Who We Are
Bridge International Academies is the world’s largest and fastest-growing chain of primary and pre-primary schools with more than 500 academies and 100,000 pupils in Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, India, and Liberia. We democratize the right to succeed by giving families living in poverty access to the high-quality education that will allow their children to live a very different life. We leverage experts, data, and technology in order to standardize and scale every aspect of quality education delivery, from how and where academies are built to how teachers are selected and trained, and how lessons are delivered and monitored for improvement. We are vertically-integrated, tech-enabled, and on our way to profitability. Bridge expects to continue rapid expansion in 2017 across existing and new markets.
The Bridge Offer
Roughly 2.7 billion people live on less than $2/day. In their communities, there is a huge gap between the education offered and the needs of the population. Too often the schools available to them fail to deliver for these families. The quality offered results in the average pupil from our communities in East Africa failing to reach proficiency in primary school and on average fail the primary exit exams that are critical to their development. Teachers are unresponsive and occasionally abusive, and fees are often unaffordable. Even government schools can cost families a significant amount of money after all the additional fees are added up. With 47% of classroom teaching time lost due to teacher absenteeism or neglect, 55% of families in our communities end up choosing private schools instead, but then fear for the stability and sustainability of their choice as many schools close after only a few years of service. Both the government schools and the private schools tend to lack well-conceived scope and sequences, instructional materials, student achievement data, and the capacity to react to that data.
Families are actively searching for a better academic alternative.
Enter Bridge International Academies. As of September 2017, Bridge operates more than 500 academies, serving roughly 100,000 pupils in Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, India, and Liberia.
Bridge utilises a scripted-learning education methodology coupled with 'big data' (all teachers have tablets for instruction, assessment, and data-gathering) that allows us to make curriculum a little better every day.
With plans to enrol ten million students ten years from now, Bridge International Academies offers a tremendous opportunity to grow with one of the world’s most exciting, ambitious, and socially conscious companies, with leadership roles available across a number of competencies and geographies.
Tech at Bridge
Technology plays a critical role at Bridge in enabling us to provide education at massive scale and low cost – it's one of the key elements that gives us the ability to deliver what no one else can. Tech spans several key functions, from the hardware and software that our academies use to run all aspects of teaching and management, including mobile payments, to the systems that enable our country headquarters to manage massive local operations, to the data backbone that informs all of our strategic and tactical decision making. It’s a lot of custom software development and a lot of back office systems.
We've got a ridiculously ambitious mission at Bridge, and it's a place where passionate technologists have a chance to directly change the world. No kidding.
About the Role
Tech at Bridge is a highly complex, vertically-integrated affair, with systems supporting an ever expanding range of functions and countries, and crossing between software development, IT operations, academy operations, and logistics/supply chain. At the same time, our teams run lean and things change fast – governments make policy decisions that affect us, launching new countries is a frenetic affair, and we still need to evolve our core technology offering.
This role is about ensuring that the software we develop at Bridge combines equal measures of delivery excellence, business relevance, and innovation. It means balancing the tactical needs of what needs to be built with the strategic technical vision of robust, distributed systems that support our ever expanding portfolio, across multiple global regions. It’s about working with and building our globally distributed, self-organising, autonomous teams to ensure they’re delivering what the business needs now, and also years from now – both in a mentoring capacity and in a hands-on capacity, helping to design and deliver key components of our platform.
Over the past couple years, the software team has been on a journey to transform itself into the lean, highly-leveraged team necessary to support Bridge’s ambitious expansion plan – adopting continuous delivery practices, a micro-services platform, feature-toggles, and cloud-first architectures. But we need to keep pushing – expanding automated testing, actionable data insights, and innovation at the intersection of hardware, software, and data. Think adaptive curriculum, facial recognition, OCR, fraud detection… but keep in mind that most of our schools lack power, reliable connectivity, or technically sophisticated users, so the challenge for Bridge everywhere and always is to innovate at a world class level in highly constrained environments.
This person will report to the CTO as part of the core technology leadership team, alongside directors owning the Product Management, IT Operations/Service Delivery, and Programme Management functions.
What You Will Do
Ensure delivery excellence across the software and business intelligence teams
Build (hire) multiple software delivery teams in London and Hyderabad
Oversee software design, from native mobile and progressive web apps on the front end to machine learning and predictive analytics on the backend
Develop the skills and practices of the delivery teams
Push for innovation and lead key new technology exploration
Drive a culture of continuous improvement and quality, evolving software development best practices
Engage with non-technical stakeholders both within and outside Bridge to articulate our technical vision and strategy
Facilitate communication between software teams and within the broader tech organisation
What You Should Have
Bachelor's degree in related field with superior academic performance
10+ years commercial software development experience at the enterprise level
Experience managing a software programme of work across multiple, globally distributed delivery teams, with a team-oriented and collaborative focus
Extensive knowledge of core software patterns and high-performance, distributed architectures, such as CQRS
Understanding of cloud-based architectures
Bonus for understanding of containerisation, esp. in .NET
Passion around the testing – from unit tests to end to end tests… and contract tests
Experience developing mobile applications, esp. offline Android apps and offline web apps
Familiarity with machine learning, AI, and other forms of advanced business analytics
Deep understanding of continuous delivery practices, including fast feedback, team autonomy, and monitoring
Comfort with multiple types of persistence layers, from SQL to NoSQL to event sourcing
Experience migrating brown-field platforms, esp. monoliths to micro-services
Track record of advocating for (and contributing to) open-source technologies
A detailed doer – You have a track record of getting things done. You’re organized and responsive. You take ownership of every idea you touch and execute it to a fine level of detail, setting targets, engaging others, and doing whatever it takes to get the job done. You can multi-task dozens of such projects at once and never lose sight of the details. Likely, you have some experience in a startup or other rapid-growth company.
A creative problem-solver – Growing any business from scratch comes with massive and constant challenges. On top of that, Bridge works in volatile, low-resource communities and runs on fees averaging just $6 a month per pupil. You need to be flexible and ready to get everything done effectively, quickly, and affordably with the materials at hand. Every dollar you spend is a dollar our customers, who live on less than $2 a day, will have to pay for.
A customer advocate – Our customers – these families living on less than $2 a day per person – never leave your mind. You know them, get them, have shared a meal with them (or would be happy to in the future). You would never shrink back from shaking a parent’s hand or picking up a crying child, no matter what the person was wearing or looked like. Every decision you make considers their customer benefit, experience, and value.
A life-long learner – You believe you can always do better. You welcome constructive criticism and provide it freely to others. You know you only get better tomorrow when others point out where you’ve missed things or failed today.