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IT Pro 2-Web Dev/Design - Web and Software Developer for Zooniverse Crowdsourcing Platform

University of Minnesota
United States, Minnesota, Minneapolis
June 18, 2022
Job ID



Twin Cities

Job Family

Information Technology

Full/Part Time




Job Code

9702 WD

Employee Class

Acad Prof and Admin

About the Job

Job Title: Web and Software Developer for Zooniverse Crowdsourcing Platform

The Zooniverse team within University of Minnesota's School of Physics & Astronomy is seeking a developer to build web applications for the Zooniverse.org (github.com/zooniverse) platform.

Zooniverse is the world-leading platform for the distributed analysis of scientific data through citizen science. We enable over 2.5 million registered volunteers around the world to participate in over 100 real research projects across the disciplines (from astronomy to zoology), in partnership with universities and research institutes worldwide. As a Zooniverse developer, you'll work with our team of 20 talented and friendly developers, designer, and researchers, including members of our Zooniverse teams at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago and the University of Oxford, UK.

The successful candidate will be expected to lead the development of several crowdsourcing projects on the current Zooniverse platform with a focus on efforts related to astronomy, earth and space-sciences, and medical imaging. Based in UMN's School of Physics & Astronomy, you would be expected to collaborate closely with several research teams in astrophysics, heliophysics and cell biology as well as off-site developers in Chicago and Oxford University, UK. You would also be expected to work with students to supervise any related projects. As the overall lead developer for UMN's Zooniverse projects, you would be expected to have demonstrated experience developing single page web applications using Javascript, HTML and CSS, and using modern frameworks like React, Angular, etc. You would also be expected to contribute to overall Zooniverse service functions such as fulfilling customer service requests through a ticketing system, general codebase maintenance and documentation. The post is full-time for one year with the expectation for extension to a additional years based on job performance and availability of funds. The salary offered will depend on qualifications and experience. A benefits package and a budget for travel will be provided.

Job Responsibilities

80% Sophisticated software development and data science research related tasks:

* Develop high performance web applications used by over 2.5 million people worldwide using state of the art front-end and back-end technologies like Java Script, React, and Ruby on Rails that scale up within a cloud environment to serve the traffic through our mobile and web products;

* Be an effective collaborator with other members of the Zooniverse development team as we work together to carry out each project's lifecycle, from initial determination of scope and deliverables to translation into Git Hub issues to iterative implementation and revision to final delivery to project retrospective.

* Write effective unit tests and integration tests, and other documentation to ensure high quality software delivery; evaluate and follow through issues and problems until resolved or escalated.

Consult with UMN data science and machine learning team members to guide team towards effective project implementation in line with Zooniverse tech stack.

10% Maintenance and support

Provide ongoing maintenance of applications, systems, or websites.
Contribute to support of general service tasks including assigning and tracking issues and responses for the technology stack team as well as support of research teams or volunteers.

10% Professional, Project and Team Development

Attend conferences or virtual workshops for professional development; and represent the team with workshop presentations and seminars both within the University and at national or international conferences;
* Meet with project partners to discuss development and functionality needs for their citizen science projects;

Provide training and technical guidance to less experienced team members.

Other duties of a similar scope as assigned.



Required Qualifications:
Applicant must hold a Bachelor's degree (preferably in computer science, software engineering or a related field that requires a high level of software development) with at least two years of work experience in software development for web-based products. Other requirements:

* Have experience and are passionate about building interesting and purposeful web apps.
* Have experience contributing to a variety of software-development tasks and projects.
* Have experience with UI development using a Javascript framework (any).
* Have experience with Git and Git Hub (or an equivalent version control system).
* Have experience writing and maintaining automated test suites for code bases.
* Have experience generating and updating documentation for codebases.

The developer must have excellent analytical skills, proven ability to manage multiple projects concurrently, excellent organizational, communication and leadership skills, and demonstrated self-motivation and creativity. While based in Minneapolis, the successful applicant will be expected to spend extended periods of time (~1 week every several times a year included in travel budget) at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago with the core Zooniverse development team. Travel to work with the Oxford, UK development team is also included.

Preferred Qualifications:
* Have experience with data analysis, querying, visualization, and data engineering particularly with video processing.
* Have experience with Python and/or Ruby.
* Have experience with React.
* Have experience with JSON APIs.
* Have experience with SVG.
* Want to be an active participant in Zooniverse strategic planning, including tech choices.
* Interested in being in an inclusive environment; we strongly value the diversity of our team.
* Have experience with implementing accessible (WCAG, ARIA) web applications.

About the Department

See information about the School of Physics and Astronomy at https://cse.umn.edu/physics


Working at the University

At the University of Minnesota, you'll find a flexible work environment and supportive colleagues who are interested in lifelong learning. We prioritize work-life balance, allowing you to invest in the future of your career and in your life outside of work.

The University also offers a comprehensive benefits package that includes:

  • Competitive wages, paid holidays, and generous time off
  • Continuous learning opportunities through professional training and degree-seeking programs supported by the
  • Low-cost medical, dental, and pharmacy plans
  • Healthcare and dependent care flexible spending accounts
  • University HSA contributions
  • Disability and employer-paid life insurance
  • Employee wellbeing program
  • Excellent retirement plans with employer contribution
  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)
  • Financial counseling services
  • Employee Assistance Program with eight sessions of counseling at no cost

Please visit the for more information regarding benefits.

How To Apply

We only accept on-line applications (see url above). The position will ideally start by July 11, 2022 but is flexible. Applications will be accepted until position is filled.

Application Deadline: By June 10, 2022 or until position filled.

Please provide:

  1. A cover letter explaining why you are interested in and qualified for the position
  2. Curriculum vitae
  3. Names and complete contact information for three references.
  4. Additionally, have three letters of reference sent by email to:

Professor Lucy Fortson

School of Physics and Astronomy
University of Minnesota
116 Church Street SE
Minneapolis MN 55455

Applications must be submitted online. To be considered for this position, please click the Apply button and follow the instructions. You will be given the opportunity to complete an online application for the position and attach a cover letter and resume.

Additional documents may be attached after application by accessing your "My Job Applications" page and uploading documents in the "My Cover Letters and Attachments" section.

To request an accommodation during the application process, please e-mail employ@umn.edu or call (612) 624-UOHR (8647).


The University recognizes and values the importance of diversity and inclusion in enriching the employment experience of its employees and in supporting the academic mission. The University is committed to attracting and retaining employees with varying identities and backgrounds.

The University of Minnesota provides equal access to and opportunity in its programs, facilities, and employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, age, marital status, disability, public assistance status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. To learn more about diversity at the U: http://diversity.umn.edu.

Employment Requirements

Any offer of employment is contingent upon the successful completion of a background check. Our presumption is that prospective employees are eligible to work here. Criminal convictions do not automatically disqualify finalists from employment.

Please note: All employees at the University of Minnesota are required to comply with the University's Administrative Policy: COVID-19 Vaccination and Safety Protocol by either providing proof of being fully vaccinated on their first day of employment, or complete a request for an exemption for medical exemption or religious reasons. To learn more please visit:

About the U of M

The University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (UMTC)

The University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (UMTC), is among the largest public research universities in the country, offering undergraduate, graduate, and professional students a multitude of opportunities for study and research. Located at the heart of one of the nation's most vibrant, diverse metropolitan communities, students on the campuses in Minneapolis and St. Paul benefit from extensive partnerships with world-renowned health centers, international corporations, government agencies, and arts, nonprofit, and public service organizations.

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