Entry-level Software Engineer - Technical.ly

Entry-level Software Engineer

Azavea |  Philadelphia, PA (temporarily remote due to Covid-19) | Dev / Eng

Job Description
Perks + Benefits
Company Culture
Technical.ly Coverage
Azavea is a technology firm based in Philadelphia that uses geospatial data to build software and data analytics for the web. As a B Corporation, our mission is to use advanced geospatial technology for positive civic, social, and environmental impact. Most of our work deals with local governments, non-profit organizations, and academic or federal research projects. We build custom web applications, perform geospatial analysis, and contribute to open source projects. Our engineers work across the technology stack, from modern browser-based front-ends to robust service-based backends residing on scalable infrastructure. Find out more about careers at Azavea here.
We are looking for an entry-level Software Engineer who is passionate about building applications that will have a positive impact. Ideal candidates are interested in public service, but not necessarily in working for a government or a non-profit organization.
We’re excited about what we do, we’re growing, and we hope you will join us.
Skills & Requirements
As an entry-level Software Engineer on the Geospatial Applications team, we expect that you will already know how to write code in at least one programming language, and will have had some exposure to software development tools. You’ll also work with dedicated mentors to further learn the skills of the trade, and will gain real-world experience by working on an existing team to develop custom web software for our clients.
Lately, we’ve been developing tools to conduct remote tree inventories and manage high-resolution medical imagery (which has more overlap with spatial data than you might expect). We also do a fair bit of work in the civic space. Our team maintains DistrictBuilder, an open-source, collaborative redistricting tool that will support redistricting after the 2020 Census, and the Cicero API, an Azavea product which provides access to a comprehensive database of elected officials and legislative districts.
Our applications are mostly written in JavaScript or TypeScript (React, Angular) and Python (Django), but we use many other technologies from time to time. Almost all of our work revolves around maps and spatial data. If you haven’t worked with spatial technology before, don’t worry—many of our colleagues hadn’t when they joined us.

What you’ll do:

    • Collaborate with other engineers to write backend and frontend code for both external and internal projects.
    • Work with an engineering mentor to design and complete a training program to help you establish a solid foundation for your software engineering skills. This is expected to include: online coursework, client or product work, pair programming, a “breakable toy” project, weekly one-on-ones, interaction with other teams, and monthly assessments.
    • Develop your mastery of software engineering tools such as source control, editors, containers, and virtual machines.
    • Respond to feedback from other engineers via code review, and internalize engineering best practices.
    • Engage in multidisciplinary work that applies an agile process.
    • Contribute to both a growing company and to the open source communities that support our work.

You should:

      • Be able to write and debug code in at least one language, preferably Python or Javascript.
      • Have an understanding of the function of core web technologies (HTML/CSS/JS) and the role that they play in web applications.
      • Be familiar with at least one database system, preferably PostgreSQL or MySQL.*
      • Be familiar with command-line environments.*
      • Have excellent communication skills, both verbal and written.
      • Be interested in working with small teams on meaningful projects.
* We don’t expect you to have worked extensively with these technologies.

Additional experience we find valuable (but not required):

    • Familiarity with open source or commercial GIS software like Leaflet, Mapbox GL JS, PostGIS, or ArcGIS Server.
    • Experience with a GitHub based workflow that includes pull requests and code reviews.
    • Delivering and operating applications using cloud platforms such as AWS, GCP or Heroku.
    • Working with virtualization technology or containers.
    • Making technical decisions and owning outcomes.
You’ll notice that we don’t cite a specific type of experience or a Computer Science degree as requirements. We are primarily looking for people who are excited about our mission and are ready to begin a software engineering career (including people who are changing careers). If you think this description fits you, even if your experience doesn’t match up perfectly with the technologies we’ve listed, we encourage you to apply. We do not use automated resume screening technology, and our employees review all applications that we receive.
A note on hiring during the COVID-19 pandemic 
Due to regulations in Philadelphia, and our concern for the health and safety of our team, we will be conducting all interviews remotely for the foreseeable future. While this position is on-site, and the majority of our staff generally work out of our Philadelphia office, we have transitioned the entire company to remote work. If the office remains closed at the time of hiring, we have made arrangements for remote on-boarding, including shipping relevant materials and a laptop to the new hire’s home. We are fortunate to have invested in meaningful work-from-home tools and processes over the years, and have been able to continue providing a secure, flexible, and safe work environment for all of our colleagues. We ask for your patience as we adapt our hiring process as well, and are happy to answer any questions or concerns about the process.
Office and Benefits
Our Philadelphia headquarters is located in a brightly lit office on the 5th floor of a converted factory building in the Callowhill neighborhood, a short walk from Center City, the Reading Terminal Market, and SEPTA subway and regional rail stations. For bicyclists, we have in-house bike parking, showers, and lockers. The office itself is assembled as an open office plan with many smaller rooms and flexible spaces for team meetings and concentration time. You get your own desk with a Linux workstation or Apple laptop and extra monitors. We have flex-time to deal with personal stuff, and most people work a 40 – 45 hour week on a regular schedule. After the first six months, our staff can also spend up to 10% of their time on an open source, professional development, or R&D project. Recent 10% time projects include experiments with machine learning, React Native, and various forms of serverless processing with Amazon Lambda.
We offer a salary commensurate with skills and experience and a benefits package that includes:
– Fully subsidized health care, dental care, prescription plan, including for spouse/partner and children
– Fully subsidized life and long-term disability insurance, plus voluntary short-term disability insurance
– Medical reimbursement plan to cover what the health insurance does not
– Retirement plan with matching percentage
– Almost 4 weeks paid vacation plus additional paid sick/personal time off
– Family and medical leave
– Flexible work schedule
– Paid parental leave
– Child care subsidy
– Paid time off for voting and volunteering
– Education assistance plan
– Student loan assistance
– Public transit and biking reimbursement plans
– Monthly guest lectures with lunches on the company
– 10% time for research or learning projects
– Profit-sharing bonus plan
– Financial transparency through an open book policy
– Kind, capable and thoughtful colleagues
We welcome qualified candidates from all walks of life and value diversity in our company. We prohibit discrimination based on race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, veteran status, military service, disability unrelated to job requirements, marital status, or domestic partner status.
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Health & Wellness Benefits
  • Dental
  • Disability Insurance
  • Health Insurance
  • Life Insurance
  • Onsite Gym
  • Vision
  • Game Room
  • Remote Work
  • Work from Home
Parental Benefits
  • Family Medical Leave
  • Flexible Work Schedule
  • Generous Parental Leave
  • Mother Rooms
Perks & Discounts
  • Casual Dress
  • Lunch
  • Snacks
  • Special Discounts
Professional Development
  • Online Trainings
  • Tuition Reimbursement
Retirement & Stock Options Benefits
  • 401K
Vacation & Time Off Benefits
  • Generous PTO
  • Paid Holidays
  • Paid Sick Days

How can a prospective hire impress Azavea?

A prospective hire can impress Azavea by contributing to its open source projects like Raster Foundry, OpenTreeMap and GeoTrellis that are available on Github, along with code for many other software solutions. Or reach out to Azavea with a question or comment on one of their technical blog posts.

Why are open source contributions important to Azavea?

Open source tools are key components in all of Azavea’s projects, and employees have made substantial contributions to the ecosystems around open data, geospatial data processing and operations tooling.

What are a few examples of Azavea's open source contributions?

In other cases, Azavea has open sourced entire products:

  • OpenTreeMap: A collaborative platform for crowdsourced tree inventories.
  • Raster Foundry: A platform that aids in combing and analyzing earth imagery at any scale.

How does Azavea invest in Philadelphia’s communities?

Azavea supports the local community, and not only in donations. The company offers the office as a space for local events, meetings and hackathons. Employees receive paid time off to vote and volunteer, and many participate in mentoring young people through programs like Girl Develop It’s Summer of Open Source and Azavea's own Summer of Maps and Software Engineering Open Source Fellowship programs.

How does Azavea promote learning?

From an official tuition reimbursement benefit to a monthly speaker-led Brown Bag Lunch, Azavea encourages employees to learn and try new things. New employees choose 5 books to add to their personal library and are welcome to request more for the company’s library, which is located in a cozy lounge next to the kitchen. The company encourages employees to use 10 percent of their time for learning and research on a project or topic that really interests them. Past research projects have included: user experience design experiments with Google Glass; application of the OpenCV computer vision framework to recognize trees in Google Street View; better PostGIS import tools; Emacs integration with Django; and an exploration of machine learning algorithms for space-time risk forecasting. While not all of these projects result in measurable commercial success, they are an important part of the culture at Azavea and result in many long-term positive consequences. Azavea's open source work began as part of a 10 percent time research project.

What does Azavea's B Corporation status mean?

Certified B Corporations meet rigorous benchmarks for social and environmental accountability and transparency. In addition to giving back through donations and volunteering, contributing to open source projects and communities, and choosing customers with the potential for positive civic, social and environmental impact, being a B Corp is part of every-day operations. Azavea employees recycle, compost, track greenhouse gas emissions for work-related travel, and heavily utilize the company’s public transit and bicycle commuting benefits. Staying aware of environmental impact encourages employees to make responsible choices.

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