Research Engineer/Software Developer

University of Kansas

Lawrence, KS

ID: 7198731
Posted: December 5, 2023
Application Deadline: Open Until Filled

Job Description

Position Overview

We are searching for a humanistic software engineer to help us document the diversity of life on Earth. The ideal candidate values meaningful work contributing to a global mission that builds on 350 years of Earth exploration and biological inventory to identify and describe the world’s plant and animal species. The person enjoys solving problems, innovating software solutions, learning new technologies, and sharing insight and expertise. Fuel your passion on your career path, help us document the natural world, and enjoy a collegial and welcoming work environment. You will be a valued colleague on our enthusiastic, competent, and collaborative team.

Biological specimens of plants and animals document the distribution of life on the planet. Our group supports biodiversity scientists in research centers around the world with software that manages and publishes information about the specimens of preserved plants and animals in their collections. Our open-source Specify platform is used by 108 museum institutions and in their 340 biological specimen collections around the globe.

The Specify Collections Consortium, (, is a global, non-profit, biological museum organization, legally organized under the University of Kansas. The Consortium is HQ’d in the Biodiversity Institute on the bucolic campus of the University of Kansas in Lawrence, KS.

You will be a full-time university employee with generous benefits including comprehensive health, retirement, 22 paid vacation days per year and several paid holidays. We offer the option for in-office, remote, or hybrid work on a flexible 40-hour schedule.

Technologies we use:
Front-end: Typescript and React, Figma, Tailwind CSS, Javascript
Back-end: Python, Django, MySQL, OpenAPI, Backbone.js
Dev-ops: Docker, GitHub Actions, Linux

Job Description

With vision and insight, contribute significantly to creating and extending the Specify 7 web platform by applying software engineering best practice methods for design, coding, documentation and automated testing, to create great software with immediate global impact.
Play a central role in producing sustainable technology for the Specify Consortium, you will envision design options and prioritize software innovation for generality, flexibility, extensibility, and scalability You will champion solutions with a deep understanding of requirements acquired from interaction with project stakeholders, including team members, advisory committees, and especially from Specify software users.
Analyze and influence platform architecture decisions, security and standards options, assess alternative implementation strategies and component classifications for software modules, and contribute enhancements to Specify tools and development processes for continuous improvement of our DevOps methods and software deliverbales.
Engage with collections scientists and technologists at Specify members institutions to discuss software issues remotely, or occasionally on-site at member museums, or at national and international conferences.
Mentor talented and highly-motivated undergraduate computer science developers, working with them to leverage their passion and enthusiasm for software engineering.

Required Qualifications

Associate's degree with 3 years related experience OR Bachelor's degree with 1 year related experience.
Competency and skills with best-practices of software design and implementation as demonstrated by previous work experience and within portfolio code where possible.
Proficiency in Python, JavaScript, TypeScript, Backbone.js, as evidenced in application materials and within portfolio code where possible.
Evidence of successful collaborative work in a team or group environment as demonstrated in application materials.
Excellent oral and written communications skills as evidenced by application materials, previous work, and interview.

Preferred Qualifications

Mastery of the Typescript + React framework.
Professional experience with front-end/UI development for end-user applications.
Competency with a variety of object-oriented and functional programming languages.
Experience with test automation, Agile development practices, CI/CD, GitHub, Virtual machines and Docker.
Professional experience with relational database systems, including proficiency with SQL and principles of relational database design.
Experience working in a structured release process to deliver high-quality software to a user/client community.
Familiarity with scientific computing in biodiversity or environmental sciences.

Contact Information to Applicants

Aimee Stewart
[email protected]

Additional Candidate Instruction

A complete application consists of:
Completed online application
Resume including a link to a portfolio demonstrating skills
Cover letter addressing how you meet the required qualifications
Three professional or supervisory references
Preferred: portfolio accessible through GitHub or other code sharing platform