Engineering · 8 min read

A journey into FullStory solutions engineering

Sabrina Li
Posted January 28, 2021
A journey into FullStory solutions engineering

Solutions Engineers at FullStory are a hybrid of the roles Solutions Architect, Product Influencer, and Developer Advocate. Our team consists of a group of software engineers who work on challenging proofs of concept, consult with customers on a variety of integrations that cater to their current ecosystem needs, and interface with a range of technical audiences including open source contributors to customer engineering teams.

Since we assembled the team in 2019, our work has centered around our mission: “Inspire the community of FullStory customer and partner technical teams to derive maximum value from the FullStory platform.” We do this by authoring articles, webinars, and sample code featuring FullStory integrations with other analytics and engineering support tools like Segment, Understand the user impact behind your New Relic traces with FullStory, and Sentry. We’re also always ready to jump into a customer conversation to explore other ways FullStory can complement and enhance their existing toolchain.

As an example, one project the solutions engineering team delivered was the DataLayer Observer (aka “the DLO”). The DLO is an open source library we built to tap into customer “data layers”: JavaScript objects curated on webpages during user sessions, used commonly by analytics platforms such as Adobe Analytics and Google Tag Manager. Data layers contain important business data, including e-commerce conversion information and user profile data. It was through our work with customers that we discovered this rich vein of data that FullStory could mine to provide them more insights into the performance of their web sites. And we delivered DLO as a rule-driven, privacy-conscious tool to more easily integrate data layer data into FullStory’s analytics platform.

Because we’re close to our customers and we have the engineering skills to create novel libraries and integrations to support them, we can pivot quickly to product design recommendations and enhancements. If we feel like we’ve developed something that can be applied more generally (like the DLO) we have the latitude to work with our product management team and turn it into a feature that lives in the core product.

Why I Became a Solutions Engineer at FullStory

After graduating with a Master’s Degree in Industrial Engineering from Purdue University, I realized that, throughout my education, I enjoyed working with software more than anything else. So, I decided to broaden my job search to the software industry. When attending the university’s career fair, I spent some time at the tech/SaaS companies section, and I was lucky enough to begin my career in tech, as a technical support engineer at VMWare. My first job taught me much that I could never learn in a classroom. I got to work with a wide range of technologies: APIs, servers, databases, mobile apps, etc. A year later, I became a subject matter expert for mobile applications, assisting customers with integration of VMWare’s mobile SDK and customizing it to their needs. During this time, I also made countless customer calls and virtual meetings, helping our clients resolve issues and customize solutions to make the best use of our product.

When FullStory started launching its Mobile solution, they were looking for a solutions engineer with Mobile experience. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to join the team! As you can imagine, being a fast growing company, our customer base has grown rapidly. Our increasingly diverse customer-base has different requirements, use cases and expectations for the product we offer. What I enjoy the most being a Solutions Engineer is constantly having new challenges and embarking on new adventures with every new project.

Since I joined, I’ve spent time assisting support escalations, pinning root causes, and triaging issues for our Mobile engineering team. In the process, I gained deeper knowledge of the Android and iOS platforms. I’ve also helped out by writing Go code for backend services and TypeScript for internal applications we’ve built for bug reporting and performance analysis.

I’ve always enjoyed creating content and developing software. During my time at FullStory I’ve worked on a few open source projects: Segment Middleware for iOS and Android, a demo app for Android, and several technical guides. Last quarter, I created content for our internal training for FullStory for Mobile Apps, developed iOS, Android and React Native training apps, and hosted workshops for each app platform. Each new project is a new set of exciting challenges and it’s the main reason that I enjoy being a Solutions Engineer.

How Solutions Engineering is Different at FullStory

At FullStory, the Solutions Engineering team belongs to the engineering organization and combines three roles together: Solutions Architect, Developer Advocate, Product Influencer.

solutions engineering image 1

This may seem like a lot of hats to wear, but we find that the three roles intersect well and help guide our decision making on where we spend our time and which projects to pursue. Now let's go into more detail about what each of these roles do.

Solutions Architect

Solutions Architects are charged with understanding the particulars about large customer tech stacks and business problems. Our solutions engineers are a team of technical chameleons that can speak the languages of business and technology. As we spend time consulting with our customers, we learn their tech stacks and business context. From this, we discover opportunities where the FullStory platform can add value to by integrating with existing tooling, or through customized solutions. We innovate, design, and build products or tools that help our customers get the most bang for their buck.

pasted image 0 (1)

Product Influencer

Our Solutions Engineering team is in a unique position to hear from our customers directly and synthesize their feedback into product ideas that we share with our product team. We give our customers our eager listening ears and recognize areas where we can provide more value through new product features or turnkey integrations.

A new project may start with a Solutions Engineer writing relevant design documents and socializing them with product teams and other stakeholders. We believe that this kind of organic growth can serve a greater purpose of making our customers’ experience better, while they gain more value from new product features.

We strive to learn fast, to keep up with different customers requirements and industry trends. We recognize any opportunities when they present themselves, build proofs of concept or product enhancements based on the feedback that we hear.

Journey-sol eng3

Developer Advocate

As developers ourselves, we understand the successes and failures that come with building software. We channel this experience into our interactions with our developer community, helping smooth integrations with FullStory APIs and sharing the best ways FullSory can be used for engineering support use-cases. We also create knowledge capital that makes developers' lives easier and are eager to support and assist developers to better use FullStory to it’s fullest potential by reducing the amount of time it takes for them to understand the user behavior that correlates to the issue they’re trying to resolve.

As part of our day to day, we work on open source contributions, knowledge base articles, developer documentation, and webinars. The team contributes to open source projects with the hope of inspiring other talented engineers who share our passion for technology around the world. Check out our open source GitHub organization to see the work that our engineering team has done to help fellow engineers be more productive.

Where Do We Go Next?

As we begin the new year, we reflect on our experiences and achievements from 2020, and look forward to a new year of new adventures. As for the wonderful unpredictability of life, it’s fair to say that we don’t know what exactly is in stock for the world in the upcoming year. But however it pans out, few people will argue against the increasingly important role of the internet and technology. And if we’ve learned anything from our experience during the Coronavirus pandemic, is that more and more businesses are embracing the need to go digital, provide online services, and to stay connected with their customers. With more people adapting to an online regime, it also means that people are having greater expectations of a friction-free online experience. More engineering power is necessary to create and improve websites and mobile apps, to fix bugs quickly, to prevent user frustration, to test new designs, and to iterate faster and adapt quickly.As FullStory grows, we will inevitably start to break the Solutions Engineering team into more specialized roles. In the coming year FullStory is building a Services/Solutions Architect team as the rest of us shift our focus more on the Product Influencer/Developer Advocacy roles. Despite the changes, we all consider ourselves not only contributing to FullStory and its customers, but also building and contributing to the developer community, and hopefully inspiring more people to learn and take interest in perfecting digital experiences. If you want to be part of our journey, check out current job openings.

Want a perfect website or app? FullStory can help. Request a demo today.

Sabrina LiSoftware Engineer

About the author

Sabrina is a software engineer on the Ecosystems team at FullStory. She is based in Atlanta, Georgia.

Return to top