Noble Impact Seeks Lead Engineer To Scale Access To Opportunity For K-12 Students

Noble Impact Seeks Lead Engineer To Scale Access To Opportunity For K-12 Students

We are looking for an education-obsessed Lead Engineer to join our team in scaling access to opportunity for students in the K-12 system. If you or someone you know gets pumped about the idea of building a tech team and a product that helps students use technology to share their personal stories and experiences with their communities, while connecting with college and work opportunities, read on and let’s chat!

The Position

As Lead Engineer at Noble Impact, you will be responsible for scaling a social-enabled digital portfolio platform while being the Captain Kirk of our U.S.S. Enterprise: “running point on big projects, midnight deploys, spearheading technical debt efforts, [creating and] following best practices, digging into the nastiest bugs, etc.”

Working within an Agile development methodology, you will lead and collaborate with other engineers and work closely with the Product team to deliver an exceptional user experience to our key stakeholders: student, teachers, and school administrators. In addition, you will stay atop new technologies and frameworks, assist with prototyping and proof-of-concepts, and ensure a high level of code quality from the team.

Beyond being a generalist developer with a will to lead and an ever-expansive desire to learn, our ideal candidate would be passionate about disrupting education, have an entrepreneurial spirit, and possess a background in managing startup tech teams, particularly with a focus on social networking-based products. This person would care a great deal about making an impact on the world and building an exceptional product within the EdTech space. He or she would be not only willing, but excited to get down and dirty with code as an early-stage startup teammate and founding tech lead.

In this role, you will:

  • Lead the development team in execution of the development pipeline and delivery of the organization’s software products to QA and ultimately to production
  • Maintain a hands-on role with both front-end and back-end web (and eventually mobile) development
  • Serve as Scrum Master in agile development process, as key connector to product team
  • Work closely with product owner and team members to decompose stories, design features, and prioritize tasks
  • Tackle arising technical challenges strategically and collaboratively as the tech lead
  • Lead hiring for technology talent, including two junior developers immediately
  • Onboard new tech talent and demonstrate an innate sense of duty for following best practices
  • Mentor junior developers, challenging them to be independent, while also providing necessary guidance

You’re our ideal teammate if you have:

  • Experience recruiting and managing great engineers and designers
  • Experience as technical lead on an agile scrum team
  • Thorough understanding of agile software development
  • Full-stack development experience, especially building scalable web and mobile apps
  • Passion for education
  • Ability to direct technology stack decisions that aligns with product vision
  • Customer-focused development philosophies
  • Love for Little Rock, Arkansas (where we are based)
  • A desire to change the world

On the technical side, we’re looking for a lead with:

  • Advanced knowledge of HTML, JavaScript, and CSS
  • Proficiency with Git, having experience managing multiple branches of code into development, beta, and production deployment environments
  • Professional experience with the LAMP stack (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP).
  • Professional experience with Laravel 5+ or other mature PHP frameworks
  • Professional experience with Vue.js or other advanced JavaScript frameworks
  • Experience with Bootstrap and CSS Preprocessors such as SASS or LESS
  • Experience with automation tools such as Gulp
  • Experience integrating external service APIs, especially the following: SendGrid, ZenDesk, and Google Analytics
  • Experience managing servers and deployments using Enoyer.io and Laravel Forge

You can expect:

  • A full-time position with competitive salary
  • Health and dental insurance
  • Flexible working hours and at-home working options
  • Opportunities to attend and speak at conferences
  • Passionate and impact-minded teammates
  • A collaborative, growth-focused, fast-moving culture
  • High-level connectivity within the education ecosystem
  • A vetted, existing, and active beta user base of 500+ local students to jive with

The person who fills the role of Lead Engineer at Noble Impact will collaborate with VP of Product Erica Swallow, who managed the technical MVP building process with a local web development shop. For a look under the hood of the portfolio product or to discuss this role, email or tweet Erica at erica@nobleimpact.org or @ericaswallow!

The Product

Noble Impact Portfolio Builder

Noble Impact is an education non-profit that provides relevant and purpose-driven education to K-12 students through a project-based and portfolio-driven learning experience. We currently offer a digital portfolio product to 500+ students in Central Arkansas. After running a non-technical MVP built on Weebly and connected to in-class curriculum, we validated customer value from multiple user segments, including students, teachers, school administrators, employers, and college recruiters and built a technical MVP to share with our beta customers.

Our product is built upon Laravel 5 and utilizes Vue.js, MariaDB, Bootstrap, and numerous open source plugins. As Lead Engineer, you should be comfortable guiding architectural and product development decisions based on industry best practices and your experience. You should be highly cognizant of today’s increasing mobile use, especially amongst young people and help us develop with a mobile responsive and performance mindset. We’re looking to build a pleasant and intuitive experience for our student and teachers.

Noble Impact Portfolio Login

The beta product launches in mid-July under management of an exceptional team of contract developers, and we’d like to bring on our full-time development team in August, starting with our Lead Engineer, to take over development.

Our vision for this tool is that it will be the social network and digital portfolio tool that scales access to opportunity for elementary, middle, and high school students. To do that, we need a technology visionary to join our ranks!

We hope you are as excited about changing education as we are. If so, please contact us to talk about joining our team, by connecting with VP of Product Erica Swallow, at erica@nobleimpact.org or @ericaswallow. The Noble team is also accessible at joinus@nobleimpact.org. Please attach your resume, LinkedIn, GitHub, portfolio, and/or other resources that speak to your experience.

SXSWedu Takeaways From An Education Newbie

SXSWedu Takeaways From An Education Newbie

Last year, I made a career switch to education, joining Noble Impact, because education has had a profound impact on me as a first-generation college student.

With my new role, I’ve taken on an immense amount of learning opportunities including attending dozens of educators summit and professional development events; hosting student programming with the team; and conducting research both at a sector level and within Noble Impact’s own initiatives.

Being a newbie in education, this year was my first time to attend SXSWedu, one of the most well-reputed and fastest-growing education conferences in the nation. Though I had attended its predecessor, SXSW, a series of Music, Film, and Interactive festivals, edu was a whole new beast for me. I have to say, I’m quite pleased with the experience. As I transition to SXSW, which starts the day after SXSWedu ends, I’ll be ruminating on the key takeaways SXSW’s education-obsessed cousin event invoked in me around diversity, professional development, and technology.

Educators Have Meaningful Discourse About Diversity

SXSW Finding the Medium Panel
Education equity was such a present topic at SXSWedu that it slightly derailed, but also enhanced (in the end), this panel about teacher voice.
All over the web and in the news, I’m continually appalled by the amount of racist, sexist, classist, and generally offensive and ignorant behavior that goes on in America. In the past months alone, multiple peaceful protesters were attacked at political rallies, Asian children were mocked on the Oscars’ stage, and Navajo beliefs were written into Harry Potter plots, much to the dismay of many Native American communities.

Just today in Little Rock, a “Black Lives Matter” t-shirt was pulled from the gift shop at the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, a museum about African American history and culture in Arkansas, reportedly because “being a state agency, the museum must represent all Arkansans.” Interesting, because the last time I checked, the mission of the center was to “collect, preserve, interpret and celebrate Arkansas’s African American history, culture, and community from 1870 to the present, and to inform and educate the public about African American’s achievements – especially in business, politics, and the arts.” The Mosaic does an exceptional job of that… when it’s not being censored, apparently.

All over the place, I hear people insisting that these injustices, based on skin tones, sexual preferences, economic background, don’t exist. At SXSWedu, though, it was a topic that came up in nearly every session I attended, whether it was the focus or not.

I have an inkling of a hypothesis that educators — who spend time every day in classroom, where a projected 51.5% of K-12 students are non-white, a majority for the first school year in American history — might be the group of people who are talking most about diversity and inclusion within their industry. I don’t have those stats, but my experience at SXSWedu at least was that it was a topic atop many people’s minds. It’s an ongoing theme I’ve seen at other conferences and events, too, which surprised me, because it sometimes feels like most of America is oblivious to the inequity that still exists in our country.

Teacher Training Can Be Awesome

Noble Impact at SXSWedu
Noble Impact co-founder Chad Williamson and I stormed SXSWedu to learn all the best that’s going on in education.
Only 29% of teachers are satisfied with current professional development (endearingly called PD, I’ve learned). That’s a stat I picked up from a SXSWedu session focused on redesigning teacher PD.

We often talk a lot about redesigning the student experience: Flipping the classroom, personalizing curriculum, implementing project-based learning. But what about teachers? They’re humans, too! And sitting in a conference hall for 8 hours straight, listening to lectures, is certainly not anyone’s idea of fun.

SXSWedu itself proved to me that ongoing teacher PD can be fun and engaging. This is one of only a few teacher training events I’ve attended in the past year, where I’ve legitimately had fun. There were all types of sessions — panels, team-based workshops, 15-minute talks, solution-driven summits. The only thing I’d add is more students… we talk about student voice, but there was a major lack of it, which is chronic across all PD and educator’s events. If we’re serving students, let’s have them there to contribute thoughts and ideas!

This summer, I should note, Noble Impact is launching its own inaugural educator’s professional development summit, and we hope to build it around the things we believe to be important in the classroom… Stay tuned for more! And in the meantime, try to spice up any PD you go to by suggesting some SXSWedu-style engagement!

Technology Is A Means, Not An End

SXSWedu YouTube's Top Teachers
Even a panel about teachers on YouTube wasn’t about technology in the end!
Lastly, but not least, I was pleasantly surprised that though SXSW-organized events are focused on innovation, most of the conversation at SXSWedu was not explicitly about technology. The two — innovation and technology — are often lumped together. But not at SXSWedu.

Even at panels in which I expected the focus to be around the wonders of technology and the Internet, such as the one about top educators on YouTube, the session content was focused on solving educational problems.

In the technology and media sectors, where I hail from, we often get caught up with the latest technologies for technology’s sake: “Oh my gosh, I can get notifications on my wrist with this watch! Holy moly, I can send a message and it disappears after reading? YAS. Wait, I can put on these goggles and feel like I’m across the world? Neat!” Ok, they’re all fun ideas, but are we utilizing them to solve problems? Or just dilly-dally our lives away?

I didn’t see a sense of technology ogling much at SXSWedu, except maybe among some of the technology providers. Educators, though, get straight to the point: How am I going to use this in my classroom? How does it enhance my students’ experiences? What are the key educational outcomes? Now, that’s some pragmatism I can get behind.

Were You At SXSWedu?

What about you? Did you attend SXSWedu 2016? If so, tweet us your thoughts on what you found interesting: @ericaswallow and @nobleimpact. Until next year!

Header image courtesy of official SXSW photographer Jessy Ann Huff. All other photos by Noble Impact.