Pearson Director DevOps & Cloud Platforms in San Francisco, California

Director DevOps & Cloud Platforms


Learner at the Heart

Pearson is a global education company that helps people around the world to make progress in their lives through learning. With a rich heritage that combines 170 years of experience in publishing with the latest learning technology and digital services, we help people to learn whatever, wherever and however they choose.

We are now transforming Pearson to accelerate our activity in digital learning, education services and emerging markets. This will enable us to make a lasting impact in helping to solve some of the most important challenges in global education.

Why We Need You

We believe education is a vital force that can empower people, help them to reach their potential and contribute to more connected communities, all around the world.

Our strength comes from our outstanding people; our strong relationships in the education world; our expertise in using technology to help people learn; our global footprint and local reach; and our position as a profitable, global company with a unifying sense of purpose.

We're investing in our technology and infrastructure. By working at Pearson, you have a unique chance to make a real difference to the lives of people all over the world.

Across the world we believe strength and success comes from diversity in our people - all qualified applicants are encouraged to apply. In the US, Pearson is an Equal Opportunity Employer M/F/V/D, and a member of E-Verify.

About Technology

Our Technology team provides the essential digital infrastructure that underpins Pearson’s global portfolio of products and platforms. We have open and collaborative teams in place working to build efficient global platforms and scaling digital products to reach hundreds of millions of learners around the world, while delivering elastic, secure, data-driven services.

The Technology team also drives and coordinates how we work with technology partners to establish Pearson as a destination for innovation in education. Our aim is to ensure that our customers have access to more products and learning solutions in more regions while continually offering a high-quality user experience.

About the Job

This role will be responsible for leading a team who are delivering the next-generation Pearson Technology platform to our global development community. Pearson is making the transformation to a digital education company with a portfolio of cloud native applications and services based on a common containerised, micro service architecture. In order to do this, we need to have a platform and support function suitable for these new-age architectures. You will be hired as one of the best and brightest in your field who can challenge your team to think about solutions differently and have an inherent appreciation of how user experience, in particular developer experience of our software will be a critical factor in uptake and adoption.

As a leader at Pearson, you will be seen as an expert in your field but will understand that your primary role is to enable the engineers in your team to shine and deliver to their full potential. The team are currently responsible for:

Senior DevOps Lead

The role will be working closely with Software Engineers to help them deploy and operate different systems through automation and streamlining operational processes. Senior DevOps Engineering experience is critical to the success of the role as the central oversight for the specification and documentation of the new project features as well as developing new features and writing automation scripts utilizing various open source technologies, tools and orchestratration solutions in support of microservices-based solutions.

Cloud Platform Design & Delivery

The Pearson platform (codenamed Bitesize) is built for containerised applications and encourages our developers to pursue microservice architectures with embedded best practices. Built on largely open source technology such as Docker, Kubernetes, Terraform, Ansible and leveraging the AWS cloud platform both public to deliver a ubiquitous and consistent global platform for continuously deploying applications. The team has its own architecture group and a delivery team who apply AGILE principles to plan and prioritise backlog based on the needs of the various stakeholders in Technology (Product, Engineering, QE, Security, Operations etc…). We use a matrix model to integrate specialist architects and engineers to augment our software to meet critical functional and nonfunctional requirements for the services we host.

Cloud Community Management

With thousands of developers spread all over the world, the Pearson Technology landscape is diverse and complex. Our primary focus is on the next-generation platforms, but to fully participate in Pearson’s digital transformation we need to ensure we are building a future for the whole organisation. The team contributes generously to community initiatives with a commitment to open source and sharing. As the leader of the Cloud Platforms organisation you will be the primary face both internally and externally for advocating our work and sharing our experiences to develop not just Pearson but the wider Cloud Native community based on Pearson’s unique and Enterprise class use cases.


You will form part of a global team that will drive best practice in the DevOps/SRE and microservice arena, we work in a lean agile fashion with fortnightly sprints. You will be expected to collaborate with, and support other executive stakeholders in product, engineering, QE, Operations and Security to build and lead an aligned environment strategy for our Global Learning Platform.

The role is a senior leadership role and will include line management of 4-6 direct reports, with a total team size exceeding 30 people based in US, UK, Sri Lanka and India. You will be adept at enabling remote working cultures and bringing a global team together as a single entity. Your team is expected to support 24/7/365/day on-call operations for the new digital platform, with the understanding that great SRE teams should never get paged! Some travel will be required (infrequent), and you are expected to work from the Pearson office with the option to work remotely from time to time if your home is a suitable and safe working environment.

Pearson is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer and a member of E-Verify. All qualified applicants, including minorities, women, protected veterans, and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply.


About You

We’re looking for passionate leaders with a hunger to learn and be challenged by new technology and thinking. Your team will be market leading in terms of skill set and will demand a highly engaging culture which may differ from the Pearson norms. You will be comfortable advocating change to senior executives and have a track record of changing the working practices of engineering and operations teams. We demand a leader who is naturally curious, who is a self-starter and who is not fearful of leading a team of people who may be more talented in their subject matter than you are.

Things We Expect You to Know:

Extensive experience running software engineering teams, ideally polyglot in nature

In-depth, hands on experience of at least two major clouds (AWS, Google, Azure etc…)

A broad depth of experience the tooling and vendor landscape covering infrastructure, software engineering and SRE capabilities

A deep understanding of distributed system design, micro service architecture and dependency management. You will understand how teams need to work to manage this inherent complexity

Demonstrable experience of how you implemented Observability principles in previous teams covering all elements of how you instrument an application at every stage of its development lifecycle

Solid working experience of leading teams who implement continuous integration and delivery practices with multiple production releases per day

You will know how to partner with Engineering and QE teams to deliver a robust testing strategy for your own code and the code that others will run on your platform which embraces automation

The teams that you have previously led will have implemented Failure Based testing as part of the SDLC with your support and direction

You can articulate the difference between implementing teams and building a DevOps culture that enables true collaboration

You will have managed and developed remote teams and workers, you can demonstrate the specialist leadership traits that enable world class remote teams to thrive ideally globally but at least domestically in your own country

You can build business cases and work with vendors to own commercial relationships internally and externally to ensure we are investing in the right areas and getting the best deal for Pearson at all times


Our Tools of the Trade

We work at the moment with the following tools, we understand everyone will do a bit of learning on the job, but you will need to be able to meaningfully contribute to a selection of these tools. Contributing from the position of a leader means… supporting teams with technology choices, building best practices to enable simpler tool management, understanding the architectural implications of tool choices, mapping the needs of the stakeholders onto the function of the tools to ensure we maintain a healthy balance between value and complexity.

SDLC & Foundation Tooling

Github, Gitlab

TravisCI, Jenkins

Slack, Hipchat

Google Office, MS O365

AWS Cloud Services

Core Basics: EC2, EBS, VPC, IAM

Additional: EKS, Lambda, RDS, ElasticSearch, DynamoDB, Kinesis, SQS, SES

Processes: Cloud Governance, CIS Security Best Practices, Cloud Custodian policies

Software: boto, awscli

Our Primary Programming Languages

Go/Java/NodeJS/Python (and a bit of Bash, because we all love it!)

Key Infrastructure Components








Desirable Skills

Experience of working with or contributing directly to Open Source projects

Understanding and experience of leading/managing products

You have implemented specific development practices such as TDD previously

Delivering web-scale products to a global market at high release velocity

Successfully implemented Machine Learning and/or Big Data solutions within your software previously


Pearson is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer and a member of E-Verify. All qualified applicants, including minorities, women, protected veterans, and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply.

Primary Location: US-CA-San Francisco

Work Locations: US-CA-San Francisco-1255 Battery St 1255 Battery St Suite 220 San Francisco 94111

Job: Technology

Organization: Technology & Operations

Employee Status: Regular Employee

Job Type: Standard

Shift: Day Job

Job Posting: Oct 3, 2018

Job Unposting: Ongoing

Schedule: Full-time Regular

Req ID: 1812403

Pearson is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer and a member of E-Verify. All qualified applicants, including minorities, women, protected veterans, and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply.