About U.S. Digital Response

U.S. Digital Response (USDR) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan effort that helps governments and organizations respond quickly and efficiently to support the critical needs of the public.

Leveraging a network of pro-bono technical expertise and modern, resilient technology, USDR addresses and uncovers solutions for common, systemic challenges that public servants are facing, leaving them better equipped to deliver services and support to millions of people nationwide.

We operate with humility and deep respect for our partners and believe that modern and resilient technology applied in the public interest can deliver people-centered services at the speed of need.

During our first year, USDR built a year’s worth of deep partnerships with over 180 government and nonprofit partners, strong expertise across more than 250 projects, real-world impact to 13 million people, and repeatable processes to solve some of the most pressing challenges of this pandemic year.

We are in a moment where money and resources are being pointed to areas where these assets can provide a ton of value to people across the country. For example, a recent survey of local governments showed that 50% of their existing COVID-19 relief funds went towards IT infrastructure illustrating how modernizing tech goes hand in hand with serving people. Additionally, the Cyber Security and Information Security Agency (CISA) and the General Services Administration will use $9B to launch new major IT and cybersecurity shared services.

We are looking for team members that will join the early conversations about what our organization can look like in our second year and help us define a strategy in this new world ripe for government digital transformation.

Learn more about our last year in our U.S. Digital Response 2020 Highlights or by reading our recent press coverage.

Position Overview

The Engineering Lead position will support USDR’s technical infrastructure and tools that enable the secure operation of USDR itself, as well as any software we maintain that supports our government partners. This person will work closely with USDR's leadership team to figure out how to scale successful projects, identify new opportunities to build reusable open source software, and set a strategy for supporting and maintaining projects for the long term.

The ideal candidate is experienced with managing software deployed at significant scale, has multiple years of people management experience leading engineering teams, and is passionate about serving our communities by connecting experienced technologists to public servants and organizations they can help.

The ideal candidate will have excellent management and communication skills, respond quickly and cheerfully to changing conditions, and be grounded in the importance of the work. We’re looking for someone who is a team player and willing to jump in on tasks of any size.

We aim to be a supportive community where anyone can thrive and find a balance between working hard to make a difference and taking care of themselves in a difficult time.

In this role, you will

  • Set direction, support, and act as a backstop for our volunteer Tools Team, composed of a set of committed, long-tenured volunteers who provide technical assistance in support of USDR’s internal operations (e.g. handling access requests, handling security reviews and security alerts, supporting our SaaS tools like Slack, Airtable, Zapier, etc that together form the foundation of our organization’s processes).
  • Own the overall architecture of our internal systems that power the processes that run USDR, currently built on AirTable/JotForm/Zapier and JavaScript stack, as well as our public-facing website. This includes getting hands-on and making updates when needed and partnering with ops team members embedded in other teams to implement process improvements that lead to more efficient, unified workflows.
  • Build a volunteer team (or other process) to maintain projects that have moved from active development into maintenance. Many of our projects are repeatable solutions to common problems, but our volunteer teams typically transition off after projects complete. We would like to maintain ongoing knowledge and the ability to bring some of them up for new partners. We would also like to make shared components of projects easier to reuse. Our philosophy is to work in the open, so we would like to lean on approaches based on open source whenever possible so that governments do not have to rely on our volunteers if they have the internal capacity to deploy software.
  • Develop and execute a philosophy and strategy for allowing USDR to responsibly host software for our government partners. Today, we rarely do this, but we believe there are opportunities for us to play a more significant role in responding to crisis if we are able to build, maintain and host OSS for our partners.

An ideal candidate would be someone with

  • Previous experience managing engineering teams, with an operational focus, shipping software at significant scale (millions of users) with strict reliability and quality requirements.
  • Experience as a software engineer (or in a similar role, such as SRE) is necessary. Experience as an SRE – or working in a strong SRE organization – is a plus.
  • Strong sense of responsibility, keen analytical and problem-solving skills, the ability to manage complex projects and multi-task with excellent organization skills, and a joy at getting the details right.
  • Sound judgment, demonstrated ability in providing high integrity leadership, and capable of making smart decisions in the face of ambiguity and imperfect information.
  • Experience in building diverse networks, partnerships, and long-term collaborative working relationships, and someone who is comfortable thinking outside the box and finding amicable solutions to reach end goals.
  • Comfort with a fast-paced environment and changing requirements.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.

What you'll get

  • A competitive salary, consistent with similar roles in other tech non-profits in the Bay Area where USDR is headquartered. The annual salary range for this role is $130,000-$160,000, depending on experience.
  • Full health, dental and vision benefits.
  • A budget for team-level learning and development
  • A supportive community where everyone can thrive and find a balance between working hard to make a difference and taking care of themselves in a difficult time. This means that we are committed to a fully remote work environment (for US-based employees) along with flexible schedules and time off policies that work with your life.

Application Process

  • Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis and will continue until the position is filled. All applicants will hear back from us before the end of the process, and top applicants will be invited to meet with various members of our Executive Team and Team Leads.
  • The USDR Executive Team recently hosted an information session that is now available to watch to learn more about USDR, this role, and others.

Equal Employment Opportunity

U.S. Digital Response is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer fully dedicated to achieving a diverse staff. All qualified applicants are encouraged to apply and will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity and expression, and sexual orientation), disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

We encourage and welcome all interested potential applicants, regardless of background or prior experience volunteering with U.S. Digital Response, to apply.