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Published on 27/05/2019

Head of Cloud / VP of Engineering

The PHP monolith is being dismantled and superseded by a service mesh based on Istio + Envoy with Kotlin service instances running on the JVM and hosted on Google Cloud Platform on the backend and React/web and Flutter/mobile on the front. We have a successful and growing business entering a phase of new country expansion which our existing systems would not be able to support. We'll not attempt to improve our legacy systems (much) but instead completely replace them.

That means that, effectively, we have embarked upon a greenfield project where we are re-architecting every layer of our systems starting with a cloud-native infrastructure. We are architecting for dynamic orchestration and allocation of service mesh instances based on real-time latency monitoring rather than thinking in earlier, outdated modes of resource management that focused on VM allocation. Those days belong in the past.

Our toolstack is taking shape as we progress in our research and we are actively looking for an infrastructure leader with experience in large-scale, high-volume, high-availability systems who will play a key role in defining the stack. There are some key architectural foundations we will base our new systems development upon—CICD and TDD for development and deployment; and we’ll be using Docker + Kubernetes + Istio + Envoy for the orchestration and auto latency-based load balancing of our service mesh instances. We will most likely be using GCP's Bigtable and Spanner as the wide-column big data and financial transactions ACID databases.

We are taking a different approach to most companies in the way we are defining the role of infrastructure within our transformation projects. Infrastructure can often be regarded as sitting in the backseat and having its contribution taken for granted. We are actively looking for a Head of Cloud who actively leads innovation to educate, investigate and demonstrate better ways of working. Infrastructure can and should be a vital source of innovation within a high-functioning technology team.

There is so much innovation happening in the infrastructure space that if you don’t have the infrastructure team at the table and shaping the conversation then the whole wider team is missing out on important innovations and their valuable insights. There’s too much happening in this space for Infrastructure to be following rather than leading. Great developers also appreciate when they have infrastructure partners with whom they can work together to collaboratively deliver exceptional engineering and commercial outcomes.

This is not a common point of view in our industry and there’s a reason why we have this different and uncommon view on infrastructure. We’re a successful startup, have been operating for over a decade and were acquired by one of European's largest brick-and-mortar retailers. Essentially, we are the digital strategy hedge against Amazon coming to Europe and decimating retail. Needless to say, we won’t be using EC2s.

We’re a daily deals online ecommerce company with huge volumes, and that’s the critical factor—we offer fantastic deals today, but tomorrow they will be gone. Dynamism and constant change is something we have chosen to embrace. It is part of our DNA; we are intrinsically risk-takers.

In our Head of Cloud / VP of Engineering we are looking for:

  • Experience in architecting for high-volume transaction loads with low-latency operating constraints
  • Architecting for high availability and zero downtime
  • Knowing the territory with CNCF-style cloud-native development (as opposed to cloud-based hosting)
  • Strong leadership skills—all success is about growing people
  • Being at the top of their field and recognised as a thought leader
  • A fantastic positive attitude who can work collaboratively with their colleagues

We're on a massive growth trajectory and it's why we need a Head of Cloud who is able to envision and design scalable, secure, distributed architectures that are leveraging all the best tools. Together with the infrastructure team they will have the opportunity to design this from scratch and influence the team’s standard of excellence.

Often, Infrastructure—and the incredibly hard work that it involves—is taken for granted. It’s like electricity and everyone just expects it to be there. But our CTO wants to expand Infrastructure into a powerful, direction-setting part of the team—a source of horsepower and innovation within the company. The insights and capabilities that Infrastructure brings to the table determines the degree and pace at which the rest of the Tech team succeeds.

This is a high visibility role for someone with a risk appetite to tell us how things should be done right. We are looking for someone with strong opinions on everything from authentication and security to best practices in CICD. We’re also looking for someone with an obsessive commitment to simplification and rationalisation who would want to eliminate legacy technologies from the stack. We have some cleanup to do and old technologies need to be placed on a schedule to be ruthlessly eliminated.

You will have complete freedom to do the very best engineering that it is possible to do. You can choose your tools. You can set your own quality metrics. You can set standards over deployment, monitoring and our dynamically-scalable infrastructure. You won’t have any budget constraints so long as what you propose is basically sensible. We are after quality. In the long term, this is the most cost-effective solution too.

You don’t need to necessarily know GCP already. We are assuming that if you are at the top of your game then you can translate and remap your experiences with AWS onto GCP. If you do have experience with large-scale GCP implementations already, then great. But leadership skills are more important and you’ll be supported in developing those further. We believe in our people and they are the basis of all our successes. You need to be able to mentor, coach, lead and inspire your team. You should also have strong opinions about who you would want to hire into your team and what key skills you would want to bring in as it grows; perhaps you already have people in mind you'd want to bring with you.

We have a greenfield project to re-engineer the future of a large high-volume working business that is also an innovation lab for exploring the limits of current technology. We are looking for someone with the technical vision to envisage how a cloud-native scalable platform should be designed that will be the foundation for the massive growth we are going through.

You will have complete freedom to do the very best engineering that it is possible to do. You can choose your tools. You can set your own quality metrics. You won’t have any budget constraints so long as what you propose is basically sensible.