Website Shedd Aquarium

Shedd Aquarium is seeking an experienced and collaborative Director of Application Development to join its Technology & Information Security department to lead their team in the planning, design, and development of user-friendly, quality digital products. The ideal candidate will have experience: directly managing teams and working collaboratively with other organizational teams to build digital products with Full Stack development (utilizing technologies such as PostgreSQL, SQL Server, Ruby On Rails, .NET/C#, WPF, React) and mobile application development for iOS and Android.

Reporting to the Vice President of Technology & Information Security, the Director is a key leader within Shedd that leverages their application development experience to work collaboratively with various teams to prioritize, negotiate, and develop realistic roadmaps and support plans that align with Shedd’s strategic goals. The Director and their team work closely with the Design & Exhibits team to ensure that digital products are designed leveraging user experience and accessibility best practices.

The Director sets up their team—two senior application developers, two application developers, a digital product owner, and other vendors or contractors as needed—for success by developing budgets and schedules that align with available resources, resolving prioritization or other issues as needed, and providing mentorship and opportunities for growth.

The Director employs their knowledge of application development to build or assess product architecture (e.g.,, Shedd Go mobile app, and exhibit interactives), recommending changes when necessary. In addition to supporting Shedd’s Centennial Commitment, the Director will help facilitate moving certain applications to cloud environments (based on the results of cloud migration assessments). The Director will also manage and maintain a DevOps environment, and move the team to a DevSecOps model, working closely with peers Technology & Information Security team.

Essential Duties & Responsibilities include the following. Other duties may be assigned. To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. In addition to demonstrating commitment to Shedd’s vision, mission, and values, the Director of Application Development will perform the following:

  • Builds and maintains positive working relationships with their team, the broader Technology & Information Security department, and others across the organization.
  • Partners with stakeholders to understand business problems or opportunities and recommends solutions—leveraging existing applications or tools, building new where needed, or identifying opportunities for business process improvement—recognizing that technical solutions are not the panacea—and communicating in business (not technical) terms as much as possible.
  • Actively manages team queues in JIRA, providing initial triage and assignment as needed.
  • Supports the Digital Product Owner on their team to develop digital product goals, metrics, and roadmaps.
  • Works with the team to breakdown solutions into goals, user stories, requirements, and concrete tasks to establish estimates, deliverables, and project dependencies.
  • Directs the team by assisting with project or feature prioritization and helps to remove roadblocks.
  • Helps to troubleshoot technical issues and oversees quality assurance.
  • Leads the team in documenting and periodically updating application development processes, procedures, and standards.
  • Provides guidance, mentorship, and training and opportunities for growth to team.
  • Conducts performance reviews and supports corrective action when necessary.
  • Works with peers across the organization to plan, prioritize, and resolve issues—exercising empathy while still supporting a manageable workload.
  • If/when needed, escalates issues to the Vice President of Technology & Information Security for awareness and/or to assist with resolution.
  • Assists with contract negotiation, manages contracts, and builds and maintains positive relationships with technology vendors, contractors, and external partners.
  • Builds or assesses application architecture, bringing best practices to bear and suggesting and executing changes when necessary.
  • Conducts application code, configuration, and infrastructure reviews to ensure compliance with application development, architecture, and security best practices.
  • Ensure adherence to quality assurance plans and change management policy for areas of responsibility.
  • Moves the team to DevSecOps to enable more autonomy and increase delivery speed where possible.
  • Develops and tracks budgets.
  • Submits orders and reviews invoices.
  • Manages subscriptions for tools used by the team or related to digital products.
  • Identifies risks, performs risk analysis, and develops mitigation strategies in line with Shedd’s enterprise risk management program.
  • Keeps track of team KPIs and completes monthly status reports and other reports as needed.
  • Actively participates in all staff and leadership meetings as well as development opportunities.
  • Other duties as assigned.

To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Education: Combination of education and training equivalent to a bachelor’s degree that demonstrates ability to perform the duties and responsibilities as described.

  • Advanced coursework in business administration, information systems, human computer interaction, or equivalent, is preferred.


  • 5-7 years of hands on software development experience.
  • 2-3 years of previous experience leading and managing teams.


  • Project management and/or applicable technical certifications are preferred, not required.

Technical and Business Skills: 

  • Experience with Full Stack development utilizing technologies such as PostgreSQL, SQL Server, Ruby On Rails, .NET/C#, WPF, React.
  • Experience with mobile application development for iOS and Android.
  • Working knowledge of packaged software including installation and configuration of software components, integration with custom solutions, and ongoing maintenance.
  • Working knowledge of project management and software development methodologies, including Agile/SCRUM.
  • Working knowledge of quality assurance methodologies and tools, including load/performance, security, end-to-end/regression testing.
  • Ability to create and provide input into project and resource plans, including developing work breakdown structures, tasks, estimates, dependencies, and assigning resources.
  • Working knowledge of business analysis and user experience best practices, methods, and tools.
  • Working knowledge of technology infrastructure, hosting architecture, required for application and web development and to support DevSecOps.
  • Working knowledge of on premise and cloud native application architecture and design.
  • Working knowledge of data analytics, project and task estimation, and capacity planning techniques.
  • Working knowledge of business management functions and concepts, including budgeting and financial management.
  • Ability to use Microsoft Office, Teams, Zoom, JIRA, and other productivity, business intelligence, and project management/collaboration tools.
  • Strong negotiation and facilitation skills with experience leading project meetings, negotiating with stakeholders, providing expert advice, and facilitating and documenting key decisions.
  • Effectively track, manage, and complete individual and team assignments/tasks on time; or if needed, communicate the need for additional time to the requester.
  • Effectively manage meetings by drafting agendas and taking notes or ensuring that agendas and meeting notes are prepared.
  • Other duties as assigned.

We strongly encourage people of color, LGBTQ+ community, veterans and active duty military, parents, individuals with disabilities, and individuals from all cultural backgrounds to apply. Shedd Aquarium is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes everyone to our team. If you need a reasonable accommodation at any point in the application or interview process, please let us know. In your application, please feel free to select which pronouns you use (For example – she/her/hers, he/him/his, they/them/theirs).

Tell us about the interview process for this job

The interview process may include a phone screen, virtual interview, and onsite interview with panel.

Tell us about your diversity and inclusion efforts

Just as the aquatic world encompasses a vast spectrum of diversity, Shedd Aquarium is committed to celebrating the individual differences that make us spectacular. We practice values of diversity, equity and inclusion comprehensively through Shedd culture, workforce, workplace, vendor selection, programs and experiences. It will take all of us working together to build a world thriving with aquatic life, sustained by people who love, understand and protect it.

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