Intermediate NodeJS / Web Developer

Part-Time in London, GB - Remote OK - Mid Level

Josh and Zak here from the Novlr product team 👋

About Novlr:
Novlr is an online creative writing software platform built by writers, run by writers, owned by writers. We've been nurturing creative writers since 2015, when our founders Thomas and Kim (who still run the business) couldn't find a good tool to write with. Recently, we crossed a milestone of over 700 million words penned on our platform. We are a small, self-funded, but growing team committed to creating wonderful tools and a supportive environment for authors across the globe. It is an exciting time at Novlr with numerous growth opportunities.

We are also the first creative writing platform to become part-owned by our writers! We believe in a fairer way to make tech platforms - where we give some of the value back to those that helped create the content, rather than extracting all the value for shareholders. We launched this week (24 July) and already have 50 co-owners. As a team member, you would also become a co-owner!

Check us out!

What this role will be:

  • A chance to work with a team who are dedicated to the craft of building great products, for a group of users that are dedicated to the craft of bringing new ideas andstories to life.
  • An opportunity to work with a small and dedicated team with a small and dedicated (and growing!) user base.
  • A great way to grow your career by taking on responsibilities and challenges that you may not be be offered in a larger company.

What this role won't be:

  • It won't be the most you could earn with your skills - but it will be fair, with plenty of opportunity to grow as a result of your direct input on the company.
  • It won't be easy - there are a lot of core problems still to solve in Novlr's tech stack, and we have ambitious plans!
  • It won't be boring - Novlr makes tools for authors, some of the most creative and interesting people on the planet. We even have authors and poets on the team! Also, again, we have ambitious plans, so there will be a dynamic set of challenges to work on.

What we're building

Or, why don't writers just use Word? Writing a Novel is a long process with many stages, so lots of Novlr writers still do use Word, Docs and many other tools as part of their process. Novlr's main products is our writing tool, which is aimed at the early stages of shaping up an idea - where ideas are still small and fragile even the smallest distraction can shatter them. We provide a clean, distraction-free clean slate, along with goal-based encouragement, to help writers keep up the habit and get their idea shaped up.

Going forwards, we have ambitious plans. We want to help writers at every stage of the journey, beyond planning and drafting and into editing, publishing and beyond. We intend to be the #1 platform for creative writing within 5 years, and your input could have a massive impact on that.

Where you come in:

Blah blah blah NodeJS 10x web developer blah blah 200 years of experience - you know the drill, you've read it 1000 times before. We won't go over the basics because we'll assume you know them already (so this won't be an ideal entry-level role - unless you learn really fast!)

We're looking for someone who has an enthusiasm for web tech and who wants to work in a small, transparent team environment where speed and resourcefulness are key.

We already have strong design and frontend skills in the team, so ideally you're someone who finds beauty in infrastructure. And yes, we do respect the difference between backend and frontend - so you won't have to worry about CSS (unless you want to!).

Our stack has a lot of interesting infrastructure challenges, and we've recently re-written a lot of it to conform to the latest tech (0% -> 60% Typescript in the backend, Angular -> NextJS + Typescript in the frontend). We've done our best to conform to best practices and it's purring along smoothly (400k words per day on an M20 db!) but mostly we've been focusing on making it 'work' for the user, so lots of your energy will go towards establishing great infrastructure practices for the next 10 years of Novlr.

There are plenty of interesting parts of Novlr already from an infrastructure point of view - from our analytics feature that needs to keep track of half a billion words, offline backups (that need to keep in sync with the db), writing on multiple devices and keeping a single version history... and we have a lot of plans in the pipeline.

By the time you join you'll be working on an infrastructure that looks after nearly 1 billion words! Does that scare you? (It scares us!). But we use a managed MongoDB database and have a solid Google Cloud-based API so you won't be fighting gnarly database issues. It's mostly in how we structure the data and the API, and integrate with external tools.

I also feel obliged to let you know we have no unit tests. Literally 0. We've been lucky to keep a fast shipping cadence without any nightmare issues (touch wood) - but we probably should have some, and perhaps you will help us build them out.

It would be a bonus for you have a love for creative writing in any of its forms - but that's not essential. If you don't , well, you don't yet.


Salary - expect decent market rates. We are a mostly self-funded company owned by our founders and our writer co-owners, not VCs. As the Novlr community grows, so will the opportunities for our core team - and as our 3rd developer, you'll be in our core team from day 1.

We're a remote team, with members mostly dotted around the UK. We don't really mind where you are but timezones are a thing so the closer to GMT the better.

We trust our team members to work the hours that make them most productive.

This will be a part-time contract role to begin with, with the opportunity to become full-time as the company and your relationship to it develops.

If you're excited by this role, please get in touch. Even if you don't feel like you fit the description entirely, enthusiasm makes up for a lot, and we'd love to hear from you.

In terms of the process - the first step is for you to send us as much information as you can. Resumes, CVs, LinkedIn is great, Github and details about what you've built in the past are even better. Then we'll move on to a chat with our product team (Zak and Josh), and after that, if things are going well, we'll do a paid project, this could be a day or more based on what seems best. Since this is a technical role, we just want to get a feel for you you work. We know you can't put forward your best ideas in a short video call (we couldn't!). If this goes great, we can assess the longer term employment options depending on our mutual preferences and needs.