Card Issuing API for Africa

Principal Engineer

Job Type
6+ years
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Jon Wade
Jon Wade

About the role

Principal Engineer


Union54 is a Y-Combinator backed fintech start-up operating in Africa with a geographically distributed employee base. We are a business-to-business operation, providing the capability to our clients to issue virtual and physical Mastercard debit cards to their customers via an API.

We are looking for a Principal Engineer to evolve and increase the capabilities of our product moving forwards, from the current MVP into a fully fledged product.

Tech Stack

The system itself provides both a card issuance capability as well as transaction processing and is integrated with a third party processor, which in turn is integrated into the Mastercard network. A RESTful HTTP API is available for integrators to use, and we also provide a “client dashboard” for our client’s support staff to view details of cards and transactions of their customers, and to perform a range of administrative functions.

We have a server-less event-driven architecture, built exclusively on AWS, using TypeScript throughout. Specifically our tech stack is as follows:

  1. Back-end: AWS hosted server-less system (Lambda), running Node 14, using the Server-less Framework for deployment and configuration. DynamoDB is used for real-time data storage, and management information is provided using Athena’s SQL capabilities. SQS used for event queue management.
  2. Front-end: AWS hosted NextJS React application, using Tailwind CSS
  3. CI/CD: Bitbucket Pipelines hosted on AWS EC2 runner


You will be a member of the executive management team and will be involved in setting technology strategy in response to the needs of the business. However, we are a small team and this is very much a hands-on role at this point. Day-to-day responsibilities include:

  1. Translation of business requirements into well defined technical specifications for the engineering team
  2. Recruitment and management of engineers, testers, business analysts, project managers, designers and tech support team members
  3. Ensuring the production system is robust with minimal downtime, bugs and regressions
  4. Ensuring the production system is secure and data storage adheres to industry standards for financial services
  5. Setting and hitting deadlines for new feature releases
  6. Ensuring a rapid release cadence is maintained for the benefit of our clients, whilst managing API versioning to ensure breaking changes are not introduced with new features
  7. Hands-on coding and deployment - identification of issues, hotfixing, working directly on more complex features
  8. Ensuring the system is well documented and new team member onboarding is seamless
  9. Liaising with client’s technical integration teams, answering questions, identifying requirements, scheduling new feature requests, communicating feature releases and changelogs

Ideal Candidate

Ideal candidates will have a strong technical background and be comfortable, and have experience, working with a TypeScript codebase, across our tech stack, along with a deep knowledge of AWS.

Due to the start-up nature of the business, this role will operate within a fast-moving environment, with rapidly changing requirements and features, so the ability to work and think quickly, whilst ensuring a high quality product is delivered to users will be paramount.

It will likely suit a Head of Engineering or Tech Lead who is looking to step up and take overall responsibility for a system, as well as being involved in influencing the strategy and direction of a start-up business.

This is not a greenfield opportunity - we already have a system in production, so this is about taking that system, optimising it and building on the platform.

Production experience with a serverless, event-driven architecture is therefore paramount, as is the ability to recruit and retain a remote engineering team.

Experience of taking business requirements all the way through to feature release is important, understanding the roles of business analysis, technical architecture, user experience, engineering, quality assurance and devops in turn.

Finally, a sense of humour is definitely a must. We’re a small team, and we need people who can get things done, yes, but also who don’t take themselves too seriously.

Why you should join Union54

Union54 is a rocket-ship, Y-Combinator backed fintech start-up operating in Africa. We're always looking for top global talent to join our remote-first early-stage start-up. If you're looking for an exciting new career, in customer service, operations, tech support, software engineering, quality assurance or finance check out our vacancies below.

Team Size:21
Location:Lusaka, Zambia
Alessandra Martini
Alessandra Martini
Perseus Mlambo
Perseus Mlambo
Jon Wade
Jon Wade