Front End Developer and Designer

Are you passionate about designing and building tools for open science?  Do you want to promote reproducible and synthetic research on the earth and the environment?  Do you love to collaborate at the intersection of science, engineering, and design?


We seek a talented web developer and designer to join our open science development team and contribute to software that advances ecological and environmental synthesis at global scales.  Projects focus on federated approaches to sharing and managing scientific data, analysis code, and other products to help promote open, reproducible science and facilitate synthetic research.


Projects will include designing and building software that enables scientists to describe, submit, and discover data, and that visually communicates semantic and provenance information, analysis results, and other project details important to researchers.  


Current and past projects have built systems including the KNB Data Repository, the DataONE federation of repositories, and the NSF Arctic Data Center, among many others.  Upcoming projects include, for example, ones that focus on automating metadata quality evaluation, building systems to support and promote open data citation, and designing and improving data discovery and metadata and data submission systems for data repositories.


Job description

This experienced and professional web developer and designer works at NCEAS to design, create, and deploy software applications that collect and communicate scientific information and materials, including scientific findings about ecological and environmental research. The incumbent understands modern web development, user experience and design, and is considerate of web usability standards. Incumbent communicates insights from interdisciplinary environmental science research to a broad audience ranging from expert scientific researchers, to managers, and the interested public. Incumbent recommends, designs, and implements web applications that include moderate to complex scientific infographics and visualizations. Web applications are built and maintained using dynamic, interactive, user-oriented interfaces that are linked to underlying relational, semantic, and other database sources.

Responsibilities are primarily but not exclusively web-based, including potentially other forms of application development. Principal duties involve front-end development and deployment; Web and graphics design; user experience (UX) design and evaluation; creation of user-oriented documentation; and participation in outreach and training activities. Duties also include configuration and development for common content management systems such as Drupal or Wordpress; programming with web-related technologies such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript (e.g. JQuery, D3), JSON, and XML; and use of graphics production software such as Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. The incumbent builds interfaces using data from various systems, including relational databases, semi-structured data sources, web service APIs, and semantic data sources such as RDF using programming languages including JavaScript, Python, and R.

The incumbent contributes generally to providing web delivery of content generated by projects affiliated with NCEAS that all broadly focus thematically on the areas of synthesis, collaboration, informatics, and skills training in the Environmental, Ecological, and Conservation Sciences. Ability and willingness to adapt to and learn new web and human-computer interaction technologies as these evolve, especially in the context of communicating scientific concepts, developing interactive scientific infographics, and fostering collaborative science.

Job Duties


  • Web design and application development (50%)
  • Graphics and user interface development (25%)
  • Usability testing (10%)
  • Documentation (10%)
  • Consulting (5%)




Established in 1995, the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) is a research center of the University of California, Santa Barbara and was the first national synthesis center of its kind. There is broad acknowledgement that NCEAS has significantly altered the way ecological science is conducted, towards being more collaborative, open, integrative, relevant, and technologically informed. Different from the scientific tradition of solitary lab or fieldwork, NCEAS fosters collaborative synthesis research – assembling interdisciplinary teams to distill existing data, ideas, theories, or methods drawn from many sources, across multiple fields of inquiry, to accelerate the generation of new scientific knowledge at a broad scale.  NCEAS is located in downtown Santa Barbara in a beautiful city filled with activities -- downtown, on the beaches, and in the mountains.


Minimum Requirements

We are looking for a creative and enthusiastic individual to join our development team and contribute to the open science community, including all aspects of open data, open software, and open access publishing in support of the earth and environmental sciences.

A fitting candidate will be proficient in software design and development using modern programming languages for web applications (e.g., JavaScript, Python, HTML, JSON, XML, CSS, XSLT, Node.js, modern JavaScript libraries); Understands and enjoys how to design user experiences (UX) and user interfaces (UI) that balance aesthetics, usability, and accessibility; Has experience with releasing and maintaining software using the software development life cycle, using testing frameworks (e.g. Mocha, Selenium), source code control systems (e.g., git, Github), and issue tracking systems.

We are looking for someone with thoughtful communication skills to work collaboratively in a team of software engineers and develop working relationships with scientists. This position involves writing documentation about our technical systems in a manner that is understandable to ecological and environmental scientists.

A Bachelor's degree is required, preferably in computer science or an ecology/earth/environmental science field.

Desirable Requirements

Experience in or exposure to ecological and environmental science research is desirable, as is background and understanding of statistical analysis and modeling (e.g., in R, Matlab), and approaches to manipulating geospatial data.

Experience or interest in desktop application development, (e.g. Java, Python, Node.js) and network programming is desirable.

Experience with software application development for science, including familiarity with statistical, modeling, and geospatial data programming tools and techniques is desirable. In addition, understanding of and experience with technologies for provenance tracking (W3C PROV), the semantic web (e.g., RDF, OWL) and the Linked Open Data web are highly desirable.

Salary hiring range

Salary will be commensurate with experience.

Special Conditions of Employment


Position is part of grant-funded research, and so continuation beyond 1.5 years depends on future funding availability.


To Apply

Submit a cover letter explaining your interest in the position, your CV or résumé detailing your experience and qualifications, your online design portfolio, and contact information for 3 non-peer references along with the UCSB job application via the UCSB Human Resources web site for job #20170575. Apply by December 15, 2017 for first consideration, thereafter open until filled.

Please apply through UC Recruit.

Required documents:

  1. Resume
  2. Cover letter


The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer, and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.