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Edtech startup seeks backend Rails dev to build Netflix of learning - software / qa / dba / etc - job employment

City: San francisco bay area
Date: 12 Sep 2018
Category: Software / QA / DBA


  • We're looking for an experienced backend Ruby/Rails developer to help us launch a completely new version of our platform and scale the product to a million users.
  • We're a fully remote work company, no central office for now, you can be located anywhere in the US.
  • Payment is mostly in company stock, so you need to have a side hustle that allows you to spend 2-3 days per week without getting much cash until we're able to grow the revenue.
  • We're looking for someone who is highly entrepreneurial and interested in joining a small team and eventually taking on founder levels of involvement, responsibility and leadership (along with commensurate equity).
  • We're a fun, supportive, people-first team of idealistic pragmatists. No drama, no egos. We're selecting for kindness and mutual respect.

About Badge List

We're a startup trying to accelerate human learning on a global scale. In an increasingly networked world, knowledge is changing faster than ever and our global engine for generating and maintaining human expertise is outdated.

Badge List helps companies, schools and professional development organizations make skills visible and trackable by creating digital badges to represent them. Our platform is currently helping hundreds of organizations around the world recognize learning achievements, guide learners and develop more powerful languages of learning for their communities.

Now it's time to take our vision to the next level. We've designed a completely new version of our platform which will become a new type of social network designed to enable data-driven learning on a massive scale. To launch this new platform we need help. We're a very very small team right now and it's time for us to grow. That's where you come in.

What We're Looking For

  • Lots of Rails Backend Experience - Our backend is a Swagger-documented, Rails-powered RESTful JSON API persisting to MongoDB and utilizing Redis and Sidekiq for asynchronous processing. We're in the process of completely refactoring the backend codebase and you'll need to jump in with both feet and help build a system that can scale to a million users.
  • Expert Level Database Architecture Skills - We've got a complex data model and an app that supports many different overlapping usage patterns. Your work will involve getting into the weeds of the data model, so you'll need to be super comfortable taking complex business requirements and breaking them down into scalable data architectures.
  • Familiarity with Cloud App Infrastructure - We're slowly but surely migrating towards a Docker and Kubernetes based infrastructure. In an ideal world you would either already be a pro in this area or, at least, be excited to become a pro.
  • Startup Experience - Ideally you've been in the startup world and are comfortable with the unique challenges required in early stage product development. If you haven't worked with a startup before but are incredibly excited to get a chance, that's fine too. If you have doubts about the startup life, if you're on the fence or if you're not interested in honing your business skills along with your technical skills, then this probably isn't the right role for you.
  • Ok with Mostly Equity Payment - While we do have a revenue sharing plan in place, the amount of money you should expect to get from it is (for now) quite low. We are not funded yet, though that is definitely part of the plan. This role will get a significant amount of company stock options vested over a very aggressive timeline. But you'll need to be able to afford to spend at least 2 to 3 days per week on the company without receiving much in the way of cash. (The current team members all have side hustles.)
  • Entrepreneurial - We're a super small team right now and we all have to wear a lot of hats. We are self-motivated, creative and scrappy. We're constantly having to solve new and unique problems. We love learning and are always working to improve ourselves and our crafts. In additional to our own areas of focus, we're also interested in startups in general, and we are all passionate about business strategy and how our skills fit into a broader market context. In order to succeed in this role you will need to thrive in this sort of environment. We're also looking for someone is who is prepared to take on a larger leadership role as the company continues to grow.
  • Passionate About Learning - We are a learning company and we are, individually, people who really like to learn and share that learning with others. You need to be the type of person that gets fired up about the power of knowledge and the mission of making learning opportunities more accessible to people around the world.
  • Fun to Work With - None of us are getting paid much (for now) and life is too short to have a crappy work life. We're a no-ego, no-drama, highly supportive kind of team and are looking for folks of a like mind.

What You'll Be Working On

  • Refactoring the Backend App Server - We've developed a new architecture, but there's a lot of work that still needs doing to get all of the existing functionality mapped over to the new way.
  • Optimizing the App for Growth -
    On the technical side: You'll be working to identify scaling choke points, then optimizing/refactoring the app to alleviate them.
    On the business side: We've identified a number of user feedback loops which are critical to the viral growth of the platform. You'll be working with the rest of the team to incorporate growth loop measurements into the underlying data models and then optimize the backend app to drive increases in those metrics.
  • Bug Fixes & New Feature Development - Participate in agile sprints to drive development of new fixes and features.
  • Improving Automated Testing - Help build out the rspec / capybara tests with the eventual goal of incorporating automated testing into a continuous integration process.
  • Migrating to Docker/Kubernetes - Work on pulling the backend and frontend applications completely apart and containerizing all of the aspects of the backend app.

Next Steps

If you think you might be a good fit, email [email protected] In the email please include the following:

  • A brief summary of your development experience
  • A brief summary of your startup experience
  • Your personal five year plan, expressed as a haiku (5-7-5 or not is up to you)
Note: Badge List is committed to diversity and to creating equal opportunities for employment.
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