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System Administration


2016-09-21 11:32


Do you love making Linux systems run like clockwork? Do you dream about scripting manual administration tasks out of existence? Would you enjoy the challenge of making it a five minute process to spin up a new pre-configured box? Would you like to do all this whilst working for an internet-focused organisation that exists to improve the lives of others around the world? If so, you should think about joining us at mySociety.

About Us

We’re a UK registered charity and social enterprise. We aim to invent and popularise digital tools that empower citizens in their interactions with institutions and decision makers.

In the UK, we’ve built well used and useful, democratic open source tools that make a difference, like FixMyStreet.com, WhatDoTheyKnow.com and TheyWorkForYou.com. Our focus is now much more international, and our main goal over the next few years is to help other organisations around the world to set up, run and grow citizen empowerment websites and apps based on our tools, whilst measuring the impact of this work through our research programme. We also take on commercial projects, both to generate income and to provide further positive social impacts.

Why you should work with us

There are plenty of reasons!

We are a friendly, user-focused software development team, and we get to work on stuff that matters. Our projects help people to get important things done - better government, citizen empowerment, fighting corruption. As well as our UK sites we’ve got strong working relationships with groups in Kenya, Chile, Uruguay, Taiwan, Malaysia, Australia and many other places.

mySociety is a flexible, understanding employer. Most mySociety staff work remotely whilst still seeing each other face to face as often as we can. We work from home, co-working spaces, or small offices. Proposals for part time and flexible working are always welcome, and we have generous allowances for leave (both paid and unpaid) and conference or training days.

Our project management style aims to minimise pain and distraction, and leave people to get on with doing great work, normally in small teams. We welcome people who are committed to making a difference, but we take work life balance very seriously and we celebrate the idea of quality, not quantity of working hours: out-of-hours work is occasionally required for this position, but always compensated with time off in lieu.

What this role involves

Responsibilities will include:

  • Initiating and managing infrastructure-wide projects such as OS upgrades
  • Taking charge of the security and integrity of our servers and data
  • Maintaining and testing our backups infrastructure
  • Improving the documentation of our server, development and deployment infrastructure
  • Identifying and resolving performance bottlenecks in application stacks based on Apache, Varnish, various dynamic programming languages and PostgreSQL/MySQL, including incoming and outgoing email
  • Helping developers build high performance applications
  • Keeping monitoring systems working and in good order
  • Updating our deployment process to make setting up new production servers and new development environments as close to a one-click configuration as possible
  • Speccing and procuring new hardware and/or virtual machines
  • Contributing to the development of our internal systems and processes

We think this position would suit you best if you have some or all of the following:

  • At least five years' experience of Linux server administration
  • At least two years' experience of scripting in Python, Perl, bash or similar
  • Experience of working with Puppet and Nagios
  • Good knowledge of networking fundamentals
  • Working knowledge of server hardware
  • Clear written English
  • Previous responsibility for maintaining the security and integrity of key Linux systems
  • Managing high-profile, multi-machine and public-facing systems

These would be a bonus:

  • Debian/Ubuntu sysadmin experience
  • Familiarity with new development or deployment processes, and an ability to evaluate and recommend them to the development team when appropriate
  • Good knowledge of virtualisation technologies and services, e.g KVM, AWS (EC2)
  • Familiarity with the use of configuration management and system automation technology
  • Experience of modern programming languages, e.g. Python or Ruby

And we’d love to hear from you if you are:

  • Communicative and collaborative in your working style
  • Self-disciplined and able to work autonomously to bring projects to completion
  • Friendly, and get on with others well
  • Able to balance between technical pragmatism and technical purism


The majority of our staff work from home. We have small clusters of people around Oxford, Bristol and London and would particularly like to hear from people based near those cities, but will accept applicants from anywhere in the United Kingdom. We only ask that you are willing to travel to other parts of the country to see your colleagues perhaps half a dozen times a year.

We expect you to be based in the UK and you need to have the right to work in this country (sorry, but we can’t offer help with visas or relocation expenses).

Salary & Benefits

£45-50,000 plus pension (3% employer contribution, 5% employee). We’re happy to consider part time working, pro rata. You will be a full PAYE employee.

Deadlines and Dates

The application deadline is 10am on Friday 30th September and interviews will take place during the week commencing 10th October. We will aim to notify applicants of whether or not they will be invited to interview on Tuesday 4th October.

Application instructions

Please ensure that your covering letter includes your thoughts on what makes an excellent sysadmin, and what makes one who's not quite good enough.

No recruiters or agencies, please.

Application Info

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