Vultures seeking penguin-tamer

Situation Publishing, the owner of The Register, is looking to fill a combined SysAdmin and DevOps role. The successful candidate will work on our Debian-based Linux systems which run predominantly open-source software, and our closed-source Perl, Bash and Linux tooling.

About the position

This is a fully remote role, with the option to work from our London office if preferred. Remote applicants will ideally be working from a timezone with a UTC±02:00 offset. The position may be full-time or contract depending on where you are and your circumstances.

You will aid our technical and ad-ops teams by providing velocity and stability to the business. You’ll become the primary carer of our systems and the OS/applications running on them. As part of the small tech team, you’ll also be jointly responsible for dealing with rare incidents, and for scheduled routine out-of-hours maintenance tasks. You’ll become the driver behind the automated tooling that will help our developers develop and our business do business.

On a typical week, you’ll be performing tooling development such as improving the automation of our deploy workflows and tweaking server build scripts. You will monitor servers and their logs, document and apply backup & restore procedures, and keep systems up-to-date with software updates and patches to ensure the availability and quality of our online presence.

One of your first mid-term goals will be to improve the automation of our deployment systems, turning it up to eleven, allowing our tech and ad-ops team to schedule deployments and reducing the amount of manual knob fiddling required to put stuff live.

Candidate Qualities

The ideal candidate will be able to do more than just tick boxes on a requirements list. We are a small team and we wear many hats; the right candidate will be knowledgeable, adaptable, and eager to learn.

The following are some things that we consider to be very important for the role because without them you are likely to struggle:

  • Good communication (and listening) skills.
  • Excellent written and verbal English.
  • Excellent reading comprehension and attention to detail.
  • The legal right to work with us wherever you’re based
  • Great Linux experience (we use Debian stable).
  • Very comfortable with SSH, bash & sh, pipes, common UNIX tools, and the UNIX way.
  • Comfortable using software revision control (e.g. Git).
  • Some experience administering Linux “web” servers.

The following are things that would be very useful, but we certainly don't expect candidates to have experience with our entire tech stack from the outset.

  • MySQL/MariaDB (N-tier replication) and PostgreSQL.
  • Single-node and multi-node Redis.
  • Containerisation & virtualisation.
  • Debian package management.
  • Testing & automation (CI/CD/Git hooks) and monitoring (e.g. Grafana, Munin).
  • Email servers and their configuration (e.g. SPF, Exim).
  • Working knowledge of DNS, HTTP, TLS, web security.
  • We use Perl. A lot.

You get bonus points if you don’t experience too much dread when debugging Apache rewrite rules or if you get a warm feeling when configuring Exim.

Our tech stack and our team

See also: Under the hood.

Our tech team is small, distributed, focused and has a good degree of autonomy, so you need to be able to produce great work without needing to be enticed by a carrot or threatened by a stick. We don't always use the latest and greatest, and we don't always “just put it in the cloud”. We are not adverse to either, but if you're looking to fill your CV with trendy buzzwords, look elsewhere.

Broadly put, we favour open source. We use Debian, Apache, Nginx, Exim, Redis, MySQL/MariaDB and PostgreSQL in our stack. We often write our own tools using Perl, Bash, HTML, CSS, JS, sweat and tears. We rely on Git for process and revision control. We commit and test before we enliven.

You will need to be comfortable communicating with the wider team and the business via email, phone, instant messaging and online document tools such as Google Docs or MediaWiki.


We offer a competitive package/annual contract based on your experience.

To apply, please send your CV to and include a cover letter describing why you’d like to work with us and what you think you could bring to our team. Please include your salary/annual compensation expectations and a brief answer to one of the following:

  • Which non-default Linux package do you always like to install/have available on a freshly installed base system, why you like it, and how do you usually use it?
  • When configuring a web server daemon such as Apache or Nginx, which non-core module do you like to be installed, why is that the case, and how would you use it?
  • What does your ideal web server stack look like?

If we like your CV and cover letter, we’ll likely contact you requesting you answer a short test before scheduling an initial interview over Hangouts or Skype.

Published 2020-06-25.

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