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  Head of Technology - Digital Products, Platforms
Employer: National Public Radio (NPR) Job Posted: 8/31/2019
Location: Washington, DC Job Status: Full Time

Job Description:

A thriving, mission-driven multimedia organization, NPR produces award-winning news, information, and music programming in partnership with hundreds of independent public radio stations across the nation. The NPR audience values information, creativity, curiosity, and social responsibility – and our employees do too. We are innovators and leaders in diverse fields, from journalism and digital media to IT and development. Every day, our employees and member stations touch the lives of millions worldwide.

The Head of Technology for NPR’s Digital division builds, inspires and manages a thriving team of more than 50 engineers who cover a range of domain expertise — including mobile, front-end, full stack, dev ops, test automation, QA and production support — and bears responsibility for developing and supporting a suite of world-class products and systems on behalf of NPR and its Member stations. They provide strategic direction and mentorship, while also playing a leading role in defining and communicating an architectural vision for the next generation of technical and infrastructural systems used within NPR and across the public media digital ecosystem. Reporting to the Chief Digital Officer, the Head of Technology partners closely with other members of the digital leadership team – from product, design, platform partnerships and operations – as well as technology leaders from partner organizations to support product strategy and business objectives, set priorities, assess and build new features, and improve and maintain existing services and applications.


• Sets the vision for all of NPR’s software development practices in support of its digital portfolio.
• Structures, empowers and guides technology teams, ensuring a healthy creative dynamic, clear lines of accountability, optimal effectiveness and strong morale.
• Develops a team culture focused on accountability, rigor and excellence, while respecting and accommodating the individual needs of staff to maintain healthy work-life balances.
• Partners with team to set standards for improving overall code quality, maintainability, security, scalability, team collaboration and productivity, and monitors achievements against those standards.
• Ensures the effective operation and maintenance of all applications, including development, troubleshooting, support, triage and quality assurance.
• Represents NPR and serves as driver and thought leader in ongoing efforts among public media organizations to define and implement a shared model for publishing, CRM, data collection, hosting and other elements of digital infrastructure.
• Aligns digital technology stack to other enterprise-level efforts in use at NPR.
• Partnering with other thought leaders in the division, tracks the state of the art of digital technology, leads the evaluation and identifies and advocates for new, enhanced or replacement technologies and practices.
• Builds strong working relationships across NPR and the public radio system to ensure that services meet customer expectations against service-level agreements, and are developed according to NPR's architectural direction and infrastructure plans.
• Collaborates with internal clients and business colleagues to manage demand for services, identify and set standards for modernizing our technology stack, and ensuring their delivery.
• Presents and evangelizes systems, processes and products both internally and externally, including for funders, management and non-technical audiences.
• Establishes and manages relationships with consultants, vendors, outside temporary services and professional services; negotiates statements of work and business terms with suppliers; and works with business development and legal departments to negotiate contracts with suppliers.
• Manages technology budget, with special ongoing focus on personnel, vendor and capital expenditures.
• Provides direction and works with managers to optimize recruiting and hiring efforts.
• Works with managers and other division leaders on strategies to maintain strong talent retention.
• Serves as a technical resource and subject-matter expert to member stations and partners.
• Leads ongoing assessment and adjustment of the systems used to respond to critical situations in a 24x7x365 environment.


• Strong competency in software development methodologies; 10-15 years experience in software development with a mid-size to large organization.
• Superior interpersonal skills and a demonstrated ability to influence and work effectively with people individually and within groups.
• Outstanding managerial skills, including development, coaching, objectives setting and monitoring, employee motivation and performance management.
• Excellent verbal and written communications, including the ability to explain technical concepts and practices to non-specialist audiences.
• Strong aptitude for documentation, scheduling, developing tasks, and managing budgets and resources to achieve target dates.
• Strong background in systems architecture and design.
• Demonstrated background in project and risk management.
• Experience with test plan design and implementation including QA and testing.
• Understanding of the following tools, methodologies and languages: agile software development, test-driven development, cloud platforms (AWS, Google Cloud Platform), continuous integration and deployment practices (Docker, Kubernetes), web technologies (Python, Java, Node.js, PHP), client-server technologies (RESTful strategies) and mobile technologies (iOS, Android) -- with an eagerness to learn about new and unfamiliar technologies.
• Demonstrated background in managing a portfolio of systems of varying ages, from legacy to greenfield.


• Experience delivering large-scale, multiyear technical projects in a federated system with multiple stakeholders.
• Knowledge of broadcast industry technology and processes.
• Knowledge of audio engineering and production products.
• Experience with open-source products and development methodology.

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