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Lead Developer, Open Source Initiatives At Loblaw Digital

Location: Toronto, Ontario

Job Description

Why is this role important?

Toil is the work tied to running a production service that tends to be manual, repetitive, automatable, devoid of enduring value, and that scales linearly as a service grows. - SRE Guidebook

Our team operates within Loblaw Digital's Productivity Engineering organization, and we live and breathe our motto everyday: "Reduce Toil, Increase Happiness, and Get Sh!t Done". We reduce toil because we care deeply for the people who rely on our work. A successful day is one where our colleagues get their time back and leave work less stressed. Building tools is great, but building tools that impact lives is so much more rewarding.

Caring about someone also means ensuring they feel cared for, so getting people excited about what we do is essential to making things better. A tool that is never used, no matter how well designed, remains useless. We think often about how we can effectively and empathetically communicate our work to others.

To be part of our group is to always be looking for the best way to do something. Here, we have the freedom - nay, feel the necessity - of heavy experimentation. We build things on a whim to see how it feels, and always reevaluate the validity of our old assumptions as we discover and learn about new tools and ideas. We do this in pursuit of a solution that's just... better. What's better? More elegant, more performant, more concise, easier to use? Justify it, and we'll listen.

We are focused on solving the development & delivery of software at scale while maintaining stability, quality, and velocity. We enable ourselves, and the teams around us, to take services from lines of code to reliable production applications in a way that minimizes toil and maximizes happiness.

What You'll Do

Your colleagues just finished building the next big thing in digital retail. It's sitting on their laptops, shining in all its glory, what now?

Everyday, you'll be walking into work to try new things, poke holes in old things, and make great things even greater. You'll be designing infrastructure that is both agile and reliable under load. In the pipelines you architect, you'll shorten both the time it takes to prototype, as well as the time it takes to harden the solution.

Through your experimentation, you'll be generating best practices that the rest of Loblaw Digital will rely on to get their applications to production, serving customers. Best practices are a two-way street - you'll be speaking to application teams regularly to not only communicate the best practices you've found in your experimentation, but also to understand the real world implementation gotchas that they run into.

Loblaw Digital lives in a cloud-native world; we're masters of all 12 factors of it. You'll be at the forefront of the field, implementing technologies and tools so cutting edge you'll jump on them literally the day they're released. Better yet - if the best tool to solve a particular issue doesn't yet exist, you'll just go ahead and build it yourself, and then open source it so that the rest of the world can benefit from it too. DevOps and Site Reliability Engineering are philosophies, not job titles; everything you do will align with them.

Alas, adventurer, your journey will be fraught with danger. Continuous everything remains a hard problem with competing schools of thought. Thankfully, we tackle hard problems like trying to implement the Not Rocket Science Rule of Software Engineering, and strategizing against the monkeys of chaos when they come knocking.

TL;DR:
  • Develop internal tools used across the organization
  • Develop open source libraries used across the world
  • Solve complex issues which necessitate building custom platforms, frameworks and APIs
  • Create documentation, tests, and pipelines to foster the adoption of your work
  • Create talks & blog posts to evangelize your work
  • Support our existing tools & open source libraries and their various implementations
  • Participate in proof of concepts, hackathons, and bug bashes
  • Collaborate with different teams to reduce overall colleague toil

Because of the experimental culture of our team, the tech you'll work with changes pretty quickly. Below is some tech that's popped up more than once.

Key Technologies

  • Cloud: GKE, AppEngine, Cloud Functions, CloudSQL, Cloud MemoryStore, Pub/Sub
  • Container Orchestration: Docker, Kubernetes, Skaffold, Helm, Istio (Gateway & Mesh), Spinnaker
  • Service Observability: Prometheus, Jaeger, Grafana, Kiali, AppDynamics, StackDriver, Splunk
  • Infrastructure Orchestration: Terraform, Ansible, Gitlab CI
  • Code Verification: Sonarqube, Jest+Enzyme, Sitespeed.io, Puppeteer, Gitlab
  • Languages: Go, Elixir, Java, JavaScript

Minimum qualifications

  • Solid programming skills in an imperative language (Java, C++, Go, Swift) or a functional language (Erlang, Elixir, Haskell)
  • The ability to pick up technology quickly. We don't say "I'm not familiar with that technology," without adding, "but let me read up on it, and I'll get back to you on it."
  • Communication skills are paramount. Documenting once is not enough; being able to explain something in 5 different ways is key.
  • Our current pipelines are defined in Gitlab CI & Spinnaker. Mastering them will be key to your success.
  • Kubernetes is the future, so know it. Even if it's for your own good. Read this, it'll take you from zero to hero. Practice makes perfect!
  • Containers, too, but this goes without saying if you know kubernetes.
  • You enjoy working in a quorum, where leadership is a shared responsibility. High freedom and minimum supervision.

Preferred Qualifications

  • A degree in computer science or computer engineering would help. Complex problems require complex solutions, and formal training in computer science allows us to have a common basis and language in tackling these problems.
  • 2 or more years of experience in Development, DevOps, or SRE means that you have experience in the trenches, and that you can bring your intuitions and inspiration from your past experiences into the team.
  • Show us your past projects! We'll specifically be looking for how you decided to design your application, and of course how you decided to get it deployed and ready for customers.
  • Knowledge in some of the frameworks listed above. If you're missing a few, that's okay, but bonus points if you get started now! We're not very particular about the exact language you know. We believe that if you know one of them, then you can learn any of them. However, we do want mastery in at least one or two languages, as it means that you can express even the most complex ideas in code.
How you’ll succeed

At Loblaw Digital, we seek great people to continually strengthen our culture. We believe great people model our values, are authentic, build trust and make connections. We’re able to keep innovating because our colleagues are passionate about their work and excited about the future of eCommerce.
You will get to work with some of the best digital minds and will have the support of world class technologies to craft products our customers will love!

Loblaw Digital recognizes Canada's diversity as a source of national pride and strength. We have made it a priority to reflect our nation’s evolving diversity in the products we sell, the people we hire, and the culture we create in our organization. Accommodation is available upon request for applicants with disabilities in the recruitment and assessment process and when hired.
In addition, we believe that compliance with laws is about doing the right thing. Upholding the law is part of our Code of Conduct – it reinforces what our customers and stakeholders expect of us.