for the global Python community

Python Web Developer for open data projects

Posted by Open Data Services on Sun, 04 Sep 2016
Contract type: permanent. Location: United Kingdom (Remote)

Company overview

Open Data Services is a new and growing workers co-operative. We deliver sustainable support for world-changing open data projects, including the Open Contracting Data Standard, the 360Giving open philanthropy initiative, the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) and Open Referral.

We’re an interdisciplinary team, combining developers, analysts and researchers working to create tools and services that help organisations publish and use open data for social change.

Since we started in 2015 we’ve grown from 4 to 9 co-operative members based across the UK, providing family friendly and flexible working. We’re seeking to create a great place to work whilst contributing to open data impacts across the world.

We welcome applications from underrepresented minorities, and we value diversity within our workforce. If we can do anything to facilitate your application, please get in touch.

All employees are eligible to become co-operative members, taking an equal stake in the future development of our work.

Job overview

We’re looking a python web developer or data scientist to join our small co-operative team: working on projects that use open data for social change.

Apply by 9am Monday 26th September 2016.

You will:

  • Get involved in ongoing development of data standards, and data standard extensions, for Open Contracting (JSON Schema) and IATI (XML Schema), including through regular engagement with growing user communities;

  • Help us to build and maintain open source software that unlocks the social and political impacts of open data;

  • Work as part of the development team to deliver both stable products and rapid prototypes for our partners, and to support key open data standards;

  • Get involved in planning, deploying and testing code and user experience;

  • Get involved in the wider work of the co-operative, supporting communities and organisations across the world to understand open data, to publish data using open standards, and to reuse data in accessible, user-centred tools and services

We have a strong commitment to free and open source software, rooted in our co-operative ethics.

A great candidate will be:

  • Proactive, motivated and engaged — ready to work independently and as part of a team, prioritising and managing a varied workload, and committed to working on short and long-term projects with a social impact.

We’re a distributed team, so you will mostly be remote/home working, with opportunities to travel locally and internationally to work with partners, and for regular team meetings and co-working.

  • A lifelong learner — excited about the opportunity to be part of building an emerging co-operative, working in a rapidly developing field, and building on and contributing to emerging open technologies.

  • A team player — familiar with many of the technologies we already use, and ready to learn the others. An understanding of the open data landscape and data standards will be helpful, as would experience working on small-to-medium sized collaborative software projects.

Job specification: Responsibilities

The core of this role will involve planning, developing and maintaining software services that work with open datasets in a range of formats and standards, and working on the ongoing technical development of those standards.

You will also get involved in a number of short-term research and development projects: where we help partners to understand the potential of open data through workshops, collaborative work and code.

On a day-to-day basis you will be:

  • Writing code;

  • Reporting and responding to issues and fixing bugs;

  • Deploying software to live, staging and development environments;

  • Attending daily stand up meetings to prioritise work for the day;

  • Contributing to software development roadmaps;

  • Prioritising feature development;

  • Clarifying tasks within the team and with clients;

  • Working on updates to data standards and schema;

  • Monitoring the use of software, using a variety of tools;

  • Contributing to team meetings and the growth of the co-operative;

Some of the main technologies we currently work with include:

  • Programming language & frameworks: Python; Django; Javascript; Bash scripts.

  • Version control: Git

  • Hosting: Linux; SaltStack; Apache; uwsgi; Server monitoring with Icinga (nagios fork)

  • Testing and Continuous Integration: py.test, selenium and Travis CI

  • Data formats: JSON, Spreadsheets (including CSV), XML.

  • Database technologies: Elasticsearch, Relational databases behind Django’s ORM

  • Documentation formats: Markdown; ReStructuredText

We strive to adopt agile working practices, and work in the open through public issue trackers for many of our projects.

Person specification: Skills and experience

We recognise that there are many paths to becoming a competent software developer. We are more interested in demonstrable skills and experience than in qualifications, but if you have them we’d like to hear about them.

You will be joining a team whose backgrounds include software development, physics, philosophy, youth work and business analysis. We recognise the value that diverse backgrounds and experience bring to the co-operative.

With that in mind, we’re looking for the following essential skills, knowledge, and experience:

  • Front-end and back-end web development, including MVC, with the ability to rapidly learn new tools and technology;

  • Experience of developing in Python;

  • Data manipulation and management;

  • Use of version control tools to manage collaborative development;

  • Understanding of open source;

  • Ability to work as part of a diverse team: including interacting with clients;

  • Strong communication skills: ability to communicate via email, video calls, ticketing systems, and collaborative documents.

  • Ability to communicate one to one, in small groups, and meetings and via presentations.

The following skills and experience are desirable. Tell us about any you can bring to the team in your application:

  • Experience working with a large number of the current technologies we work with;

  • Experience of working with or providing APIs and/or working with a data standard;

  • Experience of software testing and deployment and systems administration;

  • Experience of communicating with software users about bugs, upgrades, changes to code;

  • Experience with multiple programming languages;

  • Prior knowledge of the open data movement and community and/or understanding of open source software and content licensing;

  • A demonstrated commitment to co-operative values;

We’re also interested in the ‘wildcard’ skills and experience you might bring to the team.

Contractual details

Timing: Closing date for applications is 9am Monday 26th September 2016.

Location: We’re a UK-based distributed team and all work from home, with regular team meetings and co-working, often in Birmingham. Current team members are located in or near Manchester, Leeds, London, Stroud, Nottingham and Cambridge.

You must have the right to live and work in the UK.

Remuneration & benefits: As a collectively managed and owned co-operative, we operate a flat rate of pay for all staff. This is currently set at £34,500 p.a., with a planned rise over 2016 towards £36,000, subject to company performance.

All employees, that have passed a successful probationary period, are entitled to become members. Each member is an equal owner of the business, and all members have an equal vote in decision making.

Members are able to vote on profit distributions at the end of each year, part of which can be as a dividend to members. In the last year, we also voted on making contributions to a number of open source projects, and to the Open Rights Group.

Open Data Services operates an auto enrollment pension scheme with 3% employer contributions. If you have an existing pension scheme, we may be able to make contributions to that. Our policy is to progressively improve employee benefits as the co-operative develops, with all co-operative members having an equal right to vote on benefits, dividends, and bonuses.

We operate a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy and provide the online tools and software you need for your job. If you don’t already have a home working set-up, or need to find local co-working space, we’ll help to get that all set-up.

We offer salary sacrifice Childcarescheme vouchers that allow employees to reduce their childcare costs.

Hours and holiday: Full time hours are set at 37.5 hours a week with 33 days holiday a year (including bank holidays). We will consider applications for part-time working of 0.5 FTE and above.

We offer flexible working negotiated on the needs of our staff and the co-operative. This means we are able to offer family friendly, part-time, and job share roles. We are also committed to making reasonable adjustments to enable people to do their work.

Within reasonable limits we operate a flexi-time policy. We have a short team call each morning to plan work for the day which we expect everyone to try and join - and then each set our schedules accordingly, striving for a good work-life balance.

This role will involve calls and meetings with international partners, which may require occasional early morning, late evening or weekend working.

Travel: You must be willing to travel regularly within the UK, and to undertake occasional international travel.


To apply, please send your CV (no more than three pages) and a covering letter (no more than 2 pages) to

Your covering letter should include the date you will be available to start.

Please indicate in your covering letter if we can also keep your CV on file for future opportunities.

Closing date for applications is 9am Monday 26th September 2016.

We will shortlist applicants for interview during the week commencing 26th September, and conduct a first round of phone interviews in the w/c 10th October.

A second round of face to face interviews will be held in the w/c 17th October. The times and locations will be agreed with applicants as necessary.

More about Open Data Services - Working as a co-operative

As a workers co-operative we operate as a values-driven business. We are building for the long-term: we are not controlled by shareholders seeking short-term gain. We operate in-line with global co-operative principles, and part of a global movement of co-operators.

Being a workers co-operative is also an experiment. We believe that much open data is a public good, and to sustain public goods we need strong foundations. We believe that co-operative models are an important part of that.

After a short probationary period, all employees are eligible to become a member of the co-operative, taking on an equal role in the ownership and governance of the business. We operate collective management, with regular online team meetings, and quarterly full-team meet-ups to make decisions about the projects, operations and direction of our shared work.

(Co-operative membership is optional. There is no obligation for employees to become a member, and all core employment benefits are shared equally amongst the team, whether members or not.)