Backend Engineer

New York, United States | Field Operations | Full-time | Fully remote


Location: Global, Remote

About GiveDirectly 

GiveDirectly (GD) aims to reshape international giving -  and millions of lives - by allowing donors to provide capital grants directly to the world’s poorest. The Brookings Institution estimates that $70B of cash transfers would be required to eliminate the poverty gap; the aid sector currently spends $135B each year, much of which is allocated to evidence-free interventions. GiveDirectly wants to change that, establishing a benchmark, and in the process accelerate the end of extreme poverty. GiveDirectly has raised over $600M in revenue (>$300M in 2020 alone), while being recognized as one of the most innovative non-profit companies by Fast Company. The growing movement toward cash transfers and GD’s role in that movement have also been featured in This American Life, Foreign Affairs, The Economist, and  Business Insider.

Cash transfers are at a potential inflection point: COVID-19 has amplified the challenges of bulkier in-kind aid models, and governments are deploying cash as their most common tool of assistance to vulnerable populations. GiveDirectly has an opportunity to leverage its strong track record (i.e. operations across 9 countries, >$250M transferred to over a million individuals, 14 randomized control trials), to both deliver immense impact and position itself as the premiere dedicated cash implementation vehicle globally. 

Role overview

Technology will play a critical role in enabling the next generation of cash delivery: from identifying recipients without needing to knock on doors to a modern payments infrastructure that gets dollars in recipients’ hands faster and more scalably. We are seeking a software engineer to help design and build our systems for identifying, enrolling, and paying recipients, with building out our payments infrastructure to meet our rapid growth being one of your first charges. 

You’ll have the opportunity to wear many hats, from driving architecture decisions to building out robust test infrastructure. Your work will directly help scale GiveDirectly’s capacity to give cash to more people, across more countries, more quickly, while maintaining a high quality recipient experience.  

This role will report to the Director of Field Technology and work closely with our team of Data Associates, as well as cross-functionally with engineers on the Growth team. Salesforce is our canonical data store and what our field operations teams use for operations and case management. This role will include writing some business logic in Salesforce’s Apex (similar to Java/C#) but also, significantly, leading the development of a new core part of our tech stack, apps that interface with Salesforce but live outside of it.


  • Architect, build, and test software systems for enrolling and paying recipients, including API integrations with payments providers and other external systems
  • Build out our deployment infrastructure and devOps for apps living outside of Salesforce
  • Debug issues across multiple layers of our stack
  • Design, build, and run tools and automations used by the operations team and data associates to launch programs across at least seven countries
  • Mentor data associates in Python automation and Apex programming

What we’re looking for

  • 2+ years of industry experience creating production-caliber software and systems
  • Experience with backend architecture: databases, cloud services, APIs
  • Experience building infrastructure to deploy software
  • Experience with strongly-typed, object-oriented programming such as Java, C#, Apex, etc. and scripting languages such as Python, Ruby, etc.
  • Bonus: experience with Salesforce and/or experience with payments/financial software
  • Strong analytical skills and communication - able to break down complex problems, describe trade-offs, and communicate recommended next steps
  • Exceptional alignment with GD values (outlined below)

 GD Values

Recipients first. We prioritize recipient preferences over donor preferences or our own.

Team Next. We do what is best for the success of the organization - not the individual.

Be proactively candid. We say what we believe and are honest in sharing information.

Create positive energy. We strive to be a source of energy - not drain it - for our colleagues.

Think rigorously. Act Quickly. We are intellectually rigorous and oriented towards action - not debate.

Know yourself and grow. We recognize and accept our imperfections with a focus on growth

Accept reality. Propose solutions. We don't dwell on problems. We are actively working to create solutions.

Be productively ambitious. We take the risk of pursuing industry-changing successes, not marginal advancements.

**GD is committed to observing all local, national and international laws that protect children, vulnerable adults, and basic human rights of all. GD is committed to a policy of “zero tolerance for sexual exploitation, abuse, and harassment (SEAH)” and expects anyone who works for GD to uphold the protection and safeguarding of our recipients as a priority.**