The Philadelphia Inquirer | Senior Backend Engineer -

Senior Backend Engineer

The Philadelphia Inquirer |  801 Market Street | Dev / Eng

Job Description
Perks + Benefits
Company Culture Coverage

Job Summary

Our fast-changing technology team is committed to delivering great stories and digital user experiences through a robust, flexible and scalable technology stack. We are looking to add a Senior Backend Engineer to our team. Our engineers are working on everything from optimizing payment systems to integrating new social media platforms, and everything in between, all focused on better serving our audiences. We’re looking for a self-starter with a positive attitude, passion for solving difficult problems, and a hunger for knowledge. The ideal candidate is one who can break a problem apart, analyze it from different angles, and put an elegant solution in place.

Join our team in working on projects and problems that include:

  • Building out a new technology stack both functionally and technically
  • Phasing out legacy systems
  • Developing a sophisticated data analytics platform
  • Expanding upon and rebuilding our digital infrastructure into a long-term scalable system

About Us: The Philadelphia Inquirer is a public benefit corporation owned by the nonprofit Lenfest Institute for Journalism. Together, we’re at the center of a critical mission to create a lasting future for ambitious, engaging, and useful local journalism. We’re doing this, in part, by deepening our connection with the communities we serve. Our integrated digital and print platforms are the Philadelphia region’s largest media network. We’re passionate about building a sustainable model for indispensable local journalism, and we take pride in finding diverse, dynamic, and talented individuals to help push our team forward.

What You’ll Do

  • Lead backend API team.
  • Develop graphql, rest, websockets end-points for front-end web applications and mobile native applications.
  • Develop integration services for various platforms.
  • Architect and scale complex backend systems and services/micro-services, optimizing for long-term maintainability, performance, and reliability
  • Write modular, reusable, and unit test code
  • Regularly and effectively communicate with developers, project managers, cross-functional teams, vendors, and leadership to support day-to-day operations and long-term projects
  • Support team growth through mentoring and coaching junior developers, interviewing, and recommending new initiatives

Who We’re Looking For

  • Preferred 5+ years software engineering experience in a collaborative team environment
  • A deep understanding of software development lifecycle (SDLC), system design, data structures, and algorithms
  • Discipline with strong experience in programming in NodeJS, JavaScript, Python, Java
  • Strong database experience on RDMBS (MsSql, MySql, Posgres), NoSql (BigQuery, MongoDB, DynamoDB)
  • Experience with Elasticsearch querying and indexing
  • Strong experience on leveraging cloud services on AWS(Cloud-front, API Gateway, EC2, RDS, S3, Lambda, DynamoDB, etc…) and/or Google equivalent.
  • Experience with object-oriented design, serve-side scripting, and building backend applications with REST API services using Python or Node.js
  • Excellent knowledge of backend software engineering best practices (e.g. Agile software development, test-driven development, unit testing, code reviews, design documentation, etc.)
  • Successful in shipping high-profile user-facing products, working with large code bases, and engineering features for security, scalability, and high availability
  • Experience with performance optimization techniques
  • Knowledge of multithreading programming preferred
  • Experience writing scripts to automate the provisioning and maintenance of systems in a distributed, virtualized infrastructure, CI/CD
  • Familiarity with devops technologies on AWS, Heroku, NGINX, CircleCI, and Sentry
  • Ability to work in a highly demanding environment while also remaining flexible; able to change goals as business needs require

Other Things to Know

  • Occasional night and weekend work may be required to meet deployment deadlines and business needs
  • Working on computer with repetitive movements

* We know not everyone reading this will fit exactly what we’ve described. We encourage everyone to apply who shares our passion for indispensable journalism and our drive to create a sustainable business model to support it. As an equal opportunity employer, The Inquirer is committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive culture, and we especially encourage members of underrepresented communities to submit an application, including women, people of color, LGBTQ people, and people with special needs*

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Health & Wellness Benefits
  • Dental
  • Disability Insurance
  • Health Insurance
  • Life Insurance
  • Onsite Gym
  • Vision
  • Wellness Programs
  • Game Room
  • Work from Home
Parental Benefits
  • Family Medical Leave
  • Flexible Work Schedule
  • Generous Parental Leave
  • Mother Rooms
Perks & Discounts
  • Casual Dress
  • Company Outings
  • Special Discounts
Professional Development
  • Online Trainings
Retirement & Stock Options Benefits
  • 401K
Vacation & Time Off Benefits
  • Generous PTO
  • Paid Holidays
  • Paid Sick Days

What kinds of opportunities exist for technologists at The Philadelphia Inquirer?

It’s a really exciting time to work here. We’re in a unique position right now where we can focus on what we want to do and what we want to build.

Because the industry is changing so fast, there’s a lot to explore and figure out. It’s challenging because it’s completely new territory.

Currently, we’re looking to make 10-15 new hires in Engineering, Design, Product Management, UX Research and Scrum roles.

How can interested job candidates get a better feel for the kind of technical work they might do there?

Visit Look at what we’re producing online. We’ve been doing a lot of creative work on the site.

There’s an opportunity to get your hands on so many different types of projects: the website, the app, the digital storytelling of investigative pieces, etc.

What exciting things are happening at the organization these days?

One thing we’ve done recently is to create “The UpSide.” It’s a section of the Sunday Inquirer and that only features positive stories happening across Philadelphia. It’s a nice way to add light into readers’ lives when the news can feel very heavy.

There’s also been a big push internally for more inclusivity in our reporting. We’re making huge strides to dive into, uncover and report on stories that represent all Philadelphians in all communities. We’re serving an increasingly diverse city and region, and we’re passionate about covering all of it and about making sure our workforce reflects our region.

How does The Inquirer tackle career growth and development?

Though there is no formal structure, we encourage internal growth in many ways.

We love to build from within, from filling roles internally to enabling employees to follow their passions and build new skill sets through mentorship, access to courses, side projects and weekly digital trainings. 

We’ve also just launched our Employee Resource Groups. There is a Women’s, Multicultural, and Volunteer and Veterans’ ERG. It can take shape in many ways. We might bring in speakers, have lunch-and-learns, or host events internally or out in the community. It’s another way for employees to engage, break down workplace silos, get mentorship and professional development, as well as grow in ways you don’t get to on a day-to-day basis at the office.

Tell us about the internal culture at The Inquirer.

We’re mission-driven and that bleeds through every single department. Our goal is always to be the go-to resource for news and information in the greater Philadelphia area. Everyone is very collaborative in that effort. We are all working towards the same goals; it’s very cohesive. 

We have been doing a lot more lately to add some fun and engagement to the office culture. We started First Fridays to encourage people to mingle and get to know one another better, as well as established more social activities like ping pong and sports groups.

What is it like to work in a news organization?

It’s a lot of things. It’s hectic and takes a lot of hard work. But it’s also incredibly inspiring and rewarding. You get to see the impact of your work and the changes that the news you helped deliver has on the community.

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