Head of Engineering

Skip to the job details if you have already read our general introduction

Who are we, and what do we do?

At Solar Monkey, our goal is to enable solar to be the world’s leading power supply, and we accomplish that with software that makes solar power systems more affordable, secure and reliable. We do so in a very open and warm environment, where everybody can have his or her say on company values, structure, and policies.

Our main product is our design software, where our users can quickly design all kinds of solar panel systems, and get a highly accurate yield calculation. We base our predictions on climate data, system specifications and advanced shadow analysis. Our application is an advanced piece of software, that extracts information from GIS data, runs distributed over a dozen of servers and uses the latest HTML5 canvas to facilitate simple to use Geospatial editing tools for the end user.

Solar Monkey currently consists of around 30 full-timers, of which 14 are in the product team, and we always have a couple of awesome interns. We have the intention and capital to grow our team rapidly in the coming year, so that is where you come in!

On diversity

While you wouldn’t say we’re very diverse when you look at our team photo, we do have people from very different backgrounds and we definitely aren’t just a bunch of tech nerds. If you are excited about this role, but don’t think you meet everything single thing listed, we still encourage you to apply. We hope you can bring a different perspective. At Solar Monkey we strive to build an inclusive workplace where you can excel and feel at home.

How do we work?

We combine in-person and online communication (through Basecamp & Zoom) – where it might not surprise you that the business side leans toward the former and the development team leans a bit toward the latter form of communication. This enables a very flexible working place. Nobody tells you where or when to work, trusting that you know best how to build on your own strengths. This also means that working remote or part-time remote is common. Most of our developers work a few days a week in the office and the rest from elsewhere.

We have two Product Managers and a UX Designer to find out where the value lies and what is viable for the business. For new features and iterations they will team up with a (senior) developer to ensure it is feasible to build, and roughly in what time frame. We then follow Kanban to actually deliver the work. We currently have a weekly release cycle, in which we test and deploy to production. (We do envision that to become true continuous delivery in the coming year.)

Our stack

Nowadays we have a full continuous integration pipeline running. Everything we do runs in Docker containers. We’ve written a small helper app that uses Hashicorp’s Nomad to schedule those containers in our production and test environments. We are slowly expanding this into a commit-to-deploy trunk-based integration strategy.

Our app consists of multiple single page applications written in React. We use Redux for our main logic combined with redux-saga for all side effects and asynchronous calls. The main part is what we call the “editor”, where the systems are designed. Its core is a Fabric layer on top of a Leaflet map. End-to-end testing is getting in shape, which is done with help of Testim.

The backend is a Django application, in Python 3. We make use of django-rest-framework to ease the endpoint development, and Celery is our current (but contested) queue runner. We leverage the GEOS capabilities of PostGIS for raster data (height maps) as well as vector data (for meta data on images and buildings).

We are looking for ways to decouple too tightly coupled parts of our system, and have been working on implementing the Domain Driven Design approach in new code and code we touch where this makes sense. Typing –- both in the front- and backend –- are being added.

We use Hashicorp’s tools for deployment, together with some (Python) wrappers and scripts to run all of the above in the Google Cloud. Where possible we use managed solutions like for our database or for some utilities we can offload to Cloud Run.

Do know that nothing is set in stone, and we strive to optimize for developer friendliness. Do let us know what that would mean for you in your application!

What we offer

  • Lots of impact on our product, our culture and the solar world!
  • Lots of freedom in terms of when and where you work, and how you solve problems. This means we accept fully remote people, as long as you can work in reasonable overlap with our normal (Dutch) business hours. It also means options for 4-day work weeks or shifting around your schedule because the kindergarten is not helping out. (Or just because it get’s too hot in the afternoon ;).
  • A healthy workplace where you regularly work the number of hours you signed up for, and where you are able to get 8+ hours of sleep.
  • A fun team that values long-term thinking and self-empowerment and that is eager to continouosly improve.
  • We’re a scale-up and can offer a competitive salary for Dutch market standards, depending on your skills and experience of course…. In addition to that we offer Stock Appreciation Rights, so that you can benefit from the growth of the company as well!
  • The chance to learn exciting new things, whether that’s new patterns, picking up a different language, GIS systems or server infrastructure!
  • A study budget of 4% of your base salary
  • We facilitate your pension plan. (We don’t yet match your own contribution, which is something we do want to instate in the future.)
  • 5% Days! A day per month or so we work on whatever we want as developers, and try out new libraries, approaches or other things.
  • We can arrange a visa if you want to come to The Netherlands and fall into the “highly-skilled migrant” category.

Read our general vacancy introduction if you haven’t yet.

About the job

You’ll start with 10 direct reports, and the assignment to practically double that within a year. Most of your time will go to your people, existing and new. Helping them feel challenged, motivated and supported. And of course finding new colleagues that help us grow and diversify! You might find some time to get acquainted with the stack, by solving bugs or improving tooling outside of the hot path. But solving technical problems won’t be your main business.

You are expected to be the main bridge with other disciplines, first and foremost with Product. You’ll team up with Casper, our Head of Product often to continously improve our delivery practices and you’ll report to our CTO Tino. Your main two responsibilities will be the organisation of the engineering team and the execution of development. For the former you’ll have your own budget, and you can make the decisions on how to set up and staff the teams. For the latter you are expected to ensure that high-quality software is delivered in a sustainable and timely manner, and that the teams continuously improve their processes.

Compensation

The envisioned salary range for this position is €70k-€100k per year (excluding 8% holiday pay), depending on experience. Besides that we offer Stock Appreciation Rights and a 4% learning budget. You’ll get an Apple Macbook Pro (M1) to work on.

Who are we looking for?

We are looking for someone with experience managing multiple teams. Whether that’s 3 or 10, you know how to head other managers, how to make growth plans and how to scale an engineering organisation whilst keeping quality, delivery speed and engineering happiness high.

Requirements

  • You have experience managing multiple teams, and you can show that you are good at it. (Yes we’ll ask for references!)
  • You are well-versed enough in Python, Java, PHP, Go or the like that you can set up interview processes, update engineering ladders and to be in the know of what is happening.
  • You have experience in hiring people.
  • You live in The Netherlands or close enough that you can be in the office a couple times each quarter.
  • You care about agile processes and continuous improvement through responsible experimentation.
  • Experience setting up and/or maintaining a progression framework for engineers. Or iterating on performance evaluation processes.

The application process

Applying

Please apply here with a cover letter that describes:

  • Who you are.
  • Why you? What will you bring to Solar Monkey?
  • Why this job post and not another?
  • What relevant (for us) work you have done. Preferably something you are excited about.

Please limit it to 500 words or so.

Phone screen

If your application is clear and seems to match what we have in mind, Marieke will call you for a short (20m) phone call. If it isn’t, we will let you know by email, if possible with some helpful feedback about the reason of rejection.

1 hour interview

This is a remote interview with two developers from our side. We will discuss your background and experience and leave some room for questions from your side.

2 hour interview

In this (real-life or remote) session we will dive a bit deeper into your experience and skill level with two other interviewers. Again, there will be enough room for questions both ways.

Reference calls

We will ask for several references to get a more extensive picture of you besides what we can learn in a couple hours of interviewing.

Agreement

Already after the 1 hour interview we will share with you our possible offer, in order to prevent the case where you do pass the interviews but in the end we cannot agree on the terms of working together. This potentially can prevent both of us from wasting time if we are far apart on the details. We will finalize this after the 2 hour interview.