Position Description

Lead Software Engineer
Location Chicago, Navy Pier
Job Code 341
# of Openings 1
Apply Now

About Chicago Public Media

To nourish the public conversation by telling the stories that matter—stories that provoke thought, entertain, capture emotion and inspire action.


Chicago Public Media Mission Statement


Who is Chicago Public Media?

Chicago Public Media is one of the largest, most decorated, aggressively creative, and journalistically ambitious public radio organizations in the nation. We are home to WBEZ, Chicago’s NPR news station, celebrating our 75 th year anniversary broadcasting at 91.5 FM, and Vocalo Radio, Chicago’s Urban Alternative music station at 91.1 FM. We are the birthplace of such celebrated programs as This American Life, Wait,Wait…Don’t Tell Me!, Sound Opinions, Curious City and most recently, a growing portfolio of podcasts that include Serial, the “Making” series, including Making Obama and Making Oprah, and The Trouble with Shannon Cason. WBEZ’s award-winning newsroom is growing in order to tackle the stories that matter most to our community.  As an essential source of news and context, we are a powerful connector among lines of difference.

An opportunity to make an impact

At Chicago Public Media, we believe independent journalism is essential to a well-functioning democracy and access to fact-based, objective news and information a right of every citizen.  We serve the public interest by creating diverse, compelling content that informs, inspires and enriches. We connect diverse audiences and help them make a difference in our communities, our region and our world.  If you are inspired by our mission and want to belong to an organization that inspires you, supports you, and challenges you, we encourage you to apply.


About the Role

Do you have a passion for developing the next generation of media applications? Chicago Public Media is looking for a Lead Software Engineer who can help us harness the power of digital to craft outstanding multimedia experiences across web, mobile, and voice products.


We are looking for an experienced software engineer with a strong sense of ownership and a passion for delivering innovative solutions. You will help us envision and realize the expansion of our service to digital platforms. Reporting to the Director of Products, you will lead a team of engineers in developing media applications for the ever-changing landscape of media consumption. You will help create the products that will position WBEZ as the premier news organization in Chicago, not just in audio but across all media on which we tell stories and report the news.  

Because we are a member-supported organization, you will also be responsible for our membership platform -- both the front-end experience and the donor funnel. As the lead developer, in partnership with the Senior Director of Technology and the Director of Product, you will have a say in selecting the technologies and techniques on which we develop our web, mobile, and voice products. As a full-stack engineer, you will initially spend most of your time as an individual contributor in the software development process. As the team grows we expect you will spend more time leading / mentoring and less time coding.

Your work will have direct impact in the Chicago community and beyond: informing the public, increasing civic engagement, and nurturing public discourse through multimedia news and storytelling. As we enhance our product development capacity, you will be instrumental in helping to build out a team of engineers according to the technologies, skill-sets, and techniques you envision.

You will use in-depth knowledge of infrastructure, open source technologies, and media distribution best practices. In addition to developing, you will help us develop our technical strategy, achieve business and engineering buy-in, solve complex technical challenges and monitor execution.

You will need to understand how to apply technologies in categories such as:

  • Front-end web development (HTML / JS / CSS)
  • Cloud Computing Services (AWS, Azure, etc.)
  • Media distribution technologies (media servers, audio streaming)
  • CMS and publishing tools
  • Performance and Scaling Techniques
  • RESTful APIs and microservices
  • Open Source Software


Successful applicants must have:

  • An impressive portfolio of web-based projects with bonus points for news/media apps
  • 8+ years development experience with web technologies
  • Ability to lead a team of engineers while staying hands-on themselves
  • Experience developing on CMS applications (Drupal, Wordpress, Django apps, Rails apps, etc.)
  • Expertise in advanced Javascript frameworks like React, Angular, NodeJS
  • Polyglot tendencies (your deep programming knowledge allows you to pickup languages easily)
  • Expertise in CSS / HTML / JS (you can have built  and deployed beautiful front-end experiences)
  • 3+ years leading software development teams or efforts
  • Expertise in at least 1 back-end language (PHP, Python, NodeJS, etc.) and proficiency in others
  • Experience working in an agile software development environment
  • Expertise in responsive web development and mobile-first architecture
  • High degree of competence working with JSON and XML
  • Expertise at asynchronous request handling, partial page updates, and AJAX
  • Direct experience building complex and highly interactive sites or applications with bonus points for media and news applications
  • Direct experience working with complex APIs.
  • Experience leveraging 3 rd party vendors where needed
  • Understand secure coding best practices and sound version control


Additional requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree in computer science, engineering, or equivalent technical experience required.
  • Strong communication skills and an ability to interact with all levels of technical and non-technical personnel
  • Proven problem solving and critical thinking skills and the ability to develop creative solutions
  • Ability to create and foster a positive and energetic influence in the department.
  • Previous technical experience in the media/entertainment industry is preferred
  • Able to establish and be held accountable for reasonable delivery expectations.
  • Experience using process-driven approaches to code management, code coverage, and unit testing
  • Experience working with non-technical stakeholders to identify, prioritize, document, and clarify critical business requirements.
  • Able to manage time effectively, provide reasonable estimates, and identify opportunities to maximize efficiency.
  • Ability to mentor other engineers and help them flourish professionally


Working at Chicago Public Media

Chicago Public Media cares deeply about our employees as we know attracting, nurturing and developing talent is key to our success and enhancing our impact.  Our culture is one where collaboration, ideas, and innovation are encouraged. We value colleagues who will enhance our culture by bringing new ideas, diverse experiences and talents to our dynamic workplace.


Chicago Public Media’s dedication to promoting diversity, multiculturalism, and inclusion is reflective across our brands, WBEZ 91.5 FM and Vocalo 91.1 FM, in our staff and in our work.  We are fully focused on equality of opportunity and believe deeply in diversity of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, national origin and all other fascinating characteristics that make us different.


At Chicago Public Media we believe dedication to a great workplace includes supporting our employees and their families. As a result, we provide a broad and generous benefits package for you at hire and in the years to come.  Our benefits include:


  • 6 weeks fully paid family leave
  • 12 weeks paid maternity leave
  • High quality Medical, Dental, and Vision plans at an affordable cost
  • A  403(b)retirement plan with a company match
  • Generous paid time off, including starting with 3 weeks’ vacation and 4 personal days



Back Apply Now