Job Opportunity: Full time web developer

Job Opportunity: Full time web developer

Position: Full time Web Developer

Start date: As soon as possible

Location: Anywhere in South Africa

Overview of the position

The Online Progressive Engagement Network ( and ( seeks a full-time Web Developer to provide direct service to our organisations, as well as two other NGOs based in Europe. OPEN, and the other NGOs are focused on social, economic and environmental justice. We are looking for a mid-level full-stack developer with expertise in Git, skilled in web frameworks like Ruby on Rails, and comfortable managing development operations for a few different setups of the same or similar tools.

Your job will be to contribute to the development of a suite of purpose-built organising tools developed in this global network of progressive organisations, and manage deployments for four specific groups.

We are committed to providing fair pay and a healthy work culture, a collaborative work environment, opportunities for international travel, and great opportunities to grow as a developer (including extensive on-the-job training and paired work with senior developers). Black people, women, people living with disabilities, LGBTIQ individuals are strongly encouraged to apply. is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer.

Email to apply.


Background on the and the OPEN network tech program is an independent, community advocacy organisation that seeks to build a more just and people-powered Mzansi. We do this through our work to turn every cell phone into a democracy building tool, so that those most affected by poverty, violence and corruption; Black women from low-income backgrounds, can organise in numbers that hold power to account. is a small NGO which supports a movement of 200,000 members across South Africa. is a member of a network of similar organisations across about 20 different countries, and this position is intended to meet the needs of four different organisations within that network, the Online Progressive Engagement Network. OPEN is a network of 20 independent, non-profit, nationally-based organisation working on multiple issues, with differences between one country and the next, but all sharing a common set of values and a general strategic orientation. We all conduct activism using largely digital tools, like outreach on email and social media, common tactics like online petitions, calls to parliament, organising offline protests and actions, and volunteering in our communities. Read more about the network and our core organising DNA.

Many organisations within OPEN have a tech director, manager or coordinator who helps the organisation make decisions about what tools the organisation needs to do the work. Some of the larger organisations have teams of 3 or 4 software developers, and have built their own tools that suit our needs and our use cases better than available commercial tools, to the point that newer organisations are looking to run these custom tools, and each one needs a developer to make that work -- that's where you come in! OPEN facilitates this collaborative model of software development and delivery, largely on Github and Slack, but also on email, via annual summits (4 this year, including a Tech Summit), staff exchanges, and more.


Manage deployments for our digital organising tool set, along with the same tools on behalf of three other organisations based in the EU and Africa, with support and direction from OPEN's Tech Director, Lead Engineer, project maintainers, and a community of developers across a dozen countries and organisations. The four organisations you'll be working with are using or want to start using some set of the following tools:

  1. Identity (a Rails app), a data warehouse, mass email and SMS tool.
  2. Speakout (a Padrino/Ruby app), a public-facing tool for citizens to contact decision-makers like members of parliament, to conduct surveys, and accept online donations from members.
  3. Some groups may wish to deploy more advanced tools for volunteer organising and voter contact, such as Spoke (Github), an open source peer-to-peer messaging tool built with React/Nodejs, and Kooragang (Github), an open source Express/Nodejs app for phonebanking with volunteers and staff.
  4. A basic WordPress site, some reporting tool like Metabase, and other standardised tools.

All of these tools are maintained by other organisations in the network, so you won't have to maintain these code bases, just deploy them, localise them, and contribute some features and fixes.

Your top responsibility will be as the person responsible for maintaining healthy deployments of these tools for all four groups – each with their own language, political context, culture, and organising priorities. We hope this sounds like an exciting challenge! You'll also be tasked with general project maintenance work like refactoring, writing tests, enhancing security, writing documentation.

About you

  • We hope you will enjoy working on a small team ( has 4 staff, and the OPEN tech team is 2.5 people), but having a tonof colleagues (about 30 devs across the network, and 400 staff total).
  • You're a mid-level developer ready to learn a lot, or a junior developer ready to work hard and learn fast. You know how to lean on your colleagues and your community to navigate setup for a tool they built, even in an unfamiliar framework.
  • You are excited for the opportunity to work with people from different countries – different cultural backgrounds and political perspectives facing different challenges in their home countries – all trying to make the their world a better place.
  • You like details; you like getting it right; you feel a bit protective. When an organisation puts their trust in you to keep their website up and make sure their communications go out as planned, you value that and respect it.
  • You know how to keep things in perspective to manage priorities and keep big tasks moving forward. Attentive to the needs of your orgs, but you know how to stay in flow when you're doing something important.

Skills and experience

  • Git is a big part of our lives. You'll need to be comfortable navigating between master and stable, feature branches, hotfixes, and sometimes managing short-lived deployment branches for different organisations. Rebase, cherry-pick, tag a release – you should be able to do these things, or pick them up quickly.
  • Rails, or other MVC frameworks like Django, other Ruby frameworks like Sinatra or Padrino. The tools we're working with are, in some ways, quite standard MVC apps, so any MVC familiarity should provide a solid base for learning the rest.
  • Javascript. If you aren't excellent with Javascript yet, you can be! If you're a general-purpose programmer who enjoys learning, this should be fine. You won't have to do a lot of original feature dev on our NodeJS tools, but they will be a part of your life, as will ES6 classes and React-style front-end components.
  • Development Operations. Needless to say, if you are managing deployments for four organisations, you're going to want to be solid with things like CI, build tools, Docker and/or Heroku, etc. We do maintain Docker builds and CI tools where we need them, but the more experience you have with DevOps tools and practices, the more time you can spend on enhancing the tools and building the features that help us do better activism.

Note: If you are solid with Git, or any two of the above skill areas, you should consider yourself qualified to apply. This position comes with support and training. We're more concerned that you're motivated and a good communicator; the rest you can learn on the job.

Operational Details

The official arrangement for this position will be a full-time employment contract with, but you'll also be doing work for three of our partner organisations, working very closely with the OPEN tech team, embedding in their processes and taking direction from OPEN's tech team. Your top priority will always be the health and stability of the four organisations' deployments, much of your time will be managed as a part of the broader OPEN tech network, taking project management direction from their tech director, training and pairing with their lead engineer, picking up tickets from and reviewing PRs for their project maintainers, and so on.


Final pay for this position will be determined based on location, cost of living, and cost of employment in your area. We use a pay formula that adjusts pay based on cost of living, but still averages with a baseline salary to account for the fact that things like computers and plane tickets often cost the same (or even more) in less expensive countries.

Here are some sample salary amounts for what a well-qualified mid-level developer with 3-5 years experience in the relevant areas could expect to earn for different cities. Actual pay will vary based on your fit for the role. These amounts are for total package amount are inclusive of UIF and tax. Note does not provide medical aid, pension, life assurance or any other benefits at this time. This position is a 1 year employment contract subject to renewal. All employees are subject to a probation period and an ongoing performance management process.

Salary is ZAR 520,169 per year

(For a more senior candidate, we might also offer the same overall pay for 4 days/wk employment.)

How to apply

Email with a resume or CV and a little about why you'd like to work with us as soon as possible. Please include in the subject line 'Web developer application'