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Head of Backend Development @ Doist

About the role

The Backend team currently consists of 6 developers, with a plan of expanding it to 8. We are looking for a leader for the team who is passionate about creating and maintaining high-quality software that powers long-lasting products such as Todoist and Twist. You will:

Grow and support a world-class team of backend developers who feel autonomous, productive, and fulfilled. You will be responsible for setting them up for success while coaching and providing guidance along the way.

Expand and reorganize the team and its processes as context changes. You will ensure that tooling and workflows are appropriate. You will be critical of the status quo.

Empower each individual to make decisions and move forward with as little dependencies as possible. You will ensure the team brainstorms and documents high-level ideas, goals, and best practices. You will encourage knowledge sharing.

Drive the vision and technical strategy for the team and its codebases. You will do this at scale, serving hundreds of millions of users and billions of data items.

Work to strike a healthy balance between feature development, short-term and long-term improvements, so that we can confidently rely on our backends and APIs for years to come.

Coordinate and communicate between various technical and non-technical stakeholders, such as other Engineering teams, Product and Support.

Collaborate with other Engineering leaders around shared values, standards, and processes, and ultimately help shape Engineering at Doist as a whole. You will report to the CTO.

Help plan each work cycle internally by reviewing priorities, availability, and optimal matching of people to projects. You will periodically share updates, so that everyone is aware of what's going on behind the scenes.

About you

We expect you to have experience in building resilient teams that produce long-lasting software that is continuously evolving and modernized. We expect you to be a technical leader who has experience building elegant, fast, and stable codebases and APIs that are used by customers. We expect you to be ambitious and driven in leading a technical team at scale.

You are proficient in growing reliable and ambitious teams based on trust, autonomy, and transparency. You provide long-term vision and are able to distill it down into actionable steps, while inspiring your team to pursue it. You support and mentor your colleagues while investing in their personal growth. You realize that leadership comes with responsibility and restraint, and that your topmost priority is the well-being of your team.

You understand that engineering management is a technical discipline that requires you to engage in technical decision making. You realize that technical instincts, continuously honed, are vital for guiding that process.

You want to join a remote-first company that's multi-cultural and distributed worldwide, uncompromising in commitment to its values and mission and focused on the long-term. You can commit to this challenge for many years, and you don't hop around from job to job.

About the code

You will be working primarily with Todoist and Twist. Both are monolithic Python applications, built using homegrown framework similar to Flask. We use AWS extensively, including Aurora, SQS, and ECS Fargate.

To speed-up and scale Todoist and Twist we rely on Redis, sharding data horizontally, as well as offloading processing to background workers whenever possible.


A technical challenge in working with Todoist is finding a sustainable balance between propelling the product forward while reducing technical debt. Todoist's codebase is over a decade old, and was not designed with the current scale or feature set in mind. Striking a healthy balance between feature development, long-term foundational improvements, and short-term patching can be non-trivial. Twist, whose design is largely inspired by Todoist, presents a similar challenge.

On the organizational level, we collaborate intensely across teams, which can be challenging in its own right. Our backends and APIs are at the center of everything, meaning the team is in high demand. External needs arise from Product, Support, Marketing, Finance, other Engineering teams, and so on. Balancing all stakeholders, as well as the needs of the team itself, is complex.

Lastly, we are becoming more intentional about our long-term vision, our code and its design, documentation, what processes and workflows we use, what tooling we rely on, and how we define quality and success. Maturing on so many fronts is exciting, but it comes with its challenges around prioritization and focus.


A complete application includes:

A resume or manually entered experience (you can choose your preference).

Thoughtful, thorough responses to all the application questions. No cover letter needed!

The process will be as follows:

Interview with Roman, our current Head of Backend.

We'll ask you to complete a test project.

Interview with Thomas, a member of our Backend team.

Interview with Gonçalo, our CTO.


Our perks and benefits are designed to provide the freedom and support you need to grow personally and professionally. Here’s what that looks like:

The basics

Work from anywhere in the world. We never place restrictions on locations.

Design your own schedule. Work no more than 40 hours/week.

Competitive pay. Our formula-based salary calculation provides a highly competitive rate based on your skills and location.

Expand your professional skills

Pursue personal projects. All Doisters get one month per year to spend on a work-related project they’re passionate about

Attend conferences. You’ll have a recurring budget to spend on attending conferences that grow your professional knowledge, skills, and network.

Company retreats. Our annual company-wide retreats are unforgettable.

Craft your ideal work environment

Cozy up at a coworking space. Find a coworking space that’s right for you and Doist will cover the expense.

Apps and services budget. You’ll have a monthly budget to spend on services that help you do your job.

Hardware budget. You’ll have access to a recurring budget to spend on work-related equipment.

Focus on your well-being

Generous time off. Doisters get 8 weeks (40 days) of PTO/year to use as they wish on vacations and national holidays.

Parental leave. New parents receive 5 weeks of paid parental leave in addition to 13 weeks of paid pregnancy-related medical leave.

Invest in your health and wellness. You’ll have a monthly budget to spend on things like gym membership, healthy snacks, massages, health insurance, etc.

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Last Modified: 2020-10-13 4:7:49
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