Working at Roblox: Meet Nathan Dean

Nathan is the lead software engineer of Roblox’s social team. Before joining the team, Nathan was a long-term user of the platform, which gave him an insightful perspective and made his daily work full of passion and vitality.

Describe your team’s role in Roblox.

The social team focuses on easily establishing new friendships and sharing experiences with people on Roblox. We handle a wide range of functions, including friends, groups, chat (including the upcoming voice chat) and real-time online status. The ability to socialize and interact with others is an important feature of our platform. It pushes developers and creators to create engaging experiences with unlimited replayability.

What is one of the most interesting aspects of working in Roblox’s team?

Roblox’s continued growth over the past few years means that we have to deal with the massive increase in traffic on the web backend every year. Figuring out how to improve our system through query optimization, caching, and rebuilding of existing code is a great hands-on way to understand scalability.

When I first joined Roblox as an intern, my only previous experience was to build small personal websites for a few people. My first project involved building a full-stack feature, where I had to create database tables, implement the front end, and write code for the back end. Even as an intern, I am building important things, and I get a lot of help every step of the way.

I thank other more senior engineers for their time and energy to help me learn and improve my technical skills. Roblox empowers interns and treats them as fully capable engineers, which greatly helps build trust and self-confidence.

How is your experience in the Roblox team different from other roles you have held?

An important aspect of Roblox is that our employees are passionate about the platform. Many of our employees, including myself, were long-term users before joining the company. Others applied for jobs after their children showed Roblox to them. As a user (or a user’s parent) having direct hands-on experience with the product can help us understand how to improve the product for everyone.

Personally, I chatted with another Roblox employee on the Internet a few days ago, and after exchanging usernames, we discovered that we were once the best friends on Roblox nine years ago! Over time, we lost contact with each other, but when he joined the company, our roads collided again. Roblox’s ability to bring people from all over the world (otherwise they would never meet) together always surprises me.

What is one thing you like about Roblox culture?

I like Roblox’s collaborative energy. Teams across the organization often get together to solve problems to reduce latency or make the user experience more intuitive. I also really appreciate the company’s tendency to “focus on the long-term” when making decisions. Our leadership team always chooses to make long-term decisions that benefit our community.

Interested in joining Roblox’s social team?We are always looking for new talents, so come and see us See if there is a suitable role for you.