At the Wikimedia Foundation, we operate the world’s largest collaborative project: a top ten website, reaching a billion people globally every month, while incorporating the values of privacy, transparency and community that are so important to our editors, readers and donors.

The VP of Product Engineering will manage the 50+ software engineers and managers in the Product department to create experiences that support the editors and readers of a global free-knowledge movement in a way that’s consistent with our values of privacy, community, inclusivity, multilingualism and sustainability. You will partner with the platform engineering and service engineering leadership in the Technology department to implement a multi-year plan to modernize our experiences and reach new people to ensure that the projects are sustainable forever.

This role supports front end development for Wikipedia and its sister sites. This includes core web editing and reading experiences, native app iOS and Android applications, structured data, multimedia, discussion workflows, anti-vandalism and anti-harassment, and community wishlisted enhancements. The tech stack is composed of PHP, JavaScript (client and server), and high scale caching and persistence layers. We are in the midst of refactoring our stack and integrating new technologies such as Vue.js, machine learning, and structured and linked knowledge to make our engineering and user experiences better.

We are committed to creating and furthering a supportive, welcoming engineering culture that extends not only to our global engineering staff but to the extensive network of community developers who are a crucial part of the Wikimedia movement worldwide. You will play a key role in fostering this culture and ensuring that the Product and Technology departments share a common cultural vision. We would like our engineers and managers to feel supported by the organization with career and personal development opportunities. 

This role encompasses the following areas of activity:

People and Culture:

  • Foster a strong and collaborative engineering culture, ensuring that our diverse workforce feels welcome and supported.
  • Committed to the best facets of open source culture - transparency, collaboration and community and working with our volunteer community of developers.
  • Technical and career mentorship of our Product Engineering teams in conjunction with engineering leaders in the Foundation.
  • Be involved in creating the overall messaging and engineering strategy across the organization, communicating and reinforcing strategic initiatives and performance, and being one of the leaders that influences the overall organization culture.
  • Be responsible for building, managing and recruiting diverse Product Engineering teams.

Engineering Strategy and Goals:

  • Responsible for working with product and engineering leadership to develop the technical and product strategy.
  • Responsible for the technical execution of the product vision (in cooperation with the Technology department), as well as the ongoing team and performance management of the Product Engineering teams that work on those products.
  • Co-own the technical roadmap and drive research into new technologies and platforms that we can leverage to push our platform even further.
  • Lead engineering management and teams in the execution of objectives.
  • Ensure development of extensible architectures and solid technical designs.
  • Actively contribute to technology strategy in collaboration with the executive team.

Technical and Operational Execution:

  • Build the best engineering environment that we can for our engineers and stakeholders in the organization
  • Responsible for driving the definition of technical standards and practices.
  • Work to break down the silos between teams and departments where it is clear we can, fostering closer collaboration toward organizational goals.
  • Be involved in creating roadmaps, defining the operational parameters of products and initiatives, and work with cross-functional groups around the organization as a trusted advisor to improve the strategic use of technology around the organization.
  • Establish new strategies and policies to promote engineering excellence.
  • Track key productivity metrics and continually work towards improving team efficiency, engineering capacity and developer satisfaction
  • Be accountable for technical excellence on the team

There are many career paths that may have gained the experience needed to thrive in this role. We are excited to learn about your journey. It probably includes most of the following: 

  • Managed managers and have a good operational grasp of running multi-team engineering groups. You know how to develop people and give feedback. You’ve successfully managed globally remote teams in multiple countries and timezones.
  • Conversant in engineering principles and comfortable learning and depending on others for specific expertise.
  • Created cultures welcoming to diverse engineering teams. By many measures of diversity, the teams you led were stronger and more diverse when you left than when you joined.
  • Experienced in technical migrations -- we have a lot of culture and wisdom in our existing code bases and need a balanced approach to refactoring
  • Experienced in supporting positive cultural and technological change
  • Involved in the development or operations of high-traffic internet sites

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. 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. 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. The Wikimedia Foundation is a United States 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization with offices in San Francisco, California, USA.

As an equal opportunity employer, the Wikimedia Foundation values having a diverse workforce and continuously strives to maintain an inclusive and equitable workplace. We encourage people with a diverse range of backgrounds to apply. We do not discriminate against any person based upon their race, traits historically associated with race, religion, color, national origin, sex, pregnancy or related medical conditions, parental status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, status as a protected veteran, status as an individual with a disability, genetic information, or any other legally protected characteristics.

If you are a qualified applicant requiring assistance or an accommodation to complete any step of the application process due to a disability, you may contact us at recruiting@wikimedia.org or (415) 839-6885.

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 22 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
  • Paid travel to Wikimedia Foundation events all around the world!
  • Equipment including a laptop, monitor, plus a one-time stipend to cover any additional needs to make sure you have the best work experience
  • Great colleagues - diverse staff and contractors speaking dozens of languages from around the world, fantastic intellectual discourse, mission-driven and intensely passionate people

*Please note that for remote roles located outside of the U.S., we defer to our PEO to ensure alignment with local labor laws.

More information

Wikimedia Foundation
Wikimedia 2030
Wikimedia Medium Term Plan
Our Commitment to Equity
This is Wikimedia Foundation 
Facts Matter
Our Projects
Our Tech Stack

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