Consultant - MicroMentor Software Engineer - Remote

Information Technology Portland, Oregon


Purpose / Project Description:
MicroMentor is an initiative of Mercy Corps’ Innovations Team. At MicroMentor, our mission is to leverage the power of mentoring to help small businesses thrive. We do so by offering entrepreneurs direct access to a pool of committed professional volunteer mentors via an easy-to-use online community. MicroMentor has an expanding community making 10,000 mentoring connections every year. Entrepreneurs matched with a mentor have shown significant results in terms of improved job creation, business survival, and revenue growth. Our team is diverse, driven, hardworking and highly committed to the mission of helping small businesses thrive through mentoring, and about Mercy Corps’ mission to support our worldwide team that’s improving the lives of 19 million people in 40+ countries.

Consultant Objectives:
MicroMentor is a growing program within Mercy Corps and functions much like a technology start-up. Through a proprietary online mentoring platform, MicroMentor provides a technology solution that connects small business owners and entrepreneurs with skilled volunteer business mentors on a global scale. In addition to managing the general community of users, MicroMentor provides a niche product offering to corporations, international NGOs and government entities as a program-implementing partner.  

We are looking for a Software Engineer who is responsible for the maintenance of MicroMentor’s existing feature set and for helping to develop new features. The ideal candidate is interested in creating innovative web applications and is comfortable across a range of technologies. Our technology stack uses Python/Django, PostgreSQL, Wagtail CMS, and Zurb Foundation CSS framework. Experience with React is a plus. This person is a reliable teammate, a strong communicator, and knowledgeable in their field.

You are comfortable wearing many hats and can work across the entire tech stack. You are results-driven and accountable. You can read design documentation and solicit clarifications for documentation. You can write proofs-of-concept or prototypes to explore undocumented software edges. Your code is easily understood by other humans, including your future self. You write unit tests and participate in code reviews. You are open, honest, and self-critical and exhibit the utmost integrity. You approach problems with a mindset of possibility and abundance. You can work independently with incomplete documentation. You are enthusiastic about working for a mission-driven organization.

You will be working closely with team members across functions and geographies. We are a fast-growing startup within a large international NGO and our days are fun and intense. 

Our team is diverse, driven, hardworking and highly committed to the mission of helping small businesses thrive through mentoring.

Consultant Activities/Deliverables:

Software Development
  • Write clean, readable code for new and existing features
  • Supplement feature development with unit and integration tests
  • Anticipate edge cases and side effects of changes to the system
  • Participate in code reviews
  • Write technical documentation
  • Read design documentation and solicit clarifications
  • Create proofs-of-concept or prototypes, especially for situations where documentation is ambiguous or incomplete
  • Report and diagnose bugs and issues that may arise
  • Help triage issues for product maintenance
Product Development
  • Help designers and other team members identify minimally-viable feature sets
  • Participate in estimation and scoping exercises
  • Participate in brainstorms or other design meetings
  • Help designers discover edge cases where development is problematic
  • Help optimize product and project management processes
Organizational Learning  
  • As part of our commitment to organizational learning and in support of our understanding that learning organizations are more effective, efficient and relevant to the communities they serve, we expect all team members to commit 5% of their time to learning activities that benefit Mercy Corps as well as themselves. 
Accountability to Beneficiaries 
  • Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically
    to our beneficiaries and to international standards guiding international relief and development work, while actively engaging beneficiary communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.

Timeframe / Schedule: 

Full time, ongoing engagement to start immediately.  Initial contract to be of 6-month duration, working remotely until the Mercy Corps HQ office is reopened. Mercy Corps HQ is located in Portland, Oregon, USA.

The Consultant will report to:

MicroMentor Director

The Consultant will work closely with:

MicroMentor Product Development Team.  This position may supervise interns, and volunteers who will be recruited as needed to support development needs.

Required Experience & Skills:

The ideal consultant will have the following experience and skills:

  • BA/BS degree and 5+ years of relevant experience (Degree in Computer Science or related field preferred but not required)
  • Ability to work on Pacific Time Zone
  • Experience with mobile-responsive front end development, including HTML, CSS, JavaScript, etc. Experience with Zurb Foundation and BEM principles preferred.
  • Experience working in a Distributed/Cloud-based environment to build highly scalable applications (AWS, Google Cloud, etc.) Experience with Heroku preferred.
  • Experience with RESTful API development
  • Experience with development of large-scale software projects.
  • Good understanding of MVC / MVVM concepts. Experience with Django strongly preferred.
  • Experience with CMSes. Experience with Wagtail CMS preferred.
  • Experience with SQL or NoSQL database technologies (e.g. MySQL, ElasticSearch, Redis, etc.). Experience with PostgreSQL preferred.
  • Experience writing unit tests and integration tests.
  • Experience integrating with outside systems such as CRM, email providers & third-party APIs. Experience with Salesforce integrations preferred.
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills:
    • Fluency in English required. 
    • Able to communicate clearly using a variety of approaches.
    • Able to read and interpret web software design documentation and solicit clarifications for documentation.
    • Able to make and demonstrate prototypes for features with ambiguous or incomplete documentation.
    • Able to read and write technical documentation.
    • Able to articulate ideas to both technical and non-technical audiences. 
    • Able to relate to people with different backgrounds from around the world.
    • Able to work remotely and attend meetings on Pacific time.

The MicroMentor Software Engineer will be experienced, driven, and have experience with building platforms and working with diverse teams across geographies. Ensuring that the technology meets the needs of a growing, global population, particularly those in developing markets is essential. It will also be essential to listen to the voice of stakeholders, partners and customers in this development process. Demonstrated communication skills and working creatively with limited resources and a small team will work to the candidates favor. They must have the ability to think critically and make good decisions that contribute to the team’s success. The engineer must have a proven ability to learn quickly and adapt to new situations, to understand the larger picture while remaining focused on the details and maintain an even temperament under stressful situations. A good sense of humor is appreciated. Awareness of and sensitivity to multicultural international development work is required.

To Apply:

In addition to your CV, please submit a brief cover letter which includes a list of relevant projects/experience, expected fees/daily rate, and availability.