Senior Software Engineer - BBC News Labs

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

Job Introduction

News Labs is a multi-disciplinary team consisting of journalists, software engineers, data architects, R&D producers, and user experience designers sitting at the intersection of BBC News, BBC Research & Development, and the BBC's digital product teams. We influence the future direction of audience experiences for BBC News. We also collaborate with academic partners and external research and design agencies. It is an exciting time to join News Labs as we will be expanding into Cardiff next year.

We experiment with new approaches to news and prototype new tools. Right now, we’re particularly interested in the possibilities of:

  • Developing structured journalism, and journalism as data
  • Creating and testing new formats for BBC News, including personalisation
  • Making BBC News more accessible for our audiences
  • Exploring opportunities for automation and AI in journalism

We are looking for an imaginative, flexible, and talented Full-Stack Senior Software Engineer to help influence News Labs’ work exploring new and interesting workflows for editors and journalists. BBC News hopes to reach 500 million people worldwide by 2022 each week, and we need people who will help make that ambition a reality through delivering innovation into news.

Have a look at our website for some more info on our projects and team:

Role Responsibility

As a Senior Software Engineer in News Labs, you will lead on building prototypes, researching concepts and ideas, and working with users to optimise their user experience. You will also be playing a role in shaping the team’s internal software engineering processes, optimising cloud workflows on AWS, and collaborating with everyone in your team to champion best practices.

Our systems are written largely in JavaScript and Python, but we are open to experimenting with languages and frameworks, as long as we do it collaboratively.

We use Github for version control, Jenkins CI/CD pipelines, and AWS as our cloud-hosting provider, as well as our own cluster of VMs and containers on-premises for applications with special access and data protection requirements.

As a key member of News Labs you will be

  • Working in short project cycles to create prototypes, demonstrate proofs of concept, test assumptions and gain early user feedback.
  • Contributing to all aspects of the design, execution and delivery process. Beyond leading software engineering, this can include user research, interface design, stakeholder and project management.
  • Mentoring and helping others develop with the opportunity to line manage 1-2 engineers.
  • Seeking out new tools and methodologies to evolve our development processes.
  • Working on the bleeding edge of technology in the newsroom and for audiences.
  • Developing your outreach and public speaking skills.
  • Given training opportunities through our in-house training and conferences.

The Ideal Candidate

We’re keen to speak with people who have experience leading the design, development, and support of systems built with one or more modern programming languages and/or frameworks. We’d also like to see experience of cloud infrastructure, automation techniques, and complex systems that scale.


When writing your application please tell us about:

  • Your experience of leading the design and development of software on the frontend and backend
  • Your interest in news, innovation and artificial intelligence/machine learning
  • Your experience in outreach and advocacy
  • How you’ve led a project from planning through to execution and delivery
  • How you support and lead your team and others
  • Your experience of working in a DevOps environment and supporting production systems
  • Your experience leading agile practices for software development and software testing methods.


If you have more experience on either the frontend or backend, or don’t “tick all the boxes”, we still want to hear from you – as a team member in News Labs, you will be an innovator first, and an engineer second.


In addition, you might also be able to tell us about one or more of these:

  • Your experience mentoring and managing others.
  • Your experience writing JavaScript, TypeScript, or Python.
  • Designing better user experiences, from a design and performance point of view.
  • Working in a Unix/Linux based environment.
  • Using a version control system (such as Git).
  • Deploying to a cloud platform such as Amazon Web Services or Google Cloud Platform and using systems supporting that (such as BBC Cosmos).
  • Your experience following good security practices while developing cloud-based services.

We will contact all shortlisted applicants for an introductory call with the hiring manager.

Following on from that, we will send you a code repository to familiarise yourself with, and set up a two-hour remote session to work through a few exercises with you. Please let us know if there are any accommodations we can make to allow you to perform the best you can. We will be in touch via email to confirm details.

Finally, there will be a final interview lasting one hour where we will tell you a bit more about how News Labs works, find out more about your experience and motivation, and give you a chance to ask us any other questions you may have.

Package Description

Band: D
Contract type: Permanent
Location: London or Cardiff

We’re happy to discuss flexible working. Please indicate your choice under the flexible working question in the application. There is no obligation to raise this at the application stage but if you wish to do so, you are welcome to. Flexible working will be part of the discussion at offer stage.

  • Excellent career progression – the BBC offers great opportunities for employees to seek new challenges and work in different areas of the organisation.
  • Unrivalled training and development opportunities – our in-house Academy hosts a wide range of internal and external courses and certification.
  • Benefits- We offer a competitive salary package, a flexible 35-hour working week for work-life balance and 26 days (1 of which is a corporation day) with the option to buy an extra 5 days, a defined pension scheme and discounted dental, health care, gym and much more.

The situation regarding the coronavirus outbreak is developing quickly and the BBC is keen to continue to ensure the safety and wellbeing of people across the BBC, while continuing to protect our services. To reduce the risk access to BBC buildings is limited to those essential to our broadcast output. From Wednesday 18th March until further notice all assessments and interviews will be conducted remotely. For more information go to

Mae’r sefyllfa gyda’r coronafeirws yn datblygu’n gyflym, ac mae’r BBC yn awyddus i barhau i sicrhau diogelwch a lles pobl ar draws y BBC, gan barhau i warchod ein gwasanaethau hefyd. I leihau’r risg, dim ond y bobl sy’n hanfodol i’n hallbwn darlledu fydd yn cael mynediad i adeiladau’r BBC. O ddydd Mercher 18fed Mawrth ymlaen, bydd pob asesiad a chyfweliad yn cael ei gynnal o bell, nes rhoddir gwybod yn wahanol. I gael mwy o wybodaeth, ewch i

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.

Diversity matters at the BBC. We have a working environment where we value and respect every individual's unique contribution, enabling all of our employees to thrive and achieve their full potential.

We want to attract the broadest range of talented people to be part of the BBC – whether that’s to contribute to our programming or our wide range of non-production roles. The more diverse our workforce, the better able we are to respond to and reflect our audiences in all their diversity. 

We are committed to equality of opportunity and welcome applications from individuals, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, socio-economic background, religion and/or belief. We will consider flexible working requests for all roles, unless operational requirements prevent otherwise.

To find out more about Diversity and Inclusion at the BBC, please click here

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