Jobs at Zotero

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Backend/Cloud Developer

Remote — United States

Zotero is an open-source project that develops software and web services to help people collect, organize, annotate, cite, and share their research. Our software is recommended by most universities and used by millions of students, scholars, scientists, and researchers worldwide.

People rely on Zotero for critical, time-sensitive projects, and they depend on a wide range of Zotero web services that need to stay fast and available at all times. We’re looking for an experienced backend developer with significant AWS ops experience to work across Zotero’s server-side infrastructure. The right person will be as comfortable designing and implementing a web API as setting up an auto-scaling group or serverless architecture to run it.

Some Things You’ll Do

  • Extend the public web API that powers the Zotero ecosystem
  • Build new backend services to enable new user-facing features
  • Help manage an extensive AWS infrastructure
  • Streamline configuration management and service deployment to ensure that cloud services can be trivially scaled and recreated
  • Stay on top of security alerts and audit systems for vulnerabilities
  • Find creative ways to shave milliseconds off API requests
  • Improve logging, instrumentation, graphing, and monitoring
  • Monitor service costs and make optimizations to keep our AWS bill in check

As part of a small team, you’ll have responsibility over core components of the project and the freedom to experiment and contribute across the stack. Most importantly, you’ll be part of a vibrant global open-source community with amazing community developers and passionate users, working on a product you can feel proud of that’s making a difference in people’s lives.

While this is a U.S.-based position, we’re an international, remote-only team. We meet up occasionally around the world (falafel is often involved), but you’ll primarily be working remotely, communicating with the rest of the Zotero team via chat rooms and GitHub. We have a collaborative but often-asynchronous workflow, and you’ll have full control of your own schedule.

What We’re Looking For

  • Experience with multiple server-side languages (we generally use JavaScript/Node.js or Python for new projects, and we have some legacy PHP code)
  • Experience with open-source infrastructure software (we use MySQL, Memcached, Redis, Elasticsearch, haproxy, Postfix, daemontools, Docker, Ansible, Nagios, and others)
  • Experience operating complex cloud infrastructures on AWS
  • Experience managing Linux systems
  • Strong attention to security and privacy issues
  • Experience working with and/or developing web APIs
  • Strong communication skills — we discuss and debate nearly everything we do, so it’s critical that you can (and want to!) take part in that

Bonus Points

  • A love of free and open-source software

Interested? Email us at with the subject line “Zotero Backend Developer”, let us know why you’re interested in working with us and why you think you’d be a good fit for this role, and include your résumé.


We’re committed to building a diverse and inclusive team that reflects the diverse, global community that uses our software. We strongly encourage people from traditionally underrepresented groups to apply.