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!
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.)
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.
About the job
Whilst it is possible to run completely “server less” these days, that isn’t always practical for all applications. Thus we still run a moderate cloud stack on the Google Cloud Platform. As you can see in the description of our stack, we use Hashicorp’s tools for deployment. That means a Consul + Vault cluster, and Nomad to schedule (container) jobs. That actually runs stable without too much maintenance. Most of the work is in improving the experience of other developers, and making it easier for them to do the things they need to do on the operations side.
For example, we use Terraform to control and set up our resources. However that doesn’t mean that it is clear for everyone what to use and how to tie that together. Modularizing and documenting is key here. Also, we want to enable continuous integration, so everyone can see what the effect would be of their changes, without giving everyone the proverbial keys to the kingdom.
The rest of the team will look at you for advice on how to deploy their service, how to keep sight on its metrics and errors. Note that you are probably the one with the most knowledge, we do rotate on-call duties with the whole team.
The envisioned salary range for this position is €55-80k 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 or M2!) to work on.
Who are we looking for?
We are looking for someone who likes creating stability and efficiency in a cloud environment. Someone who is versatile at the shell to debug weird network issues, but who hates snowflakes. Someone who likes developing tools that are used by other developers, and makes their lives easier. Someone who masters our cloud.
- You have experience managing a cloud platform (GCP/AWS/OpenStack) from code.
- You are proficient in Python (or another server-side language like Go or Ruby, and willing to learn Python).
- You can design a “stack” for a new service so it is scalable and trustworthy.
- You have experience with container based deployment.
- You are able to work with a diverse group of people. You’re not a rock star or code-ninja, you’re a human, of some form 🙂.
- You can clearly outline your thoughts about a technical solution in written form (and diagrams are always a bonus!)
- You actively engage with others to optimize processes and reduce bottlenecks.
- You are able to pick up new things quickly.
- You want to work 32 to 40 hours a week.
- You have experience with Hashicorp’s Consul, Vault & Nomad.
- You have experience with Terraform.
The application process
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.
If your application is clear and seems to match what we have in mind, we 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.
In preparation for the final interview we ask you shortly describe a service or solution you recently architected and built and send that to us.
2 hour interview
In this (real-life or remote) session we will discuss the problem you tackled earlier, and dive into how you solved it, why you solved it that way and what you have learned from it.