Product Engineer

Product Engineer

The CalMatters product team is looking for an innovative, results-oriented, passionate Senior Full-Stack Product Engineer to help build and shape the future of our products, including our content management system (CMS), which involves deep collaboration with our technology partners at NewsPack, and audience-facing products such as our mobile and web properties and newsletters.

We’re a nonprofit, nonpartisan news startup. At the tender age of six, we’re already the largest newsroom covering California policy and politics. We reach millions of people on our website and others through partnerships with 200 media outlets, but we want to engage many more Californians with our work so they can better engage with our democracy.

You’ll join a small, cross-functional team, working closely with our Product Director, product managers, product designer, and junior product engineer to collaborate with colleagues across the company. You’ll be the senior in-house developer, and we’ll need your technical leadership and full-stack expertise to improve on existing products, like our WordPress-powered website and newsletters, as well as guiding the exploration and building out of new ideas. 

About You

  • You have a passion for the role journalism and technology can play in improving the health of our democracy and are charged up by our mission; bonus points for being a civic-tech nerd.
  • You’re excited about the prospect of developing tools that support our journalism, improving the lives of our reporters by making their work easier, and using technology to support the entire storytelling process, from newsgathering to reporting to delivery, through to measurement.
  • You have a deep interest in thinking about product development and a desire to improve our product set. You are an engineer who empathizes with both how audiences use products and how those products must work within complex systems. 
  • You use a mix of intuition, discussions/research with users, and metrics to make informed development decisions. You value the fact that data provides a common language to cross-functionally discuss product decisions.
  • You are a strong estimator and prioritizer. You provide your team with accurate estimations of engineering efforts behind different options, helping focus everyone on building the right things, with the right approaches.
  • You’re aware of technical constraints, resources, and opportunities, and are able to distill information into high-level understanding that helps the team make decisions.
  • You are a strong communicator and work well with other functions, such as designers, product managers, and analytics managers. You enjoy having a seat at the table during product discussions and clearly communicate technical details and difficulties to various audiences.

Technical Experience

  • 5+ years of web development experience with WordPress including experience extending and customizing the WordPress Administration Dashboard, developing custom plugins, and building highly performant and reliable interfaces with other systems. Knowledge of and some experience with the WordPress Block (Gutenberg) editor. 
  • Strong command of PHP and JavaScript programming languages.
  • Experience with Git, MySQL (MariaDB), JSON, REST, HTML, and CSS.
  • Experience with JavaScript and PHP linting/unit testing, and cross-browser testing.
  • Experience with Jira/Agile methodology is a plus.
  • Experience with Google/Search technologies (AMP, SEO, Analytics) is a plus.
  • Proven understanding of Computer Science fundamentals including web development, service-oriented architecture, cloud computing, test-driven development, and domain-driven design.


  • Execute as an engineer, with a pragmatic focus on ROI, to deliver products. You are highly adaptable to various styles of execution necessary in different stages of product development – building intentionally scrappy code when prototyping, building sustainable systems to support stable products over the long term.
  • Lead efforts to iterate and improve upon the WordPress stack that powers a majority of our current digital presence. This includes developing and refining the architectural approach, working with internal and external partners on evaluation of various plugins, developing our own plugins where needed, and interfacing with our hosting partner, Newspack, as required.
  • Lead discussions about technology, infrastructure, and the pros/cons of a technology choice based on business and audience value, scalability, maintainability, and product delivery performance.
  • Drive toward solutions independently, and seek feedback when appropriate.
  • Maintain and share knowledge of emerging technologies and tools in the industry.
  • Be able to prioritize and manage work, and adhere to critical project timelines in a fast-paced environment.

Education or experience related to computer science would be a plus but is not required. If you meet at least 75% of the qualifications please apply, and don’t be shy about showcasing additional skills we haven’t listed that would help our organization. 

We’re committed to diversity and especially encourage members of underrepresented communities to apply. If you’re interested, please provide a resume, a cover letter that outlines how you would approach the job, and some examples of your previous successes. Write to [email protected] with the job title in the subject line.

We’re based in Sacramento, and that’s the best place for in-person collaboration with our team, but we’re also open to creative arrangements with people elsewhere, depending on the candidate.

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