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Principal Engineer

London, England

Company Description

Genomics England successfully led the world-leading 100,000 Genomes Project, which compared and analysed individuals’ genetic codes to help diagnose, treat and prevent illness.

We are recruiting five Principal Engineers to join us. Are you a skilled engineer looking to use your knowledge to create products that directly enable cutting-edge research and improve the health of patients in the NHS (National Health Service) and worldwide? As a Principal Engineer here, you'll be both helping develop our ground-breaking scientific products and will be the lead technical voice in shaping the direction and strategy of the squads you work with.

Job Description

Principal Engineers are accountable for ensuring robust technical delivery of products and services. They are responsible for planning alongside the squad, co-creating the plan and inputting their expertise as needed to ensure technical excellence.

They are a hands-on technical leader with exemplary senior engineer/architecture skills. Principal Engineers are a natural problem solver who intuitively identifies risks, issues, gaps, and dependencies and brings people together to define solutions and make decisions.

They are instinctively collaborative with a strong ethos for team and teamworking. Principal Engineers act as a mentor to others within their squad with a tireless ambition to help others develop and grown. They will act as conduit to Software Engineering managers who hold the broad remit for consistent performance management and personal development across the directorate.

Working alongside Product Managers, squad engineers and subject matter experts (e.g., bioinformaticians) the Principal Engineers will define a technologically deliverable roadmap. This will be refined and defined as a clear set of epic’s and stories following the INVEST principles and delivered in an agile manner with a clear definition of done, including all operational practices required for the team to follow a DevOps approach to service delivery. Principal Engineers will also work with the Product Manager and Scrum Master to define and shape the skills needed within the squad to meet their specific deliver needs.

They will be the voice of constructive technical challenge, ensuring that all non-functional needs are understood, technical debt is kept low, security and data protection are never compromised, performance and cost are optimised in a cloud first environment, and guardrails are adhered to in line with agreed policies. The Principal Engineers will reinforce excellent engineering practices and ensure that engineers all work well together in service of the product to maximise long-term benefit to users. They will encourage practices that improve quality and skills, such as peer review. Principal Engineers will work within a Technology leaders’ community (outside of their squad) to improve practices, align delivery, and provide assurance regarding both delivery timelines and working practices.


Essential Criteria

  • Senior Engineer / Architect with an excellent understanding of well governed agile delivery in a DevOps environment
  • Natural leadership skills with a temperament that leads to cohesion within and across squads through open communication
  • Able to navigate rapidly to effective solutions through active listening, clarity of thought, clear documentation, and succinct presentation
  • Proven leadership in an operational setting operating either within a regulated environment or a 24*7 operational setting
  • Leadership in a multidisciplinary setting working alongside digital colleagues with an intense focus on user need and user satisfaction
  • Strong understanding of architecture, governance and formal review in design and direction setting
  • Strong in automation including test automation, CI/CD, infrastructure as code and operational monitoring and alerting
  • Cloud first approach to design with strong knowledge of AWS Experience in managing large datasets
  • Knowledge of security architecture, web application architecture using Python / React, strong API architecture skills, Java, Postgres/Aurora, and NoSQL databases (Mongo / Document DB).

Desirable Criteria

  • Experience in healthcare or other complex systems
  • Experience in data management of high-volume, complex systems.

We are recruiting for four Principal Engineers. Here are three examples of our products, we are very keen to hear from you if you feel inspired to apply:

Test Ordering and Tracking This is a product for those that love large, complex data. Each genome is composed of a huge amount of data that needs to be at the right granularity and format to ensure smooth comprehensive analysis. Your users will need to have detailed, reliable information about this data to avoid errors and delays to patients and participants.

Interpretation Portal This is a product for those that love to help users make sense of lots of complex data. Each genome can have millions of important variants, and thousands of past cases or research findings could hold the key to giving a patient the right diagnosis or best possible treatment for their condition. Your users need the best tooling at their disposal to help them use all this data to make the best possible decision, every time.

Knowledge Bases This is a product for those that love making data accessible. The knowledge bases connect genes with diseases, power the bioinformatic pipelines that analyse genomes, and unlock access to past research and cases that can hold the key to giving a patient the right diagnoses or the best possible treatment for their condition. Your users need this data to be safe and secure, but also accessible fast to support their decision making in real time.

Additional Information

Originally conceived as a project, Genomics England has transformed to meet the long-term opportunities created by our scientific breakthroughs in understanding the Human Genome. Being part of this journey is a reward in itself, however we're pleased to offer our colleagues a great benefits package including:

  • competitive salary
  • 30 days holiday
  • generous pension scheme
  • individual learning budgets for every colleague
  • a raft of other benefits

Talk to our Talent Acquisition Team and find out how a career with Genomics England will benefit you.

As part of our recruitment process, all successful candidates are subject to a Standard Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. We therefore require applicants to disclose any previous offences at point of application, as some unspent convictions may mean we are unable to proceed with your application due to the nature of our work in healthcare.

Genomics England operate a blended working model, as we know our people appreciate the flexibility. We expect most people to come into the office 2 times each month as a minimum. However, this will vary according to role and will be agreed with your team leader. For some people this is 1 day a quarter, for others it is several days a week. There is no expectation that staff will return to the office full time unless they want to. The exception would be some of our roles that would require you to be on site full time e.g., lab teams, reception team.

Our teams and squads have, and will continue to, reflect on what works best for them to work together successfully and have the freedom to design working patterns to suit, beyond the minimum. Our office locations at the moment are Cambridge and Farringdon (London) and in Autumn 2022 we are relocating our London office location to Canary Wharf. We will also be expanding our regional offices.

Looking ahead to our move to Canary Wharf, we will be designing our new space with blended working in mind, and with the flexibility to adapt to changing work patterns. During the pandemic we will be following government advice on working from home guidance.


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Screening Questions

Do you hold the current right to work in the UK?
Will you now or in the future need a visa or work permit in order to work in the UK?

Diversity and Inclusion is important to Genomics England. We want an organisation where you can bring your whole self and feel welcome and included in our mission and workplace. We use the answers to these questions completely anonymously to track and report on our progress in attracting and hiring a diverse workforce. Your answers to these questions are not visible to recruiters or hiring managers and are not used in the selection process.

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