Posted Mar 22

Full Stack Software Engineer

New York, NY, United States Full Time

You are resourceful, organized, discerning, and persistent. You have a strong sense of urgency and are known as a trustworthy, dependable executor. You are most satisfied when your work has deep, meaningful impact.

You will be working on a small team and will be specifically focused on improving the user experience of our blended online learning platform. The platform onboards new users, delivers training services, and manages oversight and metrics tracking for our Entrepreneurs In Training (EITs), Volunteers, Mentors, and Family Program members.

Defy’s technology initiative was one of 17 recipients of the WIRED/Nokia Agents of Change award for “shaping how technology is expanding human possibility.”

We look for the following when evaluating new teammates:

  • Culture fit: we have a spirited/ambitious/fun culture that is passionate about redeeming lives and restoring communities. We strive to display heart, empathy, and resolve in our daily interactions with one another.
  • Organizational prowess: You are capable of driving multiple work streams and stakeholders, and juggling priorities in a dynamic environment.

You will be entrusted with your own share of massive responsibility.

You will have the support of teammates who look out for you and want you to succeed.

You will make a difference.

Although Defy is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, we take pride in our application of corporate best practices and operate as a lean, results-oriented startup. This high-impact opportunity is perfectly suited for a professional looking to transition out of the corporate world. Many of our most successful employees come from for-profit backgrounds.


  • Communicating with end-users and teammates to design, prototype, and build UI solutions
  • Building highly-performant, maintainable UI components that work across a wide range of devices
  • Integrating with multiple 3rd party REST APIs. Ex: Gmail API, Twilio, etc.
  • Building responsive mobile-first layouts and progressively enhancing especially for improved desktop experiences
  • Working in a continuous delivery environment
  • Weighing in and communicating how certain design decisions could impact performance


  • JavaScript/jQuery
  • Python/Django – Basic understanding of Django templates, ORM, and class-based views.
  • Git/GitHub – Ability to manage multiple branches simultaneously and fix merge conflicts.
  • Bootstrap (optional)
  • Excellent front-end and graphic design skills
  • Ability to take criticism constructively and work under pressure

About Defy Ventures

Defy’s long-term goal is to put itself out of business by ending mass incarceration. We are crazy driven to level the playing field and bring redemptive opportunities to America’s biggest underdogs. Our hatred of injustice fuels our impatience. We plan to serve 10,000+ incarcerated men, women, and youth in the next three years and scale to 21 new chapters within six years.

America is touted as the land of opportunity and second chances—a land of liberty and justice for all. But this isn’t the case for the 100 million Americans with criminal records, who remain permanently stigmatized. Today, 30% of 23-year-olds have records.

Defy Ventures is a national entrepreneurship, employment, and character training program that recognizes the potential in many former drug dealers and gang leaders to become successful, legal entrepreneurs. We “transform the hustle” of our formerly incarcerated Entrepreneurs in Training (EITs) by offering intensive leadership development, Shark Tank-style business plan competitions, executive mentoring, financial investment, and startup incubation. We build a life-giving, authentic community between EITs and our executive volunteers, who bond in their humanity through their collaboration along the entrepreneurial journey.

Leveraging technology, we’ve created a “blended learning” model that has the potential to scale globally and revitalize the most underserved communities. We combine online training with in-person mentoring and events.

Since being founded in 2010, Defy has served 1,700+ EITs across 22 states and engaged 3,500+ executive volunteers. Defy has incubated 165 of its graduates’ companies, which in turn have created more than 350 employment opportunities for people in their communities. Grads report a 95% employment rate, and Defy’s recidivism rate to date is less than 5%. (Nationally, 76.6% of people are rearrested within five years of release).

Defy has earned the trust of funders like Techstars Foundation, Google, eBay, TD Bank, Capital One, Bloomberg, LinkedIn, Yelp, and American Express. Defy was also awarded the MDC Partners Humanitarian Award and has been showcased in national media including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and TechCrunch.

Defy’s founder and CEO, Catherine Hoke, is an Ashoka Fellow, and was named by Fast Company as one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business. She was awarded by WIRED Magazine and Nokia as one of the “Top 17 Global Influencers Expanding Human Possibility Through Technology,” and received the MDC Partners Humanitarian Award.

Additional Application Instructions

Application: To apply, please email your resume to and write “Software Engineer” in the subject line. Optionally, you may include a thoughtful cover letter, a link to your GitHub profile (preferred), and links to past work. For more information on Defy Ventures, please visit our website at

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