Research & Development
Our clients depend on us to anticipate new digital threats and to have a solution ready before they experience it themselves, which is why a large portion of our budget is dedicated to research and development. Our solutions are industry-leading because we’ve lived through the same frustrations and problems as our clients. We understand their pain points so we invest in ideas we believe will make life better for them.
Our R&D work includes experimenting with innovative software, practical hardware, cybersecurity, 3D printing, virtual reality, and drone building. We work with people of all backgrounds and have fun doing it. We take our ideas from napkin drawing, to prototype, to functioning model at speeds that were previously unheard of in our industry. We keep our eyes on the future so our clients can focus on the present.
Our R&D team members appreciate the opportunity to get paid to be creative and conjure up innovative ideas. They get to experiment, collaborate, think big thoughts and then turn them into tangible solutions. An R&D mindset is rooted in our culture, so team members from every part of the company are encouraged to come up with novel solutions and try them out. We have a great feedback loop with our clients so we get to iterate with them along the way, working together to build a solution that's “just right.”
Team Member Spotlight
What did you work on yesterday?
Yesterday I did a lot of talking shop with team members. We discussed upcoming plans for different things we’re implementing. Lots of bouncing ideas off each other. I also did a lot of documentation and architecture-based stuff. We run a lot of demos and show off projects in their infancy. It’s important for us to get input from other teammates who better understand the operational viability of what we’re creating, so we collaborate closely with other teams. I also attached different sensors to a Raspberry Pi and tried to hack into it. Experimented with a Google Pixel phone to see all the data we could get from it and how we could manipulate that data. We regularly mess with off the shelf products to see if we can make them do what we want them to do and yesterday was no different!
How would you describe what you do at Ridgeline?
I’m a full stack developer but that doesn’t fully encompass my role as I wear so many different hats. I’d say I’m more a jack of all trades who’s trying to become a renaissance man with expertise in everything. At Ridgeline, you don’t have to just play in your one little play area. I’ve gotten to play with operating systems, raw Wi-Fi packets, and networks. You’d think you’d get mental whiplash but that’s not the case. The more I’m exposed to, the more interested I am as the problem set is so intriguing.
Why did you come to Ridgeline?
I was fresh out of college and looking for a place where I could kick off my career. I didn’t want to be constrained and specialize in only one area, as would be the case at a lot of companies. I heard about Ridgeline through my brother and was really intrigued. When I came in to interview I realized it was so much more than I anticipated (and also realized I’d be really disappointed if I didn’t get the job). It became clear then and has remained clear that there are so many opportunities to do really interesting things at Ridgeline. I definitely won’t be constrained here!
Why have you stayed at Ridgeline?
The opportunity for growth is exponential. In addition, the services we provide for our clients are really meaningful. My work has genuine impact. I don’t think I realized that when I was hired but I do now. So basically, I stay for partly selfish and partly selfless reasons.
What advice would you give to someone considering working at Ridgeline? Why should they do it? Why should they not?
If you come to Ridgeline, you will be challenged to come up with some interesting solutions. If you’re able to do that you will see genuine reward. New thinking and innovation is applauded more than I’ve seen in other companies. However, if you’re someone who doesn’t enjoy change, this is not the place for you.
What kind of things do you enjoy outside of work?
I love to climb. I go to a climbing gym in Crystal City and go there all the time. I enjoy slack-lining. There are a lot of parks in DC that are awesome for it. I love biking around DC. I definitely have time to do these while working at Ridgeline, it’s a really flexible environment. I often split up my work day so I can go to the climbing gym when there’s not a rush – I’ll work for six hours in the office, go to the climbing gym, and then finish my work day from home. That’s been great.
Life at Ridgeline
Our people matter. We know everyone says that - here’s how we prove it:
- Our 401k plan includes an automatic 3% employer contribution along with a 7% employer match, totaling a 10% company contribution.
- We have a self-managed PTO plan. As a company, we want to support a holistic and engaged lifestyle; we want you to enjoy life outside of work - and we want you to take care of yourself and the people you love when you need to. Burnout is bad for both you and us.
- We have flexible work schedules. You’ll be able to work with your supervisor to figure out what’s best for your situation (we all know the chaos of living in the DMV).
- We’ll give you $2500 each year to spend on a hobby or education. We want our people to be bursting with creativity and innovative ideas. That doesn’t happen in a vacuum! We want to support interesting endeavors and believe it pays off for us in the long run.
- We’ll give you $2000 each year to buy clothes. When you look good, you feel good. And we think it’s just kind of fun!
- We have a sweet office space that’s right on the Silver Line, with nitro cold brew on tap, sparkling water, legit snacks, and oodles of natural light. We like being here!
- We are well resourced and will make sure you have what you need to do your job well. Get the technology and training you need – we’re a learning organization.
- We’ll treat you like an adult and give you a voice. We want you to build this company with us. We’re figuring it out together and creating something special. We want you to speak up and help make this the kind of company you want to work for. We like it here and like each other.