You may not be aware of it just yet, but Netflix has a development blog that's frequently updated and surprisingly fun to read. And after having spent a few hours going through their content, I can safely say that I recommend every developer out there check it out, even if you have no interest in working for Netflix.
It isn't your typical development blog however, in the sense that it doesn't really have 'how to' or 'best practice' guides. It's actually surprisingly complex and catered more towards developers who are in the field of large-scale content streaming. And none of the articles tell you how to do something. They more so explain how Netflix approaches these things. As an example, a few of the article titles are as follows:
Data Mesh - A Data Movement and Processing Platform @ Netflix
How Netflix Content Engineering makes a federated graph searchable
Rapid Event Notification System at Netflix
And while none of that might be related to your day to day work as a developer, it's still a pretty fascinating read overall. You get an insight into how one of the largest tech companies on Earth operates and how it handles challenges running at a scale that only a handful of websites will ever know.
And if you think that it's far too complex and beyond your understanding, I'm there with you. Even after having spent over 15 years working as a professional programmer much of this content is brand new to me. But that's what makes this blog so different from alot of the other tech blogs online. It's not afraid to dive deep into complexity, even at the cost of understanding.
As an example, I was recently reading their article on how they handle out of memory kill scenarios using various machine learning models. And while I don't personally have that particular issue in my applications, it is a problem that I can relate to on some level. Because regardless of the size of the company, resource allocation and performance are global issue that face everyone.
And as a company that streams billions of hours of content per month on thousands of different devices on hundreds of different connection speeds, no one does performance better.
It's fascinating if nothing else. Mainly because you never really think about just how the hardware is processing data streams and what happens when it can't keep up.
Another article that's worth checking out is related to Netflix's UI deployment process. And it isn't so much interesting because it reveals some kind of programming secret, not at all. It's more interesting because it showcases that developers at Netflix use the same technologies that you and I use on a daily basis, again, just on a different scale.
They use Jenkins, they use Jira and they send notifications to Slack, just like the rest of us do. And they do it to deploy UI updates to hundreds of different types of devices in a pretty seamless fashion.
They also have a number of articles that aren't related to development but more so about the company culture itself and their various processes and workflows.
One of the more standout articles to me was their breakdown of backend engineering hiring at Netflix, which goes over the overall process and expectations for any developers out there looking to land a job with the company. It was very insightful and reading that Netflix tends to avoid the puzzle-style questions plaguing the industry currently was refreshing.
And there's plenty more for you to check out. Everything from interviews with data engineers to day in the life of articles. It has easily become of my favorite blogs during the past few weeks and it is an easy recommend on my part.
Walter Guevara is a software engineer, startup founder and currently teaches programming for a coding bootcamp. He is currently building things that don't yet exist.
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