Geospatial Software Engineering Lead

Remote Philadelphia, PA

Azavea is a civic technology firm based in Philadelphia that uses geospatial data to build software and data analytics for the web. As a B Corporation, our mission is to use advanced geospatial technology for positive civic, social, and environmental impact. Most of our work deals with local governments, non-profit organizations, and academic or federal research projects. We build custom web applications, perform geospatial analysis, and contribute to open-source projects. Our engineers work across the technology stack, from modern browser-based front-ends to robust service-based backends residing on scalable infrastructure.


Azavea is looking for an Engineering Lead to join our Geospatial Technology and Research Team (GTR). The GTR team leverages open source tools to design large scale data processing pipelines in the cloud, and leads Azavea’s machine learning and research efforts. The Engineering Lead role at Azavea is a Software Engineer role that includes management responsibilities and provides technical leadership for the team. Engineering Leads are expected to spend about 50% of their time on team management and leadership activities, and 50% of their time directly contributing to project and research work.


Ideal candidates will have some familiarity with a number of cloud technologies and service based architectures, proficiency with functional programming, a working understanding of the geospatial domain, and experience leading projects and/or people on a software engineering team. Although most of the GTR cohort are located near the Philadelphia area and we welcome nearby colleagues, this position can be fully remote and we are open to candidates from all areas. All remote colleagues are expected to be available for collaboration between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. EST.


We welcome qualified candidates from all walks of life and value diversity in our company. Even if you are not familiar with all of the technologies mentioned here, you will be supported in learning them as your interest and project work directs.


What you'll do:

  • Ensure the team’s technical and architectural decisions are consistent with company strategy and goals.
  • Maintain a high level understanding of all technologies used, and systems supported by the team.
  • Share people management responsibilities with the project manager, such as conducting one on ones, providing feedback, contributing to performance reviews, and assisting engineers on their team in achieving their career development goals.
  • Build scalable back-end software where performance is critical.
  • Implement new features, algorithms, data processing operations, benchmarks and tests in the context of both client services and research software projects.
  • Engage in multidisciplinary work that applies an agile process (scrum board, daily stand-ups and two-week sprints) to design, architecture, development, testing and deployment.
  • Support business development processes at Azavea by attending meetings with potential clients, contributing to proposals and scopes of work, and providing accurate task estimation and execution timelines.
  • Contribute to direction and features of open source projects maintained by Azavea, like GeoTrellis, Raster Vision, Franklin, etc., and contribute to the larger open source geospatial community.
  • Collaborate with engineers across teams to advance or refine the use of new technologies beneficial to development work.Provide high quality code reviews that help colleagues learn and improve.
  • Help research new technologies, make thoughtful recommendations, and clearly communicate trade-offs of adoption.
  • Identify and proactively tackle technical debt in appropriate areas of your projects.
  • Proactively look for opportunities to share knowledge across the company and externally.
  • Support Azavea’s diversity, equity, and inclusion objectives through training and learning sessions, team discussions, volunteer opportunities, or other projects.


You should:

  • Have experience leading projects and/or people.
  • Have experience with Amazon Web Services, Azure or another cloud-based architecture.
  • Demonstrate proficiency with functional programming.
  • Have a firm understanding of services based architecture and distributed systems.
  • Demonstrate the ability to define engineering features and tasks accurately.
  • Have a solid track record of executing high quality code on time that works as expected. Desire to continually improve your engineering skills.
  • Have enthusiasm for business development and a desire to stay on the cutting edge of industry standardsDemonstrate solid communication skills and the ability to work within a team environment.
  • Be able to adapt and learn in order to keep innovating on a cutting edge open source project.


Additional experience we find valuable (but not required):

  • Understanding of the geospatial domain.
  • Experience with Spark or other Scala-based distributed processing frameworks.
  • Prior work with distributed data processing frameworks, like Hadoop, Storm, Flink, etc.
  • Demonstration of open source or other community service contributions.
  • Strong background in algorithm development where performance is critical.


A note on hiring during the COVID-19 pandemic

The majority of our colleagues have historically worked out of our Philadelphia office, but during the pandemic we transitioned the entire company to remote work. While many of our colleagues are continuing to work remotely for the time being, the office is now open and we can accommodate either in-person or remote interviews depending on the health and safety concerns of you and our team. We have made arrangements for remote onboarding, including shipping relevant materials and a laptop to your home. We are fortunate to have invested in meaningful work-from-home tools and processes over the years and have been able to continue providing a secure, flexible, and safe work environment for all of our colleagues. We ask for your patience as we adapt our hiring process as well, and are happy to answer any questions or concerns about the process.


Office and Benefits

Our Philadelphia headquarters is located in a brightly lit office on the 5th floor of a converted factory building in the Callowhill neighborhood, a short walk from Center City, the Reading Terminal Market, and SEPTA subway and regional rail stations. For bicyclists, we have in-house bike parking, showers, and lockers. The office itself is arranged as an open office plan with many smaller rooms for team meetings and concentration time. You get your own desk with a high-end Linux workstation or Apple laptop and extra monitors. We have flex-time to deal with personal stuff, and most people work a 40 - 45 hour week on a regular schedule. After the first six months, our staff can also spend up to 10% of their time on an open source, professional development, or R&D project. Recent 10% time projects include experiments with machine learning, React Native, and various forms of serverless processing with Amazon Lambda.

We offer a salary commensurate with skills and experience. Azavea's salary for Engineering Leads ranges from $124,000 -$145,000. 


Our benefits package includes:

 • Fully subsidized health care, dental, prescription plan, including for spouse/partner and children 

• Fully subsidized life and long term disability insurance, plus voluntary short term disability insurance 

• Medical reimbursement plan to cover what the health insurance does not 

• Retirement plan with matching percentage 

• Almost 4 weeks paid vacation plus sick/personal time off 

• Family and medical leave 

• Flexible work schedule 

• Paid maternity and paternity leave 

• Child care subsidy 

• Paid time off for voting and volunteering 

• Education assistance plan 

• Student loan assistance 

• Public transit and biking reimbursement plans 

• Monthly lunches on the house

• 10% time for Research or Training Projects 

• Profit-sharing bonus plan 

• Financial transparency through an open book policy 

• Kind, capable, and thoughtful colleagues 


We welcome qualified candidates from all walks of life and value diversity in our company. We prohibit discrimination based on race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, veteran status, military service, disability, marital status, or domestic partner status.

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