Full Time Job

Principal Software Engineer, Audience Experience


Washington, DC 07-21-2022
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  • Paid
  • Full Time
  • Executive (10+ years) Experience
Job Description
Across our organization, we're building a workplace where collaboration is essential, diverse voices are heard, and inclusion is the key to our success. We are committed to doing the right thing in our journalism and in every role at NPR. This means that integrity, adherence to our ethical standards, and compliance with legal obligations are fundamental responsibilities for every employee at NPR.

We are looking for an experienced, talented and knowledgeable Principal Software Engineer to join the Audience Experience group responsible for innovation and engagement across NPR's audience facing digital platforms and touch points.

A day in the life

Each day you will work with a cross-functional team of brilliant professionals combining business, design/user experience and engineering expertise, working relentlessly to push the boundaries of what's possible and paving the road for the future of news and entertainment media.
Our team has a passion for Agile development and continuous improvement. We are diverse, lifelong learners and read omnivorously, regularly listen to Tiny Desk Concerts, tell coding jokes, have off-site happy hours (or perhaps only virtual for now), and optionally present at conferences. Plus we have great work-life balance.

The NPR Developers Blog is a great place to learn more about our team, who we are, what we do, and how we do it.


A Principal Software Engineer exemplifies technical expertise and excellence at NPR. They work with leaders and cross-discipline team(s) to guide technology decisions, build products, services, or tools that support NPR and its Member Station Network. They are critical to shaping long term strategic technology decisions.

As the most senior level development engineer role, this position is considered a Director-level Individual Contributor role, and works in concert with the Directors of Technology to improve the productivity, health, and sustainability of the teams and projects

Principals lead and coordinate across our most technically challenging projects, those generally impacting multiple teams and/or product lines at a time. They partner with stakeholders and their team(s) to ensure successful outcomes. They lead strategy, solutioning, and collaboration of complex problems across a variety of areas such as workflow, architecture, quality, collaboration, tooling and more.

Ultimately, Principals have ownership, authority, and responsibility for technical strategy, production stability, and workflow of their area of scope partnering with technology and business stakeholders across divisions. They drive engineering vision, innovation, experimentation - representing these needs in the project prioritization, discovery and planning.


Day to day activities could include:
• Provide technical oversight and direction to multiple projects and product lines.
• Conduct and/or lead technology evaluations for internal and external departmental needs.
• Create software technical architecture proposals, designs and incorporate feedback from others.
• Participate in divisional and cross-divisional roadmap planning sessions, project proposals, and program planning.
• Provide consistent and substantive feedback of software designs and code written by peers.
• Partner closely with related teams to ensure implemented software meets business, technology architecture, and performance goals
• Advocate for and seek to innovate team practices so that they are efficient and align with industry best practices.
• Participate in code deployments to QA, UAT and production systems.
• Identify and respond appropriately to production problems.
• Join the developer ''on-call'' rotation after approximately 3 months.
• Interview prospective employment candidates.
• Assist in the training and onboarding of staff new to the team and/or project.
• Proactively identify and work to resolve team challenges and issues.
• Contribute high-quality, documented code in accordance with department standards, best practices and processes based on self- and team-assigned stories.
• Participate in daily stand-ups and other scrum activities (e.g. grooming, planning, demos and retrospectives) as required.


EDUCATION: Bachelor's degree or equivalent in work experience.

WORK LOCATION: This is a hybrid permitted role. The employee will be required to be onsite at our Washington, DC office at least 10 days a year. The employee must also reside in an NPR supported location based on the number of onsite days they choose.

• Experience designing and leading solutioning and architecture planning in a multi-team environment.
• Ability to design and lead practical technical design.
• Experience building applications that span multiple platforms such as web, mobile, voice, apis, and system integrations using a modern programming language (prior experience / willingness to learn Node/TypeScript and/or php).
• Experience with integrating with external API's / Services.
• Experience building consumers facing high traffic applications and related concerns - SEO, Browser performance, CDN configurations etc.
• Experience with Privacy and Compliance (GDPR, CPPA etc) concerns
• Experience with test and development automation.
• Experience working with a version control system (Git preferred).
• Cultivate and promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace

• Fluent in JavaScript/TypeScript
• Fluent in PHP.
• Experience working with native Mobile app development (iOS and/or Android).
• Experience working with highly available distributed systems and event based architectures
• Experience working with Relational Databases/SQL.
• Exposure to NoSQL databases (Elasticsearch, DynamoDB).
• Has contributed open-source projects.

Jobcode: Reference SBJ-r72m5k-3-238-204-167-42 in your application.

Company Profile

NPR is an independent, nonprofit media organization that was founded on a mission to create a more informed public. Every day, NPR connects with millions of Americans on the air, online, and in person to explore the news, ideas, and what it means to be human.