20 Years of Software Engineering with Malte Ubl
Learnings from working eleven years working at Google, what tenure teaches you, and the similarities between framework and product teams.
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For this edition, I caught up with a very impactful software engineer. It’s no exaggeration to say his work directly affects the online experience of billions of people – right down to how fast a large number of webpages take to load.
Malte UbI has been a software engineer for more than 20 years, He spent 11 years at Google, starting as a Software Engineer 2 (L4), was promoted several times, and then left Google at the Principal Engineer level (L8).
At Google, Malte built a framework called Wiz that powers Search, Gmail, Photos, Drive, Meet, and other consumer UIs. He was central to creating AMP, and then applied the lessons from it to the Page Experience ranking system based on Core Web Vitals, helping to make the web faster in the process.
A notable announcement he made was that Google Search was to stop supporting Microsoft’s legacy web browser, Internet Explorer 11, late last year. This announcement caused a ripple effect, with other companies quickly following suit.
Malte recently left Google and joined Vercel, a platform which enables frontend teams to work with an improved and smooth workflow.
I grabbed the opportunity to catch up with him and talk about the learnings from his career, what he found surprising about working at Google, his thoughts on working on frameworks, why he decided to leave Google for a fast-growing scaleup and what’s different about working at Vercel compared to Google.
Visualizing Malte’s career so far, this is how it would look like:
In this issue, we cover:
Quick questions. Including what is the best thing that happened in software engineering since Malte entered the software industry.
Eleven years at two companies. Learning from this time.
From a small company to Google. What was a thing where Google stood different from the previous places?
Eleven years at Google. On promotions, career progression and what tenure teaches you.
Infrastructure vs product engineering. What overlaps do they have?
From Google to Vercel. Why make the move, what’s exciting about Edge computing and what was surprising to observe at Vercel?