Jobs at Figure 53

Senior Backend Web Developer

October 10, 2017

Figure 53, a Baltimore-based software company, is hiring a Baltimore-based half-time or full-time Senior Backend Web Developer.

Our ideal applicant has a careful, collaborative, customer-centric approach to software design and development. We are looking for someone with technical expertise in web application development, extensive experience deploying and debugging production code—ideally Ruby on Rails or Go—on Linux servers, experience with PostgreSQL or MySQL, comfort with JavaScript, HTML, and CSS, and familiarity with Git or another DVCS. Figure 53 is a Mac and iOS shop, and we expect you to run a Mac as your primary work machine.

We are a small, bootstrapped company. Over the last ten years our flagship product, QLab, has become the industry standard for live show control. You’ll find us on Broadway, at the Olympics, and in the basement theatre around the corner. Because our customers work in live events, we place a lot of emphasis on fast, kind, and helpful technical support. We’re also picky about the tools we use, so we’ve developed our own custom web tools to help us handle our email support and to sell and manage our licenses. These internal products are integral to our ability to help our customers put on great shows, so we're looking for someone to give them the care and attention they deserve.

We'd like someone who will not only work on these products, but who will advocate for internal and external customers, help us prioritize well, and plan the growth and change of the projects.

There are a wide variety of user-facing and system-level projects to work on within these web apps. With the original authors and current maintainers to work with, you will have a good team to join you in design sessions, prioritizing work, pairing, shooting the breeze, code reviews, and on deck to help when there are fires to put out or big features to test and ship. We appreciate each other's good work and we are patient about each other's mistakes.

If you choose full time, this position requires 35-45 hours of work a week; if you choose half time, 20-25 hours. Benefits includes generous paid vacation and flex time, great health insurance, and other perks like company lunches and paid time to work on pet coding projects. We are committed to work-life balance. Employees often take off to work on personal projects for extended periods, take long vacations, and encourage each other not to work when we’re under the weather. We also pride ourselves on working hard while we’re at work.

Figure 53 is committed to building a culturally diverse staff and encourages applications from all programmers, including those who are people of color, female, LGBTQ, living with disabilities, or a member of a group that is traditionally excluded from work in the tech sector.

Required Qualifications

The successful applicant will have all of the following qualifications:

  • Based in Baltimore and able to work from our office the bulk of the time.
  • Excellent written communication skills.
  • Empathy and an ability to convey a friendly and supportive tone in writing.
  • Patience and a pleasant demeanor, with customers and with teammates.
  • Adaptability, attention to detail, and problem solving skills.
  • Recent web application development and administration in a production system.
  • Comfort with HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Unix tools, SQL databases in a production system.
  • Experience working remotely with Linux web servers in production.
  • Interest in taking active responsibility for maintaining and growing the products you are in charge of.
  • Commitment to prioritizing work that will have a positive impact on customers and teammates.
  • Desire to collaborate on software design, development, and debugging.

Bonus Point Qualifications

While no one person will be an expert in all of these things, any of the following skills would impress us:

  • Experience with Ruby on Rails. (A lot of bonus points available depending on depth of experience and depth of ambivalence, both appreciation and annoyance.)
  • Experience in theater or other live performance.
  • Experience with AWS.
  • Experience with transactional email systems.
  • Experience with somewhat modern JavaScript development.
  • Experience with somewhat modern stylesheet preprocessors.
  • Some level of ambivalence toward modern JavaScript development and stylesheet preprocessors.
  • Experience with Go (the programming language).
  • Knowledge of and interest in software history and future directions: Douglas Engelbart, Alan Kay and Bret Victor's work, as well as practical but progressive work like Clojure and Elm.


  • Salary plus profit sharing.
  • Excellent health insurance, and we pay the premiums.
  • 25 days of paid vacation every year.
  • See our Company Handbook for more details.


  • Half-time: 20-25 hours a week, on average (although there may be seasonal variation in hours).
  • Full-time: 35-45 hours a week.
  • Permanent position with a 6 month trial period.
  • You must be a resident of Maryland and willing to commute to our office in Baltimore on most working days.

If you are only able to consider working as a 1099 (not W2) employee, consider getting in touch anyway — we might be able to adjust the position for the right person.


Position is open immediately and will remain so until filled.

To apply:

Please email with the subject line “Web Developer.” Attach PDFs of your resume and a cover letter that demonstrates your relevant experience and interest in the job.