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The Centre for Effective Altruism (CEA) is looking for a Technical Operations contractor to assist with building and maintaining essential automations.
The effective altruism movement is a worldwide community of people dedicated to using reason and evidence to make the world a better place as effectively as possible. CEA helps to run a number of projects that are important to the effective altruism community, helping its members to coordinate and take effective actions. These projects include running the EA Global conference series, providing logistical support for effective altruism groups around the world, granting through EA Grants, regranting funds donated through EA Funds, and many others. We also run a range of internal projects where we track and measure our impact.
These projects often require support in the form of automation. This automation is sometimes complex enough that it’s not easy for non-technical staff members to implement unaided, but not so technical that it warrants hiring a software developer to code up a custom solution. We’ve found that these projects often involve linking together different systems and applications (e.g. with webhooks, Zapier, IFTTT).
Examples of projects we’ve previously built at CEA include:
- A system for processing EA Global admissions (Typeform, Zapier, Google Sheets, Bizzabo, Stripe, Mailchimp)
We’re looking for someone who can quickly find creative solutions to novel problems using tools that are easy to maintain, well-documented, and (ideally) already familiar to CEA staff. We don’t just want someone who can follow an existing project specification; the ideal candidate can talk to a client team, understand their needs, and come up with a good spec themselves.
This role is called ‘Technical Operations’ because it combines the ‘laziness’ and logical- and systems-thinking of a programmer with the desire to improve business processes of an operations specialist.
The contractor will report directly to a member of the CEA Tech Team, but will spend most of their time liaising with other teams to assess their needs and implement appropriate solutions.
- Build automations to support the efficient operation of CEA projects
- Interface with client teams at CEA to discover their needs
- Document work extensively, to ensure others can maintain and build upon it
- Be responsive to incoming work requests, and provide clear and accurate estimates of project deliverables and turnaround times
- Treat confidential data appropriately and maintain high standards of information security
This role will help to improve the operational capacity of CEA. You’ll be working to make progress on novel and important problems, alongside interesting, passionate, dedicated people. Many of the projects you’ll work on will be behind-the-scenes, but will nonetheless be crucial to delivering some of CEA’s key projects. You’ll be helping to free up valuable staff time, both by making CEA more efficient in its day-to-day business and by giving members of the Tech team more time to focus on core software development projects.
- Proven experience automating (or otherwise improving) business practices through the creative use of software
- Extensive experience working with a range of office, productivity, and automation software
- Experience working as an independent contractor, including managing irregular contact hours
- Experience importing, transferring, and transforming structured data from diverse sources (e.g. CSV files, webhooks, database connections)
- Commitment to customer privacy and impeccable information security practices
- Programming experience. Ideally, some experience with:
- Databases (ideally both RDBMS and NoSQL)
- Experience with some or all of the following software/technologies:
- G Suite (Google Docs, Google Sheets, etc.)
- Webhooks and APIs (REST, GraphQL)
- Experience working with remote or distributed teams
- Good knowledge of the effective altruism community
This will initially be a part-time role, with work hours determined as new projects arise. We expect this to be 10-20 hours per week. There should be a significant expectation of ongoing work if work quality is high. Contractors are expected to invoice CEA for hours or days worked.
This role can be performed remotely, but we will strongly favor candidate contractors who can easily travel to one of the CEA offices (Oxford, UK, or Berkeley, CA, US).
We expect that you, as an independent contractor, will have an hourly or day rate that you typically charge. This rate will be taken into account when we select a contractor.
CEA is an equal opportunity employer and values diversity. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, or disability status. We are happy to make any reasonable accommodations necessary to welcome all to our workplace. Please contact us to discuss adjustments to the application process.
You should complete the trial task (see below), then send us your submission through the application form. Please also attach your CV/résumé. If there is other information you feel would support your application, you'll have the opportunity to provide us with that information later.
We estimate that this task should take less than 30 minutes. Please don’t spend much more time than this; just submit whatever work you've completed.
- Your task is to create an automation that includes:
- A publicly-accessible form which takes:
- A person’s name
- Their email address
- A web address
- Two questions (you can call them Q1 and Q2, or be creative)
- Adds the data to a spreadsheet, document, or other easily-accessible data store where it can be reviewed, concatenating the two questions into a single field.
- Stretch goal: Sends an email to the person’s submitted email address, which includes a custom message that confirms receipt of the form
Please consider the scope of the role when you’re creating this automation. Here are a few guiding principles:
- Try to demonstrate familiarity with a range of technologies if you can.
- Think about how you can make the automation robust to failure, and maintainable, including by non-technical people.
- You can use whatever tools you like, but we’d recommend using tools that CEA already uses (see above)
- The task does not require any code, however you may submit a solution that uses code if you’re more comfortable with that (please keep in mind the time we expect this task to take)
- You can submit in whatever format you think is appropriate (the application form has a free text field). Bonus points for taking into account security considerations.
- There will be an opportunity for you to discuss your thinking process, any important features of your submission, and any challenges you encountered (and how you did – or would – overcome them) when you submit the application form.