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Tech Lead - Backend at Wonderbly

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  • London
  • fulltime
  • ₤80000 - ₤95000 per year

What we do at Wonderbly

Wonderbly is an award-winning personalised children’s publisher, and the Children’s Publisher of the Year 2021. It all started in 2013 with a story called Lost My Name. And now, we’ve sold over six million books in nine languages all over the world, helping to make storytime more magical for lots and lots of children (and their grown-ups).

In so many ways, our journey is just beginning. Having established ourselves as leaders in the children's space, we’re building a global personal-publishing business that brings the power of meaningful personalisation into the hearts and homes of everyone in the world.

Exciting times ahead!

About the role

We’re looking for an experienced software engineer to lead a team of backend developers. The backend layers of our stack have been built to cater for Wonderbly’s unique needs. We continually develop them as we grow the business, so our personalised books can be delivered to millions of happy customers all over the world.

This is a new management role in Wonderbly's Engineering team. You will lead a small team of two backend developers who will contribute across different squads to deliver key projects. You'll also be contributing within these squads yourself, solving the most difficult problems, mostly by pairing.

This job will impact so many parts of the business, and as the backend stack is the dependency for everything else, it will mean engaging with lots of different people: developers in other teams, product managers, operations and marketing execs and product designers to name but a few. We need you to be a teacher, explainer, mentor as well as a coder. We're first and foremost a people company, and we expect others will want to work with and learn from you.

About our backend stack

Our stack is bespoke, mature and evolving. There's lots we want to do, for example a new API to deliver a new We'd like you to lead on that.

Our services are written in Typescript/Express or Ruby on Rails. Work is distributed via message queues and managed via Heroku workers. Our ecommerce stack is based on Solidus, an open source project built on Ruby on Rails, which we have customised for our unique needs. Our highly-tuned HTML based renderer creates images in real-time for web and print. We host on Heroku, so our infrastructure is simple and scalable.

You’ll need to be comfortable diving into relatively large and well maintained codebases and helping us keep them that way. You'll need to be equally comfortable drawing a new solution on a whiteboard, proposing changes via RFCs as you are coding in your IDE.

In the next 12 months you’ll be

- Thinking deeply about our domain, proposing and delivering improvements in the technology and processes that drive it

- Helping us to scale the business - we expect you to be in the middle of this, always asking “why?”

- Working with the CTO and tech leadership to build new features in our rendering system that will wow our customers and please our product creators

- Ensuring our systems are secure and can scale, leading efforts to ensure this before peak trading events

- Regularly presenting in our while Engineering team “Lunch and Learn” monthly events, helping others learn from your knowledge and experience


What we need from you

- Deep understanding of service oriented design and asynchronous messaging

- A love of programming and ability to compare and decide between the many languages/tools/libraries that you might use to solve a problem

- A good understanding of browser internals and orchestration would be very helpful, but not essential because you’re thirsty to learn

- Love of helping others who can learn from your experience

- Always challenging yourself and others to be better and improve

- Appreciation of nicely designed, high-quality, well tested codebases - and ability to communicate why they’re important

- An instinctive and easy empathy with all colleagues


First and foremost, you should join Wonderbly because of the work we do. We’re on a mission to bring our meaningfully personalised products to everyone. You’ll be surrounded by inclusive, diverse and self-motivated people inspired by this exciting mission.

We're a profitable and responsibly run business. There is an excellent work/life balance with clear processes and sensible expectations. We have a strongly supportive and inclusive culture and are still small enough where individuals can make a big difference.

We have exciting growth plans in the publishing space, we see huge opportunities in ever deeper connections between customers and their important relationships into the heart of our books.

On top of that, you can expect:

- Salary up to £95,000 p/a

- 28 days holiday, plus 8 bank holidays

- Pension scheme with matched contributions

- Health insurance to keep you and your family in tip-top shape

- Lunch and Learn sessions with exciting speakers and in-depth technical topics

We are remote-friendly with a flexible hybrid policy. You are welcome to work at our lovely, well appointed studio in Hackney at any time. We do ask that you come in twice a week, once for a team day and another day that suits you. But for five weeks a year you can work from anywhere that suits you, as long as you have overlap with most of our working day.

At our studio there are:

- Showers, secure bike parking facilities, and we are part of the Cycle To Work scheme

- Heaps of snacks, drinks, and comforts in our fully-stocked kitchen

- Team yoga classes; just one of the many ways we keep centred and calm

- Clubs for bookworms, runners, gardeners and aspiring poets

Our simple hiring process

1. Introduction - a quick call with Mike, our Head of People to find out more you and us and see if there’s a match.

2. Interview - Meet our team for 1-2 hours. Our process is super relaxed, we explain the role more deeply and talk to you about your experience. No preparation needed. No coding tests. We are people focused and this is reflected in the way we interview.

3. Offer - We move to offer quickly, usually in a few working days.

If you’re thinking about us but not sure about yet, please get in touch anyway. Come visit our studio first just to take a look, we'll be thrilled to show you around.

The best way to find out more is to apply - we’d love to show you around!

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