Working at Synthace | Glassdoor.co.uk

Synthace Overview

London, England
51 to 200 employees
2011
Company - Private
Biotech & Pharmaceuticals
Unknown / Non-Applicable
Named as a "Technology Pioneer" by the World Economic Forum, Synthace's goal is to raise universal bioscience productivity, enabling people to better engineer biology for health, food, energy and ... Read more

Synthace – Why Work With Us?


We're building a visual IDE to enable scientists to design repeatable, efficient, automated workflows... 

Antha is our groundbreaking cloud based platform that has the potential to revolutionise biological research.

It allows processes that were previously highly manual and time consuming to be automated and linked into executable workflows that are reliable, shareable and scalable.

We're effectively building a visual IDE that interacts with an automation hub to simplify interactions with existing robotic lab equipment and improve visualisation of data that comes from complex multi-factorial experiments.

All of this drives vast improvements in the speed, cost and reliability of developing biotechnology, linking lab equipment, protocols and processes, thereby allowing vast and speedy development, enhancing productivity for any bioscience.

 

Culture

We have a very high technical bar. We have inspiring, amazing people working here, and we share knowledge with each other. all. the. time!

We're bringing together a team of highly skilled and collaborative engineers and scientists from leading tech companies and start-ups (Facebook, Deepmind, etc. and people who have authored cool stuff like RabbitMQ!). We're moving out of our start-up phase and addressing the last remaining areas of tech-debt (fun challenges if you're into that sort of thing), and moving towards an architecture based around high performance microservices using Go, Kubernetes and Google Cloud Platform.

We're a friendly, supportive and inclusive bunch. We have regular company lunches, games nights and other events. We hold weekly lunch and learn sessions to help those of us without PhDs in various scientific subjects to understand more about the world of biology, to help us see how our work will directly impact the researchers who use it.

It may sound cheesy to some, but we are all very much bought into our mission; creating a platform that helps scientists to speed up their research into amazing things like curing Cancer faster, researching drought-resistant crops to reduce hunger - changing the world for the better!


Our Tech Stack

  • Back End: Microservices, Kubernetes Federation, Go, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, Docker, Google Data Store & Ansible
  • Front End: Typescript, React.js, Node.js, Postgres, GraphQL
  • Drivers & Lab Automation: .Net Core, C#, ASP.Net, APIs (high level drivers, embedded systems / hardware experience also useful)
  • Bioinformatics: Python, Go, Java, C, C++, BLAST, R, PANDAS/NumPy/SciPy, SAS/JMP


Our Engineering Interviewing Process

We use a simple 4 stage process:-

  1. Initial 30 minute Phone Screen with our internal recruitment team. We'll ask a couple of technical questions, but the main purpose of this call is to understand more about your interests and strengths, and to share more information about Synthace. It's a two way conversation to discover if we're right for you.

  2. Online Skills Test. We know there are split opinions about coding tests, but we have a really high technical bar and this is one way of ensuring everyone has the same level of core skills.

  3. Technical Video Interview. This is a 45 minute session, during which you'll talk through and solve a coding problem with one of our engineering team. It also gives you a chance to discuss the challenges they're working on, and where you could potentially have the most impact.

  4. On-site Assessment. This involves 4 back to back 45 minute interviews and a 30 minute tour of our lab. There are 2 coding interviews and 1 architecture interview - all using whiteboards - as well as a behavioural interview. You'll get to check out the office, meet a cross section of the team(s) you'd be working with, and see how your work would directly impact the Lab team.

Your experience is important to us, and we try to give feedback quickly at each stage, including making offer decisions within 48 hours of the final interview in most cases.

If you have any questions at any point in the process, please reach out to the recruitment team.

Come help us on our mission to automate biological research!

The potential for biological engineering to create new medicines and sustainable technologies is revolutionary, but today, working with biology takes too long, costs too much, and fails too often. Named a 2018 Cool Vendor in Life Sciences by Gartner, Synthace is re-imagining how we work with biology by developing Antha, which is already shifting how scientists work in major pharmaceutical, agricultural, and chemical production companies.

Join an interdisciplinary team of biologists, computer scientists, biochemical engineers, and statisticians as we work together to expand the boundaries of science and technology.


Check out our latest openings and start your journey today...

>>https://synthace.com/careers-at-synthace

Perks & Benefits

  • Work with amazing, friendly, supportive people
  • 10% pension contribution
  • Equity/share options
  • We promote internally & encourage ongoing development
  • Lunch & learn sessions, journal club, open lab training, and more!
  • Games nights, quizzes & karaoke nights in the office
  • Games room
  • An amazing office at White City Place: https://whitecityplace.com/
  • Private health, income protection, life insurance
  • Monthly company lunches & breakfasts
  • Endless snacks, fruit, breakfast cereals, drinks and refreshments
  • Flexible working
  • Your choice of hardware
  • 25 days annual leave plus public holidays

Synthetic biology is set to drive one of the greatest revolutions in history. The potential benefits, ranging from improved human health, cleaner sources of chemicals and fuels, and the sequestering of pollution, are tremendous. However, there are also significant uncertainties, risks and challenges still to be overcome before that promise can be delivered upon.


Responsible Innovation

At Synthace we have a strong focus on Responsible Innovation (RI). In particular, we seek to assess, prioritise and effectively manage the social, ethical and environmental impacts of our technologies, the risks and opportunities, both now and in the future.

Specifically, we use a framework that addresses the following:

  • What is novel in what we are doing?
  • What is the likely impact and who may it affect?
  • What unusual risks are there and what steps are we taking to address them?
  • What does an early warning look like?
  • Who should we be in discussion with to broaden our perspective?

These questions are often highly challenging to answer fully when technology potentially has far-reaching impact, but we firmly believe that by thinking things through as thoroughly as possible, we can ensure that we develop our technology with proper consideration for the effects it may have on society and the environment.


Ethical Standards

As part of our commitment to innovate responsibly, Synthace scientists all adhere to the code of ethics for researchers drawn up by the UK government’s chief scientific advisor, Sir David King.

The seven principles of the code are:

Rigour, honesty and integrity
1. Act with skill and care in all scientific work. Maintain up to date skills and assist their development in others.
2. Take steps to prevent corrupt practices and professional misconduct. Declare conflicts of interest.
3. Be alert to the ways in which research derives from and affects the work of other people, and respect the rights and reputations of others.

Respect for life, the law and the public good
4. Ensure that your work is lawful and justified.
5. Minimise and justify any adverse effect your work may have on people, animals and the natural environment.

Responsible communication: listening and informing
6. Seek to discuss the issues that science raises for society. Listen to the aspirations and concerns of others.
7. Do not knowingly mislead, or allow others to be misled, about scientific matters. Present and review scientific evidence, theory or interpretation honestly and accurately.

Synthace Reviews

  • "Energetic, growing, diverse."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in London, England
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in London, England
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Synthace full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Potentially very impactful laboratory software - automation of an industry.

    Novel software, novel problems. The depth and interest of the work really stands out from crowd of web app companies.

    High degree of autonomy on how problems are solved, feels like employee feedback is seriously listened to. There's scope for everyone to make an impact.

    Inclusive - everyone including the CEO is approachable. Many team meetings are open. Always easy to get a coffee in the kitchen and chat with whoever is there.

    Mix of biologists and software engineers, and they do talk to each other - a lot! Serious efforts to spread knowledge - biologists included in software design and review, engineers doing lab training.

    Good work/life balance. Generally an ethical company planning for long term growth rather than quick burnout.

    Nice office environment - plants, snacks, coffee, open areas for relaxing away from the desk. Regular social events and meals.

    Cons

    Still a small company, although making great strides.

    Advice to Management

    Keep going, stay focussed. Keep the 'one team' mentality as the company grows.

See All 9 Reviews

Synthace Photos

Synthace photo of: Team whiteboarding
Synthace photo of: Lunch & Learn
Synthace photo of: Break out space
Synthace photo of: Our new office in White City
Synthace photo of: Reception & Wet-Lab
Synthace photo of: Sofa space
See All PhotosSee All

Synthace Interviews

Experience

Experience
62%
0%
38%

Getting an Interview

Getting an Interview
61%
15%
8%
8
8

Difficulty

3.2
Average

Difficulty

Hard
Average
Easy
  1.  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee in London, England
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 2 weeks. I interviewed at Synthace (London, England) in May 2019.

    Interview

    Recruiter phone screen, live coding phone screen, online timed programming test (3 questions over roughly 3 hours), afternoon on site (5 hours), including 2x programming/altos interviews, 1x system design/architecture interview, 1x interpersonal skills/engineering approach interview, and a tour of the labs.

    Interview Questions

    • Design a system to download all pages from a 1M+ page website, given a number of laptops.   Answer Question
See All 13 Interviews

Synthace Awards & Accolades

  • Technology Pioneer, World Economic Forum, 2016
  • 100 digital pioneers in Europe, FT, Google, 2018
  • Cool Vendor in Life Sciences, Gartner, 2018
See More

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