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.
Our algorithms evaluate tens of millions of articles, behaviors and social interactions to deliver only the most interesting and important stories on a global scale — a fascinating engineering challenge that has attracted a world-class data science and engineering team.
Join our international culture — smart work, smart people and a global mission to bring quality information to the world. Our perks include offering you a free healthy lunch, delicious coffee provided by our in-house barista, and financial support towards language-learning.
Your ideas matter
We view engineering as a collaborative activity, where our engineers aren’t only responsible for implementation, but also helping to figure out what we should build. So rather than just executing on a fully formed spec, you’ll work directly with product managers to come up with the best solutions from both a technical and product perspective. Ideas for new features or improvements don’t only flow down from above either, and so as an engineer, you’ll be encouraged to propose your own ideas for our product as well.
Not too big, not too small
We’re small enough that you can have a big impact on our product, but big enough that we’re tackling interesting and challenging problems at scale. We still don’t have much bureaucracy, nor an excessive amount of interdependencies between teams, so it’s still possible to go from idea to launch in very little time. For example, we launched our COVID-19 dashboard just 48 hours after it was proposed by an engineer on Slack.
Work both with your engineering peers and cross-functionally
Most companies organize their teams either by grouping people of a similar skillset, or assigning them to cross functional teams. We do both! You’ll be part of a “pillar”, where you’ll work with other engineers with a similar skillset, letting you trade ideas and level up each other’s technical skills, and also a “squad”, where you’ll work with a diverse cross-functional team to directly contribute to business goals.
An international environment that doesn’t require Japanese
Over fifty percent of our engineers are non-Japanese, coming from over 15 different countries. Although we don’t have an official language, English is becoming the de-facto standard of the engineering team. When needed, we have a team of interpreters that can provide simultaneous translation at meetings. Of course, if you’re looking to learn or improve Japanese, there’ll be plenty of opportunities to do so, including through free language lessons.
We welcome people who are currently overseas but looking to relocate to Japan. We can provide visa support and help you get set up in Japan.
Our response to COVID-19
Our user base is increasing quickly due to people’s interest in news (COVID and non-COVID related), and so we’re still hiring. If you’re abroad looking to relocate to Japan, we’re still interested. If you’re based in China or the US, we can initially hire you with our local branches, and then transfer you here once your visa is processed. If you’re based in another location, we’ll bring you once we’ve helped you obtain a visa.
For our existing employees, in response to the situation, we’re having everyone work remotely for the time being.
One specific challenge we’ve noticed remote work creates is that it’s hard to have the kind of spontaneous conversations you might have when grabbing a coffee in an office environment. To encourage our employees to meet other employees they might not know, and also catch up with those they’ve worked with in the past, we have created a bot that on a weekly basis randomly assigns employees to a small group for a short casual chat.
Our hiring process
When you submit your application to SmartNews, it will be reviewed by our recruitment team, to make sure it is relevant to the position. 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. After you pass this secondary screening, you’ll be invited in for a round of interviews, covering both behavioral and technical topics. Once you’ve passed these interviews, we’ll make you an offer.
About the position
Technical Program Managers lead technically complex programs at SmartNews. As part of the Engineering team, they have an understanding of the systems underlying our app, which allows them to discuss technical issues with engineering managers.
- Lead technically complex programs to success
- Define success metrics and roadmaps from high-level business goals and strategies
- Identify areas of influence, and drive technical decision-making and alignment of cross-functional teams
- Carry out all required communication to make programs successful
- Manage execution of development including development, testing, etc
- Perform data-driven analysis and investigate existing system behavior
- Document and report on programs and project statuses, roadmap plans and progress, new program and project proposals, follow up on project and program plans
- Prepare, execute and analyze results of A/B tests
- Prepare and maintain technical-level KPIs, OKRs, and SLIs/SLOs/SLAs
- SQL, Spark, Hive, or similar data querying skills
- B.S. degree in Computer Science or experience in software application development
- Excellent written and oral communication skills
- Track record of understanding product requirements and translating those requirements into actual technical specifications
- Track record of program or project management that involves multiple engineering and product teams
- Track record of technical program management or project delivery experience as an engineer
- Ability to understand technical architecture design for basic systems
- Business-level English
- Track record of experience in engineering in large-scale machine learning, data engineering, distributed systems, or similar areas
- Business-level Japanese
- Experiences defining technical specifications for micro-services