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Deadline

Applications for this position must be received no later than Sunday, April 4th 2021, 1:00 am BST

Position description

The Centre for Effective Altruism (CEA) is seeking a full-stack engineer to help us build a unified online platform for the effective altruism community.

For this position, we are piloting a Tour of Service model: we think that you could transform the community’s online infrastructure in a short, focused period, and we encourage you to apply even if you might only want to stay for 1-2 years.

Click here to apply (opens in a new window)

Giving What We Can, one of our partner organizations, is hiring a developer/technical product manager; you can apply for both positions using the same form.

Vision

The EA Forum currently gets over one million pageviews per year and is frequented by many of the most prominent researchers and other figures in the EA movement. We’ve hosted “Ask Me Anything” sessions from people like Will MacAskill and deep discussions about civilizational collapse, economic growth, longtermist philosophy, and more.

But we think you could help make the Forum better.

  • Many new visitors have a hard time getting up to speed with EA ideas, since the best introductory content is spread across the site. By the end of your first year, they will find a variety of accessible introductory resources and courses on the Forum, and get up to speed more quickly.
  • People often struggle to transition from reading online to finding a high-impact job or pledging to give. You will develop event, group, and profile features that will help people to make real-world connections and actually change their plans.
  • The Forum isn’t hosting as much cutting-edge discussion as we’d like. You’ll test out new features to increase readership, improve the culture, and make posting easier.

You will also help us to better understand and serve our community. Today, if we want to identify prospective attendees for a mentorship program, we need to look at a hodgepodge of spreadsheets. You will build a consolidated database and automations so that we can quickly invite talented newcomers into our online courses, then send them articles that match their interests and connect them with a mentor in their field. This will help more people engage with effective altruism on a lasting basis.

Requirements

We are a small team, and there are a variety of ways a new engineer could add value to our work.

However, we expect that you will:

  • Be capable of building a product like a basic online forum on your own (including basic UX, backend, database, and dev ops), and be interested in managing the entire product lifecycle.
  • Have experience operating autonomously. This might look like having owned a development project lasting for a year, or a product responsible for >$250k/yr in revenue.
  • Have a career plan driven in large part by a desire to maximize your social impact.

Responsibilities

  1. In consultation with other team members, develop new features to increase meaningful engagement on the EA Forum, including helping our users find more posts to read and make more connections. (Stack: Node.js, React, MongoDB.)
  2. Develop systems which pull together diverse data sources to identify promising ways of helping the EA community. (Expected stack: Next.js, React, Postgres.)
  3. As part of a small team, your responsibilities will be defined by what needs to get done. This comes with advantages, like a chance to stretch your skills into new areas. It also comes with responsibilities, like answering support requests for which you haven’t yet built automated solutions.

Your coworkers

You will work most closely with JP Addison, the EA Forum’s developer, and with Aaron Gertler, who produces online content for CEA and moderates the Forum. You will report to Ben West, who manages the Forum and CEA’s Events division. Ben was previously the founder of a successful health tech startup, created an analytics platform used by most major US hospitals, and advised the US government on Medicare; JP previously worked on image processing at an aerospace startup; Aaron co-founded Yale's student EA group and managed operations at an EA-aligned private foundation.

You will also work with the LessWrong team, as the EA Forum is a fork of LessWrong.

Salary, benefits, and location

This is a full-time remote role. We prefer applicants who are able to work in time zones between US Pacific time and GMT, especially those able to work from our new Oxford office.

Salary for candidates in Oxford is £53,000-65,000 depending on experience, with some flexibility above this range for an exceptional candidate. Salaries for candidates who prefer to work remotely will be decided based on location and skills. As a rough calibration point, the salary range for San Francisco is $95,000-$117,000 (again, with flexibility for exceptional candidates).

UK benefits include health, dental, and vision insurance, flexible work hours, a £1,000 annual training budget, extended parental leave, ergonomic equipment, a 3% pension contribution, and 25 days of paid vacation. We have similar benefits in the US.

What is a Tour of Service?

The 1-2 year time commitment and project-based goals are informal – legally, you will be hired as a normal employee. They exist to signal that we think you could have a large impact here, but understand that your highest-impact opportunities may be elsewhere in two years’ time. We hope that you will stay at CEA after your Tour, but we’d still be happy for you if you found an impactful position elsewhere.

You can find more information about this model in this article, or at the US Digital Service, which has found success with the model and partially inspired our use of it.

Application Process

We will consider applications as we receive them. We would prefer to find someone able to start between April and July 2021.

After considering your application, we will invite promising candidates to complete a short trial task followed by further interviews. We will invite finalists to provide references and participate in a multi-day paid work trial.

We are happy to consider applicants from overseas and may consider visa sponsorship if needed.

CEA serves a global community, and our team works with people and organizations all over the world. We are committed to fostering a culture of inclusion, and we encourage individuals with diverse backgrounds and experiences to apply. We are an equal opportunity employer. If you need assistance or an accommodation due to a disability, or have any other questions about applying, please contact Caitlin Elizondo.