Director, Technology, New Opportunities
Director, Technology, New Opportunities
Hyderabad preferred, other Bridge sites (Lagos, Nairobi, London) considered. This role involves significant travel - expect 75%.
Who We Are
Bridge partners with governments, donors, and parents to ensure that every child has access to an education that develops her full potential and creates the foundation for prosperity for the country. We are dedicated to supporting teachers, empowering school leaders, and ensuring every child has the learning support needed to master the national syllabus and have the confidence to succeed in a competitive world. Each of our project or country teams are supported through expertise and programming from additional offices around the world, combining world-leading expertise in core design areas with locally resident leadership and execution. We leverage experts, data, and technology in order to support and scale every aspect of quality education delivery. Bridge managed and supported schools are technology enabled and data driven to ensure accountability in the classroom for both teachers’ performance and children’s learning.
The Bridge model delivers significant learning outcomes at large scale by combining technology and customized learning materials. At Bridge, we believe innovation and technology can transform learning. Our model – which uses technology to deliver thoroughly researched and carefully designed daily lesson guides to teachers in our academies – is proven to increase learning outcomes for children. We are a solutions-driven, implementation-focused organization, using design principles to work in varied and often highly constrained contexts to ensure learning outcomes and positive development for children. Working in regional and national scales is important to us, as empowering entire generations of children with core knowledge, skills, and confidence is what builds the foundation for a peaceful and prosperous future for us all.
Our mission is to provide our pupils with a life-changing education and we believe that every child should have a right to world-class education regardless of her family’s income. Core to our approach is the conviction that every child can learn, as long as the school she attends is committed to her development and puts her needs to learn at the forefront of all decisions. We have seen teachers and children transform and excel in both government and private schools that we support and manage.
We invite you to join this incredible endeavor that is having a world-changing impact across multiple continents. You will join a team of dedicated change-makers committed to ensuring that each decision we make keeps a child’s experience of learning as its guiding principle.
New Opportunities brings the majority of our extensive breadth of technical expertise to ensure large scale transformation of education systems into one team. This team kick-starts new programs in new countries. Each member of the team is responsible for a core area of expertise, and then setting up all work and functions related to that expertise in the new program/new country. This includes putting all relevant policies, practices, systems and technology in place, and leading the hiring of the leader who will take charge of this work as the permanent lead for this body of work. This is Bridge’s SWAT team, with specialists brought together to solve the critical and urgent problem of launching a state or nation-wide new program. This team must work collaboratively, thrive in creating order out of chaos, and understand that proactive problem solving is a daily task. All members of this team should expect extensive travel to remote and underserved areas, and to be resident in 2 other locations per year, setting up new programs. When not deployed on starting a specific program, each team member will do work with the core technical team which he or she represents, to support special projects, deepen technical knowledge, and otherwise advance in the field. This team is critical to Bridge delivering on our shared vision of transforming the lives of 10,000,000+ children, and in so doing seeing peace and prosperity where we work.
Technology plays a critical role at Bridge in enabling us to provide education at massive scale and low cost – it's one of the key elements that gives us the ability to deliver what no one else can. Tech spans several key functions, from the hardware and software that our academies use to run all aspects of teaching and management, to the systems that enable our central offices to manage massive local operations, to the data backbone that informs all of our strategic and tactical decision making. It’s a lot of custom software development and a lot of back office systems.
We've got a ridiculously ambitious mission at Bridge, and it's a place where passionate technologists have a chance to directly change the world. No kidding.
About the Role
Technology at Bridge is a highly complex, vertically-integrated affair, with systems supporting an ever expanding range of functions and countries, and crossing between software development, business intelligence, IT operations, and logistics/supply chain. At the same time, our teams run lean and things change fast – governments make policy decisions that affect us, launching new territories is a frenetic affair, and we still need to evolve our core technology offering.
This role is about ensuring that Bridge’s investments in technology translate into rapid and reliable launches, appropriately localised offerings, and sustainable at-scale operations. To achieve that, it will require deep knowledge of the existing Bridge tools and processes, an exceptional ability to collaborate, listen, and communicate, and a passion for continuous improvement. Above all else, this role is about being a technologist who can be a fast-moving and utterly resilient problem solver, while simultaneously being obsessed with ensuring the scale and sustainability of our operations.
When deployed as part of a new launch, this person will be on-ground as the Technology representative in the cross-functional New Opportunities team, adapting and deploying the existing set of tools and processes and infrastructure to the local context, hiring and training the future IT Operations team, and generally doing whatever is necessary. To achieve that goal, this person will be supported by and oversee a small globally distributed technology team assigned to the launch, including staff from both software development and IT Operations. But it will also mean rolling up sleeves, doing systems administration, installing software, working with local vendors, and whatever else is necessary to make the technology go.
When not participating in a new launch, this person will be catching up on the latest developments within the Technology group and working to make the next launch better, faster, cheaper.
This person will report to the Vice President of New Opportunities, with a functional reporting line to the CTO. This person will be a member of the core Technology Leadership team, alongside directors owning the IT Operations, Software Development, Product Management, and Programme Management functions, respectively.
What You Will Do
● Hire and on-board the IT Operations manager and team (up to 10+) who will take over operations post-launch
● Support academics and leadership and development teams to provide tech support for teacher trainings for up to 10,000 teachers in first 3 months in-country
● Manage the local hardware and infrastructure setup, under the oversight of the shared services IT Operations director, to ensure that support office infrastructure (internet, PBX, firewalls, domain controllers, etc.), IT assets (smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc.), and tech consumables (software licenses, airtime, etc.) are procured and available in a way that is timely, cost-effective, and consistent with established Bridge standards.
● Build awareness and perform training around the existing technology toolset for the local teams, including new products or functionality that might not have existed in prior launches.
● Ensure the right balance between standardisation (including pushing back on local teams to adopt) and localisation (including pushing back on shared services teams to adapt)
● Oversee the technology shared services teams assigned to a launch, including prioritisation of issues for resolution, necessary customisations, and the coordination of associated timelines and releases. Changes to software systems to be overseen by the shared services Software Development director.
● Act as the single point of contact on ground for Technology during a launch, meaning communicating a clear and complete picture back to the Technology Leadership teams and also communicating information back from those teams to the local teams
● Prevent shadow systems and misinformation from becoming embedded
● Between launches, work with other technology departments and functions to improve future launches, including product strategy, software development, IT Operations, and business intelligence
● Advocate relentlessly for - and personally embrace - the use of data and reports to drive facts-based and at-scale decision making
What You Should Have
● Experience deploying and overseeing technology in low infrastructure and physically remote environments - limited or unreliable access to power, limited or unreliable access to network, difficult or slow to reach in person, and often using low spec hardware.
- Experience that includes mobile applications and enterprise mobility management are a big plus.
● Experience working across multiple teams and departments, especially in a globally distributed and matrixed organisation.
● Strong project management skills, especially with both lean processes that are designed to work in rapidly changing environments and also with more formal structures designed for complex and well-defined projects
● Understanding of networking infrastructure (routers, switches, firewalls, domain controllers) and the associated setup and configuration
● Competency with other types of systems administration tasks, esp. Linux-based systems, such as PBXs, LAMP-stack OSS, etc.
● Familiarity with ITIL, Information Security, and Identity Management best practices.
● Experience participating in modern software development and continuous delivery processes, including automated deployment pipelines, microservice APIs, frequent releases, and fast feedback
● Proficiency in the use of monitoring tools to oversee systems at a distance and at scale (and to reduce mean time to response)
● Exceptional listening, communication, and collaboration skills
● 7+ years relevant IT/industry work experience
● Bachelor's degree with strong academic performance
● Experience of living and/or working in emerging markets, including rural and remote communities
● A detailed doer – You have a track record of getting things done. You’re organized and responsive. You take ownership of every idea you touch and execute it to a fine level of detail, setting targets, engaging others, and doing whatever it takes to get the job done. You can multi-task dozens of such projects at once and never lose sight of the details. Likely, you have some experience in a startup or other rapid-growth company
● A creative problem-solver – Growing any business from scratch comes with massive and constant challenges. On top of that, Bridge works in often fragile, sometimes volatile low-resource communities and with complex government systems. You need to be flexible and ready to get everything done effectively, quickly, and affordably with the materials at hand
● A relentless advocate – The children we serve and teachers we empower never leave your mind. You know them, get them, have shared a meal with them (or would be happy to in the future). You would never shrink back from shaking a parent’s hand or picking up a crying child, no matter what the person was wearing or looked like. Every decision you make considers their benefit, experience, and value
● A malleable learner – You believe you can always do better. You welcome constructive criticism and provide it freely to others. You know you only get better tomorrow when others point out where you’ve missed things or failed today
● A data-driven decision-maker – When making decisions, you don’t rely on your intuition alone. You collect data, you analyze it, and make decisions with clear justifications
● A curious investigator – You ask why a lot. You don’t just take what you see and accept it. You wonder why it is that way, and are aware that the world we see is created by human choices and actions – and it could be different. You wonder, and see the world as wonderful, even when you want to change a part of it that is unjust