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Lead Engineer - Kafka

Apply Now Job ID: R0000064472 schedule: Full time Location: 33 South 6th Street, Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States, 55402-3601;

About us:
Target is an iconic brand, a Fortune 50 company and one of America’s leading retailers.

Target as a tech company? Absolutely. We’re the behind-the-scenes powerhouse that fuels Target’s passion and commitment to cutting-edge innovation. We anchor every facet of one of the world’s best-loved retailers with a strong technology framework that relies on the latest tools and technologies—and the brightest people—to deliver incredible value to guests online and in stores. Target Technology Services is on a mission to offer the systems, tools and support that guests and team members need and deserve. Our high-performing teams balance independence with collaboration, and we pride ourselves on being versatile, agile and creative. We drive industry-leading technologies in support of every angle of the business, and help ensure that Target operates smoothly, securely and reliably from the inside out.

As a lead engineer, you serve as the technical anchor for the engineering team that supports a product. You create, own and are responsible for the application architecture that best serves the product in its functional and non-functional needs. You identify and drive architectural changes to accelerate feature development or improve the quality of service (or both). You have deep and broad engineering skills and are capable of standing up an architecture in its whole on your own, but you choose to influence a wider team by acting as a “force multiplier”.

Core responsibilities of this job are described within this job description. Job duties may change at any time due to business needs.

We're looking for highly motivated Lead Engineers to join Target's Kafka team! All enterprise data at Target flows through Kafka from their source applications to anywhere that needs the data (, stores, distribution centers, and apps in our data centers and the public cloud). Kafka enables teams to move and access critical Target data in a standard pattern while limiting the need for custom code or advanced performance tuning.

Here’s a smattering of approaches important to us and the technologies we use:

  • Target runs over 70 Kafka clusters and Autobahn/GraphQL live in 1800 stores.  We don’t have time for manual configuration and manual ops, so we automate everything we can with Spinnaker, Terraform, the Kafka Admin API, and our own Kafka Operations Portal.
  • Many apps that use our platform can’t tolerate even brief outages or data loss, so we build for failover both in our platform components and the underlying infrastructure (such as k8s, Openstack, and the Target Application Platform (TAP))
  • With such a large platform we need fast, easy visibility into all of our clusters and get instant alerts when things go wrong. We port all platform metrics through dedicated Kafka clusters into Target’s Measurement data stores, where they are easily viewable and configurable for alerting through Target’s Grafana/Visualize platform.
  • We want customers to have to do minimal configuration to use our platform, so we give pre-built libraries deployable through the Target Application Platform (TAP) for teams to easily access our offerings.  These libraries also generate standardized metrics so we have better visibility into how people are using our platforms.
  • Some of the technologies we use: OpenStack, Kubernetes, public cloud, Spinnaker, Terraform, Kafka, Influx, React.js, Grafana, ELK, Sensu, Consul, Java, Groovy, Spring Boot, Python, GitHub Enterprise, Ansible, Drone, Slack

As an Engineer on Target’s Kafka team, you'll:

  • Develop new features on Target’s Kafka platform
  • Write and maintain endpoints for our Kafka Admin and Discovery API’s
  • Define infrastructure-as-code to enable fast, repeatable Kafka deployments
  • Monitor and debug issues across our entire HQ Kafka footprint
  • Write documentation to assist users of Kafka with best practices
  • Provide consulting support for teams writing Kafka producers and consumers as needed


  • Minimum of 7 years as a software developer in modern languages/frameworks (e.g. Node.js, Angular.js, React.js, Java, Groovy, Kotlin, Spring Boot, Ratpack)
  • Experience with modern development pipelines (e.g. Git/GitHub/GitLab, Jenkins/Drone, Docker, Spinnaker, Terraform, private/public cloud)
  • Experience writing software for Linux-based operating systems
  • Highly productive, self-starter and self-motivated
  • Passionate about staying current with new and evolving technologies


  • Experience with streaming technologies such as Kafka Streams, KSQL, Spark, or Flink
  • Experience developing and supporting high scale enterprise production systems
  • Experience writing applications interacting with Kafka or similar platforms (e.g. Pulsar, Hadoop)

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Target will provide reasonable accommodations (such as a qualified sign language interpreter or other personal assistance) with the application process upon your request as required to comply with applicable laws. If you have a disability and require assistance in this application process, please visit your nearest Target store or Distribution Center or reach out to Guest Services at 1-800-440-0680 for additional information.

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  • Technology and Data Sciences, Minneapolis, Minnesota, United StatesRemove


What’s it like to work here? We’re asked that a lot. Target respects and values the individuality of all team members and guests—and we have lots of fun in all that we do.

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