Instructure: The best job I ever left

Note: The opinions expressed in this post are not necessarily representative of all employees or their experiences.

Unlike my other posts of the past, this one is not meant to be technical. I have been been a software engineer since 2000 and have had a multitude of jobs as a software engineer since then. During the early 2000's, I even owned a company and hired a bunch of developers just to watch them come and go in roughly a 2 year span. My past jobs have included working for a company whose sole purpose it seemed was to suck the life out of you then spit you out at the end. I was told by the owner of that company when I decided to leave that "You will never do better than here." He was wrong.

Two years ago almost to the day, I got a job working for a company called Instructure. I had multiple offers at the time but decided to go with the company that actually paid LESS than the others because of what I felt I would benefit. It was a gamble that paid off in a huge way. To give you some background to the company, Instructure was founded by 2 college students who wanted to provide software that offers a better experience than the only large LMS (learning management system) on the market, BlackBoard. To make a long story short, they enlisted Josh Coates as CEO and became a company with one goal in mind: provide the best LMS on the market. They have accomplished this. Since inception, they have hired on over 500 employees and have gone through growing pains. The one thing that is most interesting here is that they were able to maintain their culture. I will get more into that shortly.

When I came on, I was employee #231. As of right now, there are _ employees, each knowing their number. Most of us know our employee number as wear it as a badge of honor. Leaving this job was one of the hardest decision I've had to make in my career. To fully grasp why it was so hard, let me go over what makes this company the best company in Utah to work.


Stock Options

One of the most amazing things that makes Instructure stand out from other companies is that every employee is an owner. Each new employee, based on experience and position, is given a certain amount of stock options in the company. Now I know what you're thinking: they aren't worth the paper it's written on. I thought the same thing at first. This time it's different, so much so that it was a huge factor in how long I stayed with Instructure. At my 2 year mark (this month), I was able to vest 50% of my options and am now a legitimate owner of the company.

100% paid medical, dental, disability, and life insurance

Instructure pays 100% of the medical, dental, disability and life insurance premiums. This was a huge factor in me deciding to accept a lower pay because at the end of the day, I was getting roughly the same amount with this benefit. Insurance also covered dental and vision.


Every developer is given the latest, top of the line Macbook Pro with 16 Gig RAM and retina display. For those Linux geeks, they are given a top of the line _ and liberty to install their own flavor of Linux. Each developer also gets a standing desk, quality chair and a 30" Apple Cinema Display.

Wellness Program

Instructure provides a wellness program for all. Each employee can join Welbe and is paid each week to exercise and eat right. The employees can buy a fitness band at a very low cost to supplement the program. Also, free membership to Gold's Gym.

Food, Food and More Food

It's known that people who join Instrucure typically gain 5-10 lbs in the first few months of work. There are 2 fully stocked kitchens on every floor and a fully stocked cafeteria on the 6th floor. Food is also catered every Wednesday for lunch, bringing awesome food trucks and quality catered food like Magleby's and local barbeque mom and pop shops.

Unlimited Time Off

One of the benefits (limited to engineers) is there are no vacation days. Each engineer is given unlimited time off. This has been amazing for me b/c if I wanted to take a day off here and there, I never had to worry about it taking away from a vacation we had planned down the road. Of course, nobody abused this privelege.


Instructure has STRONG values and makes sure their employees are aware of them. There are funny, creative propoganda-style posters throughout the office reminding us to "do what we say". Here's a video developed internally to demonstrate our company values: