About Brightside

Do you want to help make a real difference to the lives of young people across the UK?

We believe that every young person should be able to fulfil their potential, regardless of their background. We’re looking to recruit an experienced back-end web developer to join our dynamic team. You will help shape, build and maintain our mentoring platform technology, supporting over 12,000 people each year to achieve their potential.

As our Web Developer, you will work closely with our Head of Technology and a supporting development agency to develop our mentoring platform as well as supporting our live users and trouble-shooting technical issues with platform as they arise.

Delivering 60 online mentoring projects each year in partnership with universities, business and charities, Brightside gives young people across the UK access to support networks, online careers information, and high-quality mentoring.

Our work helps young people to succeed. We believe young people are best equipped to make confident and informed decisions about their futures if they:

  • Have hope and a growth mindset;
  • Are confident and know their strengths;
  • Can deal with difficulties in a positive way;
  • Have knowledge and skills for the career they are interested in;
  • Know who to turn to for advice and support.

We need to attract brilliant people to help us achieve our ambitious goal to increase the number of young people we support each year from 12,000 to 50,000 in the next three years. To do this, we need to make sure our online mentoring technology is safe, secure and engaging for young people.

It’s an exciting time to join Brightside. We are a fast-moving charity and we pride ourselves on our friendly, professional and supportive culture. 100% of staff recommend working for Brightside in our most recent staff survey. Our mission and the team are valued highly by all. We embrace new ideas and we are always looking to improve how we work.

Background Information

In 2016, we re-developed our online mentoring platform. This has given us an opportunity to completely re-imagine the way we work, communicate and engage with our beneficiaries.

Prior to the redevelopment, we spent many months speaking to young people, finding out how they use mobile technology, how mentoring fits into their lifestyles and what they hope to achieve by taking part in our mentoring programmes.  This initial user-research and the key technical requirements (listed below) informed the direction of the development, with the focus being on the on-boarding of young people on the site.

Key technical requirements of the new platform:

  1. High performing website, with fast loading pages and real-time messaging
  2. Highly scalable to cope with our rapidly growing user base
  3. Fully mobile optimised
  4. Engaging user experience
  5. Secure and safe environment for mentoring conversations to take place

These key requirements will also be the core principles for any future development to the platform.

The New Mentoring Platform

The mentoring platform is based on a secure and moderated real-time messaging system that connects young people (our mentees) with industry mentors who can help support these young people in making confident and informed decisions about their education and career options.  The platform is organised into different institutional customers and their projects, with each customer having one or more projects running at any time.  The mentoring programmes that govern each project are run by the Brightside project team or the external customer and involves everything from mentee recruitment, uploading mentee registrations, matching mentees with mentors, training, communications, moderation, engagement monitoring, reporting and general mentoring support.  There are already some administration tools on the platform that help the team with carrying out these tasks but there’s definitely more work that has to be done to make the system truly easy-to-administer.

Job description

When joining Brightside, you will need to complete a knowledge-transfer handover period and get up to speed very quickly on the development of the platform to date, supported by Brightside’s Head of Technology and our development agency.  However, you will already need to be experienced and proficient in the technologies we currently use on the platform, as listed below:

  • Ruby is our core programming language and Ruby on Rails has been used to write the core frontend web application and the core API that drives all the logic behind the mentoring platform.
  • Phoenix is an open source web and messaging application framework written in Elixir and provides incredible concurrency and performance – essential for writing messaging systems. Both Elixir and Phoenix power the real-time messaging system for the Brightside Mentoring site.
  • Go, the open source programming language developed by Google is used to power the image and document uploading and processing for the Brightside platform.
  • MySQL is the chosen database for the rest of our user data.
  • Integration with Salesforce for one particular project on our system.  The API that handles the integration with Salesforce will need to be maintained going forwards and there may be a requirement to work with the Salesforce development agency on additional features and extensions to the platform.

Essential Requirements:

  • Demonstrate proven experience in developing and maintaining large-scale, high-performing distributed systems using the technologies described above
  • Provide evidence of ability to optimise pre-existing systems (code, database, architecture, system analysis) to achieve high-performing results
  • Be able to work with our supporting agency in updating and maintaining the site as well as creating and building new features
  • Be ready to start actively supporting our live site and users as soon as possible
  • Be able to respond quickly and trouble-shoot problems in a live environment
  • Be able to work with what we have built and not have to reinvent the wheel
  • Challenge our assumptions and bring creative solutions to the table
  • Adhere to industry standards and coding practices to ensure platform and data security
  • Have sufficient front-end, mobile development experience to ensure that our new site remains fully mobile responsive across all devices and browsers
  • Be DBS checked, as you will have access to the data stored on our beneficiaries
  • Have excellent systems analysis and problem-solving skills
  • Have excellent customer service and project management skills
  • Experience working in B2B environments

Salary: £45,000 to £50,000 per annum depending on experience

Contract term: Permanent, subject to successful completion of 12 month contract

Holiday allowance: 25 days per annum

Hours of work: 37.5 hours per week, Monday – Friday


Please Note: Due to the high number of applications we receive, we are not able to respond to all applications personally; however, you will be contacted directly should you be invited to interview.

Full Job Description here: http://www.thebrightsidetrust.org/what-we-do/vacancies-at-brightside/

Tagged as: AWS, elixir, GO, MySQL, phoenix, Ruby

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