Company & Department Context

Here at the FT, gold-standard journalism is just the beginning. 500-people strong, our Product and Tech team keeps us ahead of the ever-changing digital landscape by delivering cutting-edge products to over one million digital subscribers every day. Our plans for growth rely on a diverse, dedicated and dynamic group of product, tech, delivery and data specialists - everyone’s welcome in this friendly, forward-thinking team. And with entrepreneurial spirit, intelligence and opportunity at every turn, there’s no limits to where your FT career will take you.

The Customer Products team (also known as ft.com) works on our award winning website, iOS and Android apps. We are a multi-disciplinary, co-located team with around 60 engineers and 100 people total. We value transparency, accountability, shared responsibility and teamwork. We deploy many times a day. We’re focused on our users and the FT’s mission to provide engaging world-class journalism.

Customer Products sits within FT’s Product & Technology function, and brings together people from Product, Delivery and Technology. 

Position Summary 

This role will report into the Technical Director for Customer Products. You will work alongside our other Principal Engineers, each of whom leads two or three teams in a single product area, as will you.

Principal Engineers take on a range of responsibilities across the managerial/technical spectrum, and individuals’ skillsets are different and complementary. For this particular vacancy we are looking for someone with a particular strength in the people- and process issues.

Each of your teams has a technical lead and other talented engineers. You will need to ensure they are steered effectively, and are generally building systems productively and with technical integrity. Additionally, as someone with a particular strength in people- and process issues, you will be responsible for management issues across Customer Products, such as our quarterly promotions round, and (with our Talent Acquisition team) leading recruitment. You will also proactively look for ways to improve the experience of being an engineer at the FT

Customer Products’ technologies integrate with services managed by other groups (services such as payments, membership, and content management), and Customer Products is part of FT’s wider journalist and commercial mission. Therefore a critical part of this role is to help your teams work effectively within FT’s greater context

This means you will be a key player in building a world class engineering capability in the Financial Times.  The purpose is establishing FT’s journalistic mission, our ways of working and culture.  This includes an active commitment to and championing of our values and our goal of delivering a truly diverse team and building an inclusive environment.

Main Duties and Responsibilities

This role has responsibilities and accountabilities both within Customer Products and beyond.

You will oversee two to three product teams and line manage at least 3 senior engineers in those teams

Your teams:

  • Provide technical direction and support, being able to switch from one area to another 

  • Ensure the right people are hired into your teams, and are appropriately rewarded and promoted when they’re in them

  • Lead on creating and maintaining a positive and inclusive culture, ensuring strong engagement and motivation

Across the Technology function of Customer Products:

  • Ensure our retention and reward processes are fair, effective and work within our budget. This includes leading on calibration activities alongside other principal engineers and bringing together insight from line managers across Customer Products.

  • Proactively identify and lead on initiatives to improve the experience of being an engineer in Customer Products and at the FT; whether that is to do with productivity, diversity and inclusion, technical competence or other areas. Previous examples of work in this area include career competency frameworks; moving to durable teams and improving our recruitment processes to be fairer to people of colour.

  • Oversee staff allocations across Customer Products, working with other principal engineers and line managers to support activities such as people moves between teams

  • Maintain and improve our positive and inclusive culture, and proactively identify activities that help our people to be engaged and motivated.

  • Look for ways to ensure Customer Products engineering have the skills they need to do their job and progress. As part of this, identify training needs and organise training where needed.

  • Ensure our recruitment process is fair and effective. This involves working closely with our Talent Acquisition team, plus reviewing our data to ensure we are reaching a diverse selection of candidates and being inclusive in our approach.

  • Support FT.com’s Technical Director in setting technical vision, strategy and direction, and be able to stand in for her when necessary.

  • Lead on strategic technical initiatives across Customer Products and/or working with other technical groups.

Our technology

Here’s a list of things we use a lot. It’s not exhaustive, but gives you a taste of what our stack and tools look like:

  • Node.js; Heroku; AWS Lambda, Kinesis, and DynamoDB
  • Elasticsearch; Neo4j; Redis; GraphQL
  • Handlebars; Sass; Webpack; Preact
  • Fastly and VCL
  • Github; CircleCI; Sentry
  • Graphite; Grafana; Splunk

We don’t expect you to have worked with all of these, it will be a bonus for us if you have worked with some of them.


To find out more you can read about how we route traffic on FT.com and have a look at the code we make public on GitHub. You can also get an insight into how we work from our FT Product & Technology Medium publication
 

Characteristics we value

  • Modelling and helping set and reinforce our inclusive, respectful, multidisciplinary and open culture

  • Continuous improvement of technology, process and culture, and take ownership of problems and seeing solutions through to completion

  • Dedication to performance, accessibility, security and reliability

  • Ability to understand a complex business problem and to build or lead a team to solve that problem

  • Effective communication and collaboration

  • Ability to decide appropriately when to buy or build, and to communicate the reasons to stakeholders

  • A respect for all disciplines involved in an excellent product, and a commitment to improving customer experience

In return we’ll give you:

  • Interesting tech where your input is valued in both product and technical choices

  • A good work / life balance and rewarding work environment

  • Motivated, smart, kind colleagues you can learn from

Benefits

We have many great benefits.  Some standout ones are:

  • Flexible working and part-time roles

  • 35-hour week

  • 25 days of leave, increasing to 30 after two years

  • Generous parental leave

  • Annual bonus scheme

  • Very competitive pension plan, company doubling your contribution up to 8%

  • Others include: Flexidays, give as you earn, cycle to work, travel loans, healthcare, dental, life assurance, gym membership and local business discounts.

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