My name is Jess and I’m a developer at Delib, one of Team Rubber’s three companies. We develop and host web apps for government customers around the world. Citizens use our apps to participate in decision-making. I like being a part of that – it genuinely feels like we’re doing something that matters.
Things at Delib are exciting right now. We have a big sales pipeline and we’re rolling out sites for new customers all the time on servers in the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, but it’s a lot for us developers to look after. We are not sysadmins, and managing international ops in addition to improving and maintaining our apps is a bit like spinning plates.
Our customers have rigorous uptime requirements, and all our sites are monitored by Pingdom. Pingdom often sends us texts in the middle of the night and then we have to debug server issues at 3am while half asleep (or, in a recent fiasco, from a service station on the M20). Frankly, it’s beginning to piss us off. We need these issues resolved once and for all.
What we’ll need from you
Essentially, we need you to keep our servers online, keep our customers’ data safe and secure, and help us scale our operations internationally, so that we developers can carry on with what we’re best at – developing our apps.
We aren’t looking for someone just to work down a task list that already exists. We have some ideas about the kind of configurations we like, but we expect you to be able to suggest improvements. The first thing you’ll be doing is gathering requirements, investigating alternatives and coming up with a proposal to modernise and standardise our hosting environment.
You’ll be working closely with the development team – no “sysadmin in the basement”. My secret hope is that once you’re here, I’ll never have to SSH into another production box or wrangle another apache config again, but realistically we all know this probably won’t be the case. Therefore we need you to be able to document everything clearly and comprehensively. Documentation is key if you ever want to go on holiday without us texting you to demand information!
As I mentioned before, the job involves on-call. We pay a get-out-of-bed fee, although ideally you’ll automate all that nonsense away.
Our existing tech
This is what we use at the moment, so it’s vital that you’re familiar with it, even if it’s just so that you can capably manage the migration to something else:
- Our production boxes run a mixture of CentOS and FreeBSD, with VMWare ESXi for managing VMs. We need these to stay online, patched and monitored.
- All our sites are served through Apache. Ideally you can write Apache rewrite rules in your sleep. If you prefer Nginx or anything else then you’ll need to make a persuasive case for switching.
- We write our own software in Python, so if you have to write your own tools then Python is preferred.
- We use Munin and Pingdom for monitoring, Redmine for ticketing, and a mixure of git and SVN for version control.
- We’re not currently using ITIL or ISO 27001, but anticipate introducing at least ITIL in the next year. If you have experience with these we’d be interested in hearing about it.
- You’ll need to support the development environment as well as production. You don’t need to look after the office laptops, printers etc; we have that covered.
- We have servers around the world because our customers really need data (including backups) to stay physically in their territory. You’ll probably need to become familiar with data protection and infosec requrements for all the different territories in which we operate.
We work from an open-plan studio in a listed building in Bristol’s historic King Street, which recently seems to have become the craft beer capital of the South West (the street, that is, not our office). We’re a sociable bunch – we drink together and often go out for company lunches; there are plenty of interesting places to get food nearby.
It’s probably a full-time permanent position, but a lot of our developers and testers have part-time contracts with the option to work extra days by mutual agreement. If this is of interest then it’s something we can discuss. Most of us work 10am – 6:30pm but feel free to work 9 – 5:30 if that floats your boat.
Interested? Drop Tom a line with CV and covering letter: firstname.lastname@example.org
No agencies please! We know where you are, we’ll call if we need you.