This position is closed and is no longer accepting applications.

Backend Engineer, Ranking Team

SmartNews Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
  • 💴 No salary range given
  • 🏡 Fully remote
  • 🧪 Minimum years of experience unspecified
  • 💬 Fluent Japanese
  • 🌏 Apply from abroad
  • 🧳 Relocate to Japan

About SmartNews

SmartNews Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

SmartNews is a news app with 20 million monthly active users in the U.S. and Japan. We are a machine-learning company deeply committed to helping users find quality news beyond the filter bubble.

Key benefits

  • Not too big, not too small
  • Highly collaborative environment
  • International team

About the position

We need an engineer who can develop a highly-scalable, world-class backend platform for Ads/News Ranking working closely with our Machine Learning Engineers.


  • Plan and execute engineering development of robust and scalable backend systems to enable state-of-the-art news Ranking to millions of users

  • Support the maintenance and the stability of world-class core news Ranking system components

  • Collaborate closely with global cross functional teams (Product Managers, Editors, Machine Learning engineers) to develop backend system for new news-related product features

  • Work closely with software engineers to optimize backend system of news articles, pages, channels, search, and other news-related-features to provide high quality user experience and increase user engagement

  • Work closely with News Delivery and AI Foundation teams to develop system that deliver personalized news

  • Proactive, innovative, creative problem solving for system improvements which will result in user impact


  • Solid experience in building distributed, highly scalable systems supporting millions of users, including design, coding, and evaluation/testing (Prefer Java, Kotlin, Scala. Open to Golang, C++, Rust)
  • Strong educational background in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, or related technical fields
  • Experience of developing machine learning algorithm and data engineering (data pipeline, data platform, etc)

Nice to haves

These aren’t required, but be sure to mention them in your application if you have them.

  • Experience developing ranking/recommendation/search related systems
  • Failure analysis and performance tuning in JVM operation
  • Familiarity with tech stack such as AWS, Spring-Boot, Elasticsearch, Kafka, Flink, Github, MySQL, Hive, Hadoop, Spark, Docker, Kubernetes, and/or TensorFlow
  • Experience in internet, web, ads, and/or technology industries
  • Passion and interest towards solving world problems such as digital divide, filter bubbles, echo chambers, group polarization, etc.
  • Business Japanese

Hiring Process

  1. 1

    Application review

    When you submit your application to SmartNews, it will be reviewed by our recruitment team, to make sure it is relevant to the position.

  2. 2

    Online coding test

    When you pass this initial screening, you’ll then be sent out an online coding test. The results of this test and your resume will then be reviewed in more detail by one of our engineers.

  3. 3


    After you pass this secondary screening, you’ll be invited in for a round of interviews, covering both behavioral and technical topics.

  4. 4


    Once you’ve passed these interviews, we’ll make you an offer.

Meet SmartNews's Developers

When Robert joined SmartNews as a software engineer, most of his colleagues were Japanese. Since then, it’s grown into an international organization where English is predominantly used.

Read his story...

YuCheng is a senior software engineer at SmartNews. He explains the freedom he enjoys at SmartNews: not only from a technical perspective, but also the influence he can have over the direction of the product.

Read his story...

Cortland recently joined SmartNews as an engineering manager, where he leads a six person team. He talks about what drew him to the company, his role as a manager, and how they use matrix management to maximize their engineers’ success.

Read his story...

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