API and Services Manager

Information Technology Washington, District of Columbia


Program Overview

In this role, you will be part of our Science and Research team which manages the review of all research products and leads moving our information into action initiative to promote excellence in all of our open data initiatives.

Over the past several years, WRI has built multiple interactive data platforms to make environmental and social data accessible to decision makers and has consolidated the infrastructure supporting these data platforms into a single API. This infrastructure, called the Resource Watch API, provides a standard interface for connecting to datasets from a large variety of sources and visualizing these datasets on the web, simplifying the process of developing web applications on top of data. The API handles many tasks behind our web applications, including storing and hosting metadata, rendering geospatial data on maps, performing user management and authentication, communicating with third-party services such as CARTO, ArcGIS, and Google Earth Engine, as well as any other custom services our web applications require. The API utilizes microservices, which are run in a cluster of docker containers managed with Kubernetes on the Google Cloud Platform. The majority of WRI’s open data platforms are built on the API, as well as a few external applications.

Job Summary

This is a unique opportunity to join a rapidly growing technical team at the World Resources Institute, one of the world’s leading global mission-driven environmental organizations. As the lead API and Services Manager, you will manage the Resource Watch API and the shared, open-source data infrastructure underlying our innovative data platforms, including Global Forest Watch, Resource Watch, Climate Watch, and Aqueduct, all of which are designed to empower people with information for a more sustainable future. The Resource Watch API is a product that has tremendous potential to scale and to ultimately change how people make decisions about the planet and its natural resources. You will join a growing team of staff committed to turning data into action for people and planet. Reporting to our Vice President for Science and Research, you will help projects understand their engineering needs, working with our data, design, and engineering teams to develop solutions to the planet’s most pressing challenges. The ability to be located at WRI’s Global Office in Washington, D.C. is preferred, but remote work will be considered for exceptional candidates.

Job Responsibilities

  • Lead the development of the Resource Watch API and related infrastructure and services
  • Develop a vision and roadmap for the services behind WRI’s data platforms, to ensure that they are robust, reliable, resilient, and enable product teams to meet the needs of their users
  • Develop a clear and compelling value proposition for the Resource Watch API, defining what value the API provides, and strategically evaluating which services to include or exclude from its scope
  • Coordinate regular meetings of data-related product managers across WRI to assess needs and priorities for the Resource Watch API
  • Manage relevant cloud services accounts, including Google Cloud Platform and Amazon Web Services
  • Advise projects on vendor selection and recommended technologies; contribute to technical portions of proposals as needed
  • Manage vendor relationships and contracts for the Resource Watch API; develop contract scopes of work and ensure delivery in agreed timeframes
  • Manage API and services budget; balance resource allocation based on projects’ needs and relative contributions to the overall budget
  • Coordinate with product managers to develop an API governance and sustainable financing strategy, ensuring the API and broader Data Lab have sufficient resources to support critical services

Job Qualifications

  • Master’s degree required (or Bachelor's degree with two additional years of experience)
  • Minimum of 5 years of relevant, full-time work experience 
  • Demonstrated experience managing technical products and balancing requirements between stakeholders
  • Excellent communication and organizational skills
  • Ability to turn incomplete, conflicting, or ambiguous inputs into solid action plans
  • Passion for continued learning and improvement
  • Client-oriented, risk-minimizing approach to engineering
  • US work authorization is required for all WRI US opportunities. WRI cannot offer visa sponsorship for this opportunity.

Though there is ample room for growth in this role, experience in the following will be beneficial:

  • Knowledge of back-end web engineering, and design and deployment of RESTful services
  • Familiarity with web GIS (e.g., Esri, CARTO, Google Earth Engine) and cloud services (e.g., Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform)

How to Apply

Applicants must apply through the WRI Careers portal to be considered.

WRI Overview

World Resources Institute (WRI) is an independent, nonprofit global research organization that turns big ideas into action at the nexus of environment, economic opportunity and human well-being. We are working to address seven critical challenges that the world must overcome this decade in order to secure a sustainable future for people and the planet: climate change, energy, food, forests, water, sustainable cities, and the ocean. 

We are passionate. We value our diversity of interests, skills and backgrounds. We have a flexible work environment. And we share a common goal to catalyze change that will improve the lives of people. Our shared ideals are at the core of our approach. They include: integrity, innovation, urgency, independence and respect. 

The foundation of our work is delivering high-quality research, data, maps and analysis to solve the world’s greatest environment and international development challenges, and improve people’s lives. We work with leaders in government, business and civil society to drive ambitious action and create change on the ground. Equally important, we bring together partners to develop breakthrough ideas and scale-up solutions for far-reaching, enduring impact. 

We have been growing rapidly: our staff has doubled in size over the past 5 years and our operating budget is now $100 million. Founded in 1982, WRI has a global staff of 800+ people with work spanning 60 countries. We have offices in Africa, Brazil, China, Europe, India, Indonesia, Mexico and the United States as well as a growing presence in other countries and regions.   

WRI is committed to advancing gender and social equity for human well-being in our mission and applies this principle to our organizational and programmatic practices.  

The World Resources Institute (http://www.wri.org) is an environmental and development research and policy organization that creates solutions to protect the Earth and improve people’s lives. As an Equal Opportunity Employer, it is WRI’s policy to recruit, hire, and provide opportunities for advancement in all job classifications without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, citizenship, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, parental status, protected veteran status, or disability. WRI’s global agenda requires a staff that is diverse – with respect to race, gender, cultural, and international background. Diverse perspectives and experience enhance the way WRI selects and approaches issues, as well as the creativity and applicability of WRI's policy research and analysis. WRI, therefore, encourages applications from U.S. minorities, persons from other countries (especially developing nations), and from women of all backgrounds.