Software Engineer – Geospatial Applications Team - Technical.ly

Software Engineer – Geospatial Applications Team

Azavea |  Philadelphia, PA | Dev / Eng

Job Description
Perks + Benefits
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 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 a Software Engineer at the Engineer II or III level (mid-level) who is passionate about building applications that will have a positive impact.
  • At the Engineer II level, an individual will take on tasks of increasing complexity without sacrificing efficiency or quality, demonstrate understanding of how their work fits into the bigger picture, exhibit a growth mindset by being responsive to feedback, and will be capable of leading features or projects.
  • At the Engineer III level, an individual will demonstrate expert competency within their primary area of expertise; own large, cross-cutting features or entire projects with minimal oversight; build relationships with and consensus amongst various stakeholders; and clearly communicate complex technical concepts to a wide range of audiences.
Ideal candidates are interested in public service, but not necessarily in working for a government or a non-profit organization. We are interested in hiring someone located in Philadelphia or in the Philadelphia metro region to facilitate some amount of in-person work from our office, although we are very flexible about working from home. Compensation aligns with the Philadelphia metro region. We’re excited about what we do, we’re growing, and we hope you will join us.

Skills & Requirements

As a Software Engineer on the Geospatial Applications team, you’ll be working alongside other engineers, project managers, and user experience designers to develop custom web software for our clients. Lately, we’ve been developing tools to conduct remote street tree inventories and doing a fair bit of work in the civic space. Our team maintains DistrictBuilder, an open-source, collaborative redistricting tool that will support redistricting using 2020 Census data, and the Cicero API, an Azavea product that 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 geospatial data. If you haven’t worked with geospatial technology before, don’t worry—many of our colleagues hadn’t when they joined us.

What you’ll do:

  • Write code to create APIs and web applications based on visual designs.
  • Create interactive data visualizations in our applications using maps, charts, and graphs.
  • Model relational data and develop data processing pipelines.
  • Engage in multidisciplinary work that applies an agile process.
  • Support Azavea’s diversity, equity, and inclusion objectives through training and learning sessions, team discussions, volunteer opportunities, or other projects.
  • Contribute to both a growing company and to the open-source communities that support our work.

You should:

  • Have experience building applications using a modern web backend framework like Django, Rails, or Express.
  • Demonstrate proficiency with core web technologies (HTML/CSS/JS) and a modern web frontend framework like React, Vue, or Angular.
  • Be familiar with using and querying relational databases like PostgreSQL or MySQL.
  • Have a growth mindset and be excited to learn new technologies and skills.
  • Be comfortable with the command line and working in a Linux or UNIX environment.
  • Have excellent communication skills, both verbal and written.
  • Be interested in working with small teams on meaningful projects.

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 like AWS, GCP or Heroku.
  • Working with virtualization technology or containers.
  • Making technical decisions and owning outcomes.
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 experience successfully building web applications that have seen real-world use. 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 
The majority of our colleagues have historically worked out of our Philadelphia office, but during the pandemic we transitioned the entire company to remote work. While many of our colleagues are continuing to work remotely for the time being, the office is now open and we can accommodate either in-person or remote interviews depending on the health and safety concerns of you and our team. We have made arrangements for remote onboarding, including shipping relevant materials and a laptop to your 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 arranged as an open office plan with many 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. Azavea’s starting salaries for Software Engineer II and III range from $80,000-$117,000. Our benefits package 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 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 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
  • Dental Insurance
  • Health Insurance
  • Life Insurance
  • Onsite Gym
  • Short Term Disability
  • Vision Insurance
Parental Benefits
  • Family Medical Leave
  • Flexible Work Schedule
  • Nursing Room
  • Parental Leave
Perks & Discounts
  • Casual Dress
  • Lunch Provided
  • Snacks Provided
  • Special Discounts
Professional Development
  • Tuition Reimbursement
Retirement & Stock Options Benefits
  • 401K
Vacation & Time Off Benefits
  • Paid Holidays
  • Paid Sick Days
  • PTO

Describe the people who work at your company. 

Azavea is a community of learners and our colleagues have varied backgrounds and interests. People at Azavea have previously taught, studied classical music, learned to fly a plane, and picked up various languages. We encourage everyone to learn about their coworkers through our regular company events and impromptu chats on Slack.

With flexible hours and trust in our colleagues’ abilities, several Azaveans work remotely full-time and even use that as an opportunity to travel around the world. Azavea is here to enrich your life, so you can put your best foot forward while clocked in and on your own time.

 

How is your company structured? 

Azavea has a team-based structure. Our software engineering teams, which are made up of several full-stack engineers and a project manager, build out our tools and services. These teams collaborate with functional teams made up of operations engineers, designers, marketers, business development professionals, and administrators. Team members check in with one another via daily and weekly stand-ups or critiques.

While onboarding, we find one-on-ones or two-on-ones as a helpful tool for supporting a new hire’s learning process. Questions are always encouraged at Azavea.

 

What does the learning and development process at your company look like? 

We’re the type of workplace that wants to lift up colleagues so the mentees can become mentors. We aim to not only build apps, but also the careers of our team members. For example, we provide opportunities for mentorship through our apprenticeship programs.

For skills development, Azavea has a “10% time” policy that allows every employee to use 10% of their work hours to pursue an original project. Not only does this enhance your resume, but it makes you an all-the-more confident technologist. Past 10% time projects at Azavea have included experiments with machine learning, building internal project management tools, reading groups, Coursera courses, and trying various forms of serverless processing with Amazon Lambda.

 

What drives your work?

Azavea is driven by the desire to do good for the public. A lot of the applications we build are designed with a specific audience in mind, and for those people, the tools we create affect their lives in a big way.

Above all, we seek applicants that align with our core values, which are:

Ownership mentality

Kindness, humility and respect

Create more value than you capture

Default to transparency

Focus on learning & growth

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