Lead Back-end Developer
Digital Democracy
United States
Application deadline 11/28/2021
Type of Position Remote
Education Requirement Bachelor

Lead Back-end Developer

Digital Democracy is looking for a lead back-end developer with 5 years experience to join our small, remote team on a 12-month contract (with potential long-term) starting as soon as possible. You will help build cutting-edge open-source mobile and desktop mapping apps for remote and marginalized communities to document, map, monitor, manage and report information on environmental and human rights issues around the world.

We’ve seen firsthand that change does not come from technology, but from how people use it. We are building tools our partners are using to achieve transformative change. We are dedicated to working towards a world where all people can participate in the decisions that govern their lives.

What we’re looking for

You will work with our growing, small team of engineers, a designer, and a product manager to lead the development of the peer-to-peer database that powers our mobile and desktop mapping apps. You should have existing experience with: peer-to-peer data structures; writing modular Node.js code; designing simple and easy-to-understand APIs. You will work closely with the front-end team to build back-end features to meet user requirements on a regular release cycle. You have 5 years experience working in a team to deliver apps to production and are comfortable using git for collaboration.

We are a small, high-impact team that takes a collaborative approach to tool-building and decision-making. Our tool development is led by our partner communities. You would be building tools that will be tested and used by our partners to confront real problems on the ground in the Amazon and around the world: Protection of the world’s forests and their ancestral homelands from deforestation and contamination. We need someone who can think creatively and collaboratively to solve these problems.

This is a full-time position of 40 hours per week with some flexibility for the right candidate.

The Role
  • Implement a new API for the Mapeo Core database and p2p networking.
  • Revamp and redesign of our backend modules using Hypercore and Realm.
  • Coordinate with our front end developers to design usable data models for UI.
  • Maintain and contribute to several open-source modules used by Digital Democracy.
  • You’re comfortable working with a small team and jumping in to help where needed.
Important traits for this role
  • Leadership & vision. You will take ownership of the backend stack for Mapeo and ensure that it meets the long-term needs of Mapeo users.
  • Peer-to-peer. You have an understanding of peer-to-peer data structures and networking, and have ideally worked on p2p projects in the past.
  • Tooling knowledge. Node.js; modular code; Typescript; Git; document databases (NoSQL) — you are comfortable and proficient working with these.
  • Values-based. You share our belief in building tools that prioritize the autonomy of our partners, and challenge legacies of colonialism and extraction.
  • Rigorous at testing. You can write thorough automated tests that cover usage of the code in a real environment.
  • GMT timezone compatible. You can intersect your working day for at least 3 hours with GMT.
  • API design & documentation. You are capable of designing a simple and easy-to-understand API and clearly documenting and communicating the code.
Other qualities we’re on the lookout for
  • Experience working within an Agile environment
  • Experience with Hypercore Protocol
  • Experience working with geospatial data
  • Enthusiasm for open-source and experience publishing and maintaining modules
  • Proficiency in TypeScript
  • Basic understanding of React
  • Ability to communicate technical concepts to the team and partners in non-technical terms.
  • Ability to speak more than one language, in particular Spanish or Portuguese
Our Team

Our small but growing team is based in Oakland, CA; Washington, DC; New York; Montreal, Canada; Barcelona, Spain; Goiás, Brazil; Hastings & Oxford, U.K. and we welcome candidates from around the world, especially South America. We embrace distributed working, and are happy for you to work from where you live. The Indigenous communities we work with have lived through colonization and deal with its effects everyday, along with marginalization and discrimination against their language and culture. It is therefore particularly important that we build a diverse team with individuals who understand and empathize with their situation. Indigenous people, people of color, women, LGBTQ folk and others who identify as coming from a marginalized identity are strongly urged to apply. We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, or disability status.

  • Flexible schedule, location and hours. As an organization we embrace working smarter, not harder. We are happy for you to work from where you live, on a schedule that works for you.
  • Opportunity to visit our partners in the field. Although most of the job is desk based, this role may include travel to our partner communities for workshops if you continue working with us long-term beyond the current pandemic.
  • Opportunity to play a key role at a ground-breaking organization. You have the opportunity to make a big impact in a small team.
  • Compensation and benefits commensurate with experience (the salary range of our current staff is $6,000–8,000 USD per month full-time equivalent), with flexible hours and opportunity to work where and when best fits your schedule.
How to Apply

Send a note with the following to by 11:59pm EST on Sunday November 28th 2021. We will review applications as we receive them and may start interviews before the close date.

  • Why you’re interested in developing tools at Digital Democracy.
  • Résumé / CV
  • Examples of your work. Link to projects you’ve finished and any open source work on Github.
  • (Extra points) a story of an experience in work, travel or volunteering that has changed your perception of the world.