To catalyze the Kenyan tech community’s growth.


Frontline SMS Software Developer1

  • Company: FrontlineSMS
  • Deadline: Saturday 30th April 2011
  • Location: Nairobi
Job Description


FrontlineSMS helps organisations throughout the world harness the power, potential and reach of mobile technology to effect positive social and environmental change. We are looking for an enthusiastic developer to support and help define the development of a new version of the software.

Our software platform enables users in remote and underserved areas to turn a laptop computer and a mobile phone into a two-way communications hub, enabling SMS (text message-based) communication among large populations without the need for the Internet. Since 2005, over 12,500 people have downloaded and applied FrontlineSMS in their work, reaching millions of people in the process. Because it works without the Internet, FrontlineSMS is enabling often life saving information to be communicated to remote areas in the developing world where some of the most underserved and marginalised populations live – places many other tools don't reach.

This is an exciting time for FrontlineSMS, as 2011 is the year in which we are redeveloping a new version of the Core platform to make it more powerful, easier to build on, and even simpler to use. The redevelopment will position FrontlineSMS in particular as a versatile platform on which to build plugins and better suit users’ needs.

Our core values have been formed as our work has evolved, and remain central to the work we do; a quiche to listen to FrontlineSMS users and put them first at all times; a hands-off approach in which users, and not the core team, are central to implementation; and an 'eco-system' approach to growth and expansion which values the diverse and dynamic FrontlineSMS community of users, developers and supporters. By being open with our code and allowing users to openly share uses and ideas, an innovation ecosystem has built up around FrontlineSMS, with both individuals and organisations taking our core platform and building sector-specific modules and tools.

This is an existing role on full time contract (trial period 3months), reporting to the Lead Developer. 

The postholder will be accountable for  customer support, maintenance, and testing of our multiplatform desktop Java application, and will provide support to the Lead Developer on the development of the software. The post-holder must be able therefore to prioritise their own workload, and work well within a small team.



  1. In conjunction with the development team and at the direction of the lead developer, working on  all aspects of developing code for new iterations of the FrontlineSMS platform as required, including but not limited to writing and testing production code and tooling for the developer team
  2. Accountable for maintenance, bug fixes and testing of the FrontlineSMS platform
  3. Accountable for maintaining user-friendly help documentation suitable for comprehension by a global audience.
  4. In conjunction with the Lead Developer, developing web applications to support the core FrontlineSMS platform and its users.
  5. Accountable for delivering timely, high-standard user support via our Ning user community and direct communication (e.g. email. Skype and in person)
  6. Report daily progress to the Lead Developer, and work reasonable requested office hours.
  7. Undertake any other duties reasonably requested.
  8. Uphold and embody FrontlineSMS values.

Person Specification


  1. Good working knowledge of JavaSE
  2. Strong grasp of object oriented programming and design
  3. Ability to quickly understand and apply unfamiliar technologies and frameworks
  4. Willingness to contribute to all stages of the development process, and other aspects of the organisation when required
  5. Excellent written and spoken English
  6. Ability to prioritise your own workload and work independently as needed
  7. Ability to meet deadlines without continual prompting or support.
  8. Willingness and flexibility to work and engage with colleagues who work remotely, primarily using email, phone and social media.
  9. Flexible and open-minded approach with a willingness to get stuck in with whatever needs doing at this small, dynamic organisation!


  1. Working knowledge of core technologies
  2. An active interest in XP, Agile practices, JVM languages, ICT4D
  3. Understanding of web fundamentals including HTTP, REST
  4. Experience using project tracking tools especially JIRA
  5. Interest in mobile technologies and in-depth knowledge of SMS, MMS and associated technologies
  6. Experience of mobilising volunteers
  7. Experience of writing software manuals and user support documentation in English

How to apply

Send your CV and a covering letter to explain your suitability for the role to