Principal Software Engineer - News (WS2020)

Please Note: The application deadline for this job has now passed.

Job Introduction


The BBC News Web team delivers impartial news to readers all over the world, currently in 32 languages. We support a wide range of devices and care deeply about scale, performance, and accessibility. We work in agile, flexible teams, and have an exciting roadmap for future development.


We've been moving towards public Cloud infrastructure since 2012 and the next, largest phase is about to begin.  And we recently announced a major expansion of the World Service, bringing our journalism to more people than ever around the world with 11 new language services and a remit to reach a far wider audience than ever before.


Now is a great time to join us.


Under the World Service expansion project we will be recruiting a number of front-end Software Engineers in locations around the world.  They will work closely with editorial staff in their country, building rich visual journalism experiences and content to help to tell engaging stories.  Although distributed across the world this group of engineers will form a coherent team, and will be part of the BBC News software engineering community.  The team will need to share knowledge, skills and technical approaches with each other and with the wider software engineering organisations.


We're recruiting for a Software Engineering Team Lead, to be based in the UK, to build and lead this distributed development team.  For the right person this should be an exciting and challenging role requiring technology and people leadership skills, a feel for building a community using online and real-world approaches and is likely to involve international travel.

Role Responsibility

Role Responsibility


  • Recruit and lead a group of engineers based in multiple locations, including London, Moscow, Lagos, Nairobi, Delhi and Jakarta
  • Identify, promote and sponsor engineering work to expand the capabilities of the team and others.  Where appropriate, lead that work.
  • Develop the strategy for software engineering, deployment and quality control of front-end engineering in the team
  • Champion best practice within your team and beyond and pro-actively manage coding standards across the locations.
  • Coordinate resources with other teams (such as UX and test) for multiple concurrent projects.
  • Define new architectures on the Cloud and communicate them to the team and the wider organisation.

The Ideal Candidate

The Ideal Candidate


We’re looking for a senior developer with experience in leading teams working across multiple projects.  You’ll run a development group that is responsible for delivering Visual Journalism for the UK and the World Service and lead a team of developers based in multiple locations around the world.  You’ll work with your team and with others to build new services and to establish and develop common approaches, because we don’t want to reinvent the wheel each time. You’ll contribute to our technology strategy, helping us to deliver consistently and iterate quickly. You’ll play a central role in expanding what we deliver to our expanding World Service audience.  You'll be part of the leadership team for the Software Engineering group in BBC News.



Essential experience          



  • Work as a senior software engineer with experience in the following technologies:
    • Javascript (ideally with Node.js and React.js)
    • CSS and HTML
    • Distributed, public Cloud architecture and the core AWS technologies
  • Knowledge of HTTP, Caching, CDNs, TLS and core Internet protocols and technologies
  • Experience recruiting software engineers
  • Experience leading and mentoring software engineers
  • Demonstrable pro-active management of coding standards across a team.
  • Good interpersonal skills and a cooperative approach to problem solving



Desirable experience


  • Experience leading or working with software engineers in multiple locations
  • Understanding of the complexities of delivering content in different languages (such as right to left and non-Latin scripts)
  • Understanding of the different devices and audience needs in different international locations
  • A passion for News products
  • Work in a Dev Ops / Continuous Delivery environment and operational support of live applications

Package Description

Location - London

Grade - 9

Contract - Continuing Contract

About the Company

We don’t focus simply on what we do – we also care how we do it. Our values and the way we behave are important to us. Please make sure you’ve read about our values and behaviours in the document attached below. You’ll be asked questions relating to them as part of your application for this role.

The BBC is committed to building a culturally diverse workforce and therefore strongly encourages applications from underrepresented groups.  We are committed to equality of opportunity and welcome applications from individuals, regardless of their background.

We are committed to healthy work-life balance, so flexible hours and remote working are possible. For this role a flexible approach to working with teams in different time zones is essential.  Additionally, you get access to the BBC Pension scheme, BBC Club and to the BBC Academy where you can pick from a wide range of online and in-person training courses.

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