Coronavirus pandemic: daily updated research and data.
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Technical Team Lead

Description: Our World in Data seeks a technical lead for our software engineering team. This team develops and operates the Our World in Data website, including our custom interactive data visualizations, and the back-end infrastructure that imports data from a variety of sources and keeps it up to date.

Contract type: Contractor (flexible hours, preferably full time)

Location: Remote

Deadline: Hiring on a rolling basis – please apply early, even if you are not available soon

Interview process: We will review applications on a rolling basis and contact candidates for intro calls. Shortlisted candidates will then be contacted for interviews and assessment.

Compensation: We will consider candidates at different experience levels. Compensation will be discussed early in the selection process and will depend on your profile and experience.

Not the right role for you? See other roles on our jobs page.

About Our World in Data

Research and data are crucial to making progress against the large problems the world is facing and to build a better future. At Our World in Data we are building a publishing platform to make research and data on the world’s largest problems accessible and understandable.

The problems the world faces are very diverse – global povertyCO₂ emissionschild mortalitymental health, and many moreOur World in Data readers who are concerned about these problems and want to find solutions to them should be able to rely on our compilation of research, our database, and our visualizations to understand them clearly, and learn how it is possible to contribute to progress against them.

Over the past year, we’ve done a lot of work on the COVID-19 pandemic, and this will remain an important part of our work for the months to come. Millions of people rely on our work on the pandemic, from the general public, to teachers and researchers, to policy makers and world leaders.

All data on Our World in Data is available for download, all visualisations are Creative Commons licensed, and all tools are open source. We very much value the open source model and its community; one of our current team members used to be a regular external contributor to the Grapher repo.

Why join Our World in Data? What is it like to work for Our World in Data? See our jobs page.

About this role

As Technical Team Lead Consultant, you will lead the team to:

  • Improve OWID’s data visualization front end, providing new tools for our authors to clearly and cogently communicate facts and analysis about the world’s biggest problems and how to make progress against them, and for our readers to easily and efficiently find, explore, learn, and share these facts and analysis.
  • Improve OWID’s data infrastructure / back-end, giving our data team the tools to integrate data from a variety of sources with different formats, structures, and levels of data quality.
  • Improve the development environment and experience, e.g., faster build times, improved code coverage, and automated staging environments.
  • Help the open-source side of the project thrive: make it easier for the open source community to contribute, and factor in external contributions and potential partnerships in architectural decisions.

You personally will:

  • Coach and develop software engineers through one-on-ones, code reviews, etc.
  • Work with our founder Max Roser and others to help shape our roadmap.
  • Own engineering process and schedules.
  • Contribute code yourself.

You might be a good fit if you:

  • Have strong engineering skills and experience (senior or principal developer).
  • Care deeply about large global problems, global development or effective altruism.
  • Get excited about data analysis and visualization (we do too!).
  • Are willing and eager to tackle the challenge of leading a remote, distributed team across US and EU time zones.

Personal characteristics we look for

  • Great communication skills, including in writing (essential in a distributed team with a lot of asynchronous communication).
  • Attention to detail, ability to work self-directed without close supervision.
  • Curiosity, openness to new ideas, flexibility to learn from new evidence and receive feedback.
  • Not afraid to make decisions, knowing at the same time how to balance other team members’ opinions.

Why this role?

  • Large impact. We reach a large audience (5 million+ visitors per month) and we rank high on Google Search for queries like CO₂ emissions, population growth, global poverty, COVID-19 vaccinations, and others. A lot of people come to us with questions about these topics and we try to provide the best resources to help them find answers.
  • Opportunities to learn. Being a small team, you will have lots of opportunities to develop skills outside your areas of expertise. You won’t be a cog in the machine and you won’t be limited by your job title.
  • Driven by public benefit. Everything you work on will be public. We are a nonprofit and your focus will always be on maximizing the benefit of the public – not on maximizing profits.
  • Great team. We are a small team reaching a huge audience and we have an overwhelming passion for what we do. We care about doing the best work we can, and we hope you do too.
  • Connections. We have very good connections with developers, the data visualisation community, big policy institutions and beyond. We have attended Y Combinator, collaborated on several videos with Kurzgesagt and we frequently work with international and media organisations. You will have a chance to talk and collaborate with great people.

Our technology stack:

  • Most of our code is written in TypeScript; we use Node on the back end and React & MobX on the front end.
  • Our site is fully static and hosted on Netlify, including the interactive charts.
  • We have an internal server running the Grapher back-end – the internal tool we use to create our charts.
  • We use WordPress as a headless CMS.
  • We use a MySQL database as a central store for all the data used in our charts.
  • We use Github to store some of our datasets and Data Explorer configurations.

Is this an engineering manager or tech lead role?

This is a combination of engineering and team leadership, and we are somewhat flexible about the role definition. We are open to technical engineering managers who are less interested in day-to-day coding, and to engineering leaders who are willing to coach and mentor but would prefer to avoid formal management responsibilities.

The ideal candidate needs to be passionate about using all their skills to help Our World in Data thrive, and will be comfortable with a fluid role in a dynamic environment.

How to apply

Email us at jobs@ourworldindata.org with:

  • Your CV, resume, or LinkedIn profile.
  • A sample of code that follows your ideology around software best-practices.
  • A bit about why working at Our World in Data is appealing to you and how you can contribute.

You are encouraged to apply even if you only partially match the criteria. We look for people that are passionate about our mission and can demonstrate excellence in some of the areas that we have listed.

If you have any questions, feel free to email us at jobs@ourworldindata.org.