Opportunity: Technical Lead

Common Wealth is seeking a Technical Lead to be the first member of our technology team. You will play a critical role in serving our clients and members by enhancing, maintaining, and supporting our technology platform, while building an in-house tech team that will accelerate our efforts to expand access to retirement security.

About Common Wealth

Common Wealth provides workplace retirement benefits for a 21st century workforce. We’re dedicated to helping to close the retirement security gap for the tens of millions of people who lack access to a good workplace retirement plan. We partner with associations, unions, and employers to deliver value-for-money, collective retirement plans that combine user-friendly technology, digital retirement planning, low-cost investments, secure lifetime income, and a fiduciary duty to members. Our work is serving a wide range of people who’ve lacked access to good workplace retirement benefits, from home care workers to physicians to not-for-profit employees to workers across Canada’s private sector. Common Wealth has been recognized internationally for its work in addressing the global retirement challenge.

This opportunity is for you if:

  • You want to be part of a business that is mission-driven, profitable, and growing
  • You love to learn and are self-aware about your strengths and limitations
  • You love to roll up your sleeves and produce work that meets the highest standards for quality and attention to detail
  • You are a supportive and adaptable team member

What you will do

As the first member of Common Wealth’s in-house technology team, you will have overall responsibility for enhancing, maintaining, and supporting Common Wealth’s technology platform. Expect a combination of hands-on technical work, team building and leadership, collaboration with colleagues, and engagement with clients. As we work together to build out Common Wealth’s internal tech team, you will collaborate on these responsibilities with one or more technical colleagues:  

  • Collaboration
    • Manage Common Wealth’s initial technology team
    • Assist in managing the relationship with external technology partner and collaborate with the partner’s software development team
    • Work with clients (both technical and non-technical) to customize Common Wealth’s technology platform to meet their organization’s needs
    • Work with Common Wealth team members on new product features and enhancements to our technology platform, including business requirements, design, feature prioritization, algorithms, and the overall product roadmap
  • Technology platform enhancement
    • Build new features for Common Wealth’s technology platform to add additional value for plan members, employers, and other Common Wealth clients
    • Lead quality assurance and testing of new features
    • For larger feature builds, work in collaboration with an external software development partner
  • Technology platform maintenance, production, and support
    • AWS hosting and services
    • Manage batch processing schedules for back-end software functions
    • Monitor uptime and ensure software stays up and running
    • Apply security patches and update dependencies
    • Build admin features to make your Common Wealth teammates more efficient
    • Develop and monitor security plans, policies and procedures

Key skills (general)

  • Team leadership
  • Project management
  • Strong communication skills, including the ability to translate back and forth between technical and non-technical audiences
  • Business acumen
  • Ability to work with external technology partners
  • Client service
  • Willingness to “roll up sleeves” and do work (expect to be hands on keyboard for a significant portion of the time, at least initially)

Key skills (technical)

  • Requirements
    • Demonstrated expertise of software architecture, implementation, debugging, and database design in a language and framework-agnostic way
    • 7+ years experience programming with Java and Spring Boot
    • Demonstrated expertise with AWS Cloud services and how to quickly deploy them in applications.
    • Experience working with open-source software and the surrounding ecosystems
    • Experience with modern relational databases such as Postgres or MySQL, ideally using AWS Aurora
    • Ability to integrate with third-party apps, such as a CRM or accounting software, using APIs
    • 2+ years’ experience doing DevOps, continuous deployment, and continuous integration on AWS
    • Agile / Scrum methodology
    • Data security
    • Quality assurance
    • Demonstrated expertise writing technical specifications
    • 3 years’ experience working with a services architecture
    • Familiarity with JavaScript and one or more front-end frameworks
  • Nice-to-have skills
    • Demonstrated expertise of JavaScript, its related dialects (e.g. ES6+ or TypeScript) and multiple front-end frameworks, especially React.js
    • Demonstrated knowledge of various CSS Modules (e.g. Flexbox, Transitions and Animations, or Grid Layout)
    • Understanding of the trade-offs and compromises necessary to create consistently rich user experiences across multiple devices and platforms
    • Experience using Progressive Enhancement techniques and extended web technologies to create consistently rich user experiences across multiple devices and platforms

Backgrounds that can be helpful in building the "nimble generalist" skill set

  • 10+ years of software development experience
  • Some experience leading technical teams
  • Bachelor’s degree in computer science or equivalent
  • Experience in a start-up or other small, growing organization
  • Experience in fintech

Do I need to be a pensions and retirement expert?

No. If you have the ability (and humility) to learn quickly, and if you can collaborate effectively with our team, we are confident you will be able to succeed at Common Wealth.

Benefits of this opportunity

  • Make a difference. Use your software skills for good by helping more people achieve a secure retirement. Many people will use, and benefit from, the software that you build.  
  • Help us build a team. Play a central role in leading our company towards a greater focus on technology. Your role and the team’s small size mean you will interact regularly with Common Wealth’s co-founders. 
  • Start-up nimbleness with less downside. Like many start-ups, we are small and can innovate quickly. But we’ve also been in business for over four years without having raised or borrowed capital, meaning there is less risk associated with our business model than those firms that have yet to find product-market fit. 
  • Competitive total rewards. We pay competitively relative to professional services and better than many start-ups. You will also have the opportunity to participate in an employee stock option plan, have access to benefits, and receive regular skills-based training.

I've never thought about a career in pensions and retirement. Why should I consider this field?

  • Meaningful impact – The global retirement savings gap is estimated at $70 trillion. By making a dent in this problem, you can make a big difference.
  • Growth market – As longevity increases, the need for efficient retirement security is likely to grow.
  • Challenging problem – We’re looking for people who love tackling hard problems. Retirement security is considered one of the most difficult problems in finance. Solutions require creativity and a combination of disciplines, both financial and non-financial.
  • Toronto: a global centre of excellence – Common Wealth is located at the centre of one of the world’s most sophisticated ecosystems for pensions and retirement. Toronto is home to some of the world’s leading pension funds and retirement experts, as well as being a leader in financial services and technology.

What's the process?

To apply for the role, please send your resume and a 200-word statement of interest in a single PDF to careers@cwretirement.com with the subject line “Technical Lead.” Applications will be accepted until Friday, August 30th, at 5pm. If you have a blog or if you have examples of your work online, it would help if you could point us to them.

After receiving applications, we’ll contact a subset of candidates for a 30-minute screening interview by phone or video conference. From there, we’ll move onto in-person interviews. You can expect 3-4 such interviews, including an evaluation of your tech skills. Because we’re a small, collaborative organization, we want to make sure that a successful candidate will have had a chance to meet with most of the members of our team, including both co-founders. Interviews will focus on understanding how you work, Common Wealth’s culture, problem solving, and technical ability. Finalist candidates can also expect a technically oriented work assignment.

Ideally we would like to welcome our new technical lead to the team by late October.