Position Description

Director of Software Engineering
Location Chicago
Job Code 529
# of Openings 1
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About Chicago Public Media

Chicago Public Media is home to WBEZ , Chicago’s NPR news source and one of the largest and most respected public media stations in the country, as well as urban alternative music station, Vocalo . The organization serves the community with fact-based, objective news and information. WBEZ’s award-winning journalists ask tough questions, dig deep for answers and expose truths that spark change and foster understanding. In addition to its local and national news programming, WBEZ Chicago is home to a growing portfolio of popular podcasts, including the “Making” series of Making Beyoncé, Making Obama and Making Oprah; an investigative podcast series, Motive; 16 Shots: A podcast about the fatal police shooting of Laquan McDonald; Nerdette; and Curious City. WBEZ Chicago has a legacy of innovation as the birthplace of nationally acclaimed programs such as This American Life and Wait Wait...Don’t Tell Me! and the ground-breaking podcast, Serial.

Chicago Public Media has recently acquired the Chicago Sun-Times, one of the Chicago’s two major daily newspapers and among the most storied dailies in the nation. With the Chicago Sun-Times and WBEZ, Chicago Public Media is now home to one of the largest teams of journalists of any local news organization in the nation. Under the banner of Chicago Public Media, WBEZ and the Chicago Sun-Times will reach more than 2 million people a week in the Chicago area across broadcast, print, and digital channels. Backed by a significant philanthropic commitment, Chicago Public Media plans to substantially increase its investment in local journalism by hiring additional reporters, producers and newsroom personnel in the months and years ahead.


The Opportunity

Chicago Public Media is seeking a Director of Software Engineering to lead the development and maintenance of its digital platforms including websites, mobile apps, membership tools, data pipeline and publishing infrastructure. As the principal architect and team lead of 4 FTE engineers, you will oversee the software engineering for our core media brands including the Chicago Sun-Times, WBEZ Chicago, and Vocalo.

This is an excellent opportunity for mid-career software engineers and engineering managers to take on a leadership role in public service journalism. You will be taking over an established team of skilled full stack engineers with opportunities for growth, while laying the foundation for the combined CPM family of brands.  

Reporting to the VP of Product within the Audience Department, you will collaborate with product managers and partners across the organization to enable innovation and growth while maintaining sustainable development practices and reliability. Your efforts will be vital to our mission of reaching digital audiences with our nonprofit service journalism to tell the stories that matter and further the public discourse. 



  • Oversee efforts to extend the functionality of our websites, mobile apps, CMS and internal tools to support audience, revenue and operational priorities through the development of templates, plug-ins, apps and more.

  • Advance performance and institutional goals through stewardship of our tech stack - a mix of established O&O properties, vendor-backed hybrid services, and future products where you will have autonomy to determine the best architectural approaches going forward.

  • Supervise a team of full stack engineers by mentoring, coaching, and helping them further their careers in the industry

  • Maintain an inclusive workplace for software engineering talent and augment our team with inclusive hiring practices, onboarding and training processes and external help when necessary

  • Enable sustainable innovation and velocity by thoughtfully assigning team members to projects, scoping level of effort, conducting code reviews and maintaining best practices in security and dev ops

  • Balance a mix of short- and long-term priorities, with the ability to develop quick, one-off solutions when needed and to identify opportunities for coding thoughtful, flexible implementations intended for long-term use and development.

  • Communicate the pros/cons of approaches and choices based on business and audience value, scalability, maintainability and product delivery performance.

  • Collaborate with external development teams, vendor partners and contributors, as we are a small team and depend on the ability to work with outside parties occasionally.

  • Incorporate emerging technologies and best practices into our technology decisions to take advantage of new opportunities. For example, how can we use AI to be more effective


Required Qualifications

  • 5-8 years of experience as a full stack software engineer with extensive portfolio of shipped digital products

  • Extensive experience mentoring software engineers, if not direct supervision

  • Experience working in Agile software development environments

  • Demonstrated experience in building and maintaining an inclusive workplace culture

  • Deep knowledge of technologies including website, mobile app, content management, e-commerce, microservices, databases, and cloud dev ops

  • Examples of making informed architectural decisions at scale and seeing them through to launch

  • Prowess in data architecture at scale: putting user data to work across multiple services and platforms to augment the user experience and realize business outcomes

  • Knowledge of best practices in site speed, cloud dev ops, payment/checkout

  • Demonstrated experience in establishing best practices in code reviews, cybersecurity, PCI compliance and efficient devops environments

  • Deep knowledge of cloud services. We are an AWS shop employing S3, Route53, Lambdas, and EC2


Preferred Qualifications

  • Direct supervision of software engineers with a track record of retention and skills development for your reports

  • Though our team is built to be programming language-agnostic, our products use Nuxt.js (Vue), React Native (Android / iOS Apps), Python, PostgreSQL, vanilla JS and Java

  • Media industry experience including news, podcasting / audio, and  content management are useful but not required


Applicants should provide links to any public github repositories, portfolio or live examples of completed work.


Working at Chicago Public Media

At Chicago Public Media, we care deeply about our employees as we know attracting, developing, and growing talent is key to our success and enhancing our impact. Our culture is one where collaboration, ideas, and innovation are encouraged. We value colleagues who will enhance our culture by bringing new ideas, diverse experiences, and talents to our dynamic workplace.

Chicago Public Media’s dedication to promoting diversity and inclusion is reflective across our brands, WBEZ 91.5 FM and Vocalo 91.1 FM, in our staff and in our work. We are fully focused on equality of opportunity and believe deeply in diversity of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, national origin, experience, and all other fascinating characteristics that make us different.

At Chicago Public Media we believe dedication to a great workplace includes supporting our employees and their families. As a result, we provide a broad and generous benefits package for you at hire and in the years to come.

Our benefits include:
- 6 weeks fully paid family leave
- High quality Medical, Dental, and Vision plans at an affordable cost
- A 403(b)retirement plan with a company match
- Generous paid time off, including starting with 3 weeks’ vacation and 4 personal days.

The essential functions described above are not all-inclusive and may change periodically to meet the needs of Chicago Public Media (CPM). The information contained in this job description is not intended to create any contractual or other legal commitment. Chicago Public Media may change the content or format of this job at any time in its sole and exclusive discretion without notice.

Chicago Public Media is an Equal Opportunity Employer, and we actively seek and welcome people from all backgrounds, orientations, and life experiences to join our team.

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