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DataKind Opportunity Analyst Job Opening

Jake Porway writes:

DataKind is looking for a brilliant part-time Opportunity Analyst to find data-informed solutions to the world’s most pressing problems with our NYC team!

We’re a fast growing non-profit that tackles humanity’s biggest problems through data science. . . . We’ve helped the World Bank estimate poverty from satellite imagery, teamed with the Grameen Foundation to improve their mobile knowledge programs in Uganda, and joined the Red Cross in using fire data and open city data to understand where fires are most likely to occur. . . .

Our Opportunity Analysts dig deep into how the data was collected, find new and creative data sources to incorporate, do exploratory data analysis and some initial data sleuthing, and then devise creative potential solutions for the project. You are the architect and the designer of projects, the creative visionary who can dream of the biggest and most high impact uses of data science for our pro bono data teams to fulfill. . . .

Ideally you are:

A brilliant data scientist . . . Ph.D. preferably . . . a combination of Computer Science mashed up with Applied Math, Psychology, Physics, Political Science, Astronomy, Biology, or other natural science.

A true data craftsman: You’re no stranger to data outside of a laboratory or industrial setting. Many of our projects start with stacks of . . . all manner of data, beautiful, wondrous, and disgusting. You are someone with bandoliers of data tools – you can wield scripting languages like Python at malformed JSON, you’re no stranger to the command line, and you can quickly spin up visualizations in D3, Processing, matplotlib . . .

A designer at heart . . . A great communicator . . . You hesitate to use the word “p-value” unless the other person does first. [I like that! — AG.] . . . Battle tested . . . you should have a history of tackling these types of problems, perhaps as a data consultant, perhaps as the head of data science at LinkedIn. . . .

This job is currently part-time (10-20 hours a week) but has the potential to become a full-time position. . . .

The full job post is here if you want to learn more.

Looks cool to me. It’s good to see these young people working on this sort of thing.


  1. noo says:

    Popped in to say: broken link to full posting!

    Also find it sort of sad people look for such a highly experienced and talented employee, only to offer them an unsteady 10-20 hours/week. A guess it’s for charity and it’s really interesting, but I assume PHDs have to eat too.

  2. I think they don’t want the hiree to use “p-value” because it’s too technical for the potential audience — note that this point is filed under “great communicator” rather than under “designer at heart,” “brilliant data analyst,” “great communicator,” “true data craftsman,” or “battle hardened.”

    And they want to hire someone with these skills part time? Good luck with that!

    Although he’d satisfy the spirit of this job, and has as much energy as anyone I’ve ever seen, the principal data scientst at LinkedIn is probably too busy for another 10–20 hour/week commitment (hi, Dan — we miss you in NY!). He did do a nice interview on the topic of what is a data scientist?. I’d question his HR skills, though (he’ll know what I’m talking about and obviously disagree; see the part in his interview about hiring on potential vs. knowing things coming in).

    [I fixed the broken link to the job post.]

  3. zbicyclist says:

    If we split the data scientist role into four pieces: data organizer, statistician, resource manager, and public face / presenter / synthesizer — we seldom see these roles done well by one person. Two, or even three, are rare.

    The going rate for a PhD in industry in the midwest who can credibly claim some part of these credentials is north of $100k, and none of this nonsense about 10-20 hours a week. I’m not sure this is a job for a young person; it would seem better suited for someone who’s got family care responsibilities and only has 10-20 hours available and wants to keep building that resume with meaningful stuff, or maybe a retiree from an industry job who wants to do penance for a life spent helping to sell snack foods.

  4. C. Johnson says:

    This seems really fishy. The sort of thing where they already have an internal candidate or some crony connection through which they are going to hire anyway. Who advertises like this, for a PhD, for “10-20 hours a week,” doesn’t list salary offer, etc.

    • In the U.S., that kind of behavior would be very unusual for a small company to go through a formal ad process if they had a candidate in mind — they’d just hire the candidate and save everyone time. There’s no requirement to advertise to the whole world before hiring.

      I think it’s more likely they’re hoping to get lucky finding the kind of person zbicyclist mentions.

      I used to think that preferring to hire people with whom you’ve worked before whiffed of bias or cronyism (love that word). I now know that what’s really going on in most cases is that it’s really really hard to figure out someone’s potential (not just in general, but for the specific position) before hiring them. Previous experience with a candidate can reduce a lot of that uncertainty. The overall effect is to make fields more cliqueish and produces a rich-get-richer effect on hiring, but the alternative is to make riskier hires.

  5. deadbrain says:

    I wonder if it’s one of those fake job announcements that was created to see how many poor bastards would apply, so that they can then use that to write an editorial on the subject of today’s poor economy.

  6. deadbrain says:

    Or perhaps this announcement was designed to extract some free labor? If you scroll down in the original job announcement, you will see that they want you to do some analysis for them and send them the results as part of the job application process. Interesting…

  7. Gauss says:

    Is this a joke? Who among us with these credentials would take a part-time job like this one? They sound like they are hiring an unpaid intern! No thanks.

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