Lead Web Developer

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Created: January 28, 2013


The V&A is the world’s greatest museum of art and design, holding in excess of 1 million objects.  Each year over 2 million people visit V&A museums and there over 11 million web visits. The V&A’s ambition is to provide the leading digital experience for art and design on the web and mobile.

The Digital Media department’s purpose is to deliver a world-leading web experience that reflects the depth and breadth of the V&A’s collections and engages visitors with art and design, whether directly through our branded Museum products and services sites, or indirectly through syndicated data publishing.  Our digital services assume open data as standard as far as possible and our development environment uses predominantly open-source software.

The Digital Media Department is a small team consisting of the Head of Digital, the Digital Content Delivery Manager, the Lead Web Developer, a Web Developer, the Senior Content Editor, two Content Editors and an Admin Assistant. The team works very closely with departments across the Museum especially Information Systems Services and Collections Management Department.

Purpose of job

Working with the Digital Content Delivery Manager you will be responsible for leading the development of digital services delivered by the Museum’s web applications.  You will be responsible for managing the development process to implement enhancements, changes and inter-system integration work, as prioritised by the Digital Content Delivery Manager.

You will be responsible for ensuring a seamless web experience is provided for users from the portfolio of underlying web platforms and managed services that together deliver digital content to our visitors on the web and mobile devices.  You will be responsible for ensuring technical consistency and best practice, developing and integrating new enhancements and keeping up to date with evolving web standards and accessibility.

You will work with the Digital Content Delivery Manager to create and maintain web applications within a dynamic and integrated environment that is data-driven, modular and scalable. You will manage the permanent Web Developer and contract developers as required and will maintain the consistent day-to-day operation of the web applications, as well as the development process that improves them.

The delivery of content, products and services by the Digital Media department is based upon a data-driven model.  The underlying foundation is a core data-publishing function that collates content and media from a number of authoritative systems and makes this accessible to our end-user services via structured data output served by several APIs.  You will be responsible for maintaining and developing this core data engine, and the related front-end interfaces that convert that data into user services.  These include the main website, Search the Collections and What’s On as well as other web-technology based services including mobile mapping and digital labels.

You will also be responsible for integration with other modular services that may be provided by third parties and for ensuring our content is available via data distribution to other Museum partners.

Main tasks

1. To develop core museum web applications in-house mainly using the Django python application framework, as well as SymfonyPHP web application frameworks and Drupal. This will involve building the applications, creating and maintaining documentation and overseeing the web application development process, and managing the permanent Web Developer and other developers as required.
2. To be responsible for technical integration of Museum web applications with the main content management and other distributed web and digital systems. This may include creating and developing output templates in the content systems (Squiz Matrix, Drupal), data integration with Museum systems or third party services. This will involve extensive consultation with users and provision of information, instruction and advice on the web application infrastructure.
3. To work with designers and be responsible for the implementation of designs created within the overall digital experience.
4. As the developer responsible for the functionality of the Museum’s web services, to advise Museum staff on what functionality it is desirable to create within the core applications and that which should be provided by integrated managed services.
5. To be responsible for maintaining optimized performance across the portfolio of web applications.
6. To provide technical advice to, and liaise with suppliers of underlying IT infrastructure that supports the web applications and services for which you are responsible. This will include the Museum IT technical staff (ISSD - Information Systems Support Department) and other remote managed hosted services.
7. To assist the Digital Content Delivery Manager in maintaining a general awareness of new web technologies and to establish whether or not it would be appropriate to adopt them within the Museum, and the technical impact of trends in digital that may require us to respond in how we deliver services. When appropriate, this might involve detailed technical analysis to establish the limitation and the effects on existing systems of new technology. To advise other Museum technical staff on the use of web technologies.
8. To establish the data sources of any information required (which may be an existing database) and how to obtain it. Given the diversity of systems on which information is currently held, innovative technical solutions may be required in order to provide the level and type of functionality sought.
9. To evaluate and analyse approved web project proposals, and to design or arrange for the provision of technical solutions to them.
10. In conjunction with the Digital Content Delivery Manager, to liaise with third party developers on all technical matters to provide advice and guidance on the specifications to be fulfilled under the terms of any contract. Providing advice to developers on the use and facilities offered by existing databases and any access issues to be complied with. Quality assuring work produced under any such contract to ensure that the required specifications have been achieved.
11. To ensure the security of all web-accessed facilities, analysing the systems involved to ensure that no unauthorised access to source data can be obtained.
12. To resolve any technical issues relating to the operation of web services, as required.
13. Maintaining some aspects of the in-house Apache web server (Linux) caching (NGINX) and database (MySQL) applications.
14. To contribute to training for Museum staff in the use of tools allowing local updating of content.
15. To undertake web authoring and editorial duties where necessary, especially on the more technical projects.
16. To represent the Digital Media Department on certain projects and be able to uphold our aims and philosophy (technical and non-technical) to the rest of the Museum.
17. To contribute to team discussions on web issues and to build and maintain a good relationship with the rest of the Digital Media Department.
18. Be committed to health and safety and ensure familiarity with all of the Museum's health and safety policies and procedures.
19. Be security conscious, ensure familiarity and co-operation with all museum security procedures and ensure you wear a security pass at all times when on museum premises.
20. Promote equality and diversity in all aspects of your work by developing and maintaining positive working relationships, ensuring that colleagues are treated fairly and with respect/dignity and actively contributing to developments that support the museum’s strategy for widening access, inclusion and diversity.
21.   Carry out ad hoc duties as requested by appropriate managers within your department.

Essential requirements

1. Advanced skills in PHP, MySQL, Python, JavaScript and CSS with examples of live services that you have developed features for.
2. Proven experience in Django development
3. Experience of leading and managing a development team, with ability to delegate and manage tasks within a development program
4. A strong interest in web development trends such as html5, mobile web applications, web communities and usability with an ability to learn new ways of delivering services for web visitors.
5. Knowledge of Symfony
6. Knowledge of Apache web server administration.
7. Understanding of caching technologies.
8. Knowledge of cross-platform compatibility issues.
9. Knowledge of web accessibility issues and web standards.
10. Knowledge of web security issues.
11. Experience of managing or working with a content management system.
12. Experience of software development techniques and coding practices including use of version control and code deployment.
13. Ability to communicate clearly with non-technical members of staff.
14. To be a self-motivated and reliable worker with the ability to work under pressure.

Desirable requirements
1. Experience of developing and integrating content management systems
2. Experience of Drupal development and administration
3. Experience of configuring and using Google Analytics.
4. Evidence of activity within an open source community
5. Knowledge and interest in the work and collections of the V&A.


Net working hours (i.e. excluding meal breaks) are 36 per week.

The salary will be within V&A pay band 4 (£29,942 rising to £35,989 per annum). Future pay progression will be in accordance with the V&A's Pay Agreement(s). Normal level transfer and promotion rules will apply for internal candidates.

Annual Leave
28 days plus 8 days public holidays

Pension benefits
The Civil Service offers a choice of either an occupational pension or stakeholder pension, giving you the flexibility to choose a scheme that suits you best. The occupational pension scheme currently has a 3.5% - 5.9% member contribution rate dependent on annual pensionable earnings, with an employer contribution rate of between 16.7% - 24.3%.

The ‘Partnership’ pension account is a stakeholder money purchase pension with an employer contribution based on age. Further details are available upon request or appointment.

Other benefits
Free entrance to all the major museums in London as well as many others.

An interest free season ticket or bicycle loan is available after three months.

Subject to the society’s terms and conditions, V&A staff are entitled to membership of the Benenden Healthcare Society.  Further information is available from HR or via their web-site on hyperlink "http://www.benenden-healthcare.org.uk"www.benenden-healthcare.org.uk

To apply
To apply online, please go to the V&A’s website at hyperlink "http://www.vam.ac.uk/jobs"www.vam.ac.uk/jobs

If you have any queries regarding the recruitment process, you can email us – hr@vam.ac.uk or telephone us on 020 7942 2937.

Closing date for receipt of applications is 11 February 2013

Interview expenses will not be paid unless there is a prior agreement.

Last updated: Tuesday, February 28, 2017 23:46 UTC