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Sr. Director, API Platform Engineering


Upwork ($UPWK) is the world’s work marketplace. We serve everyone from one-person startups to large, Fortune 100 enterprises with a powerful, trust-driven platform that enables companies and talent to work together in new ways that unlock their potential.

Last year, more than $3.8 billion of work was done through Upwork by skilled professionals who are gaining more control by finding work they are passionate about and innovating their careers.

Upwork is seeking an experienced and highly motivated Sr. Director to lead the API Platform Engineering team. Our modern, unified API platform will offer a world class developer experience and empower Upwork’s Product and Application Engineering teams to modernize current and develop new capabilities with high agility, where security, availability, and scalability are built in from the ground up.

As the Sr Director for this engineering domain, you will develop a deep understanding of Upwork’s current suite of products, services, and experiences to deliver a consistent, modern API platform that meets and exceeds the current and future needs of Upwork's internal and external Customers. 

This role requires a strong understanding of large-scale distributed systems and the enablement of developers with APIs and SDKs. You will establish the strategy and execution plan to lead the development and delivery of a suite of public and private APIs across the organization and provide a unified Developer platform experience for Upwork’s internal and external Customers.



  • You will spearhead the creation, design, and deployment of a unified API and developer platform across all Upwork business divisions, incorporating standardization and governance.
  • Innovate and implement modern, self-service processes and tools for API creation, development, and testing.
  • Lead a multidisciplinary team of engineers to deliver a modern, scalable set of APIs and developer tools.
  • Establish mechanisms and processes for Central Engineering to be the change agent, driving & fostering innovation to improve developer productivity and enable line-of-site (metric-measurable) business agility
  • Ensure the API Platform Engineering and Upwork App/Product Engineering teams are well-aligned to a coherent capability and resulting technical vision. APIs and supporting systems must fit well together, from PRD to Engineering to Delivery & Operationalization
  • Develop and maintain strong relationships with internal and external stakeholders, including Product/Application Engineering, Product, Customers, Vendors/Providers, Auditors, and Regulators.
  • You will be responsible for ensuring on an ongoing basis that scalability and security requirements are being met by the API Platform architecture and resulting, on-the-ground engineering.
  • Actively mentor Senior and Principal engineers to develop and institutionalize best practices

What it takes to catch our eye:

  • A minimum of 15 years in software development, with at least 5 years dedicated to API framework and development.
  • Over 10 years of experience in leading development teams across various geographies on sophisticated, client-centric applications and APIs.
  • Programming: At least 8 years of hands-on experience in API frameworks and development, and expertise in programming languages such as Java, Rust, Python, or C++. You can lead areas & initiatives that deliver clean, efficient, secure code that follows the best practices and standards of the chosen language. You should also be familiar with the syntax, libraries, frameworks, and tools that are relevant for API development of these languages.
  • Data Structures & Algorithms: You should have a good grasp of data structures, from arrays, lists, stacks, queues, trees, graphs, hashes, and sets. You should have a strong grasp of algorithms such as sorting, searching, filtering, traversing, or optimizing. You should be able to help your teams to choose the appropriate data structures and algorithms for different scenarios and implement them using the chosen programming language. You should also be able to analyze the time and space complexity, performance, and scalability of your solutions.
  • Web Dev: You should have a solid understanding of the basics of web development, such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, HTTP, REST, JSON, XML, and web servers. You should also know how to use web development tools and frameworks, such as Node.js, Django, Flask, or Rails to build and deploy web applications that can interact with APIs. Additionally, while this is a API Platform Engineering area, you should have strong knowledge and experience in the design and implementation of user interfaces, web pages, and web components that are responsive, accessible, and user-friendly
  • Proven track record in deploying efficient development strategies to fulfill strategic objectives.
  • Demonstrated ability to work alongside Product Managers in enhancing or creating products that leverage APIs
  • Commitment to building and mentoring inclusive teams and team culture.
  • Strong problem-solving skills, analytical capability, and a pragmatic approach to business
  • Experience navigating through the ambiguity of complex and dynamic customer needs while building a platform for availability and scale.
  • Strong communication skills to engage with cross-functional teams across Upwork


The annual base salary for this position in California and Washington ranges from $255,250.00 - $382,750.00. The range displayed reflects the minimum and maximum salary for this position in California and Washington, and individual base pay will depend on your skills, qualifications, experience, and location. Additionally, this position is eligible for the annual bonus plan or sales incentive plan and eligibility to participate in our long term equity incentive program.

Come change how the world works.

At Upwork, you’ll shape talent solutions for how the world works today. We are a remote-first organization working together to create exciting remote work opportunities for a global community of professionals. While we have physical offices in San Francisco and Chicago, currently we also hire full-time employees in 19 states in the United States. 

At the core of our vibrant culture are shared values that form the foundation of our organization. These values revolve around trust, risk-taking, customer focus, and excellence. Our overarching mission is to create economic opportunities so that people have better lives. We foster an environment where individuals are encouraged to bring their authentic selves to work, nurturing personal and professional growth through development opportunities, mentorship programs, and participation in Upwork Belonging Communities.

We take pride in providing exceptional benefits to our employees. These include comprehensive medical insurance coverage for both you and your family, unlimited paid time off, a 401(k) plan with matching contributions, 12 weeks of paid parental leave, and an Employee Stock Purchase Plan. To explore these benefits in detail, as well as gain insights into our company values, working principles, and the overall employee experience, we invite you to visit our Life at Upwork page.

Check out our Careers page to learn more about the employee experience.   

Upwork is proudly committed to recruiting and retaining a diverse and inclusive workforce. As an Equal Opportunity Employer, we never discriminate based on race, religion, color, national origin, gender (including pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical condition), sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, status as a protected veteran, status as an individual with a disability, or other applicable legally protected characteristics.

To learn more about how Upwork processes and protects your personal information as part of the application process, please review our Global Job Applicant Privacy Notice

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