and deploying advanced machine learning models to transform the life insurance industry. This role demands a blend of technical mastery, leadership skills and a visionary approach to addressing complex, open-ended problems with robust, extensible systems. This is a remote role based in one of the following States Ladder currently hires in: AZ, CA, CO, CT, FL, GA, KS, MA, MD, MN, NC, NH, NJ, NV, NY, OH, OR, PA, TX, WI


  • Play a critical role in setting the direction and goals for one of our ML teams in terms of project impact, ML system design and ML excellence
  • Be a go-to person for the most complex production performance and evaluation issues requiring an in-depth knowledge of how the machine learning system interacts with systems around it
  • Lead and review technical designs for projects within your team, actively contributing to team-level strategies setting clear, achievable engineering goals.
  • Work with data scientists and engineers to build and maintain data pipelines and infrastructure
  • Collaborate with cross functional partners to understand their needs and develop machine learning solutions to meet those needs
  • Excel in mentoring engineers across the organization, including providing regular, constructive feedback to both peers and leadership
  • Stay up-to-date on the latest machine learning research and trends, utilize emerging technologies to address business issues through technical innovation


  • 6+ years experience in machine learning engineering, specifically building and launching production models
  • 5+ years of software development in one or more programming languages with basic data structures/algorithms knowledge
  • Experience demonstrating technical leadership with teams, owning projects, defining and setting technical direction for projects
  • Full-stack development with some exposure to front-end frameworks a plus
  • Experience in a regulated environment such as healthcare, finance, insurance or pharmaceuticals a big plus
  • Master's degree or PhD in Computer Science or related technical field a plus


It's great if you're familiar with these technologies but at Ladder we believe general technical proficiency is more important than knowledge of specific technologies.

  • ML: Python, BQML
  • Frontend: Clojurescript, React, GraphQL
  • Backend: Clojure, JVM
  • Infrastructure: Kafka, Docker, Kubernetes, Packer, Terraform, AWS
  • Data: BigQuery, Tableau, BEAM

Check out our Company Values to learn more about who we are. We are passionate about:

  • Bottom-up leadership: teams are most successful when everybody shares their ideas, comfortable that they'll be seriously considered. engineers can and should provide product & business insights.
  • Shipping fast without breaking things: we've invested heavily in engineering tooling that provides guardrails without getting in your way. We believe in shipping MVPs & iterating quickly rather than waiting for perfection to ship.
  • Investing in automation: automating repetitive tasks saves time and reduces errors. We're always on the lookout for manual workflows to automate away.
  • Continuous improvement: we learn from our past wins & losses by conducting blameless retros.

What We Offer

Whether you work in our beautiful office in Palo Alto or remotely, Ladder is highly collaborative and fun. To support you in your role, we offer fantastic perks and benefits that reflect our mission of care and support, including:

  • Excellent medical, dental, and vision coverage | We offer competitive healthcare, dental and vision plans for you and your family.
  • Flexible paid time off | Take the time that you need to rest and recharge, including our week-long winter holiday closure.
  • Stock options | We offer competitive stock option packages to participate in the success of building Ladder, including an extended option exercise window of 7 years after two years with Ladder.
  • A rewarding 401k match program | We'll match up to 4% of your contributions as you save for your retirement goals.
  • Ladder Fit Program | Your health matters. That’s why Ladder provides a monthly reimbursement for wellness-related expenses.
  • Commuter benefits | When you work from the office, you will receive pre-tax benefits for your commute and free parking.
  • A stocked, beautiful new office | Located in downtown Palo Alto, our office was specifically designed to accommodate all working styles. We've invested in technology to support our hybrid team, plus we provide office snacks and daily catered lunches so that team members can work well and have fun together.
  • Paid parental leave | We think it's crucial that new parents have time to adjust to their new lives without worrying about work. For birthing parents, they are eligible for 6-8 weeks post delivery recovery. Afterwards, all parents inclusive of birthing, adoption, or fostering are eligible for ten weeks of paid baby bonding with a gentle phase-back program, where parents can return to work on a reduced schedule for the first month at full pay.
  • Work-from-home flexibility and support | We recognize that everyone's home life is different and support remote and hybrid work. Upon joining, we provide a one-time remote office stipend for all team members and then a monthly stipend to cover WFH costs such as the internet.
  • Fun company-wide events | Whether we work locally or remotely, we genuinely enjoy spending time together. That’s why we plan fun virtual and in-person events to let loose and laugh.

This role is mapped to the job level of L6 and thus the base pay range targeted for this position is $173,000 - $221,000 per year. Base pay is determined by market location and may vary depending on job-related knowledge, skills, and experience. This role is eligible for equity and benefits as shared above.

Ladder is building a diverse team of talented and enthusiastic people. We are an equal opportunity workplace. At Ladder, differences are celebrated and supported to benefit our people, product, and community. Let us know why you're interested in this position and what unique contributions you can make to the Ladder team. We look forward to hearing from you.


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By clicking "Submit Application," you acknowledge that you have read and agree to the Ladder Job Applicant Privacy Policy and Notice at Collection.