Technical Adviser

Catalyst Cooperative is recruiting a new technical adviser for our Advisory Board. This is a volunteer position.

Do you have experience with data engineering, software development, and cloud infrastructure? Looking for a way to put your skills to work fighting climate change?

Catalyst Cooperative is recruiting a new technical adviser for our Advisory Board to replace outgoing member Jan Rous. This is a volunteer position.

The Role

Help us help climate advocates! We started out in energy policy and advocacy. We saw a lot of people working in the public interest doing the same painful data cleaning in spreadsheets over and over again. We decided to specialize in providing open data and analysis to empower these organizations as they go up against incumbent monopolies and fossil fuel interests.

Help us learn more, faster. We’re largely self-taught. We do a mix of data wrangling, analysis, and data engineering, with software engineering as required. The scope of our work has grown over time and we want to adopt industry best practices without reinventing the wheel. Climate change has its own timeline, and humanity is playing catch-up.

Guide our infrastructure and design decisions. Up front choices about how to organize a software and data systems can have long-lasting impacts that are hard to unwind. Help us avoid some of the wasted time and effort that comes from learning everything through first-hand experience.

Qualifications

  • Commitment to supporting open source software and open data for use in the public interest.
  • Commitment to robust climate action and a rapid transition away from fossil fuels in the energy sector.
  • Commitment to building and supporting a diverse and inclusive team.
  • Experience with data engineering in Python. We’ve primarily worked with pandas, and are starting to do more SQL and database design (SQLite, BigQuery, and PostgreSQL). We’re also transitioning to using Dagster to coordinate our ETL/ELT.
  • Experience with software engineering in Python. We especially need guidance in higher-level software design patterns and architectural decisions.
  • Familiarity with data-oriented CI/CD, and infrastructure/DevOps on Google Cloud would be very helpful.
  • Experience mentoring junior and intermediate level engineers, data analysts, and data scientists would be a big plus.
  • Prior experience with energy and climate policy would be great but is not at all required. We already have a lot of experience and support in this area.
  • Machine learning and data science experience would be great, but this is another area we have significant support in already.

Responsibilities

  • Attend the quarterly Advisory Board meeting. These are typically 1-2 hours long. We provide a written update ahead of time that can be up to 10 pages long, and solicit feedback or direction on organizational and high level technical issues. This role does not entail fiduciary responsibilities.
  • Participate in asynchronous discussions via GitHub issues and Google Docs. As a technical adviser, additional communication between the quarterly meetings about more detailed design decisions and implementation would also be required.
  • We are looking for a 6+ month long commitment. Since it takes a while to get up to speed with a codebase, the skills a team has (or lacks) and the tools that are being used, we looking for someone who can commit working with us for an extended period of time. At least 6 months, and hopefully longer if the relationship is working well.
  • Open source contributions to PUDL would be very welcome and would help provide you with technical context, but we aren’t expecting you to take on an unpaid volunteer developer role.
  • Individual mentoring of team members as we deepen our technical skills would also be incredibly valuable, if you have experience with guiding junior to intermediate software and data practitioners.

How to Apply

  • Check out our website, pinned GitHub repos, and the PUDL project documentation.
  • Send a 1-2 page cover letter explaining why you’re interested in supporting a worker cooperative engaged in open source climate & energy work, along with a copy of your resume or CV to hello@catalyst.coop. If you have previous experience with technical mentoring or advising, please be sure to highlight that.
  • If you have any open source or open data projects you’d like to share we’d love to see them too!
  • Once we’ve had a chance to read through your materials, we’ll reach out to schedule a ~1 hour call with 2 of our members to get to know you better and answer any questions you might have about Catalyst and our work.