Software Engineer (Civic Apps) and Operations Engineer

Location:  Azavea, Philadelphia


Brief Description

Azavea uses geo-data to build civic apps.  We’re excited about what we do, we’re growing, and we hope you will join us.

Azavea is based in Philadelphia, and we are looking to grow our Civic Apps team as well as our systems and operations capacity.  The Civic Apps team which develops custom web and mobile software for visualizing and analyzing data related to stormwater, urban forests, ecosystem services, land records and digital history.

You are …

… a software engineer that is passionate about building applications that will have a positive impact – you are interested in public service, but not necessarily in working for a government or a non-profit organization.  You are interested in geography and maps and thrive on working in a variety of technology environments.  You enjoy configuring a network or tweaking a Linux server to get that extra ounce of performance. 

Skills & Requirements

Who We Are and What We’re Doing

As a B Corporation (check it out), we’re committed to working on projects that have social and civic impact and advancing the state-of-the-art through research.  Most of our customers are local governments, non-profit organizations and academic or federal research projects.  We build custom apps; perform geospatial analysis; manage several open source civic software projects (DistrictBuilder, OpenTreeMap and others); and develop an open source, high performance computing framework, GeoTrellis, that enables us to build fast analytical applications by distributing the geospatial data processing.  Our developers work across the technology stack from database and application servers to modern, browser-based front-ends. 

The Civic Apps team implements a broad range of custom web and mobile applications related to municipal government and non-profit organizations, including:  visualization tools for Civil War emancipation data; the largest environmental transformation of stormwater billing in the world; a huge historic photo database; re-inventing how people find clinical trials; and helping the Army Corps of Engineers transform its watershed management and budgeting.   In addition to these projects, the team’s work also includes the open source OpenTreeMap product, a web-based application for crowd-sourcing tree inventories and modeling ecosystem benefits.

Half of our colleagues are software engineers and most of the rest are fairly technical, so we don’t have a lot of end user support requirements, but our work is complex, and we often have knotty problems related to configuring and growing our VM infrastructure, improving deployment and backup scripts, optimizing our build and staging environments or improving our security.   It’s not enough work for a full-time operations engineer, but it’s enough that it’s probably a 50-50 splits in many weeks, so we are looking for something that both loves building slick web apps but also really enjoys improving the technology operations of a software firm.

What You’ll Do

  • Engage in multidisciplinary work that applies an agile process (scrum board, daily stand-ups and two-week iterations) to database design, architecture, development, testing and deployment.
  • Implement the wireframes and designs developed by our UI/UX Design team through server-side application code, APIs and web or mobile clients.
  • Optimize database, server and client performance to create applications with both functional and responsive user experiences.
  • Contribute to both a growing company and to the open source communities that support our work.
  • Work with our Director of Operations to improve the systems and technology infrastructure that supports the company. For instance, you might be tasked to configure VMWare Servers, diagnose network problems, and coordinate company-wide software installations.

You should

  • Know how to build and support scalable web applications in Python/Django and/or C#/.Net.
  • Demonstrate fluency in core web technologies (HTML/CSS/JS) and contemporary Javascript frameworks like jQuery, Dojo and Bootstrap.
  • Express solid understanding of MVC architecture and RESTful design patterns
  • Be interested in working with a small, collaborative team on meaningful projects.
  • Know your way around Linux, Windows systems admin as well as deployment scripting systems like Fabric and South.
  • Not be afraid of configuring a network router or VPN device.
  • Get excited about a diversity of both projects and technologies.

 You get extra points for

  • Experience with open source or commercial geospatial toolkits like OpenLayers, GeoServer, PostGIS, ArcGIS Server, and GoogleMaps.
  • Experience with mobile apps (Objective C, Android or responsive HTML)
  • Demonstrating your open source or other community service contributions
  • Experience architecting solutions based on Amazon Web Services, Google App Engine or Linode.

 Office and Benefits

Our Philadelphia office is located in a brightly lit office on the 4th 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, a shower and lockers.  It’s an open office plan with several smaller rooms for team meetings, private space and concentration time.  You get a top-end Linux or Windows workstation with a pile of memory for VMs and a minimum of two monitors.  While it’s not come-as-you-please, 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 developers can also spend up to 10% of their time on a geospatial open source or R&D project.  For example, some of our colleagues are contributors to the PostGIS, OpenLayers, GDAL and Open-Data-Catalog projects.  Other research projects include improving dev ops tool chains; using FFT for fast kernel density estimation; extending Scala for improved numeric handling; and hijacking GPUs for raster data processing .  Once a quarter, we all get together to work on our R&D projects as well as share our work with our colleagues.

 We offer a salary commensurate with skills and experience and a benefits package that includes:  profit-sharing bonus, health, dental, vision, retirement plan, flexible hours, and more.  We welcome candidates from all walks of life and value diversity in our company and do not discriminate based on race, religion, ancestry, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability, marital status or domestic partner status.

 View the job description on our website:

 To apply, please send your cover letter and resume to Amy Trahey at Please include the position you are applying for in the subject of the email.

 We also have a software engineering position available in our Bostonoffice.

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