Site Reliability Engineer

Location: Brooklyn, NY or remote within the US
Target Start Date: 4/7/2020
Salary Range: $105,000 - $125,000 (Offers will vary based on experience and location-based cost-of-living calculations)
Benefits: Vision, dental, & medical insurance; 403(b) retirement savings plan; generous vacation policy; parental leave; long-term disability; employee assistance program
Level: Mid to Senior

Organizational overview


At Democracy Works, we believe voting should fit the way we live. To that end, we build technology for both voters and election administrators that simplifies the process and ensures that no voter should ever have to miss an election.

TurboVote
, our first service, helps voters register, stay registered, and cast a ballot in every election, from municipal to national. We’ve signed up more than seven million voters for TurboVote by building the largest college, nonprofit, and corporate voter engagement coalition in the country. Our partners include more than 300 campuses, nonprofits like Headcount, the Sierra Club, Climate Strikes, and the Hispanic Federation, companies like Starbucks, Univision, Facebook, Google, Snap, and dozens more. We also helped (basically) everyone find their polling place through the Voting Information Project. Its data had 123 million impressions in 2016, and over 11 million voters looked up where to vote on GetToThePolls.com. Ballot Scout helps election administrators track absentee ballots through the mail, providing transparency in the vote-by-mail process and making it easier to follow up when things go awry. And in 2018, we became the organizational home of the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED).

The infrastructure team supports the software development team in ensuring Democracy Works’ services run smoothly, automating repetitive tasks, monitoring and alerting, and performing architecture and code review. Democracy Works faces unique scaling challenges, especially in a presidential election year, and the work of the infrastructure team is highly visible within the company.

As our first Site Reliability Engineer, you will guide the direction of the infrastructure engineering discipline at Democracy Works; exemplifying reliable, measurable, secure and repeatable practices that will act as a “force multiplier” across our products.

You will:

  • Maintain our infrastructure using Terraform and Kubernetes.
  • Design, build, maintain, and plan for growth of infrastructure at Democracy Works.
  • Create and maintain monitoring and alerting for services.
  • Create and maintain documentation for the systems and tools that you work with.
  • Automate “toil” - discover repetitive manual actions, document those actions, and automate them if possible.
  • Improve existing automation to mitigate risk introduced through the natural process of software change.
  • Join an on-call rotation for services you are responsible for.
  • Review existing code and architecture for security and reliability.
  • Work closely with developers and product teams regarding security and reliability implications of software and infrastructure changes.
  • Aid developers in debugging production issues across services in a distributed system.
  • Assist with interview processes for other available roles at Democracy Works.
  • Work with product teams to balance and prioritize your work according to external deadlines and organizational goals.

You are someone who:

  • Thinks about systems as more than the sum of their parts.
  • Knows their way around a Linux shell.
  • Knows why infrastructure-as-code is important.
  • Understands Docker and its ecosystem.
  • Has some hands-on experience with Kubernetes, understands when it makes sense to use and when it doesn’t.
  • Has strong programming skills: we make heavy use of Clojure and the JVM but are interested in using the right tool for the job, and language is less important than fundamentals.
  • Has strong asynchronous communication skills. As a distributed team, we make heavy use of Slack, documentation, and development processes to communicate our ideas.
  • Understands security basics such as the principle of least privilege, specifically as applied to a cloud environment.
  • Has a desire to document something once they’ve learned it so that others can benefit from their knowledge.
  • Can structure and prioritize work, often from scratch, in accordance with organizational goals and external deadlines.

Physical demands

This position requires regular, daily use of a computer to conduct work and communicate with colleagues.

Social expectations

You will have regular one-on-one meetings with your manager and regular meetings with the developers and product managers you work with.

Time and travel expectations

Democracy Works’s regular operating hours are 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Eastern time. Two times per year, all full-time staff members participate in a five day retreat in our Brooklyn offices. All staff is held each year in May and November.

Application Instructions

To apply, please send a resume and respond to the following questions (instead of a cover letter) using the form below.

In your responses, please include only the following information:

  • How did you find this job listing?
  • In one sentence, what makes you interested in Democracy Works? 
  • In one sentence, what makes you interested in this role?
  • Are you willing to work at a non-partisan organization?
  • Would you be available to start by April 7, 2020?
  • Would you enjoy playing a supporting role to developers and the systems they work on?
  • Do you feel comfortable explaining technical concepts to non-technical people?
  • In 1-2 sentences, describe your practical experience with Kubernetes or another container orchestration technology.
  • In 1-2 sentences, describe your practical experience with Terraform or another infrastructure-as-code tool.

As part of our application, you’ll see an optional form used to collect EEOC demographic information. The data collected in this form is useful in our EEOC reporting and in our assessment of our recruitment practices. However, please keep in mind that the standardized EEOC language used in this form does not reflect the values of Democracy Works--for example, we don’t view gender as binary. We also encourage all applicants to state their pronouns when applying for any job openings at Democracy Works. 

Democracy Works is committed to diversity and inclusion in everything we do, and aspires to have a team that's representative of the voters we serve. When hiring, we practice proactive outreach to top talent that’s underrepresented in our sector. We conduct an anonymized skills evaluation, to reduce implicit bias and resume-dependency in our process. We're a woman- and gay-founded nonprofit, and promote an inclusive culture that stands against racism, sexism, homophobia, and ableism (to name a few). To be explicit, we strongly encourage applicants of all races, ethnicities, political party associations, religions (or lack thereof), national origins, sexual orientations, genders, sexes, ages, abilities, and branches of military service. 

Feel free to contact work@democracy.works if you have any questions about our commitment to inclusion or about general hiring practices, or if you need an accommodation for a medical condition during the hiring process. Democracy Works posts all current career opportunities at democracy.works/careers.

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