Software Engineer, Lead

Nava Roles - Engineering – Software
Nava partners with government to deliver mission-critical software that helps public institutions earn people's trust. As a public benefit corporation, Nava is driven not just by profit, but also by our mission to build government software that well serves the American public. We ask the right questions to help civil servants and other contractors work effectively on complex systems in multi-stakeholder environments.

You will manage 6-8 engineers working on cross-functional project teams. You will coach and help individual contributors grow. You care deeply about working on technology that affects people’s lives.

Opportunities and Challenges

You will be working within the government ecosystem, which means working, sometimes closely, with other government contractors and civil servants. Working with people outside of your company means you'll likely encounter different working styles and cultural norms. At the same time, working as part of a larger team allows us to deliver on projects of larger scale and complexity.

The government also imposes a level of bureaucracy that is typically not present in a company of our size in the private sector. We operate in a regulated environment, where checks and compliance is built into the process of building software. This can make the path to production slower and some decisions, such as tools and processes, lie outside of our control. However, beyond writing code, finding and recommending ways to improve the way government software is built is one of the highest-leverage ways we help fulfill our mission.

You will be working with legacy systems. While our work is to build new systems with up-to-date technology, we have to do that within an existing ecosystem. Our work is building functional, resilient software for production. We don't build flashy prototypes that don't work for real people. This usually means getting to know legacy systems, often with poor documentation and unreliable narrators, and trying to determine how to replicate the systems' behavior or how to integrate with these systems. This is a great opportunity for engineers who enjoy software archaeology. If you care deeply about how software systems work over time, and building systems for longevity and resilience, this work is for you.

Who we’re looking for

You are a reliable, experienced engineering leader who cares deeply about nurturing teams to build software that makes a real difference in people's lives, and is keen to grapple with the complexities and trade-offs involved in building government software. You prefer using proven technologies to build well-designed systems that are scalable, performant, and secure.

You enjoy working on cross-functional teams, mentoring others, and partnering with leadership and government stakeholders to lead initiatives. You have empathy for the people who rely on your work, and you care about how your behavior affects others. You are humble and you value critical feedback and personal growth. You are comfortable receiving and giving kind, candid feedback.

You have experience leading teams that have built large-scale systems that are well-designed, fast, scalable, and secure. You excel at communication and teamwork skills, building and improving processes to improve communication and collaboration on your teams. You must be able to communicate clearly and professionally in writing, in person, and through online tools, especially because we work with government stakeholders and other contractors.

You exhibit good judgment and are able to adapt to new situations well. You will encounter situations that no one on your team or at Nava has encountered before. You take responsibility and are able to persist through ambiguity to get to a solution.


    • Enjoy mentoring and growing engineers.
    • Experience leading a software development team working in an agile environment.
    • Experience implementing team processes and building a collaborative team culture.
    • Experience designing and implementing application architecture and systems that are highly scalable, available, and performant.
    • An adaptive, empathetic, collaborative, growth mindset.


    • Manage 6-8 engineers on cross-functional project teams.
    • Hire and onboard new engineers.
    • Work with government stakeholders to get buy-in on technical initiatives.
    • Work closely with cross-functional product team to identify and mitigate technical risks.
    • Guide engineering team on planning, estimation, prioritization, trade-offs, and balancing technical debt and meeting project milestones.
    • Improve overall engineering quality through documentation, technical guidance and mentoring, and establishing and upholding best practices for the team.
    • Review code and give feedback on technical specs.
    • Review architecture and designs from other project teams.
    • Collaborate with the product team, government stakeholders, and other contractors to build new systems and make improvements to existing systems.
    • Participate in planning and breaking down requirements into tasks.
    • Review code and give feedback on technical specs.
    • Implement new tools and practices that make the team more effective.

Things that are not important to us

    • Whether or not you have a CS or engineering degree.
    • Whether or not you have Github contributions. (It's great if you do, but we don't expect it.)
    • Whether or not you have worked at a well-recognized company.

Other requirements:

    • Education: Due to contractual requirements, this role requires a Bachelor's Degree (in any discipline).
    • Residency: Lived in United States at least 3 years out of the last 5 years

We're a small team working to radically improve our government, so everyone that joins us has a direct impact on the direction and success of Nava. We are stewards – we hold a deep responsibility towards the systems that we work with. We are a community – we value collaboration both within our teams and with the many hardworking people within government. We offer generous benefits and equity.

We care deeply about diversity and inclusion at Nava. We are an equal opportunity employer and do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, or disability status.

Note: We participate in E-Verify. Upon hire, we will provide the federal government with your Form I-9 information to confirm that you are authorized to work in the U.S. This role is required to work from the contiguous United States.