Senior Software Engineer

United States · Tech expand job description ↓


Overview: Crisis Text Line is a data- and tech-driven not-for-profit. We've built our own online platform for engaging with people in crisis (think: suicide, self-harm, domestic violence, etc) over SMS using standard, open web technologies.

How we work:

  • Fail intelligently. We always do our absolute best work, but we're ready to fail at any moment so we build with redundancy and fault-tolerance.
  • Pick the right tool. Technology is a means, not an end. We try to see where the bleeding edge is, but live in the realm of reality and practicality.
  • Access control. Alice and Bob are our best friends, but we know that Alice and Bob are inherently untrustworthy. We write your code to make sure Alice and Bob can’t conspire against us or our users.
  • Speed. A teen expects a response to a text message in under 14 minutes. We’re shooting for no more than 5. That means the platform needs to run fast, and support agents need to be able to use it efficiently and effectively.
  • Testing. Testing isn’t just clicking buttons. Testing means optimizing user experience and listening to your users rather than your gut. And of course, running automated tests too. You would never deploy untested code into production, right?!

What we work on:

  • Custom, home-grown Symfony2/Node app for SMS-web interaction
  • Multiple integrations with 3rd parties, etc Twillio, Facebook, Salesforce, Okta, FormAssembly


  • Tech chops. Chops is a weird word. Anyway, we use PHP/Symfony2 and node.js. We deploy using Jenkins. We manage stuff with Ansible. You are incredibly comfortable with these technologies or similar experience for 5-7 years. Also, you need to have some devops experience, but ok if it was not a formal role.
  • Drive. You’re not afraid to start a project with an empty git repo and text file.
  • Independence. You’re comfortable working from a set of requirements laid out for a development sprint and interfacing with the right people to get the job done on time.
  • Leadership. You've been the technical lead on a large project with 10 or more engineers working on it and have a history of delivering quality software on-schedule.
  • Fun. Crisis is a serious issue we work with day to day, but that doesn’t mean that work can’t be fun. A cat video is as exciting as deploying a new version of PHP to the web servers in the cloud. Though no points lost if PHP > cats.
  • Passion. You’re not here just for the coding. New ideas about how to make the platform better and how to build smarter is what keeps you up at night. Nancy Lublin’s TED talk, “Texting that saves lives,” just makes sense and gets you fired up.
  • Data-driven. We started with two hires: an engineer and a data scientist. This is as much a data organization as it is a software organization. “Big data” isn’t just a buzzword--it drives system architecture and informs software optimization and iteration.
  • Project management. We're all self-starters here, so that means a bunch of balls are up in the air all at once. You're capable of juggling all of those balls and maybe even capable of organizing them to keep everything on track.
  • Location. You live around or are willing to relocate to New York, NY, Durham, NC, San Francisco, CA, Seattle, WA or London, UK


  • 3 weeks vacation plus the week between Christmas and New Years (plus work from anywhere Fridays from Memorial Day to Labor day), fully covered health insurance, matching 401K, fun office environment, and passionate team. Plus, you don’t have to come to work on your birthday (but we’ll probably bake you cookies if you do).
  • Crisis Text Line is an equal opportunity employer.

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