Software Engineer, Learning Engineering (comp included)
Schmidt Futures is a philanthropic initiative, founded by Eric and Wendy Schmidt, that bets early on exceptional people making the world better. We knit talent into networks, bet on the most promising ideas through diverse forms of competition and support, and equip people to scale through partners and modern tools. To realize this vision, Schmidt Futures uses a broad set of tools — including gifts, grants, investments, and startup activity — for charitable, educational, and commercial efforts with a public purpose. Our initiative brings together the efforts of various charitable and non-charitable entities to improve our potential impact by making diverse types of capital available to the efforts we support.
Learning Engineering is a Talent Ventures program at Schmidt Futures with a focus on generating significant improvements in educational outcomes. Our theory of change is that rapid advancements in computer science and learning science have the potential to power a new generation of learning tools and technologies. The Learning Engineering program is testing this thesis with a focus on middle school math, with a goal to develop one or more tools that can double the rate of middle school math progress for low-income students. It will do so by building a Learning Engineering Virtual Institute (LEVI) that leverages a competition-based model to identify, support and fund teams with the most compelling ideas to achieve this ambitious goal.
Reporting to the Managing Director, Impact and Technology, and working day to day with the Learning Engineering team, the Software Engineer & Technical Advisor, Learning Engineering will be responsible for technical diligence for potential LEVI teams – assessing product roadmaps, interviewing technical teams and identifying possible risks. The Engineer, Learning Engineering, will also design and manage a program to provide technology assistance to teams during the execution phase of the programs (including but not limited to providing data science, security, usability and reliability support). They will also help identify and build any shared technical infrastructure that should exist to support all potential LEVI teams. The Engineer will also interact with existing grantees in the Learning Engineering program where technical acumen will further enable the teams to reach their goals.
The Software Engineer & Technical Advisor, Learning Engineering will focus on:
Assessing the Feasibility and Risk of LEVI Applicant Projects
- Assisting in the overall design of the Learning Engineering Virtual Institute, including evaluating the technical ideas underpinning the potential teams, their technical acumen, and what supports they will need.
- Managing the technical evaluation components of the multi-stage RFP process to select the LEVI teams, including organizing selection panels, reviews, and effective use of advisory committees.
- Designing performance metrics for the LEVI teams to ensure effective annual tracking towards the five-year goals.
Building Technological Infrastructure to Support LEVI Teams
- Designing and building the technical tools and infrastructure necessary to support the LEVI teams, e.g. shared data analytics / evaluation infrastructure.
- Coordinating technological support services to maximize impact including but not limited to screening technical hires for LEVI teams (full time or contract), leading sprints focused on solving specific problems and connecting LEVI technical team members to outside talent and resources.
- Advising partner organizations on key technical infrastructure and buy / build decisions, goal-setting, specifying hiring needs, and recruitment.
- Identifying technical needs by conducting analysis of users and customers as well as analyzing potential tools and technical systems.
- Launching and testing potential solutions at scale, rewriting code and deploying other solutions if needed.
- Conducting A/B testing and ensuring a culture of continuous improvement.
- Helping ensure high-quality technical code and other product specs across the program
- Embedding with LEVI teams for fixed periods of time.
Operational and Strategic Planning
- Using technical experience to anticipate unmet needs across the team.
- Pitching and building technical projects that support LEVI teams and the field.
- Working across teams in an entrepreneurial fashion to determine and respond to technological needs, with a particular focus on technical solutions that could be assessed and scaled across the program.
- Working closely with the VPs and other senior leaders responsible for delivery for all programs to ensure that efforts meet or exceed their objectives.
- interacting with existing grantees in the Learning Engineering program where technical acumen will further enable the teams to reach their goals.
Knowledge, skills, and abilities
Some of the desired capabilities include:
- Past experience building and evaluating educational technologies (preferred) or other technologies where the users are students.
- Write and maintain code that is both reusable and scalable, as well as optimized for performance with the end-user in mind.
- Rapidly develop software “front-ends” to surface insights and trade-offs to stakeholders within the education ecosystem.
- Demonstrated ability to design, write, and edit technical and process documentation
- Ability to handle ambiguity.
- Able to work as part of teams and teams of teams.
- Able to identify and coordinate other types of supports (e.g., contractors) to enable the objective.
- Excellent oral and written communication skills to effectively interact with partners and other team members.
- Have 7+ years of experience as a software engineer or applied computer scientist
- 4+ years of experience in front-end development. (e.g. experience with modern js frameworks/libraries like React)
- 4+ years of experience in back-end development. (e.g. NodeJS, Ruby on Rails, Python)
- Ability to work across multiple programming languages. (e.g. Java, Python, Scala)
- Familiarity working across multiple database technologies including relational dbs (e.g. SQL) and cloud-based data warehouses. (e.g. AWS)
- Knowledge of technical best practice. (e.g. version control, continuous integration, automated testing)
- Participants must be eligible for employment in the United States; visa sponsorship is not provided.
- Be based at the Schmidt Futures offices in New York or Washington, D.C. and be able to travel within the U.S. and internationally on a regular basis as needed following company policy and permitting circumstances.
- Experience working in EdTech preferred.
About Schmidt Futures
Schmidt Futures is a philanthropic initiative, founded by Eric and Wendy Schmidt, that finds exceptional people and helps them do more for others together. We knit talent into networks, bet on the most promising ideas through diverse forms of competition and support, and equip people to scale through partners and modern tools. To realize this vision, Schmidt Futures uses a broad set of tools — including gifts, grants, investments, and startup activity — for charitable, educational, and commercial efforts with a public purpose. Our initiative brings together the efforts of various charitable and non-charitable entities to improve our potential impact by making diverse types of capital available to the efforts we support.
Futures Action Network, LLC, which operates Schmidt Futures, is an Equal Employment Opportunity employer that proudly pursues and hires a diverse workforce. We do not make hiring or employment decisions on the basis of race, color, religion or religious belief, ethnic or national origin, nationality, sex, gender, gender-identity, sexual orientation, disability, age, military or veteran status, or any other basis protected by applicable local, state, or federal laws or prohibited by Company policy. We strive for a healthy and safe workplace and strictly prohibit harassment of any kind.