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Lead Software Engineer (Backend)

Thomas International
Closing date
23 Feb 2021

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Technology & New Media
Contract Type
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Job Details

Why be an Engineer at Thomas International?

Against the backdrop of a challenging 2020, our multi-disciplinary Product and Technology group (comprised of Engineers, Product Managers, UX designers and Psychologists) successfully launched our new psychometric assessment platform, revamped our ways of working for ever closer collaboration and increasing speed of delivery and established a culture of continuous improvement and innovation... and 2020 was only the beginning.

We still have so much more to improve, particularly in our application of technical patterns and practices, lean and agile thinking as it directly applies to software design and architecture and in the depth of knowledge available to mentor and coach junior members of the team. If applying your considerable people and technical skills within a supportive and collaborative environment of continuous improvement sounds appealing, then Thomas International could be a great fit for you.

What might a great fit look like?

This role may appeal to a Software Engineer with a focus on (but is not limited to) backend services and infrastructure, who may be

An existing Lead Engineer looking to apply their skills and knowledge within a new team and context. You are experienced at system design and enjoy coaching and mentoring junior team members within a supportive and continuously learning environment. In the future, you may see yourself moving into Solution Architecture as you are learning more advanced patterns and practices, collaborating with Lead Engineers to facilitate design across a domain as well as branching out into wider business architectural concerns.


An aspirational Senior Engineer, ready to take a step up to leading system design over predominantly cutting code and assuming a more visible, prominent position that involves taking accountability for the technical performance of your team. You are comfortable with an increase in collaboration with non-Engineering peers and stakeholders (and that sometimes that means more meetings), and you are ready to spend more time articulating and communicating ideas than directly delivering the final value yourself.

Our Tech Stack

We like our tech to work for us and are constantly evaluating and re-evaluating our choices, so nothing is ever set-in stone.
  • Cloud native (Kubernetes in Azure)
  • Microservices (REST APIs, typically C#.Net)
  • Flexible data storage (Cosmos DB, Redis)
  • Graph databases (using Gremlin API)
  • Messaging (NserviceBus)
  • Automated testing (TestCafe)
  • Monitoring (Prometheus and Grafana)
  • Single-page Applications (React, some Angular)


To better support our people with clear role expectations and career development in Engineering, we are in the process of defining all our roles' accountabilities with the SFIA-7 framework. At Thomas International, the position of Lead Software Engineer conforms with the following SFIA-7 skills at level 5 and applies to the context of a Scrum team
  • Software design
  • Programming/software development
  • Problem management
  • Release and deployment
  • Testing

Typical Activities for a Lead Software Engineer

As a SFIA-7 Level 5 role, a Lead Software Engineer is an effective, visible, proactive, and influential technical leader within the wider Product and Technology group, and especially within the Engineering community.
  • Support non-technical peers with subject-matter expertise throughout the lifecycle of the innovation process; collaborate with Product Managers, Psychologists, and Scrum Masters.
  • Champion the importance and value of metrics; help define what data we capture from our products and how we measure ourselves, so we know we are improving
  • Coordinate the resolution of incidents; apply good facilitation, problem solving and critical thinking skills to support timely resolution
  • Collaborate with peers in the Technical Design Authority; align with other Lead Engineers and stakeholders to define and champion good patterns and practises
  • Champion good data practises privacy and security are of the utmost importance and a crucial consideration in system design
  • Support the team in delivering features; cut-code when you have time but always look to scale your knowledge through others first
  • Coach or mentor junior members of the team; share knowledge freely, help others with their technical development needs and quality of delivery
  • Champion automated test and quality practices collaborate with the Test Engineer to ensure best practise within your team
  • Engage team members in decision making; collaborate on design and articulate decisions

BenefitsLearning Culture

At Thomas we put continuous improvement of our staff, processes, and systems at the heart of everything we do. In support of this value, all members of the Technology Group have access to Ten-Percent Time, which can be used for personal development, experimentation, or collaborative innovation across the group. This equates to 1 day per 2-week sprint protected, self-directed and applied to any of the following three pillars of organisational betterment
  • Learning and development (L&D); study and deliberate practise
  • Quality improvement; of our products and processes
  • Innovation; planned and spontaneous


During the COVID crisis our Engineering and Technology Group teams have been successfully working 100% remotely.

In normal circumstances, Thomas' Engineering team is based in Witney, Oxfordshire, with its head office in Marlow, Berkshire and flexible working is actively encouraged either remotely or between these two key locations. We strive both as an organisation and Engineering function to be an effective distributed team, but we also value the relationship building that meeting in person engenders, so do encourage regular appearances in our Witney office to build face-to-face relationships.

Additional Information
  • Holiday - 25 days per annum, plus the opportunity to purchase up to an extra 5 days per annum through the salary sacrifice holiday buy scheme (plus an extra day off for moving to a new house)
  • Auto - enrolment pension - available through salary sacrifice
  • Westfield Health - cash plan where members of Team Thomas can claim back for various healthcare appointments (including dental and optical), as well as a 24-hour counselling and advice line
  • My Specialist GP - a private GP surgery located in Marlow, which is available for all members of Team Thomas to use for emergency on the day appointments, paid for by Thomas International
  • Gym Membership - Thomas International will either pay up to £28 per month towards gym membership at any nationwide gym, or £28 per month towards membership at The Marlow Club (a gym and swimming pool located close to the Marlow office)
  • My Thomas Advantage - a communication, health & wellbeing and discount portal, allowing members of Team Thomas to keep up to date with business news, access information on health & wellbeing offerings and access discounts on a wide range of retail products and leisure activities
  • Cycle to work scheme - salary sacrifice up to a £1,000 to purchase a bike
  • Eyecare Vouchers - to cover the cost of a VDU eye test
  • Dress down policy - other than for client facing meetings where appropriate
  • Enhanced Maternity and Paternity Scheme

Thomas is an equal opportunity employer. We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees.
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