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Jobs at New America

Director of Engineering

Location: Washington, DC

Department: Public Interest Technology

Type: Full Time

Min. Experience: Senior Manager/Supervisor

New America is a think tank and civic enterprise committed to renewing American politics, prosperity, and purpose in the Digital Age. We generate big ideas, bridge the gap between technology and policy, and curate broad public conversation. Structurally, we combine the best of a policy research institute, technology laboratory, public forum, media platform, and a venture capital fund for ideas. We are a distinctive community of thinkers, writers, researchers, technologists, and community activists who believe deeply in the possibility of American renewal.

About our team

The Public Interest Technology team at New America is dedicated to bringing technical and engineering best practices to the work of NGOs, government, and community-based organizations. This is an opportunity to help shape a new team and organization that is working across deeply meaningful and impactful projects, including: protecting immigrants, improving the foster care system and outcomes for children and families, and using data to divert individuals away from the criminal justice system and toward long term mental health services. Our strategy is evolving, but we know that technology will shape social policy and how it is implemented in the 21st century. We’ll partner with local doers to serve vulnerable communities and, together, work on things that matter. 

Our team is also dedicated to building connective tissue in the public interest technology sector and building an ecosystem where organizations learn from each other, share best practices, and partner on meaningful work. We’ll seek to identify ways to make public interest organizations more efficient and therefore more effective in carrying out their critical missions. We’ll also think broadly about the role of tech in the nonprofit sector and how to build out the talent pipeline and meet the growing demand of these skillsets in this space. We have a brilliant team that works at a fast-pace. We encourage big, bold, and creative thinking to solve complex and thorny issues. If you’ve been thinking about a way to use your technical skills for social good and to make real, human impact -- please apply! 

What you need to know
The Director of Engineering will report to the VP of Policy and Technology and work in close partnership with the Director of Strategy to co-lead the Public Interest Technology team.

The Director of Engineering will:


  • Meet regularly with a team of fellows working on a broad set of technical and public interest projects
  • For each project, define work plans and metrics for success, set goals and tasks, measure progress, and course-correct whenever necessary
  • Drive projects that are both technical and policy-oriented in nature and provide leadership on a new team that is still growing and being defined
  • Define and shape organizational practices and, wherever necessary, strategic initiatives 
  • Provide and contribute to the technical direction, execution, and success of projects 
  • Build cohesion across individual projects where there could be overlap
  • Be comfortable with uncertainty, broad problem sets that are not entirely based on technical constraints, and able to navigate through ambiguity
  • Experiment with different models of engagement for this type of work (embedding within other organizations, short-term sprints, partnering with large organizations, etc.) 
  • Document lessons learned and contribute to building out the public interest technology sector, including:
    • working with nonprofits, government, and community-based organizations to understand their needs and capacity for building their own engineering teams
    • building the talent pipeline, and 
    • strengthening cohesion between technology and social policy

You should be able to:

  • Communicate effectively with partners who don’t have technical expertise and be an ambassador for the field of public interest tech
  • Work in a field that is still developing, be curious, and a self-starter
  • Contribute to defining the vision for our team and for the field of public interest technology and set metrics and goals to achieve it 
  • Bring the values of continuous delivery, measurement, and improvement, as well a user-centered approach to the work of the Public Interest Technology team
  • Bring thought leadership to support the work of building an ecosystem for public interest technology; help identify and build infrastructure to grow a long-term presence for technologists in the NGO sector
  • Lead a team of teams working on multiple projects
  • Focus on deliverables and help teams identify and reach clear goals in a limited time


  • Experience as a Senior Engineer or Engineering Manager
  • Several years experience in managing distributed technical teams

How to Apply:

Please provide a resume for consideration and respond to the question of "why you're interested in this role."


New America is an equal opportunity employer committed to hiring a diverse workforce at all levels of the organization thereby creating a culture that allows us to better serve our clientele, our employees and our communities. We value and encourage the contributions of our employees and strive to create an environment where everyone can reach their full potential and drive outstanding results. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, national origin, age, sex, religion, disability, sexual orientation, marital status, veteran status, gender identity or expression, or any other basis protected by local, state, or federal law. This policy applies with regard to all aspects of one’s employment, including hiring, transfer, promotion, compensation, eligibility for benefits, and termination. 

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