Last modified on 5 March 2013, at 00:23

Job openings/Director of Platform Engineering

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Director of Platform Engineering [CLOSED]


The key responsibilities of the Director of Platform Engineering are:

  • ensure the reliability, security, maintainability and performance of Wikimedia-developed open source software
  • organize the MediaWiki code review, QA, deployment, and release train
  • grow and support the MediaWiki open source community, including third party use of the software and the evolution of MediaWiki as a platform.

The Director of Platform Engineering also manages analytics engineering resources to support data-driven decision making.

The Director will hire, supervise, motivate, mentor, develop and evaluate staff, ensuring that staff skills are appropriate to meet the organization’s goals.

Located in San Francisco, the Director of Platform Engineering will report to the VP of Engineering and Product Development and will work closely with other senior staff, volunteers and vendors (inc. QA services, development service providers, security services, etc.) that work for and with the technology group.

This is a roll up your sleeves, participatory organization, and staff and volunteer teams tend to form flexibly around projects. The Director of Platform Engineering should be willing and able to act as an engineer and architect, collaborator, manager, strategist and tactical implementer.

Immediate Priorities

  • Be the key sponsor for improvements to foundational engineering processes, including code review, release, and deployment, as well as increased test coverage across the MediaWiki codebase;
  • Support improvement of engineering methodologies as appropriate for an open source organization, i.e. a blend of agile and open source best practices
  • Build a small but high-throughput quality assurance support layer by leveraging outside contract services and volunteers.

Preferred qualifications

Candidates should have the following type of experience and qualifications:

  • Multiple years of experience in leading software engineering teams, ideally including background in supporting large open source communities.
  • Familiarity with engineering practices appropriate for web application development, including security practices, testing and QA, rapid deployment cycles, scaling and caching techniques, etc. Experience with complex applications leveraging a large number of heterogeneous software components.
  • A track record as an exceptional communicator who is able to convey complex concepts to people of differing levels of knowledge and experience in writing as well as verbally; experience preparing and making effective presentations to diverse groups large and small with different interests and priorities;
  • A strong background in the development of efficient, reusable and redeployable processes, systems and organization structures;
  • Demonstrated skills in engaging, motivating, coordinating and supporting communities, and in managing the sometimes chaotic and quasi-anarchic nature of free-thinking communities is important;
  • A BS or equivalent degree in computer science or closely related engineering field or equivalent experience, advanced degree preferred; strong structured project management experience, preferably is high transaction environments with heterogeneous hardware and software configurations; a minimum of 8 years experience managing complex projects.

Personal characteristics

The successful candidate should be:

  • A mission-driven individual with an understanding of, belief in and commitment to the societal benefits of freely-available information and of the free open source software movement; a passion for how these principles are important in the development of civil societies; an ability to communicate that passion;
  • An independent and open-minded individual who values and appreciates diversity, input and collaboration from various constituencies; has the ability to make unpopular decisions when necessary and explain them;
  • An inveterate listener and explainer, comfortable receiving input from many sources;
  • A strong manager who will advocate for the needs the platform engineering department and the organization’s infrastructure; a practical person who will deviate from ‘ideal’ solutions in order to gain some other benefit (lower cost, increased stability, increased functionality, greater flexibility, etc.); a hard worker with a high energy level; a “doer” with a willingness to work hands-on with other staff, community members and members of the management team;
  • Emotionally mature and self-reliant; someone who will thrive working in a small but growing team; an ability to tolerate a high degree of ambiguity, and to negotiate with people having sharply defined opinions while maintaining positive, respectful relationships;
  • A sense of humor.

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