First Look Media is hiring a

Senior Backend Engineer, Research + Data

New York, United States

The Position:

First Look Media is looking for experienced and forward-thinking engineers to join our top-notch cross-disciplinary research and data engineering team.

We are looking for both frontend and backend engineers, but the ideal candidates will be happiest when involved in all aspects of building data-driven applications: from designing adaptable data models to writing elegant, reusable application code to building fast and intuitive user interfaces.


Primary responsibilities will include working with our researchers and journalists on unpacking, indexing, and identifying patterns and stories in acquired data sets. You will also work with our security engineers to ensure the integrity of the data and the safety of our sources.

Background + Qualifications:

Previous experience working with journalists or researchers on data-driven stories is highly valued.  You should be conversant about how data is represented, organized, and described - particularly large, heterogenous sets of documents.  You should have a number of years of experience writing web applications, and should have experience with newer client-side libraries ( react, for example ).  You should also have several years of experience designing, prototyping, and refining user interfaces for organizing and exploring large data sets.  Experience designing APIs (or working with hypermedia specifications like Siren or JSON-LD) is a benefit.

Knowledge of encryption and information security best-practices is outstanding, and devops skills are always appreciated.

Candidates should be self-motivated, proactive and organized, love creating great software, and are borderline neurotic about code quality and employing the best software development practices.  You should also have an open-source mentality, thinking about how to build projects as sets of reusable components that can be shared with the world.

Sample Work:

Our engineers worked closely with our researchers and journalists to bring transparency and accountability to powerful governmental and corporate institutions.   Some examples are:

  • “Not So Securus”

Technology Stack:

We use the best tools for the job and are always open to new technologies, but our basic stack includes:

  • python
  • clojure
  • jupyter / ipython
  • mysql, postgresql, nosql
  • apache solr
  • apache tika
  • stanford nlp
  • tesseract ocr
  • node.js
  • react
  • sass
  • d3.js

The Company:

First Look Media is a new-model media company devoted to supporting independent voices across all platforms, from fearless investigative journalism and documentary filmmaking to smart, provocative entertainment. Launched in 2013 by eBay founder and philanthropist Pierre Omidyar with the belief that independent perspectives are vital to a vibrant culture and thriving democracy, First Look operates as both a studio and digital media company.

We are an Equal Opportunity Employer--people of color, people with disabilities, women, and LGBT candidates are strongly encouraged to apply; we are committed to a diverse workplace, and to supporting our staff with ongoing career development opportunities.