mySociety is looking for a developer with GIS and coding skills to work on our Democratic Commons project: a concept of open and shared democratic data where anyone can contribute, and anyone can benefit. We’re creating the core infrastructure, tools and data that will kickstart the Democratic Commons because we believe that the data that allow people to hold their own governments to account should be freely available to all. A key part of this will be seeding the Commons with free, openly licensed, high quality political boundary data on a large scale.
This is a fast-moving project with an ambitious timeline for the next year, so we’re looking for someone who can hit the ground running and will thrive in a dynamic environment. We’ll be working with a varied range of partners around the world; from volunteers and small NGOs to deep, established engagements with Wikidata and Facebook.
To be a good fit, you will be comfortable working with partners both big and small, listening to their needs and helping to translate those into plans, tickets and concrete features that you can implement. You’ll come with the ability to discuss and explain technical concepts to non-expert stakeholders and will enjoy working on a variety of different kinds of problems, while thinking about the bigger picture.
No recruiters or agencies, please.
You will be:
- Working within a small but growing development team to publish political boundary data for countries around the world
- Helping to locate sources of high quality, suitably licensed boundary data
- Assessing existing sources of boundary data for their suitability
- Fixing problems with boundary data from sources of variable quality
- Communicating with public bodies that publish boundary data, and partners who might lobby them
- Writing scripts to transform boundary data, so that the team can deliver consistent, high quality boundary data for countries at an escalating pace through the first year of the project
- Contributing to a team culture of agile innovation focused on creative and responsive solutions to the challenges of a project with a growing scale
Since 2003 mySociety have built and grown a series of democratic and civic websites and apps, including FixMyStreet.com, WhatDoTheyKnow.com, WriteToThem.com and TheyWorkForYou.com which are used by more than 10 million people each year. Whilst we continue to run our sites in the UK, we also help groups in over 40 other countries to establish and make a success of their own, similar sites.
Our charitable work is made possible by major grants from funders such as the Omidyar Network, the Hewlett Foundation, and Google, who support our desire to share software, knowledge and good practice for the benefit of the global Civic Technology community. We work across three thematic areas, developing online services in Freedom of Information, Democracy and Better Cities.
Our growing research team aims to establish how, whether and when Civic Technology can make a difference, and share these learnings widely with civil society and governments. Our project management style aims to minimise pain and distraction, and leave people to get on with doing great work, normally in small teams.
Our commercial subsidiary mySociety Ltd delivers off-the-shelf services for local authority and other clients in the UK and abroad, along with commercial access to our data services and custom development work and consultancy. Its profits are reinvested into the work of the charity.
Deadlines and dates
The application deadline is 10:00am GMT on Wednesday 13th December and interviews will take place on Tuesday 19th and Wednesday 20th December. We will aim to notify applicants of whether or not they will be invited to interview by Friday 15th December.
Your application should consist of a CV and covering statement.
Use your covering letter to show us why your skills make you a good fit for this role. We’re also going to want to see some samples of work that best represent you, so if you have examples online, let us know where to find them.
We think you would be best suited to this position if you are very comfortable understanding and solving new problems rapidly, used to working with small, loosely coupled components, and have experience of researching and assembling datasets. This project is going to involve the following elements, so any experience you have with them will be a plus:
- GIS tools and datasets – experience with OpenStreetMap (OSM), GDAL, PostGIS, QGIS, GRASS, Leaflet, the Overpass API or similar would be relevant
- Collaboration with the global mapping community
- Python and Django
- Git and GitHub
- Collaborating with developers and non-developers, in person and remotely across time zones
- Experience of contributing to OpenStreetMap
And we’d love to hear from you if you are:
- Keen and able to learn
- Friendly and motivated
- A thoughtful and clear communicator
- Able to work in a responsible and self-directed manner, within a broader team
- Flexible and happy in a dynamic environment
- Good at managing your own time and avoiding distractions
- Aware and realistic about your own strengths and weaknesses
Interested in applying but not sure you have all the skills? Please apply anyway! We support learning on the job and rearranging tasks within the teams to suit the skillsets of the best applicant. You do not need to have a university degree. Please let us know in your covering letter what your relevant experience is and where you might need to learn as you go. Got questions? Ask us anything.
Salary is in the range of £40,000 to £50,000 depending on experience, plus pension (3% employer contribution, 5% employee). This is a one year fixed-term contract.
We expect you to be based in the UK and you need to have the right to work in this country (sorry, but we can’t offer help with visas or relocation expenses).
mySociety is an adaptable, understanding employer and we have some great benefits including 25 days off per year (plus bank holidays), a new laptop, flexible working patterns, a yearly annual retreat and regular company meetups in cities up and down the country. Read more at www.mysociety.org/careers.
We welcome people who are committed to making a difference, but we take work life balance very seriously and we celebrate the idea of quality, not quantity of working hours: if you work more than your contracted hours then we insist on time off in lieu to compensate.
Most of our staff work remotely whilst still seeing each other face to face as often as we can. We work from home, co-working spaces, or small offices. We have small clusters of people around Bristol and London and would particularly like to hear from people based near those cities, but will accept applicants from anywhere in the United Kingdom. We ask that you are willing to travel to other parts of the country to see colleagues and clients perhaps a dozen times a year. You can read more about what it’s like working at mySociety at https://www.mysociety.org/about/careers/culture/