Job Spotlight: Chief Technology Officer, MindSky (Rwanda)
MindSky is an education technology company based in East Africa that builds comprehensive software solutions to streamline academic operations and provide a personalized educational experience for students. MindSky is part of the Akilah Institute, a pioneer in women’s education for emerging markets, specializing in competency-based education and the skills needed for the 21st-century workforce. As a full-stack education company, the Akilah Institute aims to manage every element of the education value proposition — from curriculum and student information, to financial aid and careers — to ensure a superior outcome for the student. MindSky developers work closely with Akilah faculty members, students, and staff to rigorously test and refine these products to power Akilah’s growth across a network of technology-driven campuses.
MindSky’s first software product is a career platform that provides users with critical career development skills and simplifies the internship and job search process with individualized job recommendations and training. The software moved from concept to market in less than six months of development time and currently has over 5,000 job seekers and 100 paying employer clients. Additional products will include tools for recruitment and admissions, learner management, curriculum delivery, and student loan management. These products are designed and built to address the needs and limitations of edge-of-the-internet users: digital non-natives in low-bandwidth environments and using mobile devices.
- Job Function: Computing / Software / IT
- Work Authorisation: All Nationalities
- Job Level: Executive
- Years of Experience: 11+ years
- Languages: English
- Top Skills
- Computer Literacy / Internet
- Databases / CRM
- IT / Systems Support
- Personnel / Team Management
- Organizing / Planning / Project Management
We are looking for a CTO who is willing to throw away his or her assumptions about what works in software development in order to create products for a challenging user and environment. It might be your user’s first time on the internet, so you cannot take established web habits for granted. And internet connectivity is frequently an issue, so think about shipping offline capability in your v1 release and not many months and several thousand users down the line. You want the challenge of developing regional technology talent and building the best software company with people who are hungry to learn and grow their skills, even when the trade off is a longer release timeline.
You will work closely with the leadership team of MindSky and the Akilah Institute to conceptualize the products needed to liberate us from expensive, half-baked off-the-shelf solutions to build excellent in-house technology specifically designed to power educational outcomes in emerging markets. You will carefully consider the right stack to use to keep our code base light and our UI mobile-friendly. You will have the opportunity to spearhead East Africa’s burgeoning tech scene and establish yourself and MindSky as the region’s undisputed tech thought leaders and innovators. You’ll be entering a scrappy work culture that has never had formal tech leadership, but which nonetheless pushed ahead to build and market a software solution that already has thousands of users.
We’re raising our Series A now, so everyone is doing a bit more than they bargained for. As such, you’ll be called upon to do much more than a typical CTO at a funded startup: hire your developers without a VP of engineering to help you manage them, define and implement a development methodology that is right for our team, context, and market, bake the perfect lasagna when everyone seems hungry for spaghetti, guide the IT administration and systems networking, and manage product until we’re ready to hire a product lead, all while staying focused on choosing the right languages and application frameworks and keeping your team on track to release an ambitious set of features in the next five years.
You will have a nearly blank canvas upon which to paint your prototypes. If you’ve always wanted to make your mark somewhere, come with us. It’s going to be a crazy ride. This role is for the nimble optimist hungry for risk and adventure.
- Complete the build of MindSky Careers, including product requirements and release planning for user messaging, administrative dashboard, online payments, and a matching algorithm, to name just a few of the features slated for launch.
- Conceptualize and write acceptance criteria for a tuition and financial aid platform that tracks tuition payments and mines user data through machine learning to make data-based decisions on borrower loan terms.
- Develop a ticketing system to allow users to submit issues for platforms they use.
- Conduct a data security audit to ensure our platforms are positioned to support institutional clients at scale.
- Establish an application deployment process and supervise deployment to staging and production servers.
- Be the authority for campus-wide IT administration, helping hire staff and make decisions regarding IT infrastructure that supports thousands of students.
- Share knowledge, mentor, and educate MindSky’s investors, management, staff, partners, customers, and stakeholders with regard to the company’s technological vision, opportunities, and challenges.
- Contribute to open source software development, standardization of technologies, and evolution of best practices by collaborating with MindSky’s peers, releasing code, presenting at conferences, and writing for publication. (OR: You have a very good and compelling reason we should NOT be open source.)
- Ensure MindSky’s internal technological processes and customer-facing services comply with community expectations and applicable laws and regulations for privacy, security, and social responsibility.
- Build a local team of developers, product managers, UX/UI designers, and QA specialists.
Skills and Qualifications
- You have no less than ten years experience managing developers in an enterprise software company.
- You have significantly contributed to or led the development of at least one web-based service that met consumer needs or solved business problems.
- You bring hands-on experience coding in more than one currently popular web application framework.
- You are familiar with more than one software development methodology.
- You are able to discern user requirements and develop specifications that meet business needs — we will ask for examples!
- You have contributed to one or more open source project — show us your GitHub.
- You understand Internet protocols and RFC standards, database management systems, and revision control systems.
- You are expertly familiar with information security vulnerabilities, risk management, consumer privacy, and payments industry compliance requirements.
- Bonus if you have exposure to business theory, business process development, governance processes, management, budgeting, and administrative operations.
- You want the startup life or have already lived it and thrived.
- Being based in Nairobi, Kenya or Kigali, Rwanda sounds exciting.
- You have the patience of a high school science teacher.
- You want to build, nurture, and train your own team.
Benefits and Perks
- Very flexible and young work environment.
- Unlimited vacation — we treat you like an adult. Just get your work done!
- Fun startup culture.
- Early-stage employee equity.
- Application Instructions
Ready to join our team? Log in or create an account on MindSky (www.mindsky.com) and apply for this position on the MindSky job board. Then, write an email to [email protected] addressed to Anastasia Uglova detailing your user experience on the MindSky Careers platform. What did you like? What did you hate? What should we do better?