Applications Developer

Information Technology Washington, District Of Columbia




JOB TITLE:  Applications Developer

CLASSIFICATION: Professional 3

SALARY: $60,000 - $68,000 per year

FLSA:  Exempt

DEPARTMENT:  Center for Conservation Innovation

LOCATION: Washington, DC

REPORTS TO:  Senior Conservation Data Scientist

LAST REVISED:  January 2022


The applications developer (developer) contributes to the development of software for translating data and knowledge into on-the-ground conservation improvements as part of the Center for Conservation Innovation at Defenders of Wildlife, where we pioneer creative, pragmatic conservation solutions at the intersection of science, technology, and policy.  This unique combination of approaches is essential in an age of increasing threats to wildlife and static or dwindling resources for conservation. We identify current and emerging conservation challenges, develop solutions that improve conservation outcomes, and use a suite of techniques and partnerships to advocate for those solutions.

Reporting to the Senior Conservation Data Scientist, the developer plays a key role in CCI by leading and collaborating on the development of new tools for conservation that use cutting-edge technologies. The developer works with the senior data scientist on conservation technology research that will improve outcomes.  Ambition and creativity, with a strong desire to translate data and knowledge into real-world change for conservation, are essential in this position.  This role requires initiative because the incumbent has a large degree of autonomy in determining how they build out the apps they work on.

The developer works as part of the CCI data and tech team to grow the app suite, which allows users to incorporate data—such as refined range maps—and tools—such as our automated habitat change detection application—into their conservation work.  (See our current collection of public tools at


Under the supervision of the Senior Conservation Data Scientist and working closely with the other application developer(s), the developer will:

  • Develop web-first applications to integrate our existing conservation data and applications into a toolkit for conservation.
  • Create pilot applications, and test these with audiences from federal agencies, state governments, non-profits (including Defenders), and the private sector. Center staff will facilitate this testing, but the developer will be closely involved in the process.
  • Build infrastructure required for large-scale deployment of our toolkit. This will include identifying key technological needs and opportunities for the Center’s development strategy.
  • Work closely with the other application developer(s) to standardize and document methods and protocols.
  • The developer works with senior scientists in CCI to identify new technologies and approaches that improve conservation outcomes.
  • With guidance from the Senior Conservation Data Scientist, assist Center staff in understanding possibilities and potential limitations of different approaches to developing conservation tools.
  • Present technical work at internal and external professional events such as project meetings, retreats, roadmap planning, conferences, and staff trainings, and provide input on other CCI projects.

Perform all other related duties as assigned.


Education: Bachelor’s (B.A./B.S.) degree or equivalent

Experience: 4 years of relevant experience

An equivalent combination of education and experience may be accepted as a satisfactory substitute for the specific education and experience listed above.

Knowledge, Skills, Abilities for Applications Developer


  • Skill with Python web application frameworks including Django or flask.
  • Ability to work with spatial datasets (GeoTIFF, GeoJSON, shapefile, etc.).
  • Knowledge of various databases, such as PostgreSQL and elasticsearch.
  • Ability to implement front-end JavaScript frameworks such as React, ember, or Vue.js.
  • Ability to use Git/Github and/or other version control systems.
  • Knowledge of HTML/CSS.

At least 3 of the following:

  • Knowledge of cloud computing technologies such as Google Cloud Platform, AWS, or Azure.
  • Ability to conduct statistical analysis and data visualization using software such as R, Matlab, or Python, and packages such as Shiny, Pandas, and Plotly.
  • Ability to manage virtual machines, web servers, and deploy applications.
  • Knowledge of user design and user experience principles.
  • Ability to communicate the purpose and function of web applications for conservation practice and implementation to non-technical audiences in writing.
  • Skill in presenting applications and technical work products to a variety of audiences including scientists, activists, and agency staff.

Visit to apply.

All employees are required to satisfactorily perform the essential duties and responsibilities of their positions. The essential duties and responsibilities listed above are not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties and skills required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions of the job.

Defenders requires employees who engage in in-person work activities, including business travel or onsite work, to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. An applicant (i) who is disabled or pregnant or who has a qualifying medical condition that contraindicates a COVID-19 vaccination or (ii) who objects to being vaccinated on the basis of a sincerely held religious belief, observance or practice may request an exemption from this vaccination policy. This determination will be made on a case-by-case basis and in accordance with applicable law. Any medical information concerning an applicant's disability will be treated as a confidential medical record in compliance with applicable federal, state and local laws.

Please be advised this position is union-eligible.