Chief Technology Officer

Wikimedia Foundation

Reports to: Katherine Maher, Chief Executive Officer & Executive Director

Location: San Francisco, CA or Remote (U.S. based)

The Wikimedia Foundation is looking for a creative, collaborative, forward-thinking Chief Technology Officer (CTO) to join our executive team. As a member of the organization’s leadership team and senior technology executive, the CTO will lead the development and execution of the technical platform strategy for the Wikimedia Foundation and Wikimedia projects, in partnership with our global communities of volunteers, contributors, users, and researchers. Our vision is for “every human being to share in the sum of all knowledge”, and our platform is essential to that vision.  

As CTO, you will be responsible for the evolution, development, and delivery of our core platform and architecture. You have run a highly trafficked content driven website before and have a track record in being able to deploy, maintain, and upgrade world- wide, enterprise-level infrastructure. You will have a deep understanding of open source development practice and emerging technologies, and the ability to anticipate and incorporate relevant developments into our technical roadmap. You will be passionate about mentoring and developing exceptional and diverse talent and teams.

We’re looking for a leader who is driven by our mission, animated by our values, and passionate about building for the future. You should have a truly global worldview, embrace transparency and stewardship in your work and communications, and thrive in lean and complex environments. You should be energized by the opportunity to continue to drive the growth of the world’s fifth most popular web platform, available in around 300 languages, written by millions of contributors, and visited around 6,000 times a second by roughly 1.5 billion devices every month.

As CTO, we’d like you to do these things:

Strategic leadership

  • Work with the Foundation’s executive team to act and think in service of the future of the Wikimedia vision, projects, contributors, and readers. Lead the iteration, growth, and future development and growth of highly complex enterprise-scale technology infrastructure. Oversee essential architectural evolution and the development of a comprehensive platform and infrastructure strategy for Wikimedia’s technical ecosystem, services, and tooling.
  • Develop a creative and viable vision and structure for the technology department that supports overall organizational strategy. In collaboration with key stakeholders, produce integrated and forward-looking approaches to platform, product, research, machine learning, and technical community.

Technical expertise

  • Develop medium and long-term technical roadmaps and goals. Anticipate scale and capability challenges, and communicate clear proactive plans to address these challenges.
  • Own and drive technical organization integrity, efficacy, and excellence. Establish and oversee proven and scalable development and execution processes in software, technical operations, and architecture.
  • Lead development of key performance metrics such as site availability and responsiveness, bug response time, code review response time, etc., and ensure consistent improvement along these metrics.
  • Advance a first-class platform developer experience for internal and external audiences.
    • Ensure engineering productivity standards that support technical excellence, from code health and test coverage to deployment and integration.
    • Grow a diverse, global community of volunteer open source technical contributors across all aspects of the Wikimedia technical ecosystem.

Operational management

  • Support the technology leadership team across diverse areas of specialization, including software engineering, site reliability engineering, research, security, machine learning, analytics engineering, fundraising infrastructure, performance, delivery, and product development.
  • Oversee the success of regular planning and budgeting processes.
    • Work closely with internal partners and department leadership to transform priorities and requirements into specific objectives, products, and services.
    • Develop effective plans for existing and future technology expansion, direct resources appropriately, and drive to completion.
  • Oversee effective personnel operations including hiring, development, and performance management.

Team leadership

  • Serve as a compelling advocate for the Wikimedia movement, mission, and values in internal, community, and external fora. Participate in relevant conferences and Wikimedia community convenings, including some international travel.
  • Cultivate a culture of excellence and empowerment. Design and enact organizational structures that support clear communication, nimble and effective execution, and shared ownership and accountability around goals.
  • Recruit, mentor, and coach diverse leaders in the technology organization. Foster a welcoming, collaborative, and inclusive working environment.

We’d like you to have this experience and these skills:

  • 7+ years in strategic- and executive-level technical and operational leadership
  • Proven ability to set vision and strategy for technology and operations.
  • Experience collaborating on the development of technical roadmaps for architecture, operations, and security at top-tier scaled platform or applications with significant data management and content delivery needs. Experience leading efforts to modernize a legacy platform a plus.
  • Substantial experience with building and establishing infrastructure for large web properties using FLOSS components and their challenges, and awareness of modern and relevant technologies/developments.
  • Experience building and running complex, multi-disciplinary development teams and developing diverse talent pipelines
  • A track record of quickly building consensus and respect among large, dispersed stakeholder groups in a highly collaborative, transparent environment.
  • Experience managing large budgets and planning cycles, creating systems for creative and sustainable workflows, and effecting high impact improvements to resiliency and efficacy
  • Significant experience navigating complex international organizations, movements, or networks. Informed cultural sensitivities, intellectual curiosity, and a deep passion for the Wikimedia mission
  • Clear and effective communication skills for diverse settings and audiences. Ability to broker relationships across non-technical and external teams, and to promote a culture of excellence and mutual accountability.
  • Ability to work flexible hours, including limited weekends, and travel internationally as needed.

And it would be even more awesome if you had the following:

  • Experience managing international teams across multiple time zones
  • Experience leading international volunteer developer communities
  • Experience as a FLOSS project maintainer (in contrast to contributor)
  • Experience working on technical projects in non-US markets, or on products and platforms designed for non-US consumers
  • Experience volunteering or coordinating volunteer communities, including an understanding of the challenges and opportunities within transparency, participation, and social decision-making
  • Understanding of the opportunities that collective online collaboration present to a large scale web operation and to the Wikimedia projects in particular.
  • Experience with internet culture and policy issues, including: freedom of expression, open culture/free culture, the free and open source software movement, online surveillance, privacy and security
  • Big thumbs ups if you are a contributor to Wikipedia
  • A well-loved passport

The Wikimedia Foundation is…

….the nonprofit organization that hosts and operates Wikipedia and the other Wikimedia free knowledge projects. Our vision is a world in which every single human can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. We believe that everyone has the potential to contribute something to our shared knowledge, and that everyone should be able to access that knowledge, free of interference.

The Wikimedia Foundation is a charitable, not-for-profit organization that relies on donations. We receive financial support from millions of individuals around the world, with an average donation of about $15. We also receive donations through institutional grants and gifts.

We host the Wikimedia projects, build software experiences for reading, contributing, and sharing Wikimedia content, support the volunteer communities and partners who make Wikimedia possible, and advocate for policies that enable Wikimedia and free knowledge to thrive.

Wikimedia is the world’s fifth most popular digital platform, used in everything from secondary education to advanced computational research. Each month, around a billion people visit the Wikimedia sites, to learn about topics ranging from classical music to Bollywood stars to quantum mechanics. 

While Wikipedia is the largest and best-known of the Wikimedia projects, it is only one part of our work.  Other widely-used projects include Wikimedia Commons, which contains more than 40 million free media files, and Wikidata, an open structured and linked data repository with nearly 50 million items. We are also the primary developer of MediaWiki, a free and open source collaborative software platform. Wikimedia is:

  • Available in around 300 languages;
  • Written by 250,000 monthly contributors;
  • Visited 6,000 times on average each second;
  • By roughly 1.5 billion devices every month.

U.S. Benefits & Perks*

  • Fully paid medical, dental and vision coverage for employees and their eligible families (yes, fully paid premiums!)
  • The Wellness Program provides reimbursement for mind, body and soul activities such as fitness memberships, baby sitting, continuing education and much more
  • The 401(k) retirement plan offers matched contributions at 4% of annual salary
  • Flexible and generous time off - vacation, sick and volunteer days, plus 19 paid holidays - including the last week of the year.
  • Family friendly! 100% paid new parent leave for seven weeks plus an additional five weeks for pregnancy, flexible options to phase back in after leave, fully equipped lactation room.
  • For those emergency moments - long and short term disability, life insurance (2x salary) and an employee assistance program
  • Pre-tax savings plans for health care, child care, elder care, public transportation and parking expenses
  • Telecommuting and flexible work schedules available
  • Appropriate fuel for thinking and coding (aka, a pantry full of treats) and monthly massages to help staff relax
  • Great colleagues - diverse staff and contractors speaking dozens of languages from around the world, fantastic intellectual discourse, mission-driven and intensely passionate people

The Wikimedia Foundation is an equal opportunity employer, and we encourage people with a diverse range of backgrounds to apply


Applications, Inquiries, and Nominations

Screening of complete applications will begin immediately and continue until the completion of the search process. Inquiries, nominations, referrals, and CVs with cover letters should be sent directly to our partner firm, Terrain Advisors, for the search.  

Contact information:

Mark Jacobson,

Patrick Burke,

Liana Grossman,


More information

Wikimedia Foundation website

Wikimedia Foundation blog

Annual Report - 2017

Wikimedia 2030


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