Build the University of the Future

Talented engineers have many companies to choose from, which makes the engineering team at Minerva that much more extraordinary. The salary and benefits are competitive, but the reason they chose Minerva is the company’s mission. We are re-imagining and then building a university that embodies the next generation of higher education. We have an admissions team that finds the best students worldwide based on merit alone while avoiding bias and standardized test scores, an academic team designing a new curriculum that incorporates advances in the science of learning, operations and student life teams that enable the students to travel to and study in seven major cities around the world, and a product team that builds technology to make it all possible.

We need you to help build that technology. You’ll be part of a small team that works in close consultation with other teams—including product management, admissions, marketing, academic, and company leadership. Your typical week will include designing, coding, and releasing new features. We’re big on collaboration, knowledge-sharing, and cross-training; and we start every week with a retrospective, so if something’s not working for us, we fix it. Over the medium term, you will receive significant mentoring, feedback, and deliberate career development.

We are still growing. There are plenty of high-value and challenging new projects. We are also shifting many projects from prototypes and MVPs to thoughtfully designed long-lived systems. This is an opportunity to do interesting and important work, and to do it right.

Most of our engineers have held many jobs in the past. Minerva is special because it is more than a job. It’s a chance to build something long-lasting, to leave a legacy and add meaning to your career. Our first class of students is entering their Junior year, having spent their first two years in San Francisco, Berlin, and Buenos Aires. Next up are Seoul, Hyderabad, London, and Taipei. We are building a new university from scratch, and we’ve just started. Come join us!

Responsibilities

  1. Design, build, deploy, operate, and maintain software across the stack from frontend to ops and databases.

  2. Develop, articulate, and prioritize software requirements by working closely with the product manager and directly with other teams.

  3. Use data-driven development and decision making to improve the performance, robustness, and scalability of our systems. An especially acute need is to overcome Internet and compute power limitations across the world.

  4. Maintain and expand automated test coverage and QA processes to catch bugs early.

  5. Invest in tools and automation to scale up. For your fellow engineers this might include reusable abstractions and subsystems, CI and ops automation, and performance monitoring. For other teams this could include workflow automation, predictive models, and application of optimization algorithms for student residence matching and course scheduling.

  6. Recognize where personal human touch is important, and help people focus their energy on this by automating the rest.

  7. Teach and learn from your teammates. Use collaborative activities like pair programming and code review as avenues for teaching and learning. Be receptive to feedback from your teammates and generous with your own. Participate in interesting internal tech talks and engineering book clubs.

  8. Support a culture of code quality, documentation, and thoughtful design tradeoffs. Navigate between shipping sooner and long-term maintainability.

  9. Participate in customer support to build empathy with applicants, students, and faculty. Learn how to best improve your software.

Technologies, tools, and processes

We value your ability to learn quickly, make thoughtful tradeoffs, and build maintainable systems over your past experience with specific technologies. That said, here are some of the tools that we use:

  • Python, Django, and Django REST Framework for building applications and APIs.

  • Celery for asynchronous jobs and workflows.

  • MySQL and Redis for data storage and caching. Likely migrating to PostgreSQL.

  • React, webpack, Babel, Marionette, and Backbone for building front-end JavaScript interfaces.

  • WebRTC with our own selective forwarding unit (SFU) for real-time video.

  • Autobahn pubsub technology to support the many features of our real-time distributed seminar classroom.

  • GitHub, CircleCI, codecov, AWS, and NewRelic for building, reviewing, testing, shipping, and operating our systems.

  • Slack for collaborating with local and remote coworkers, for integrating code review, deployment, and infrastructure notifications into a social space, and for sharing important GIFs.

We value empathy, candor, substantive feedback, fast iteration loops, and openness to experimentation over a specific software development process. That said, here’s what we currently do to plan, calibrate, and organize:

  • Use the unit of an “episode” to align planning and goal-setting across teams. Each episode is about four months long.

  • Plan high-level development themes at the beginning of each episode.

  • Run mini design sprints to design, prototype, and test ideas.

  • Gather at a weekly team meeting to reflect on the past week and discuss priorities and collaboration for the coming week.

  • Check in through a daily asynchronous standup in Slack to foster accountability, remove blockers, and keep others updated.

  • Conduct cross-functional blameless retrospectives twice per episode.

  • Organize structured peer feedback sessions once per episode.

  • Support each other giving internal brown-bag technical talks.

Benefits

  • Mission-oriented team and organization

  • The spirit of a non-profit university, the focus of a startup

  • Sustainable working pace

  • Unlimited vacation policy

  • Health, dental, vision, commuter checks, and 401K

  • Paid parental leave: 12 weeks for moms and 6 weeks for dads

  • Competitive salary and stock compensation

  • Professional development budget with 1:1 matching

Equal Employment Opportunity

To build a university for 21st century leaders and creators, our team should be representative of our diverse student body. Minerva values a diverse workplace and strongly encourages women, people of color, LGBTQIA individuals, people with disabilities, members of ethnic minorities, foreign-born residents, and veterans to apply. Minerva is an equal opportunity employer. Applicants will not be discriminated against because of any characteristic irrelevant to creating great software, including: race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, religion, national origin, disability, ancestry, marital status, veteran status, medical condition or any protected category prohibited by local, state or federal laws.

About The Minerva Project

Minerva, based in San Francisco, California, offers a unique undergraduate experience for the brightest, most motivated students in the world. Minerva has been deliberately designed to teach the capabilities needed to solve complex challenges. Combining a reinvented curriculum, rigorous academic standards, cutting-edge technology, and an immersive global experience, Minerva provides an exceptional and accessible education to prepare future leaders and innovators across all disciplines. Minerva formed an alliance with Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) to establish the Minerva Schools at KGI in 2013, a WASC-accredited, four-year, undergraduate institution.

Our admissions, academics, and global experience differentiate Minerva for both our students and our mission-driven employees.

How To Apply

Interested? We make applying quick and easy. Just send the following

  • A copy of your resume or a link to something resume-like (e.g., your website, LinkedIn)

  • Other links you'd like us to see (e.g., blog, GitHub, a project of yours)

  • A brief description of why you are excited for this opportunity to join Minerva. This description replaces the traditional cover letter.