The Difference Engine is a nonprofit tech organization focused on empowering non-traditional software developers. Our office is located within 1871 in the Merchandise Mart in downtown Chicago. We’re looking for experienced Software Developers to join us as either Technical Leads or Technical Mentors.

About the roles:

Technical Leads serve as the leader of a project and the apprentice software developers on it. Typically, a group of eight apprentices will work on a client facing project with one or two technical leads providing guidance and experience. The technical leads provide technical guidance and direction to the project as a whole, making architecture decisions, and providing feedback through pair programming and code reviews. In addition to technical leadership, technical leads will have the opportunity to work with product management as well as senior leadership on organization wide technical initiatives.

Technical Mentors serve as mentors to apprentice software developers. Typically, mentors work one-on-one with apprentices to assist with project tasks. Apprentices often need help planning their work and troubleshooting problems. Occasionally, apprentices may also ask for advice and guidance with their job search.

This a great opportunity for someone who wishes to give back to the community while also advancing their own skills and career.


There are not many hard requirements for these roles. We are a welcoming organization and pride ourselves on inclusion of experience.

We do require the following:

  • A sincere passion for helping others and giving back to the community
  • At least six months of professional software development experience
  • For Technical Leads: available to volunteer on Monday and Thursday evenings from 6-9pm, minimum four nights a month
  • For Technical Mentors: available to volunteer on Monday and Thursday evenings from 6-9pm, minimum two nights a month

The following are not required but are useful to hit the ground running:

  • Experience with some of the following programming languages, tools, and frameworks: Ruby, Rails, Javascript, Nodejs, Reactjs, Postgres, Heroku
  • Experience performing code reviews
  • Experience working with and mentoring aspiring developers


  • Helping others and giving back to the community
  • Leadership training, mentoring, experience to advance your career
  • Technical growth as leading other software developers reinforces your own software development skills
  • Possible stipend after four months and priority consideration for other roles In The Difference Engine
  • Ongoing alumni connections and networking
  • Access to 1871’s network of events and individuals

Visa Sponsorship - not available
This is an onsite role - not remote