Dir, Systems Operations

Technology Chennai, India


Director, Learn Operations

Chennai, India



The Opportunity:
Recently combined with Anthology, Blackboard offers the largest EdTech ecosystem on a global scale, supporting over 150 million users in 80 countries. The company’s mission is to provide dynamic, data-informed experiences to the global education community so that learners and educators can achieve their goals.  


We believe in the power of a truly diverse and inclusive workforce. As we expand globally, we are committed to making diversity, inclusion, and belonging a foundational part of not only our hiring practices but who we are as a company. 


For more information about our company and career opportunities, please visit www.blackboard.com.



As the Director of the Learn Operations organization at Blackboard, you will be responsible for managing a team of systems engineers and systems administrators responsible for Tier 1 and Tier 2 support of our flagship Learn application in both our managed hosting and cloud SaaS offerings. The Director, Learn Operations will play an integral role in the success of the group. 



Primary responsibilities will include:

  • Working with Product Development teams to establish joint operational priorities
  • Overseeing 24x7 emergency on-call rotation
  • Deploying and maintaining high-availability Linux systems with a continuing focus on standardization of administration and configuration
  • Developing automation tools for maintenance, troubleshooting, and administration
  • Configuring and managing performance monitoring tools and notification services
  • Undertaking various housekeeping and reporting functions for the areas of responsibility, including product deployments, upgrades & maintenance
  • Developing and implementing a plan of continual improvement
  • Driving the team’s efforts for improving our automated tests and reducing time to market for our SaaS offering
  • Using data to measure and improve overall team productivity and product quality
  • Providing timely and transparent written status reports that highlight both successes and challenges
  • Collaborating with other members of the Learn product development staff to develop a true sense of shared responsibility & energy for the entire product, from conception through deployment
  • Recruiting, mentoring, organizing, motivating, and coaching a team of 24x7 engineering and operations professionals; assigning projects and arranging training to advance the career of everyone within the team; defining and monitoring goals
  • Identifying and coaching future leaders to take on additional personnel and technical responsibility
  • Bringing a deep understanding of Quality Assurance in a team, and a proven track record of shipping software on time with countable quality
  • Being a very strong leader, mentor, recruiter, and people manager
  • Nurturing a collaborative environment across multiple geos and functional teams
  • Providing leadership and guidance in all aspects of deployments, monitoring, reports, and tools
  • Proactively identifying opportunities to eliminate manual efforts via the development/adoption of the appropriate tools/scripts
  • Working closely with both internal and external teams and vendors to guarantee continuous uptime, delivery on Service Level Agreements and maintaining site performance and operations
  • Working as an integral player in a team that depends on everyone working together in a short delivery cycle
  • Leading a world-class team of engineers and administrators responsible for supporting and maintaining a highly available application in use by hundreds of institutions and millions of users worldwide
  • Accelerating the push to move all infrastructure from self-managed data centers to AWS
  • Tracking operating costs for all non-production and production systems and reacting when costs are abnormal
  • Managing and maintaining a cohesive view between both product offerings, handling operations metrics, version management, and driving process improvements
  • Standardizing monitoring and reporting across several data centers in both private- and public-clouds
  • Working to ensure that native and cloud-based product infrastructure is scaled to meet future product and service needs



The Candidate:

Required skills/qualifications:

  • Experience managing SysOps or DevOps teams 
  • Expertise and working knowledge of network/server infrastructure running in virtualized and cloud environments
  • Experience working in and leading a 24x7x365 Operations environment
  • Experience working within distributed systems and managing multiple function teams
  • Experienced in managing teams in an agile environment
  • Track record of hiring great engineers and building strong teams
  • Track record of identifying productivity opportunities and taking the appropriate remedial action
  • Track record of influencing a US-based management team
  • Always looking to uncover the root cause of any issue
  • Experience with and solid understanding of web and app servers, Apache Tomcat and Nginx. Scripting in Chef, Perl, Python, etc.
  • Experience with JIRA bug tracking system
  • Strong communication skills with an ability to listen and be heard
  • Self-starter, collaborative team player
  • Experience with Linux in a production environment
  • Experience troubleshooting and resolving application and/or system-related issues
  • Strong written and spoken English
  • Ability to track, measure, and maintain uptime, incident response, and issue resolution times in accordance with service level agreements 24x7x365
  • Ability to own incident management and problem management processes for the team to drive continuous improvement for end user experience and SLA guarantees
  • Strong understanding how to configure and deploy Linux servers programmatically in cloud infrastructures
  • Ability to work independently and within a geographically distributed team
  • Minimum of a bachelor’s degree; with over 10 years’ work-related experience in a relevant technical discipline
  • Ability to effectively communicate with peers and management
  • Ability to manage multiple, concurrent projects and tasks with overlapping deliverable dates



Preferred skills/qualifications:

  • Experience with large-scale software development processes and multi-region deployments
  • Experience installing, monitoring, and maintaining Linux servers in the cloud, especially in AWS
  • Ability to find and resolve outages, scalability, performance, and reliability problems, even if you must dig into assembly code
  • Experience working with Open Source Tools & Software
  • Previous experience in the education industry and with e-learning technologies
  • Background in content/knowledge management, digital asset management, as well as with education related technologies



To ensure the safety and wellbeing of our employees during the COVID-19 pandemic, Blackboard positions are currently remote (where possible).



The Office:

Blackboard has an office in one of the biggest cultural, economic, and educational centers in South India: Chennai. 

  • Located on OMR, the IT corridor of South Chennai 
  • Easy access to Velachery, Thiruvanmiyur Railway station and bus stop 
  • Very close to Tidel Park, Ascendas, and SRP Tools – Holiday Inn  
  • Office provides lunch Tuesday – Thursday and evening snacks Monday – Friday  
  • Office is situated behind Hotel Turyaa on the 5th floor of Rayala Techno Park 
  • Fun Committee, Happy Fete Team, Food Committee, and Sports Committee ensures fun at work 
  • ISR Team actively engages employees in contributing to various local charities


This job description is not designed to contain a comprehensive listing of activities, duties, or responsibilities that are required. Nothing in this job description restricts management's right to assign or reassign duties and responsibilities at any time.  



Blackboard is an equal employment opportunity/affirmative action employer and considers qualified applicants for employment without regard to race, gender, age, color, religion, national origin, marital status, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, protected military/veteran status, or any other legally protected factor. 

Req ID: 549