By Tom Lee Last Friday was Kaitlin Devine's last day at Sunlight. I got to work with her here for five years, and over that time I watched her transform from a talented engineer into the world's foremost expert on U.S. spending data. She can still write code like a champ, of course, but she also came to write congressional testimony and even enacted legislative language. We're terribly sad to lose her to GSA, but it's exciting to imagine what she'll be able to achieve from within government.
I mention this because Kaitlin's story is emblematic of why I love working at Sunlight. Also, because now we need a new Kaitlin! Not to replace her (that's impossible) or even to become an expert on spending data, but to join our team of people who care about both the tech and policy dimensions of opengov problems.
We need people who understand that a CRS report and API docs can be two sides of the same coin — people who know when to push code and when to pick up the phone. Our engineers start off being great at technology and wind up as experts on Congress or procurement or lobbying or city data policies or any number of things.
There are many ways to use technology to make the world better, but I honestly don't think there's a better place to learn about how technology and government intersect.
(Also, a pretty good new taco restaurant just opened around the corner.)
If the line between wonk and geek sounds like where you want to be, we need to hear from you. You can find the full job description and application link here.
One more thing: Like a lot of software engineering shops, Sunlight has not been as successful at hiring as diverse a team as we'd like. We are continuing to work to fix this by doing specific outreach to ensure that relevant communities and candidates know about our job openings.
But this time we're also going to try an experiment. Although Sunlight has always been committed to being an equitable and inclusive employer, there is good research indicating that applicants' identity can affect screening decisions, perhaps even in ways that the screener doesn't realize. So we are asking that applicants for this position keep their names and contact information separate from their cover letters and resumes through the use of this handy web form.
This is an experiment, and we know it probably won't work perfectly. Obviously we need to know where you've worked and what your code looks like, and, in some cases — hopefully not that many — this might leak information about who you are. And once we get to phone and in-person interviews, we'll inevitably develop a more specific sense of a candidate's identity. But we think this is worth a try, and we ask that applicants make a good faith effort to anonymize their resumes and cover letters.
Beyond that: We need your help! If you know a talented engineer who wants to make their country better, please make sure they know about this job. Sunlight is a great place to work. We're all pretty excited to meet the next Kaitlin.