Opportunity: Data Visualization Developer

Interested in developing compelling data visualizations, including maps, graphs, charts, and other novel visualization forms, to communicate data to broad online audiences? Check out this opportunity from The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, who are now accepting applications for a Data Visualization Developer to join the eBird team and engage the public by presenting the platform's data in engaging and interactive ways. 

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Date published: 2020/10/21

Data Visualization Developer

Application Programmer III - Band F

Lab of Ornithology, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Cornell University

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a major, globally focused institution for research, training, and public communication relating to birds and biodiversity. The Center for Avian Population Studies (CAPS) is one of the programmatic units that carry out the Lab’s mission to interpret and conserve the earth’s biological diversity through research, education, and citizen science focused on birds. One of the major projects in CAPS is eBird, which collects information about the distribution and abundance of birds, taking advantage of the enormous popularity of watching birds to create a global network of volunteers who submit bird observations via the web to a central data repository. With this data, scientists at CAPS use machine learning and statistical methods to combine observations of birds with habitat information from satellites to make predictions of bird occurrence, abundance, and trends at a high spatiotemporal resolution. The outputs, known as eBird Status and Trends, are a rich, high dimensional dataset that can be visualized in many ways, including maps, animations, graphs, and other interactive data visualizations. Using data visualization tools to communicate these outputs to a broad audience is essential, so that they can be used to help inform conservation decision making and resource management.

The Position

The Lab of Ornithology is currently seeking a Data Visualization Developer.  Specific duties include:

  • Work in a team of designers, developers, computer scientists, GIS specialists, statisticians, and ecologists, to develop and implement compelling, interactive web-based data visualizations, including, but not limited to: maps, graphs, charts, and other novel visualization forms that use interactivity to communicate about eBird data, primarily eBird Status and Trends products. This will involve using Javascript and other appropriate tools to program interactive data visualizations as part of a production web environment, requiring the use of team code repositories and open source libraries.
  • Work with other members of the team to transform static, experimental ideas for data visualizations into dynamic, interactive, production-level implementations that can scale and be used by a broad audience.
  • Collaborate with the broader technical team with developing web services and APIs that serve data to web-based visualizations in a client-server framework, particularly web-mapping services.
  • Work with project staff and designers to create compelling visual stories that appeal to a wide variety of audiences: from science experts to the general public.

This is a full-time annual term appointment located in Ithaca, New York.

Applicants to provide cover letter, resume, contact information for 3 references.

Required Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree with at least 3 years of experience in professional visualization development, preferably working with a team.
  • Experience creating web-based data visualizations that rely on interactivity and are data-driven.
  • Familiarity with a range of data types used in visualization, including tabular and spatial (both vector and raster).
  • Experience with Javascript and at least one well known Javascript data visualization library (e.g., d3).
  • Basic experience with web-mapping technologies.
  • Proven experience documenting and testing code.
  • Basic understanding of web performance and scaling.
  • Fluency in best practices for modern frontend development across a variety of devices and screen formats.
  • Understanding of human-computer interactions and the design of interactive displays for data-driven visualizations.
  • Demonstrable skills in problem solving and critical thinking.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills with the ability to convey information in everyday language.
  • Ability to work as part of a diverse team, help establish goals, deliver work on schedule and to learn technical material quickly.
  • Experience writing project requirements and working directly with designers and software engineers.
  • Must be comfortable working in a dynamic environment where change is the norm.
  • An interest in birds, nature, biology, science, and/or conservation is highly desired.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Master’s degree with 3-5 years of experience creating and developing interactive web-based data visualizations, preferably with a focus on ecological and/or environmental datasets, including remote sensing and citizen-science data.
  • Experience with front-end frameworks, such as React or Vue.
  • Experience regularly using d3 to create interactive web-based data visualizations.
  • Experience with a range of web-mapping technologies, from raster tiles and Google Maps to vector tiles and Tippecanoe, OpenLayers, and PostGIS.
  • Experience with component libraries and code development focused on modularity and re-usability.
  • Some experience with developing web services and APIs for use in web-based data visualizations, with languages such as Java.
  • Some experience with developing exploratory analysis toolkits for hypothesis generation and similar tasks with high-dimensional data using visual analytic techniques.
  • Some experience developing customized decision-support tools for a range of user expertise.
  • Experience with Docker, Kubernetes, AWS, and/or other cloud technology.

When applying through our system, please remember to attach your application materials (resume/cover letter/CV) in either Microsoft Word or PDF. In the Experience section of your application, use the Paperclip icon to search for file(s) or use the ‘Drop Files Here’ box to manually drag document(s) into your application.

For a more detailed description and instructions on how to create a profile online, please click here as an external candidate or click here if you are an internal candidate.

View the full position description and applications here.

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