DevOps Engineer at Sports Reference

Posted: February 17, 2020

Suspended: March 13, 2020

Re-posted: August 14, 2020

LOCATION: Philadelphia/Interwebz

REPORTS TO: Sean Forman, SR President


Sports Reference LLC is searching for a DevOps Engineer to join our current group of eleven employees for work on our group of sites:,,,, and Sports-Reference College Football, College Basketball, and

Our Mission

We view our mission to be (in order):

  • Answer as many sports-related user questions as possible.
  • Support employees and their families professionally and personally.
  • Provide a significant return to our owners and investors.
  • Expand both access to and the audience for sports information and data.

To Apply

Please send an e-mail (which should serve as your cover letter) and an attached resume (pdf is preferred) to (our internal bug system address) with the subject "DevOps Engineer". We will begin reviewing applications by at least August 26th. We will do an initial phone screen for promising candidates and follow-up with a series of video interviews for finalists.

If you applied previously, please email us to indicate you continue to be interested in the position and provide an updated resume if needed. If you can reply to our original reply from Feb/March that would make things easiest for us, but is not required.


This is a new position full-time position at Sports Reference. We are in the final stages of a migration to AWS from a fairly typical LAMP stack. Our previous webhost/outsourced system admin company (Tummy) facilitated this move along with company president Sean Forman. While we have completed the migration and a great deal of work remains to optimize everything from deployment processes to our AWS budget.

Goals and Tasks for Your First Year (In rough order of importance)

Many of these tasks have been managed by Tummy or internally already, but we have reached a scale where we need a full-time person for these tasks to be completed quickly and reliably.

  • Complete any remaining service migrations either on own or with Tummy, and then maintain the services which presently include:
    • Cloudfront
    • Load balancers
    • Apache web servers
    • Mysql 5.7 and Aurora RDS
    • Caching services
    • Wordpress and MediaWiki installs
    • Logging software
    • A multitude of build, deployment and monitoring scripts maintained in perl and bash.
  • Support the work of the team by creating and documenting useful tools and APIs for development work.
  • Evaluate existing and implement new monitoring of our services, so we have confidence our services are performing as expected.
  • Work with devs to find and fix performance issues. We have a strong commitment to making our sites fast and reliable. This would involve profiling both our perl scripting (yes, perl) and mysql query performance.
  • Study existing instance usage and perform optimizations both to improve our build and production server performance while saving money where possible.
  • Implement a disaster recovery and backup plan, so we don't lose any valuable data or suffer unnecessary downtime.
  • Maintain our puppet configuration and keep libraries and packages patched as necessary.
  • Improve, monitor and verify security measures.
  • Improve and standardize deployment plans for moving data and pages from build to production.
  • Since growing our platform is a primary company goal, experience in a SAAS environment would be considered a bonus.
  • Support business analytics tasks through the use of appropriate logging and analytics tools.
  • Potentially, move us from subversion to git.
  • Once you have a handle on our setup and workflow, suggest and implement CI/CD practices.
  • SR has not had a traditional on-call or pager-duty expectation in the past. All current employees work a more or less traditional work week, with an occasional need to run a process or update a datapoint outside of normal business hours. We obviously want as close to 100% uptime as we can manage, but we do not expect this position to entail much work during nights and weekends. We are happy to discuss this further.
  • Sports Reference strives to be an innovative company, so we will expect you to keep up with new trends and tools that may benefit or threaten Sports Reference now or in the future.
    • This would include your ongoing professional development which we will support.
    • We also expect you to be an active participant in company discussions relating to new ideas, features or problems to be solved.
    • Complete projects related to company objectives as time and skills allow.
    • Look for ways to improve our existing practices so that DevOps becomes a strength and advantage for Sports Reference.


A qualified candidate will satisfy the following:

  • Evidence that you are capable of meeting the goals listed above.
  • We primarily work in bash and perl, but can be a bit flexible as we move forward.
  • Have a history of getting things done (and done well).
  • No degree is strictly required, though we would likely view a Bachelor’s or advanced degree as some evidence of the ability to get things done.


  • Sports Reference is located in Philadelphia and non-Philadelphia candidates will be considered on an equal footing to those who are local. Presently, all SR employees are working remotely, and we have no current plans to re-open our offices.
  • This is a full-time position.
  • Applicant is preferred to have a legal right to work in the United States. Please let us know in your application if you do not have the right to work in the United States. We'd have to look carefully at those cases as we have never had the opportunity to hire a non US-based employee.

Sports Reference is a growing company with 11 employees (you would be #12), so your work will be highly visible and have a definite and immediate impact (Read about us in the New York Times and The Athletic ($)). We reach over fifteen million users each month and served over 1.2 billion pages in 2019.


Even though we are a small company, Sports Reference has a generous benefits package.

  • We cover full health and dental insurance costs for full-time employees and their dependent children. Spouses may enroll at employee expense.
  • We have a Simple IRA retirement plan with Edward Jones and match up to 3% of your annual salary.
  • We pay all premiums for life and long-term disability insurance for all employees.
  • We provide up to $7,000/year in continuing education benefits.
  • In normal times, even if you live in or near Philly, you have the option to work remotely multiple days a week, and your work hours are generally yours to determine. For now, all work is remote.
  • Any parent welcoming a new child to their family is entitled to 13 weeks of fully paid leave, and up to an additional 26 weeks at half-time.
  • Employees begin with 18 days vacation per year (and earn up to 30) and an additional 7 paid company holidays.
  • Annual bonuses tied to a percentage of the company's end of year profits.
  • Salaries commensurate with your ability level and experience.
  • We will generally buy you whatever equipment will make you the most productive.
  • We typically pay for moving-related expenses.

Sports Reference LLC does not discriminate in employment decisions on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, religion, military service eligibility, veteran status, marital status, disability, membership in any other protected classes, or on the basis of sports franchise preferences.