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2021-10 - Senior Backend Engineer

This job was closed to new applicants in 2021-10

We’re looking for a backend engineer to work on Mathesar, a new open source project aimed at making databases more accessible to non-technical users. Our goal is to enable users of all skill levels to store, visualize, and collaborate with others on data.

We’re currently working hard on our alpha version, which we are aiming to ship by the end of 2021. Our team is based out of the nonprofit Center of Complex Interventions (CCI) and we are advised by Joi Ito and Reid Hoffman.

The Position

We’re working on simplifying and automating database operations and data migrations to make them easy to work with for non-technical users without sacrificing flexibility for advanced users. You’ll be collaborating closely with the rest of the Mathesar team to build the backend for the project using PostgreSQL, Python, SQLAlchemy, and Django.

We’re still working on the first version of the product (you can find our roadmap on GitHub) and there’s ample opportunity to provide input into the direction of the project from both the technical and usability perspectives. You’ll also have opportunities to contribute to frontend and infrastructure work if you desire – we are an informal team.

This position also involves ownership in building an active community around the project, including participating in conversations with both contributors and users, mentoring new contributors and interns, maintaining documentation and tutorials, reviewing pull requests, and so on.

We are a fully distributed team and work mostly asynchronously via Matrix and GitHub Discussions. You can be located anywhere in the world, as long as you can make time between 2 PM and 8 PM UTC for occasional video calls and team events.



  • Expertise in Python.
  • Strong grasp of SQL and database performance (PostgreSQL preferred).
  • Experience with architecting and maintaining Python web applications (Django and/or SQLAlchemy preferred).
  • Experience designing REST APIs.
  • Professional experience collaborating on a product within a 4-5 member engineering team.
  • Excellent verbal communication skills in English.
  • Comfort with explaining your ideas quickly, clearly, and comprehensively in writing.
  • Ability to work independently, build good working relationships remotely, and communicate proactively.
  • Interest in building an open source community and helping others contribute to the project.
  • Comfort with working without defined specifications and identifying and resolving ambiguity quickly.
  • Curiosity and enjoyment of learning new things.

Nice to have:

  • Experience with build/infrastructure tools like Docker and Ansible.
  • Experience maintaining Linux servers.
  • Experience with building self-hosted products.
  • Open source contribution or community building.
  • Remote (especially asynchronous) work.
  • Experience with working on complex data-driven frontend applications using a modern JavaScript framework.

Interview Process

The interview process will consist of four rounds:

  • Round 1: Interview with our project lead
  • Round 2: We’ll ask you to contribute a feature to Mathesar to simulate what it would be like to work together day to day.
  • Round 3: Interview with our backend engineer
  • Round 4: Interview with our frontend engineer and designer

Salary and Benefits

You will be a salaried employee if you’re in the US and an independent contractor otherwise. We offer a competitive salary in the nonprofit sector. We also have a budget for learning material (books, courses, etc.) and conferences.

US employees have the following benefits:

  • Medical, dental, and vision insurance coverage (CCI covers 80% of employee costs and 70% of dependent costs for medical insurance and 50% of employee costs for dental and vision insurance).
  • Life insurance coverage
  • 401(k)

How to Apply

~~Please fill out this application form.~~

You are also welcome to join our community and ask any questions you might have or contribute to the project.

Equal Employment Opportunity Policy

The Center of Complex Interventions, Inc. (CCI) is an equal opportunity employer. CCI complies with and adheres to all United States state and federal anti-discrimination laws with respect to its employment practices. CCI does not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, national origin or ancestry, age, or disability or any other category protected under state or federal law. This policy extends to recruiting, hiring, compensation, benefits, assignment, working conditions, termination, re-employment, employee treatment, and all other terms, conditions and privileges of employment. All employment-related decisions are made on a nondiscriminatory basis so as to further the principle of equal employment opportunity.