Senior Backend Developer
Digital Democracy is looking for a senior backend developer with at least 5 years experience to join our small, remote team on a 12-month contract (with potential long-term) starting as soon as possible. You will help build offline-first decentralized open-source mobile and desktop mapping apps for remote and marginalized communities to document, map, monitor, manage and report information on environmental and human rights issues around the world. With flexible hours and the opportunity to work where and when best fits your schedule, you will be playing a key role at a ground-breaking organization. You have the opportunity to make a big impact in a small team by leading the development of Mapeo Core, the groundbreaking peer-to-peer database that powers offline-first and offline-always apps.
We’ve seen firsthand that change does not come from technology, but from how people use it. We are building tools our partners are using to achieve transformative change. We are dedicated to working towards a world where all people can participate in the decisions that govern their lives.
What we’re looking for
You will work with our growing, small high-impact team of engineers, product manager and designer to lead the development and maintenance of the peer-to-peer database that powers our mobile and desktop mapping apps. You will work closely with the front-end team to build backend features to meet user requirements on a regular release cycle.
We are a small, high-impact team that takes a collaborative approach to tool-building and decision-making. Our tool development is led by our partner communities. You would be building tools that will be tested and used by our partners to confront real problems on the ground in the Amazon and around the world: protection of the world’s forests and their ancestral homelands from deforestation and contamination. We need someone who can think creatively and collaboratively to solve these problems.
- Lead the backend implementation of new features, including selective peer-to-peer sync of large media files; building spatial indices; supporting new data types; peer-to-peer discovery and sync over the internet; and synchronizing map tiles.
- Maintain and improve the peer-to-peer Mapeo Core database.
- Close coordination with the co-design team and front-end developers to ensure that features meet user needs and are delivered on time.
- Maintain and contribute to several open-source modules used by Digital Democracy
- You’re comfortable working with a small team and jumping in to help where needed.
- You will clearly scope out features; clearly communicate timelines; and adapt to changing requirements.
- Leadership & vision. You will take ownership of the backend stack for Mapeo and ensure that it meets the long-term needs of Mapeo users.
- Strong project management. You will break features down into concisely scoped tasks and track progress across the team.
- Peer-to-peer. You have an understanding of peer-to-peer data structures and networking, and have ideally worked on p2p projects in the past.
- Tooling knowledge. Node.js; modular code; Typescript; Git; network streams; SQLite— you are comfortable and proficient working with these.
- Values-based. You share our belief in building tools that prioritize the autonomy of our partners, and challenge legacies of colonialism and extraction.
- Rigorous at testing. You can write thorough automated tests that cover usage of the code in a real environment.
- GMT timezone compatible. You can intersect your working day for at least 3 hours with GMT.
Other qualities we’re on the lookout for
- API design & documentation. You are capable of designing a simple and easy-to-understand API and clearly documenting and communicating the code.
- Experience working with a remote team (Product Manager, UX Designer and app dev team) to plan, prioritize, build, and deploy code.
- Self-directed. You are comfortable with managing your own priorities and tasks (mostly independently) in coordination with a small, remote team
- Flexible. As part of working in an Agile environment, you’re able to switch and multi tasks given the priorities set by you and the team
- Communication. You value collaboration and transparency by documenting your work and clearly communicating progress during weekly syncs with the team.
- Experience working within an Agile environment
- Experience with Hypercore Protocol
- Experience working with geospatial data
- Enthusiasm for open-source and experience publishing and maintaining modules
- Proficiency in TypeScript
- Basic understanding of React
- Ability to communicate technical concepts to the team and partners in non-technical terms.
- Ability to speak more than one language, in particular Spanish or Portuguese
Digital Democracy’s mission is to work in solidarity with frontline communities to use technology to defend their rights and fight climate change. We’ve seen firsthand that change does not come from technology, but from how people use it. We partner with earth defenders to co-develop technology for social justice. We are dedicated to working towards a world where all people can participate in the decisions that govern their lives. This includes fundraising and resourcing our efforts.
Our small but growing team is based in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Peru, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. We welcome candidates from around the world, especially South America. For this particular position we are looking for someone with time overlaps for both British Standard time and Pacific time. We embrace distributed working, and are happy for you to work from where you live. The Indigenous communities we work with have lived through colonization and deal with its effects everyday, along with marginalization and discrimination against their language and culture. It is therefore particularly important that we build a diverse team with individuals who understand and empathize with their situation. Indigenous people, people of color, women, LGBTQ folk and others who identify as coming from a marginalized identity are strongly urged to apply. We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, or disability status.
- Flexible schedule, location and hours. We are happy for you to work from where you live, on a schedule that works for you, in conversation with the Product Manager.
- Opportunity to visit our partners in the field. Although most of the job is desk based, this role may include travel to our partner communities.
- 4-day week. We consider “full time” to be a 32 hour, 4-day week (8 hours per day).
- Compensation and benefits commensurate with experience. We have a transparent pay scale in our organization, with a baseline rate of $61,000 USD which increases based on responsibilities and experience. We expect this position’s range to be between $86,000–$92,000 USD per annum for a 4-day work week.