Software Engineer

Salary £ 50,000 – 65,000

Full time or part time
UK-based with choice of office-based/remote/hybrid working


About us 

Overton is a socially conscious startup focused on making government policy more transparent: we help researchers, journalists and the public to see the evidence and influences behind real world guidelines, laws and regulations.

Want to see the research behind national climate change plans, or the influences pushing different COVID policies? Overton is where you go.

Our customers range from UN & EU agencies to think tanks, big charities and dozens of universities. Our primary product is a large, searchable database of government policy that we text mine to pull out topics, links to academic papers, people and more. 

The founding team is experienced, friendly and genuinely cares about the space – we’d love you to join us.


Your new role

We’re looking to hire an enthusiastic and talented developer to help us further develop our data processing pipeline and web platform. You’ll be working closely with Euan, our founder, Nick, our tech lead, and Angel, our data scientist, as part of the tech team and your strengths, interests and feedback will help to shape the rest of the development team as we hire over the course of the year.

We deploy daily and you’ll be making changes customers can see from day one. Some key projects on our roadmap this year include: 

  • Overhauling how we scrape government data from the web – we look for new documents from every government department in over 185 countries weekly
  • Figuring out how to run topic modelling algorithms over result sets and deliver useful insights in real time
  • Improving our UX/UI to help users quickly and easily create complex queries
  • Improving how our processing pipeline fits together and runs across machines so we can see where bottlenecks are and scale up or down appropriately
You’ll be joining us at an exciting stage of development and there’ll be lots of opportunity to try out new ideas, for professional development and to learn about developing a new product inside a start-up environment. 


The tech

Our technology stack is PHP, Python, Postgres and Elasticsearch, with Javascript on the front end. We scrape and process a large number of documents from the web, index them and allow users to search them through our web app. 

The majority of our code is written in PHP but some parts of the data pipeline are written in Python which is what we use for our data science work. We need you to be familiar with either PHP or Javascript already, but can help you learn anything you’re missing.


About you 

We’re looking for a developer with at least 2-3 years of experience working with SaaS applications in PHP or Javascript.

Ideally you’d also have one or two from (most important to least): 

  • A similar level of experience with Python (we’re using this more and more) 
  • Javascript for front-end work (vanilla is fine, experience of frameworks is a bonus) 
  • Some DevOps experience, especially around containers or maintaining large (multi-terabyte) databases
  • In-depth knowledge of Elasticsearch and/or Postgresql 

And optionally: 

  • A background or experience working in academic publishing, scientific research or government 
  • Experience running web scraping projects at scale 
  • Experience with data processing pipelines 
  • Experience of graph databases or processing
  • While experience helps we’re not expecting you to know everything: your ability to learn is more important to us!


How we work

We’re very open to different ways of working and the team at the moment is a mix of remote and hybrid practices. We have nice office space in London very close to Euston for people who want to use it, and we get the whole team together in London a few times a year for face to face meetings.


How we hire 

Apply by emailing us on with your CV and a non-generic cover letter that explains why you are right for this role and why it interests you. We’ll get back to you within two working days.

We’ll follow up with any questions we might have about your application, usually around logistics or your expectations about the role.

We’ll schedule an initial 30-minute call to discuss the role and your experience, to see if they look like a good fit.

We’ll schedule a more in-depth interview, which is typically two hours long. The first hour is discussion, and the second hour is based on a short, practical take home assignment (no memory testing whiteboard questions!) or exercise during the interview if you’d prefer.

We’ll make an offer. We’ll be interviewing a number of candidates so there may be a short delay, but we will try to keep you informed throughout the process.



Hybrid and flexible working

A supportive, friendly work environment within a company that cares about its staff and its impact on the world (we are accredited by the Living Wage Foundation and the FSB Good Business Charter and we’re aiming to become net zero this year!)

The chance to have a real, customer facing impact on the product and team from your first week here

Competitive salary, dependent on experience and location

We’ll provide a new Mac, PC or Linux laptop along with a stipend for other equipment

Enhanced employer pension contribution of 6%

Generous annual leave entitlement of 28 days per year excluding bank holidays

Enhanced family leave and pay policies (subject to full conditions, available on request) including:

After 6 months’ service, we’ll pay 90% of normal basic pay for the first 3 months of maternity leave and shared parental leave (less any taken as maternity/paternity leave)

After 6 months’ service, we’ll pay 90% of normal basic pay for 6 weeks of paternity leave

With no minimum length of service, you can take up to 6 weeks’ paternity leave, including 2 weeks paid at 90% of normal basic pay.