Iain P. Watts

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Software engineer based in Seattle, specializing in distributed systems architecture, search, data pipelines, and machine learning. I'm currently a Senior Staff Engineer at Rover.com.

iain.watts@gmail.com

LinkedIn | GitHub

About Me

Welcome! I’m a software engineer living in Seattle, Washington, in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. I’m currently a Senior Staff Engineer at Rover.com, where I work on Rover’s overall software and data architecture.

For two years previously, I was the tech lead of Rover’s Marketplace engineering team. The Marketplace Team builds the systems that power Rover’s core pet services marketplace, using machine learning to help users searching on Rover find the perfect sitter or walker for their dog.

I have experience working across the web development stack, but my special area of focus is backend architecture and development for distributed systems, supporting search, data pipelines, and productionized machine learning models. At Rover, I’m fortunate to get to work with some of my favorite languages and open source technologies, including Python, Django, Elasticsearch, PostgreSQL, Kubernetes, and Kafka.

I view building software as fundamentally a social process as well as a technical one, and I strive to draw together the talents of my team members, acting as a facilitator and communicator as well as a technical leader. I’ve particularly enjoyed planning and coordinating complex cross-team projects, especially at the intersection of marketplace product requirements, data science, and infrastructure.

As a former professor, I have a lifelong commitment to mentorship and teaching. Guiding other engineers as they learn and grow helps me see familiar concepts from new perspectives, and has made me a better engineer and a better communicator. At Rover, I recently taught a 12 week class on database internals and the Django ORM, and “SQL 101” for nontechnical employees.

I grew up in Glasgow, Scotland, and studied physics and mathematics at the University of Cambridge. After a post-college stint as a software engineer at a tech startup, I got a PhD in the History of Science from Princeton University, and then taught history at a Liberal Arts College for a year before returning to the tech world. If you’re interested in my History of Science scholarship, you can read all about it here.

Outside work, I enjoy reading (especially history, science fiction, and Russian novels), cooking, classical music and opera, Texas Hold’em Poker, and those quintessentially Pacific Northwest activities, hiking and sailing.