Senior Software Engineer


  • Job Type: Full-Time
  • Function: Engineering Software
  • Post Date: 01/08/2021
  • Website:
  • Company Address: 833 West Jackson Blvd. Suite 700, Chicago, IL

About eSpark

At eSpark, our mission is to re-imagine learning so it's student centered, enabling students to succeed in school and life. We work with schools to put students at the heart of instruction and help districts achieve stronger academic outcomes.

Job Description

eSpark Overview 

Vision. Our vision is that every student, regardless of their circumstances or background, has the opportunity to set and realize an ambitious dream for themselves. Our mission is to re-imagine learning so it's student centered, enabling students to succeed in school and life.

Impact.  Our work makes a significant difference in students' lives. Independent testing data from public school districts across the country consistently show that students learn more in areas of personalized study with eSpark. One researcher from MIT, who evaluated an eSpark in Boston Public Schools, wrote:  “I find strong positive, significant effects of eSpark for both math and English Language Arts (ELA).  So the eSpark intervention, which is just 30 minutes a day, led to almost half the effect of a full year in a high performing charter school.  I view these as very impressive gains.  The findings made a substantial dent into the black-white achievement gap.” 

Growth.  In the last school year, more than 850,000 students used eSpark, many of them for the first time. Our customer satisfaction (measured by net promoter score) has grown steadily and is now 79.  We’re on track to triple our new bookings this year.

Pandemic. The 2020-20201 school year has been a time of unprecedented challenges for teachers, students, parents, and schools. 

We believe — and have seen in last spring and fall — that eSpark’s personalized curriculum, made of fun and educational games and videos and adapted to each student; our commitment to providing teachers the tools and live support they need to support both remote and in-person learning; and our engaged team focused together on supporting educators and learners, can be a powerful help to teachers and to the students most at risk of falling behind during the pandemic. 

There are so many interesting and exciting opportunities for a Senior Software Engineer to make an impact: 

  • Making our product more resilient in low-bandwidth environments (which often affect low-income students)
  • Improving how we adapt each student’s learning needs and styles dynamically to keep them on track
  • Building better tools for teachers to measure outcomes for small group or individual tutoring and help students where most needed
  • Scoping and creating ways to inform and engage parents in their students’ learning at the right moments (and without requiring significant time commitments parents might not be able to make) 

If these sound like exciting opportunities, and if you’re filled with questions and ready to dig into the data behind everything you’ve just read, we look forward to talking with you!

Senior Software Engineer

As Senior Software Engineer, you’ll report to the Director of Engineering and be directly responsible for making the lives of teachers, students, and neighboring eSpark teams better through the software you ship. You’ll do that primarily in three areas:


  • Plan and build impactful and substantial new features and systems
  • Refactoring new and existing features in response to user feedback and metrics
  • Working closely with design and product to refine and scope the product specs in the  discovery research phase where we talk directly with users 
  • Making good use of your autonomy to pay down technical debt, create new internal tools, and make for happier developer experiences
  • Addressing obstacles proactively so the team maintains a predictable and sustainable pace


  • Mentor other members of the engineering team to help them grow as engineers and as people
  • Be a positive role model who your peers want to continue working with
  • Provide perspective on team practices 
  • Help source and interview candidates to grow a talented, collaborative, ego-free team

Technical Strategy 

  • Participate in collaborative, sound technical decision-making by the engineering team
  • Tell the “story” of the engineering team, connecting its work to the larger mission of the company
  • Understand how technology reflects and amplifies biases and power structures by guiding decisions so that our products are safe and equitable for our students and teachers



As a Senior Software Engineer, your job is to turn ideas that will delight and educate students and make teachers’ lives easier into the real software they use every day. You will use your empathy and your experience as a successful software engineer to identify and fix issues that get in the way of team, business, or individual growth and success.  

A successful Senior Software Engineer is a...

  • Problem Solver: you value pragmatic solutions and balancing short-term needs with long-term sustainability. You help us overcome obstacles and deliver for our student, teachers, and for the team members who use our internal tools. You are eager to learn from, teach, and support other team members, from PMs and designers to engineers at all levels to sales, marketing, and customer service. Teammates know they can rely on you to follow through on commitments.
  • Great Teammate: people love to work with you. Engineers ranging in experience from junior to very senior come to you for sound advice and know you to be caring, genuine, and an awesome person to learn from and work with.
  • Technical Guide: the team knows that you have built great web applications before and can help other engineers when they’re stuck. You are comfortable with what you know (and also what you don’t know), eager to learn from the team’s expertise, and have good instincts for technical problems. 
  • Strategic Thinker: you can see and communicate the big picture in an inspiring way. You identify opportunities and risks by understanding current and future trends. You ask great questions, listen carefully to team members and customers, and share valuable and insightful connections.

We believe that excitement to learn, a readiness to work together collaboratively, and good technical fundamentals are more important to success at eSpark than past experience with specific technologies — we are always ready to pair and to train new engineers on the technologies we use. The applications our students and teachers use are built with Elm and Typescript on the frontend and Ruby on Rails on the backend (all covered by tests), running on top of Docker and with data stored in MySQL and Redshift.

You are generally expected to have been capable of performing at a Senior Software Engineer level currently in your career.

At eSpark, we believe all people—adults and students alike—deserve respect for who they are. We work hard to make eSpark an environment in which everyone can thrive and succeed.

We do not discriminate based upon race, religion, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, status as a protected veteran, status as an individual with a disability, or other applicable legally protected characteristics.

In addition to a competitive salary and stock options, eSpark offers full healthcare coverage (including vision, dental, and mental health benefits), generous vacation and parental leave policies, flexible work-from-home and remote work options as well as a welcoming (post-pandemic) office environment, your choice of technical equipment, parental leave, and flexible working arrangements. We believe in work-life balance and respect nights and weekends (one advantage of working with schools is their regular hours!).

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Disclaimer: Local Candidates Only
This company does NOT accept candidates from outside recruiting firms. Agency contacts are not welcome.