Human Rights Watch (HRW)

Technologist, Research and Investigations

Job Summary

The goal of the position is to enhance the quantity and quality of HRW’s investigations through creatively solving challenges in collecting and processing information.

  • Minimum Qualification: Bachelor
  • Experience Level: Mid level
  • Experience Length: 3 years

Job Description

DEPT: Program Department

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Open Until Filled

Human Rights Watch (HRW) is seeking an experienced technologist to support the organization’s digital investigations. Working closely with HRW’s experts on remote sensing, data analysis and open source investigations, the technologist will build tools and software to acquire, organize and analyze data for research into human rights violations. 

Candidates should have expertise in multiple programming languages for acquiring and handling data. Example projects might include scraping a court website to extract relevant case files and storing the files in a database or creating scripts to extract images of specific locations and dates from social media sites and automate their storage.

The goal of the position is to enhance the quantity and quality of HRW’s investigations through creatively solving challenges in collecting and processing information. We are looking for a critical thinker who has knowledge about where data exists and how best it can be obtained, organized and presented in defense of human rights. 

This position is based in one of HRW’s major offices.

 

RESPONSIBILITIES:

We do not expect applicants to promptly meet all responsibilities described below. We expect this candidate to grow into their role and to help make it their own.

  1. Acquire, assemble, store, and process data for analysis in human rights investigations in collaboration with HRW research teams;
  2. Build tools and software including web crawlers and scrapers to automate the acquisition and management of data for both quantitative and qualitative research;
  3. Identify sources of data and information relevant to human rights investigations;
  4. Collaborate closely with colleagues who conduct investigations with non-traditional human rights techniques, such as remote sensing, data analysis and open source techniques to design and refine data collection methodologies; Contribute to technical descriptions of these methods;
  5. Collaborate with colleagues to improve upon current workflows with a focus on transparency, accuracy, replicability, and automation;
  6. Train, guide and raise awareness among colleagues about the strengths and limitations of different data collection, processing, storage and analytical methodological choices; and
  7. Carry out other duties as required.

 

QUALIFICATIONS:

Education: A level of education that when combined with professional experience will show you have the capability to contribute meaningfully to HRW's investigations. Candidates who have relevant academic degrees are encouraged to apply, but this is a plus - not a requirement. 

EXPERIENCE: A proven record of developing tools to obtain and manage different types of data and information for use in investigative research. Experience in using this information in effective, innovative and ethical ways to conduct investigations.

 

RELATED KNOWLEDGE & SKILLS

  • Demonstrable expertise in several programming languages and knowledge about using the correct tool for the job. Potential languages include those for scraping (e.g. Node.js and Python), data cleaning and parsing (R or Python), databases for storage (e.g. PostgreSQL) and analysis (preferably, R).  Comfort working with command line tools is valued.
  • Experience conducting technical investigations, including open-source intelligence investigations and finding, extracting, and manipulating structured and unstructured data sets is required.
  • Experience developing automated data collection projects and working with large, messy datasets is required.
  • Creative thinking about where to gather data, what is essential to collect, and how to collect it is required.
  • A commitment to transparent, reproducible and clean code, including commitment to maintaining clear documentation of methodologies, is required.
  • Integrity and a commitment to accuracy, ethics and quality in data collection, processing and analysis are required.
  • The ability to communicate complex ideas with precision to both technical and general audiences is required.
  • Basic level of quantitative literacy is required.
  • Critical thinking about the data generation process and guarding against bias or other limitations are required.
  • Knowledge of emerging technologies and techniques related to open source and social media investigations, including the development and evaluation of new tools, is required.
  • Knowledge of and experience with human rights investigations are highly desired. Field experience is a plus.
  • Excellent ability to work collaboratively and respectfully with others in multicultural teams, across organizational boundaries and multiple time zones, and with employees at all levels is required.
  • Ability to multi-task effectively, adjust to changing priorities, and work well under tight deadlines is required.
  • Optimism, a sense of humor, and excitement about joining a supportive, skilled, and diverse team.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills in English are required; proficiency in other languages is a plus.
  • Strong commitment to human rights and the mission and programs of HRW are required.

 

SALARY & BENEFITS:

HRW seeks exceptional applicants and offers competitive compensation and employer-paid benefits. HRW offers a relocation assistance package and will assist employees in obtaining necessary work authorization, if required; citizens of all nationalities are encouraged to apply.

 

HOW TO APPLY:

Please apply immediately by visiting our online job portal at careers.hrw.org and attaching a letter of interest and resume or CV. No phone calls or email inquiries, please. Shortlisted candidates may be asked to complete a sample assignment. Only complete applications will be reviewed and only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. 

If you are experiencing technical difficulties with your application submission, please email recruitment@hrw.org. Due to the large response, application submissions via email will not be accepted and inquiries regarding the status of applications will go unanswered.

 

Human Rights Watch is strong because it is diverse. We do not discriminate in hiring practices and actively seek a diverse applicant pool. We encourage candidates of all abilities, ages, gender identities and expressions, national origins, races and ethnicities, religious beliefs, sexual orientations, and those with criminal records to apply. We welcome all kinds of diversity. Our employees include people who are parents and nonparents, the self-taught and university educated, and from a wide span of socio-economic backgrounds and perspectives on the world. Human Rights Watch is an equal opportunity employer.

Human Rights Watch is an international human rights monitoring and advocacy organization known for its in-depth investigations, its incisive and timely reporting, its innovative and high-profile advocacy campaigns, and its success in changing the human rights-related policies and practices of influential governments and international institutions.

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