Nov 17

Full Stack Web App Developer – Senior

TL;DR: Why Consider Us?
  • We have a commitment to transparency and offer a "no surprises experience" throughout the interview and hiring process. We value candor...as evidenced by the length of this job description. :)
  • Speaking of job descriptions, we don't let HR people write ours. They are written by software devs for software devs.
  • Our CEO prefers the title CED, Chief Executive Developer. Engineering and operational concerns don't take a back seat when potential sales come to the front door.
  • We practice and preach sound development practices. You are likely to learn and grow as a developer while working here.
  • We aren't trying to compete with FAANG compensation. But outside that bubble, we are competitive. See below for specifics on salary and benefits.
  • You will be working remote with a team that is all working remote and has been for years. Let's make the best use of our time by not commuting.
  • We have a no-drama office policy. We value and cultivate enjoyable working relationships among team members.
  • We emphasize work/life balance and adopt policies that make sure our people don't get burnt out. For instance, our PTO/Vacation policies are designed so that you actually use them.
  • A commitment to Agile Principles while not being enslaved to any particular methodology.
  • You like building full stack web applications with technologies like Python, React, SQL, etc.
  • You are committed to automated testing of all the software you write (our apps typically have 92%+ test coverage).
  • You recognize that there is a lot of idealism in the software development community and are not disenchanted with the the day-to-day realities of programming.
  • You like working independently but can contribute to a team as needed
  • If you apply, we guarantee that we will give you a response, whether "yay" or "nay". No black holes here!
  • Hard requirement: At this time we are only considering candidates who can work in the U.S. without sponsorship and can fit their workday into the 8am-7pm ET range. We are open to international candidates working in similar time zones, so long as your country's laws permit you to work for a U.S. based company on a contract basis.

The Job - Full Stack Web Developer

Daily responsibilities primarily consist of coding database-driven web applications and other web-related development work. In a typical day, you will likely work mostly with Python based web applications using frameworks like Django or Flask that interact heavily with a database (usually PostgreSQL). In the course of that work, you will have to interact with related technologies like JavaScript, React/Vue, HTML, and CSS/SASS. There's also opportunities for you to be involved in devops work if interested.

This is not a design job. It will require a lot of in-depth programming and database work including the ability to architect maintainable code that gets the job done.

While we do prefer to do most of our back-end work in Python, we will occasionally take projects in other languages if they seem to be a good fit for us and the customer.

Some days you will jump from project to project as issues come up. At other times you may work primarily on one project for weeks, months, or occasionally years.

Our customers have varied needs and so we tend to have varied responsibilities and projects. We have a focus on serving the customer and making software conform to their company rather than making the company conform to software.

Management

Your immediate manager will be a "Team Lead." This is a senior developer, project manager, and team captain all rolled into one. It's also someone whose proven to be talented with both code and people, especially communication. We don't believe non-technical managers bring a lot of value to a development team, so we don't use them. Ditto non-technical project managers. We keep our dev teams small and they usually have a small number of projects so that our team leads don't get overwhelmed. Communication with clients usually involves the team lead and the developers working on the project. We try to avoid the "phone game" whenever possible.

The ability to take ownership for a project, engineer a sound technical solution, and "drive" a project to completion is essential. Your team lead will be a ready and willing resource to help you architect solutions and/or solve problems, but won't micro-manage. If you aren't asking them for help or indicating you have a problem, they will assume you are making good progress on the issues assigned to you during sprint planning, which happens every two weeks.

Our CEO/CED and CTO are both software engineers and heavily involved in the engineering operations of the company. They oversee the health of the development team and projects, help our sales team evaluate opportunities for technical and capacity fit, gather feedback from the devs on what is and isn't working in our tech stack and/or processes, and consider the value that emerging technologies might bring to our organization.

Sustainability

"Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely" (Agile Manifesto principle).

We actively manage every part of our organization through the lens of what is reasonably sustainable. For example, it's why we:
  • Keep our dev teams relatively small
  • Emphasize a 40 hour work week
  • Are candid with our clients and set realistic expectations for them
  • Are relatively slow adopters of new technologies (so we can see if there is actual value there...not just hype and thereby avoid needless churn)
  • Promote professionalism, mitigate drama, and cultivate reasonable relationships with each other
  • Regularly seek input from the team on what isn't working for them or where improvements can be made
We don't want anyone to burn out. We'd prefer our team to be here and fully engaged for years to come.

Senior Developer

The position we have open is for a Senior Developer.  Senior Developers usually have 6-10+ years relevant experience and meet the following requirements:
  • Technical Skills
    • Are able to write modular, well-tested, and maintainable code
    • Know at least two software development domains (SQL, Front-End, Back-End) really well and are capable of radiating that knowledge to our team and beyond
    • Are able to work on multiple projects as needed
  • Leadership
    • Leads the design for customer projects with feedback from other engineers
    • Proposes new ideas for improving the development team, customer projects, and/or our tech stack
    • Adheres to and promotes our development culture and mission
    • For Team Leads (see below): invests in other team members to see that they are growing as individuals and to facilitate productivity within our team.
  • Code quality
    • Leaves code in substantially better shape than before
    • Fixes bugs/regressions quickly
    • Monitors overall code quality/build failures
    • Creates tests religiously and makes sure the rest of the team is doing the same
    • Proactively identifies and reduces technical debt
    • Proactively defines and solves important architectural issues that may hinder development
  • Communication
    • Provides thorough and timely code feedback for peers
    • Able to communicate clearly on technical topics
    • Keeps issues up-to-date with progress
    • Helps guide other merge requests to completion
    • Helps with recruiting and interviewing
    • Is able to manage conversations directly with customer contacts when needed.
  • Performance & Scalability
    • Excellent at writing production-ready code with little assistance
    • Able to write complex code that can scale with a significant number of users
    • Avoids premature optimization
Leadership

In addition to the leadership expectations noted above, some of our senior developers will also be involved in leading other developers and interacting with customers. We realize not every senior developer is as good with people as they are with code and that's ok. We need and value individual contributors. But if you like and are good at interacting with people, we will have opportunities for you to lead teams and/or projects.

Everything Else
  • General Requirements
    • 6+ years developing database-driven web applications with Python
      • If you only have 2-3 years of Python experience, we may still consider your application, but we will need to see experience with other dynamic languages: Ruby, PHP, JavaScript/Node; MVC (ish) web architecture; and strong experience/skills in two of the following: SQL, modern front-end JavaScript (React preferred), or automated testing (TDD a plus).
    • You agree with and would be pleased to work under our development mission statement and guiding principles
    • You can reason about software, algorithms, and performance from a high level
    • You are (or are willing to be) committed to automated testing in your software development process
    • Strong oral and written communication skills
    • Self-motivated and have strong organizational skills
    • US citizen or ability to work in the United States without sponsorship
    • Bachelor’s Degree in computer science (or similar degree) or ability to demonstrate comparable education & experience
  • Languages & Tools on a scale of 1 (novice) to 5 (expert)
    • Proficient (4): Prefer significant experience working with Python in a web development context.
    • Proficient (4): Database Development (SQL, multiple-joins, views, triggers, stored procedures)
    • Proficient (4): Common Python libraries: Django, Flask, SQLAlchemy, Celery, Requests, pytest, etc.
    • Proficient (4): Writing unit and functional tests. Believing in a TDD approach is a big plus.
    • Competent (3): HTML(5), CSS/SASS, web standards
    • Competent (3): JavaScript, Ajax, JSON, React, Vue, etc.
    • Competent (3): Distributed Version Control (Git, Mercurial)
    • Competent (3): Networking fundamentals (HTTP, DNS, TCP/IP, etc.)
    • Competent (3): Linux and related tools

We Are Offering
  • Salary: We are targeting $115K-$145K but would consider stretching for the right candidate.
    • We'll talk about salary & benefits in our first Zoom interview to make sure we are mutually in the compensation ballpark.
    • Everyone wants to be paid as much as possible, but the economics of business usually require that we meet in the middle.
  • Profit Sharing: In addition to a salary, we payout profit sharing bonuses twice a year.
  • One of the best things about working for us is that we really value work/family balance.
    • We rarely work more than 40 hours a week.
    • We know there are devs out there putting in 50-60 hours a week. We can give them 10-20 hours a week of their life back.
  • PTO/Vacation (5+ weeks total):
    • Everyone receives 3 weeks of PTO/Vacation per year
    • 5-12 sick days per year
    • 9 holidays
  • Healthcare:
    • We provide Health Insurance through an Anthem Silver Blue Access PPO
    • We cover 100% of the premium for employees and 50% for dependents
    • The plan has a broad nationwide network which should give all our employees, regardless of where they live, plenty of options for in-network providers
    • The PPO is matched with an Health Savings Account (HSA) and we match employee contributions to the HSA
    • We unfortunately cannot offer some benefits such as healthcare to international candidates.
  • Flexibility:
    • While we expect a regular schedule during normal business hours (fitting in the window of 8-7 ET), we are pretty flexible when schedule changes are needed for legitimate reasons.
    • It's not uncommon for our employees to take time off during the week and make it up during the evening or weekend so as to avoid needing to use PTO.
  • Telecommuting/Remote:
    • We all work remotely, and have for years.
    • That means our tools (Slack, Zoom, GitHub, etc.) and planning are designed to work for a distributed team.
    • We are open to international candidates working in similar time zones, so long as your country's laws permit you to work for a U.S. based company on a contract basis.
  • We Care: It's easy to say, harder to do. We all need to make a living, our company needs to be successful in the marketplace, and hard decisions sometimes need to be made. But, at the end of the day, we really care about our employees, their families, their needs, and their desires.

The Company - Level 12

Who Are We?
Level 12 is development firm that specializes in building custom software for our customers. We manage the entire process including planning, managing, and building software exactly as the customer needs it.

We serve customers in diverse industries including: non-profit, automotive, manufacturing, logistics, and financial. Our customers range in size from small startups to Fortune 500.

We set ourselves apart by digging into the customer's problem until we can own it and then delivering highly functional software that brings significant value to the customer's organization. That may not sound unique, but the longer we do this, the more we encounter people who have been burned by bad development experiences with other firms. We look for long-term relationships with our customers and have some that go back to 2005.

We may not be changing the world, but we are impacting the lives of our customers and their employees. You don't have to take our word for it, checkout some of our reviews by our customers.

This is a video we often use with our prospective customers to explain our agile/iterative development process (< 2 mins):

On Development Best Practices

Behind the scenes, we are using software development best practices to ensure that the code we deliver is flexible, maintainable, and works well for the user for years to come.

We know what it's like to work in a substandard development environment or culture that accepts or maybe even promotes practices that kill developer productivity and enjoyment. We work hard at promoting development best practices and ingraining them into our culture. If you come work for us, you can look forward to:

  • All projects managed in a Git
  • Development workflow using GitHub for pull requests, issue management, code coverage (using CodeCov), CI integration (using CircleCi), etc.
  • Developer friendly project setup: all our projects can be run locally on a developer's machine.
  • Test-centric development methodology:
    • Asking "how can we test this" is ingrained into our engineering and development workflow.
    • We have Continuous Integration (CI) running for all of our projects for at least the backend code (Python mostly) and some of the projects also run the JavaScript tests in CI.
  • A focus on Agile Principles while not being enslaved to them.
  • A openness to changing our processes and using new technologies when those changes add value to Level 12 and/or our customers.
If you'd like to learn more about what makes us tick, our Chief Executive Developer (CED) gave a talk on the importance of CI and automation in an agile software development process (embedded video) and has given other talks and presentations on various topics.

Character First

Level 12 was founded on biblical principles and has biblically informed Values. See the about page for our Mission, Values, Vision, and Purpose statements.

Due to differing or a lack of religious convictions, we respect that employees may not be able to identify with our faith-based Vision and Purpose. Applicants are not asked questions regarding nor expected to discuss their religious beliefs during the application process or during employment. But, we do expect all applicants and employees to share our Values.

Our Values describe not only who we are as an organization, but also who we are not. They encompass our ethics, principles, and beliefs about our organization and its relationship to the world. They communicate to employees the behaviors that are approved (and rewarded), and by extension those that are not.
  • Integrity: We are honest, trustworthy, reliable, and ethical. We act the same, regardless of who is watching, and especially when no-one is watching. If you use pirated software or media, don't mind "tweaking" the truth, or think porn == entertainment, this is not the job for you!
  • Work ethic: We work hard and like to work hard. We also work smart.  We want to do in 40 hours a week what other people need 50+ hours to do.
  • Work/life balance: All work and no play is a lose-lose situation. We work hard during work hours but are committed to protecting our schedules and ensuring adequate time for rest and family responsibilities.
  • Flexibility: Life happens and rarely on schedule or according to plan. Flexibility keeps us from snapping during the storms of life. When things change, we need to be able to role with the punches.
  • Dedication: We desire to contribute and to create value for our clients and the company. We demonstrate a high level of “ownership” for and initiative with projects assigned to us.
  • Teachable: We are open to and desire feedback/correction. We are willing to ask for help even if it makes us “look bad.”
  • Kaizen, continuous improvement: We recognize the value of continually striving to improve ourselves and the processes around us.
  • Resourceful: We like problem solving and seek to use all resources at our disposal in an efficient manner to troubleshoot. We know when to ask someone for help and when more effort is needed on our part.
  • Gifting / Core Competency: People are often gifted in ways that make them very good at doing some things and not very good at doing others. Our employees and our company needs to be operating in areas we are strongest in, i.e. focusing on our core competencies.
  • Attention to detail: Grand visions, out of necessity, are often presented in abbreviated form, but making grand visions a reality requires lots of detail.
  • Professional: We take our work seriously, striving for competence in everything we do and excellence in as many things as possible.
  • Humility: We often take ourselves too seriously. We are a stunning mix of great potential and great weakness. We will have the greatest success when we acknowledge both.
  • Finitude: We are finite beings, more limited than we often want to admit. But great strength comes from knowing and admitting where you are weak and compensating for it.
  • Balance: Most of life requires trade-offs, we can not be excellent in everything we do.
  • Patience & Longevity: We often overestimate what we can do in five years and underestimate what we can do in 20.
  • Generosity: It is better to give than to receive.

Next Step - Ready To Apply?

Have Questions?

Despite the length of this post, we may have missed something. If you have a question that the job description didn't answer, and you would like it answered before applying, please email us: [email protected]. We usually respond the same or next business day.

Our Promise If You Apply

Ever send a resume in only to never...hear...anything? We promise we won't do that. If you follow the directions above, you will receive a response from us within a week or so.

If you don't hear anything back from us, double check whether you followed the instructions above (🙂) and then email us for a status update.

Application Instructions

If you have read all of the above, carefully, and are interested and qualified, then here are your next steps:

Send an email to start the process:
    • To: [email protected]
    • Subject: Web Developer Application
    • Body:
      • Include a bit about yourself. We hire humans, not robots. 🙂
      • Include answers to the "Application Questions" below.
    • Attach: resume, preferably in PDF
      • Don't fret about your resume content or formatting. We are looking almost exclusively for relevant work history.
      • We will send out a questionnaire for more info, so no need for you to guess at what we want to know.
  • No cookie-cutter cover letters please!
  • You should hear back from us in a week or so. You are welcome to email us to check on the status of your application: [email protected]

Application Questions
  1. Any feedback on the job description? Too long? Too short? Find a typo? No...that's ok too. This isn't a test. :)
  2. Based on your experience, how do you grade a developer? That is, what makes the difference between a mediocre developer (1 of 5) and stellar developer (5 of 5). Where do you fit in?
  3. What excites you about programming? What discourages you?
  4. What makes a company's culture enjoyable to you? Not enjoyable?
  5. Based on this job description what do you find most attractive about this position? What do you find less attractive?
  6. Based on our company website and anything else you may know about us, what most attracts you to our company? What concerns you?
  7. Where did you originally find this job posting?
  8. Where do you live (city/state)? Do you have a comfortable, distraction-free environment setup for remote work?
  9. Are you a US citizen or otherwise eligible to work in the United States without sponsorship? Note: as stated above, US Citizenship or ability to work in the US without sponsorship is a hard requirement as is a willingness to work generally between 8am - 7pm Eastern.
  10. Are you potentially interested in a 30-90 day contract-to-hire position?
    • We typically evaluate candidates to join our team as full-time W2 employees.
    • However, if your current job situation is such that you'd be interested in working full-time (or close to FT) for 30-90 days while we got to know you better and vice-versa, please answer in the affirmative.  It's not a guarantee we'd offer or even consider you for this arrangement, just good to know for those who are interested.
    • Answering "no" to this question will not have any adverse effect on your application.
Regarding Authenticity: as you answer these questions, please keep in mind that we prefer candor over flattery and we are under no delusion that this is the perfect position or we are the perfect company. Likewise, we don't believe there are any perfect candidates. We understand that companies and people are made up of both strengths and weaknesses and the better we understand both your strengths and weaknesses the more likely we are to make a wise hiring decision.

Please take time to answer the questions thoughtfully and accurately.

Check your SPAM!!!

If you don't hear from us, check your SPAM folder. All emails that we send will come from the domain "level12.io".

The Rest of the Process

Our application process is outlined roughly below.

But, before you get there, we want to apologize in advance if this process seems...imposing.  We have put considerable thought and refinement into each one of these steps in an effort to make sure our hiring process is as well crafted as our software.  And just like software, hiring is a lot more complex than it might seem on the surface.  Our hiring process is far from perfect (like our software), we are still learning and tweaking, but we want to assure you that each of these steps gives us crucial information regarding you and your development abilities that is essential for helping us to determine if this is a good match.

Consider this: our entire process is less than a week's worth of effort to make sure that where you spend the next 1-5 years of your life is a good fit.  Isn't that worth it?  Keep in mind that we have deliberately structured our process so that the earlier stages require less effort.  Our hope is that if you make it to the later stages of our process, where the time commitment increases, you will have had a chance to get to know us a bit better so you can decide if the time investment on your part is worth it.  We care about your time (and ours) and do our best not to waste it!

Application Steps
  1. Evaluate resume and initial email correspondence
  2. Technical skills questionnaire
  3. Skills evaluation: 60-90 minute work simulation exercise
  4. Zoom interview(s): 45-90 minutes in one or two interviews to get to know you & your technical abilities
  5. Skills tests - phase I: three real-world programming challenges, no trick questions here (paid)
  6. Skills tests - phase II: project-based skills test: we give you a small project description and you build the best app you can (paid)
  7. Skills tests review interview: 2-3 hours on a Zoom meeting with our dev leadership team to get to know you and review your skills test results
  8. Collaborative work day:
    • As close to a typical work day as we can get. We just want to see what it's like to work with each other.
    • We'll assign you work based on a previous real-world project we performed This is a sample project, we're not using candidates for free or cheap labor.
    • We will be available via Slack or Zoom throughout the day to talk through the work and assist you as needed.
If at any step we don't feel like it's a good match, we'll let you know promptly. We ask that you do the same for us.

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