Azavea | Operations Engineer - Technical.ly

Operations Engineer

Azavea | 990 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, PA 19123 | Dev / Eng

Job Description
Company Culture
Technical.ly Coverage

Overview

Azavea is a civic 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 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.

We are looking for an Operations Engineer who is passionate about building and operating 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

Operations Engineers at Azavea are members of the engineering team, and are primarily responsible for the availability, performance, and cost-effectiveness of our infrastructure. While traditional IT support is not a core responsibility of the Operations Team, the team does maintain the office network, phone systems, and hardware purchasing.

Efficient software delivery is a responsibility shared across the entire engineering organization, but Operations Engineers focus on assembling and maintaining infrastructure components that ensure everyone can confidently ship software. Often, they complement other engineers with a deeper knowledge of the components that make up our production infrastructure (system internals, networking, cloud computing). In addition, they are responsible for setting the direction that determines how we construct and deploy to production environments.

What You’ll do:

  • Work with the rest of the engineering team as the expert on reliability, performance, and operability.
  • Engage in multidisciplinary work that applies an agile process across multiple teams.
  • Automate many of the steps required to safely develop and deliver software.
  • Troubleshoot and mitigate complex production issues. Also, lead in the drafting of incident reports to reduce incident recurrence.
  • Contribute to a growing company and to the open source communities that support our work.

You should:

  • Understand networking concepts and UNIX operating systems.
  • Have a working understanding of source control management technologies.
  • Proficient programming in at least one general purpose programming language.
  • Excellent communication skills, both verbal and written.
  • Interested in working with small teams on meaningful projects.

You get extra points for:

  • Experience building systems on cloud computing platforms, like Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform.
  • A deep understanding of the operating system and network protocols, with ability to apply understanding to solve real-world problems.
  • Experience with web operations; specifically at large-scale.
  • Familiarity with tools like Docker, Terraform, and Ansible.
  • Strong sense of urgency and ownership over critical problem areas.
  • Demonstrating open source or other community service contributions.

You’ll notice that we don’t cite N years of experience or a Computer Science degree as requirements. Formal credentials like these are valuable, but we are primarily looking for people who have gained real-world experience successfully building sophisticated web applications.

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, a shower and lockers. The office itself is assembled as an open office plan with several smaller rooms for team meetings and concentration time. You get your own desk with a high-end 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, 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 maternity and paternity 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 house
  • 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, and 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.

Apply Now

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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