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Staff ML Engineer (Generative AI)



Software Engineering, Data Science
Staten Island, NY, USA
Posted on Saturday, June 22, 2024

You’ll be a core member of a small, intensely collaborative team, identifying, customizing and applying the latest generative AI models, workflows and developing best practices to enable educators to create the next generation of AI-native educational experiences.

You must send an email to careers@playlab.ai in order for your application to be reviewed. See "How to Apply" below.

Who We Are

Playlab puts the power of AI into the hands of people who are already building the most human part of our future – teachers, students and impact organizations.

When the programming language is English, anyone can build sophisticated applications. Those who will responsibly build the next generation of tools:

  • Have a deep grasp of the problems they want to solve;
  • Are fearless about experimenting with the technology;
  • Feel confident that their work will not violate their most deeply held principles.

As a nonprofit technology startup building public educational AI infrastructure, we make it possible for educators and mission-aligned entrepreneurs to invent the future with AI.

These users already know the most pressing problems that education must solve. Playlab makes it easy for them to build, share and remix educational AI applications that continually improve.

During our closed beta, more than 4,000 educators have built 8,000 tools that have been used over 100,000 times to support real teaching and learning. Now we need you to help Playlab get to the next level.

Salary Range: $170 - $200k depending on location and experience

What you could be doing


  • Helping to improve our RAG capabilities
  • Bringing new models and new types of models that we can integrate into the platform online in a secure and dependable way (e.g. image/vision on HuggingFace, AWS, etc.)
  • Identifying ways we can enhance privacy and safety within the platform
  • Helping clean and anonymize our data in preparation for sharing it with educational impact researchers


  • Providing guidance on building out features like AI analysis of conversations, integration of additional context data into apps, adaptable memory that modifies how an app (or apps) interacts with a student over time
  • Prototyping multi-model AI workflows to support educators building a more complex set of use cases
  • Integrating multiple educator-built "apps" on Playlab into a universal Playlab app


  • Challenge our thinking and plans regarding AI and the application of it within education
  • Help keep the company aware of and evaluate new AI research and technologies that could help with our mission
  • Assist open source efforts in leveraging our data to build educational AI, and/or prototype training our own models towards being able to run on local machines
  • Lead our effort to mitigate bias and other negative attributes of models we use
  • Lead our research efforts which will span both experimental and applied AI and their impacts
  • Help with our work to responsibly explain AI to educational audiences

You at a Glance

  • Solid ML fundamentals and deep interest in the latest generation of generative AI and related technologies
  • Able to understand and evaluate new technologies and techniques
  • 4+ years building products with AI including demonstrable experience with generative AI models
  • 7+ years building building software, ideally for web/mobile applications
  • Proficient in Python, specifically as it relates to data pipelines and ML ops
  • You are experimental and results-oriented, with a bias towards flexibility and impact
  • Already following and experimenting or building with a variety of generative AI related models
  • Highly collaborative working style and able to communicate ideas and decisions well
  • Interested in building your system architecture skillset
  • Care about the monitoring, alerting and processes that reduce risk so the team can sleep easily at night
  • Bonus: experience fine-tuning, evaluating or customizing open source generative AI models
  • Bonus: worked on creative or educational platforms in the past
  • Bonus: experience with Node/Typescript

You are likely to love it here if

  • You are already experimenting with open source generative models and probably running some locally on your machine
  • You’re intrigued by and thinking beyond chatbots as an interface for generative AI
  • You are engaged in a variety of AI communities on discord and want to share what you learn back with communities advancing open source
  • You’ve worked on a variety of different kinds of applications and architectures and want to bring the best of what you’ve learned to a brand new system
  • You’re excited about helping integrate AI into education and the idea of building AI-native experiences
  • You love being an engineer and want to continually grow your skillset
  • Good development, release and team process practices are table stakes for you
  • You thrive working quickly and iteratively on a solid foundation guided by user research and metrics
  • You’re realistic in the short term, idealistic in the long term
  • You believe that we can improve society by improving education


  • Competitive salary while working for a mission-drive cause.
  • Flexible work schedules and unlimited PTO, at least 15 days per year
  • Fully paid health, dental, and vision insurance for employees and 80% coverage for their families
  • $1,000 home-office setup allowance for all new full-time remote employees
  • New Macbook Pro
  • Get reimbursed up to $100/month for activities that enhance your wellbeing
  • Twice annual fully paid whole team retreats

How to Apply

Send an email to careers@playlab.ai and include the following:

  1. The job title you are applying for in the subject line
  2. A brief note about why you’re interested in working at Playlab
  3. A link to your LinkedIn profile and/or resume, whichever you feel best represents you

Application Process

  1. Email introducing yourself
  2. Provide an existing work sample
  3. For Product & Design, this could be your portfolio, or a video explaining some of your recent work that highlights your skillset.
  4. For Engineering, this should be code you’ve recently worked on that you feel is representative of your skillset. You can obfuscate or add additional explanation as you feel is necessary.
  5. 60 minute deep dive/technical call with a co-founder to align on your skillset
  6. 60 minute get to know each other call with a co-founder

Hiring Process

In lieu of live coding, take home tests or online coding challenges, Playlab follows a paid contract-to-hire process where both sides get the benefit of working together to determine fit. We feel this is the fairest and most reasonable way for us both to decide whether to make a long term investment.

Contracts will be paid at market rates and span 2-4 weeks calendar time depending on your availability. We’ll accommodate your schedule while also working on real tasks together. At a minimum, it should be fun and you’ll get paid. If it’s a long term fit, we’ll make you a full-time offer before the end of your contract period.