Software Engineer

About Africa’s Voices Foundation

Africa’s Voices Foundation (AVF) is a non-profit start-up, spun out of ongoing cutting-edge research at the University of Cambridge. We conduct innovative research and produce powerful, insightful evidence that helps to amplify the voices of Africans towards key policymakers and service deliverers.

We use media forums to spark inclusive, interactive discussions, and gather audience opinions through SMS, instant messaging, and social media. We analyse these conversations – often in low-resource local languages – using our own tested methods. We combine social science frameworks with data science techniques to provide powerful insights into the beliefs, ideas and priorities of hard-to reach populations and social groups, and how these change over time. Our evidence helps organisations to better understand, engage with, and respond to target populations.  

Our core business is organised two program areas: Governance & Accountability, and, Citizen Evidence & Social Change. To date we have worked in five countries across health, education, humanitarian, governance, livelihoods, security and agriculture domains for a range of partners including UNICEF, Oxfam, Mastercard Foundation, World University Service Canada, Livity Africa, Well Told Story, REACH and BBC Media Action.

AVF combines rigorous academic research and a commitment to innovation with real-world impact. We provide our researchers with a vibrant interface to  world-leading university research. Team members often work with faculty, advisors, external researchers, and student interns to bring the latest ideas into our working practices. Our work has been recognised internationally, including being awarded the Market Research Society’s ‘President’s Medal’ in 2016 for our work with UNICEF in Somalia. We have offices in Nairobi, Kenya, and a small but highly qualified and motivated team that we are seeking to grow steadily in the coming period. More at www.africasvoices.org.

 

The Software Engineer will join our technology and data team, building, configuring and maintaining data processing pipelines that underpin AVF’s infrastructure for listening to citizens. The post holder will be responsible for:

 

  • Building and maintaining new data processing pipelines using existing core modules
  • Contributing to creation, maintenance and redesign of core modules
  • Designing, developing, testing and deploying software architecture for new products using the core modules
  • Collaborating with project leads to establish technical and operational plans for engagements
  • Collaborating with software engineers, advisors and academics at University of Cambridge and elsewhere to help define the evolution of AVF’s infrastructure
  • Building a culture of blame-free reflection and operational professionalism to support AVF’s rapidly growing portfolio of projects

 

It is expected that the engineer will split their time with approximately 50% spent building and maintaining operational pipelines, and the other 50% designing new products.

Selection Criteria

Essential

Education and General Experience

  • A completed undergraduate degree in a relevant discipline (such as computer science or software engineering)
  • 2 years of relevant experience in delivering software projects

Knowledge and Skills

  • Strong knowledge of at least one programming language, preferably Python, and software engineering tools and methods for development operations
  • Experience leading the design of major software components, systems, and features
  • Experience designing and building new software that have been deployed and are in use
  • Ability to collaborate with local research stakeholders, who rely on the technology but are not technical specialists, and a distributed software team

Personal Attributes and Language Competencies

  • High levels of energy, initiative, and flexibility in quickly adjusting to changing work requirements.
  • Detail orientation and project management skills to deliver on multiple projects simultaneously
  • Ability to work effectively during emergency periods (e.g. systems outages)
  • A deep commitment to organisational learning and self-improvement
  • Availability to work on-call, outside traditional working hours, during key times in a project
  • Strong interpersonal skills and ability to work with and across multiple project teams
  • Excellent written and spoken professional English

Legal authorisation to work in Kenya is required for this position

Desirable

  • Professional experience in Software Engineering
  • Interest in and some understanding of techniques for analysing textual data such as text mining, topic modelling and supervised machine learning.
  • Interest to contribute to academic outputs with University-based collaborators.

Travel Requirements

  • The location of the post will be Nairobi, Kenya. The post holder should be prepared to travel for up to 25% percent of their time to other African countries, the UK or elsewhere.


 

Africa's Voices Foundation
https://www.africasvoices.org
Nairobi, KE