Engineering Director

Ellevation Education · Boston, MA

Engineering Education Posted 2 weeks ago

Product Management
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We are looking for an experienced, hands-on engineering/infrastructure director to lead our Core Platforms, Infrastructure and Operations (CPIO) team.

This leader will help the CPIO team transition from its current role supporting and operating many of our shared systems, to enabling the feature delivery teams to take full operational responsibility for the systems they develop.

We believe such operational ownership creates a critically important feedback loop -- allowing us to creatively balance speed of delivery against stability and cost. Our success as a business, over the next few years, will be strongly dependent on our ability to rapidly explore new business opportunities while cost-effectively delivering a rock-solid experience for our existing customers.

We are looking for a leader with deep experience working at the intersection of Engineering and Operations, who has a real eagerness to work in the trenches, to help lead that transformation.

There are many challenges on that journey: building up the tools and processes to allow the feature teams to safely operate their systems in production; working in partnership with the feature teams to tease apart shared systems, so that separate ownership can be meaningfully assigned; helping set a high standard for operational and security practices, so that we can trust the teams to operate their systems well.

We're looking for a leader who can both help the current CPIO team of 3 to level up, while also acting as an architect, thorny problem-solver, and doer. We run a mixture of Windows- and Linux-hosted applications in AWS, currently largely backed by SQL Server, along with ElasticSearch, Couchbase, and RabbitMQ.

Some examples of immediate problems we'd be asking this leader to help address include: picking up and driving forward our in-progress work to deploy our AWS instances and services (both Windows and Linux) via some form of Infrastructure as Code; developing an Identity and Access Management approach that improves our security and auditability, while also allowing our growing bank of services to connect to each other, and to backing data stores; overhauling our Disaster Recovery approach, and putting in place regular tests of our ability to recover; developing a more robust CI/CD pipeline that covers both our Windows- and Linux-hosted applications.

Our feature delivery teams are hungry to take on more responsibility for the full application lifecycle of the systems they develop -- we need leadership on the CPIO team to make that possible.

Engineering Leadership at Ellevation

We believe that great results are delivered by teams, not by individuals.

Leadership means, most fundamentally, helping your team perform at a high level.

For a team to be effective, they must have a clear, common goal; they must have a shared understanding of the steps they're going to take to achieve that goal; and they must constantly identify and address any problems that might be slowing them down.

To do all of that, they must deeply trust one another.

Building on that trust, they must be willing to challenge one another: intensely, respectfully and immediately.

We expect our engineering leaders to create such an environment of clarity, purpose and trust.

Within 1 month, you will have:

  • Internalized our overall business strategy, and how the work of the CPIO team fits into that strategy
  • Built up a clear picture of the the various key systems we depend on to deliver our product, and the operational state of those systems
  • Built trust and rapport with your 3-person team
  • Built trust and rapport with the engineering managers and senior technologists at Ellevation
  • Taken responsibility for driving the existing work of the CPIO team -- both operational and enablement

Within 3 months, you will have:

  • Worked with the CTO and senior technologists at Ellevation to clearly define/redefine the overall sequence of steps we're taking to move operational ownership to our teams
  • Remade the CPIO team's near-term roadmap to ensure it quickly tackles the most valuable challenges in that overall sequence
  • If necessary, made a case for expanding our investment in engineering enablement (either by hiring or by internal transfers)
  • Measurably improved the operational state of some of our core systems (be that: visibility, reliability, cost, or other measures).
  • Unlocked 1-2 key capabilities to allow engineering teams to take greater ownership over their systems (be that: independent ownership over deploy, access to safe tools for spinning up new services, plugging into frameworks for observability, or other capabilities)
  • Become a trusted resource to engineers across Ellevation for learning how to operate their systems more effectively
  • Built trust and rapport with leaders on adjacent teams -- product management, customer support, finance.

Within 6 months, you will have:

  • Become a resource for the CEO and others on the executive leadership team to understand our technical situation, options, and path ahead
  • Helped multiple engineering teams take some real degree of independent ownership over their systems (develop, test, deploy, monitor).
  • Helped develop a long-term plan for dealing with our complex shared services (e.g. our monolithic SQLServer databases)
  • Measurably reduced the time spent on operational toil by your team
  • Coached up leaders on your team who can help find the balance between operational toil and enablement.

About you:

  • You have 2+ years of experience managing engineers on operations, infrastructure, SRE, or engineering enablement teams.
  • You have 5+ years of experience operating enterprise-facing websites and/or SaaS platforms.
  • You are skilled at speaking to non-technical leaders about the value of operational work, and can lay out tradeoffs and sequencing of work in terms they understand.
  • You have demonstrated success working in and promoting a rapidly changing, collaborative, and iterative engineering and product development environment.
  • You have real experience in both the AWS ecosystem and with systems delivered on Windows (and have deep experience in at least one of those two).
  • You have real experience in at least one modern programming language commonly used for automation, e.g., Python, Go.

About Us:

At Ellevation, we develop world-class software to help school districts and educators support the fastest growing population of K-12 students: English Language Learners (ELLs). Ellevation helps school districts transform their EL programs and ensure all students can achieve their highest aspirations with a best-in-class data and instructional planning platform, resources to build teacher capacity, and student-facing programs to teach academic language.

We are a fast-growing, mission-driven technology company, partnering with over 800 public school districts all across the country. We are well-capitalized, have a strong team, and are continuously focused on how to build the best organization so that we can achieve our ambitious social and financial objectives.

Why Ellevation?

In addition to our great benefit plans and competitive salaries, here are some other perks that make us unique:

  • Great location in Boston - a stone’s throw from the Chauncy Street/Downtown Crossing T stop (We are currently working 100% remotely due to COVID-19)
  • Ability to make a significant impact in the education industry
  • Fun Fridays including virtual happy hours with our remote team
  • Free snacks, beverages, fruit, and we even compost!
  • On-site gym, game room and darts to support all levels of athleticism
  • Opportunity to join an open and collaborative work environment!

Learn more about our team in our Culture Deck.

Here at Ellevation, we champion diversity, inclusion, equity, and belonging. We strive to build a team that reflects the diverse communities we serve. We’re an equal opportunity employer, committed to creating an inclusive workplace that promotes and values a range of ideas and opinions. We embrace all types of differences in the development of our organization. We are proud to have been recognized in prior years as “Best Tech Workplace for Diversity” from the Timmy Awards for investing in trainings around inclusive behaviors, microaggressions, unconscious bias, and fostering a culture of sharing educational resources across the company. We are encouraged by our progress, but there’s more work to be done.

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