Poverty, disease, hunger, climate change, war, existential risks, and inequality: The world faces many great and terrifying problems. It is these large problems that our work at Our World in Data focuses on.
Thanks to the work of thousands of researchers around the world who dedicate their lives to it, we often have a good understanding of how it is possible to make progress against the large problems we are facing. The world has the resources to do much better and reduce the suffering in the world.
We believe that a key reason why we fail to achieve the progress we are capable of is that we do not make enough use of this existing research and data: the important knowledge is often stored in inaccessible databases, locked away behind paywalls and buried under jargon in academic papers.
The goal of our work is to make the knowledge on the big problems accessible and understandable. As we say on our homepage, Our World in Data’s mission is to publish the “research and data to make progress against the world’s largest problems”.
We are looking for a new Data Scientist to join our Data and Research team. This team is responsible for the whole chain of collection, transformation, documentation, and dissemination of data on the many topics that we cover on Our World in Data.
Data is at the very heart of all the work we do. Everything in our day-to-day job is tied back to data that allows us to understand the state of the world and how it is changing. As a Data Scientist, you will be responsible for contributing to the whole chain of collection, transformation, documentation, and dissemination of our data on the many topics that we cover on Our World in Data.
The ideal candidate needs to be passionate about and skilled in data analysis, data engineering, and data visualization; interested in learning about many research topics they may not have previously worked on; and capable of understanding academic publications and datasets. It’s not just the technical skills for data analysis and management that are essential; equally important is the ability to understand what this data tells us about the world and how to use it to communicate this to our millions of users.
We typically work with datasets that can be considered small by industry standards. We strongly believe that what is most important is clean, reliable, and well-documented data that lets our research team and our users generate clear, understandable, and accurate visualizations. If you are a data scientist who is excited to contribute to our mission of making data on the world’s largest problems accessible and understandable, you will enjoy this role.
- Writing Python scripts to import, clean, and collate data from many sources and in many formats.
- Designing and implementing data pipelines to facilitate or automate regular updates of our datasets.
- Writing metadata (title, subtitles, descriptions) for our variables and charts that is understandable, perfectly accurate, and consistent across sources. This includes writing detailed explanations of the data in clear language that is understandable to non-specialists.
- Implementing and maintaining transparent and clear documentation of sources, including original and transformed data.
- Contributing to the development and management of our public datasets, made available through GitHub and a future data API.
- Identifying new datasets of potential interest, and assessing their relevance based on documentation and exploratory data analysis.
- Designing and implementing derived variables in or across datasets, such as per capita measures, averages, aggregates, and smoothed time series.
- Thoroughly testing newly-created variables to ensure their reliability across geographical locations and time.
- Working with our development team to design, pilot, and test improvements to our data exploration tools.
- Understanding, prioritizing, and replying to user feedback on our data and its presentation.
- Engaging with external data providers, journalists, and policymakers on data availability, quality, and what it tells us across the many topics we cover.
- Constantly improving our public datasets and charts based on suggestions received via email, communication with experts, GitHub, or social media.
What we’re looking for in this role
Personal characteristics we look for
- Commitment to accuracy and attention to detail.
- Ability to think systematically about problems and provide solutions.
- Good judgment in assessing which data is reliable and insightful and which is not.
- Ability and confidence to explain your reasoning, alongside a willingness to learn from new evidence and to respond positively to feedback.
- Ability and drive to work without supervision, alongside good judgment about when to seek appropriate input and guidance.
- Ability to communicate effectively and collaborate as a team, including within remote working environments.
- Curiosity and willingness to work across many different topics.
Skills and experience we look for
- A minimum of a Bachelor’s degree, preferably in a quantitative field.
- Excellent skills in data wrangling in Python (pandas).
- Ability to write clear and concise explanations of technical and scientific ideas for non-specialist audiences.
- Experience with collaborative version control and bug tracking, preferably on GitHub.
- Basic knowledge of the Unix shell.
- Excellent spoken and written communication in English.
Skills and experience that will really set you apart
- Knowledge of good practice in data visualization.
- Experience with importing, transforming, and maintaining datasets for various audiences, in a research or industry environment.
- Previous knowledge or interest in global development.
- Experience with academic research and science communication.
- Good understanding of our work at Our World in Data.
More about the role
- You will work in our Data and Research Team (~8 people), report to our Head of Data and Research, and collaborate regularly with colleagues in our Engineering and Product & Design teams.
- You will also be part of additional cross-functional working groups.
- You will have substantial flexibility around your hours, within a full-time loading.
- We have multiple social initiatives in place to foster a sense of community across our remote team — from meeting for virtual “tea”, to discussing big ideas, to playing games together.
- We currently work in 4-week planned cycles with 25% of our time reserved for self-directed work and new projects.
- We aim to meet in person twice a year in offsites, once as the Data and Research team, and once as a whole organization.
- The overall team at Our World In Data is welcoming, supportive, and high-trust. We’re bound together by our common mission, and the enjoyment we get from doing excellent work with talented colleagues.
- We’re interested in team members from diverse backgrounds and strive to use fair criteria in hiring. Our team hours are also flexible to ensure that those of us with children can manage pick-up, drop-off, sicknesses, and the regular responsibilities that come with everyday life.
How to apply
Email us at email@example.com (subject line ‘Data scientist’) with:
- Your CV or equivalent LinkedIn profile.
- A snippet of code (at least 100 lines) that you wrote for a data science or data analysis task, reflecting your current skill level in Python. This should preferably be a link to GitHub but can be an attachment if the script cannot be made public.
- A short introduction (max. 500 words) to your application, your professional experience, and how you can contribute to Our World in Data. Please include this in the body of your email rather than a separate cover letter.
- So we can track the effectiveness of our advertisement efforts, please also mention in your email where you came across this job ad.
Likewise, feel free to email us if you have any questions about this role or the application process.