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Senior Software Engineer

Rolling Deadline  |  Full-Time Job  |  New York, NY US


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

How we work:

  • Fail intelligently. We’re 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.
  • Hack this site. Seriously. We’re the type of people who think hackthissite.org is one of the coolest places on the internet, so every line of code we write has an eye to keeping things safe.
  • 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?!
  • Cloud. We think scale. The cloud isn’t a solution, it’s an assumption.

What we work on:

  • Custom, home-grown Symfony2 app for SMS-web interaction
  • Multiple integrations with 3rd parties, etc Twillio, Facebook, Salesforce
  • Slack chat bots because `@george image me <puppies>` is important


  • Tech chops. Chops is a weird word. Anyway, we use PHP and node.js + socket.io. We deploy using Jenkins. We manage stuff with Puppet. You are incredibly comfortable with these technologies or similar experience for 3-5 years
  • 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.
  • Fun. Teen 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 or Durham, NC.


  • 3 weeks vacation plus the week between Christmas and New Years (plus Summer Fridays from Memorial Day to Labor day – office closes at 1:30), fun office environment, passionate team, and occasional brownie bake-offs. 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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