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Principal Engineer for Democracy



Software Engineering
160,000 – 185,000 USD per year
Posted on Wednesday, October 18, 2023

MapLight, a technology-driven nonprofit dedicated to improving U.S. democracy, is seeking an experienced Principal Engineer. This position is full-time and available for remote work from anywhere in the United States. This position reports to the Director of Engineering.

Over the last few years, MapLight has provided groundbreaking transparency for money and politics through our successful Disclosure System launches to city and state governments across the country. While we have more to learn, we’ve discovered much about what our clients need and what we can do to improve our software. We are seeking a Principal Engineer to help us in this next chapter of growth and development.

If you join us, you will be an anchor in our small engineering team and organization. You’ll be directly involved with the leadership team, providing you with a complete view of our work. Your experience and expertise will directly impact short and long-term product direction, as well as the health and well-being of the group. You’ll be free to “follow your nose” – we want you to discover and seize opportunities to improve the systems we’re already running and those we’ll create together going forward.

What you’ll do

  • Collaborate with senior technical staff and leadership to play a vital role in all engineering-related decision-making.
  • Contribute meaningfully to policies, procedures, practices, technical approaches, and system architectures.
  • Collaborate with staff on how technology best meets our organizational and social impact goals.
  • Oversee operational software systems to meet compliance, security, maintenance, and service level requirements.
  • Lead complex, cross-functional, full-stack software projects that involve multiple engineers and team collaboration.
  • Lead efforts to simplify those complex systems whenever and wherever possible.
  • Work with product and design teams to understand end-user requirements and determine how to achieve our desired outcomes.
  • Act as a role model, mentor, and multiplier to our engineers and technical staff to improve skills and nurture growth.
  • Facilitate organization-wide information sharing.
  • Contribute technically with hands-on coding time and code reviews.

You’ll need

  • 10+ years of software development experience.
  • 5+ years leading software development teams.
  • High degree of self-motivation and self-direction.
  • Excellent communication skills, including communicating cross-culturally and across time zones.
  • Ability to fluently share technical information with technical and non-technical audiences.
  • Deep understanding of the importance of incremental improvement in systems and people.
  • Empathy and patience for fellow engineers – you’ve been there and made the same mistakes they’re making.
  • Desire to apply your skills in the service of MapLight’s mission and work.
  • Extensive experience in the following areas:
    • Being part of a remote software development team.
    • Working with, refactoring, upgrading, and migrating live production systems.
    • Building and supporting complex systems with many moving parts.
    • Remediating issues found during security audits, vulnerability scans, and performance tests.

Ideally, you have

  • Experience working with or as a member of contract development teams and agencies.
  • Proficiency in one or more of .Net, Node.js, SQL, scripting languages like Ruby or Python.
  • Ability to make hands-on technical contributions in several different environments and languages.
  • Experience participating in compliance efforts such as SOC 2 certification, FedRAMP authorization, and PCI compliance.
  • Familiarity with the following areas:
    • Email provisioning and security.
    • DNS and domain configuration.
    • DevOps technologies like Pulumi and Terraform.
    • Docker and containerization technology.
    • Deploying apps to providers such as Vercel, Netlify, Render, and Fly.
    • AWS cloud services.
    • Azure cloud services.
    • Unix system administration (for legacy systems).

Getting started

  • You’ll start by partnering with the Director of Engineering to form an initial picture of your role, what needs doing, and how we’ll begin that work.
  • Next, you’ll jump into existing in-flight projects, get context quickly, and provide support to get them out the door.
  • At the same time, we’ll discuss how we can significantly improve our ability to deliver value and outcomes to our clients through software, architecture, and practices.
  • After that, you’ll own long-running projects to make the desired improvements to our systems and software.

Salary and benefits

This position is full-time and remote within the U.S. The salary for this position is $160,000 to $185,000 depending on experience. This position includes a generous benefits package that includes paid vacation, health, dental, and vision insurance, and retirement matching. A four-day schedule (Monday through Thursday) or flexible work schedule may be possible.

To Apply

Send cover letter and resume to jobs@maplight.org, and reference “Principal Engineer for Democracy - Tech Jobs for Good” in the subject line.

MapLight is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. We welcome and value a diversity of lived experiences and perspectives that will help further the democracy-oriented work we do. If your experience doesn’t exactly match the qualifications listed but you believe you can shine in this role, we want to hear from you!

About MapLight

MapLight (https://maplight.org) designs, builds, and operates software and data systems to improve democracy and advance policies in the public interest. We specialize in campaign finance, voter information, government data, and other data-driven applications. We serve governments, nonprofits, and other organizations seeking transparency, accountability, and other positive social impacts.

MapLight believes that everyone deserves an equal voice in our democracy. We support reducing the influence of special interests on government, protecting and strengthening the institutions of democracy, and providing a just society, economy, and environment for everyone. We are nonprofit and nonpartisan.

MapLight does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, country of origin, citizenship, ancestry, genetic information, physical or mental disability, military or veteran status, political affiliation, exercising one’s right to family care and medical leave, medical condition, including pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding and related medical conditions, or any other category protected by local, state, or federal laws. We are not offering U.S. visa sponsorship at this time.

MapLight is an equal opportunity employer.