VP, Software Engineering at Canonical

To scale our global software engineering organisation, we have opened six VP Engineering positions.

Canonical is a worldwide provider of open source operating systems, applications, security, support, services and solutions. We are the publisher of Ubuntu. Our mission is to be the best partner for building on open source, from the smallest devices to the largest clouds. We are the number one platform for public cloud production deployments, the number one enterprise Linux for IoT, and the developer platform of choice for Linux engineering.

The business is growing and profitable. We are preparing to take the company public, and wish to ensure that we have a strong bench of software engineering leadership in place to lead innovation, quality and rigour as we expand. We are particularly focused on software engineering practice - design, documentation, community engagement, quality, developer relations, commercial competitiveness and usability are all skills and habits we expect our teams to develop.

As a platform company we offer a wide range of software engineering challenges, from the Linux kernel up through Ubuntu server, desktop, IoT and operations tooling, from the public cloud to the edge, as open source products and commercial business systems. We work in low-level engineering with kernels and compilers and toolchains. We create distributed systems in Golang and Python, we work with web technology, and many layers in between. Our commercial offerings are both software and SAAS, along with a range of professional services and support.

We will structure our engineering organisation around these six VP roles, reporting to the CEO, in no particular order:

VP Engineering, Ubuntu
Ubuntu itself - the server and desktop experience, kernel, low level system, toolchains, and runtimes such as Python and Java.

VP Engineering, Cloud
Our public cloud experience on AWS, Azure, GCP, Oracle, IBM, our Docker images and container capabilities, and our private cloud offerings, including MAAS bare metal cloud, Kubernetes, OpenStack, OVN, OVS, Ceph and LXD virtualisation.

VP Engineering, SAAS
Our online services, including our systems management service, our software distribution systems for debs, snaps, Docker images and charms, and our developer collaboration infrastructure.

VP Engineering, IoT
Ubuntu Core and offerings that enable next-generation secure devices for the edge and IoT, from automotive to drones, from the factory to telco, home and office environments.

VP Engineering, Information Systems
Commercial systems for Canonical and customers, including our own internal systems, security offerings, and IT operations solutions. This is effectively a combined engineering leadership and CIO role.

VP Engineering, Enterprise Solutions
Open source enterprise offerings from databases through data lakes and document stores, analytics, MLops and visualisation, to identity management, model-driven devops, and cloud-native operations of the entire open source application universe.

Canonical is a product-centric organisation. These leaders are responsible for the success of the products in their group, working with their engineering directors and managers, to ensure that they have what they need to be successful. We offer customers a unified approach to open source, and our success depends on the quality of experience customers have when they use our products together. VP's work with product management to ensure customer experiences are harmonised across our very diverse product range.

At this level, competitive strategy is as important as software engineering skill and experience. We expect our software engineering group to be commercially astute, to be thoughtful about global technology and market trends, to be aware of competitor positioning, to be excited to change the game and bring new ideas to fruition, and to ensure that Canonical products lead the market. There is nothing 'business as usual' about enterprise technology, it is a highly competitive arena with constant change, and this leadership team is critical to our ability to move faster and deliver better than our competitors.

Required skills and experience

Candidates should have a track record of successful product delivery in the software industry, the ability to speak compellingly to a global industry audience, the ability to plan and organise across multiple products and teams, clear leadership skills, an appreciation for open source, and hunger for commercial success.

  • Exceptional academic results at high school and university
  • Degree qualification in Computer Science or Software Engineering
  • Passion for high quality, usable, fast and reliable software
  • Extensive management experience with multiple reporting teams
  • Confidence in public speaking
  • Exceptional work ethic
  • Ability to travel internationally for company and industry events
  • Successful startup experience preferred
  • Public company experience preferred
  • Open source experience strongly preferred

We are an ambitious organisation with the goal to be the primary partner for most industry players and end-users of open source, but we are also humble - our primary mission as a platform and an aggregator is to serve those who innovate on open source rather than competing with them. We don't create a new database - we enable others to create and distribute new open source products, and our strategy must be as good for them as it is for us. Our success depends on the success of others. We benefit from the growth of the major public clouds, of open source startups, of semiconductor companies, and of the businesses that choose to build on open source and Ubuntu - and we value their success as much as our own.

We believe that open source will be the foundation of all enterprise computing, from the edge to the cloud. Today, we deliver the leading open source operating system, Ubuntu, but we believe that Ubuntu is the tip of the iceberg and we would like to serve the wider market for applications, services and solutions with equal success.

You will need to be exceptional, organised and deeply motivated by Canonical's values and strategy to pursue one of these roles. You will need to understand how Canonical is different, and what that difference means competitively, commercially and socially. For the right candidate, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to lead a category of open source and the de facto standard experience that millions of developers and businesses have with it.

Your technology interests may include cloud computing, IoT, web systems, back-end data stores, scale-out infrastructure or Linux itself. You should have a gift for software design and implementation, and enjoy a highly professional environment with careful choices of technology, architecture, data design, and user interface. You should have broad-based knowledge of Linux, networking, software development, databases, API design and possibly web presentation layers.

You must be familiar with the open source environment, and want to build products in partnership with a community. We expect engineering leaders to demonstrate insight into performance and quality engineering practices, and help teams embrace effective disciplines. You should also have an understanding of security practices and principles and the impact that engineering choices have on product security. We also expect our leaders to take responsibility for delivering well-documented products and working with design professionals to shape the user experience. You should have clear views on the ways engineering practices influence product outcomes, not just technically but in open source communities and in the marketplace.

This is a role for leadership, management, organization, planning and mentorship, not individual contribution through coding. You should relish the opportunity to shape, direct and develop an engineering organisation that is happy and brilliant, and produces a collection of products that will be a pleasure to use with the rest of the Canonical suite of offerings.

Whatever your nationality, ethnicity, gender or identity, we welcome your application and will give it fair consideration.



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