Title: Open-source Software Architect
Location: Home-based
Duration: 02/10/2023 to 31/12/2023
Mission travel applicable: 5 days to Geneva, Switzerland

Background and Organizational Context

UNHCR’s Operational Data Portal (ODP) [https://data.unhcr.org] provides a platform through which operational information can be externally shared among partners on the ground, donors, experts, and staff. The Operational Data Portal fulfils an institutional responsibility to facilitate the sharing of detailed operational information, most prominently population figures. The portals have proven to be an authoritative source for up-to-date information during refugee emergencies, while the introduction of country views created a space to provide a comprehensive picture of UNHCR’s efforts related to all Persons of Concern, including refugees, IDPs and stateless populations.

The Operational Data Portal helps UNHCR fulfil its coordination mandate for refugee operations and for the three clusters it leads or co-leads, and it has information on not only UNHCR-funded activities, but those of partners working with UNHCR populations of concern as well. Because clearance of data for the Operational Data Portal happens at country level instead of global level, unlike in other globally maintained external facing systems, the Operational Data Portal typically contains the most up-to-date population and multi-sectoral information that UNHCR has, including operational information for emergency response. The ODP needs to maintain its agility in the external clearance of data and information in order to fulfil its coordination role at operational level and its own emergency response.

The current version of the ODP, built as a bespoke application on the Symfony framework has been in production since 2017, with changes and improvement continuously implemented. The business requirement is to redevelop the Portal using an API-first approach with a headless/low-code/no-code technology stack using already existing, possibly open-source solutions. To achieve the same or improved functionality of the current version, multiple different layers or building blocks will need to work together to create one seamless workflow, including (but not limited to) a database, and API to serve the data externally and to the frontend, an admin panel to be used for global configurations, a chart/data visualization generator, a page layout editor for field-level focal points and page owners, and a search engine.

Duties and Responsibilities

The successful candidate will work as a member of the Operational Data Systems and Support Section to conduct market research, fit/gap analyses and an analysis on the current version of the Operational Data Portal with the aim of identifying the most suitable new technology stack for the Portal. To achieve the minimum level of functionality of the current Portal version, multiple building blocks will need to be employed, creating a seamless workflow between open-source technologies.

The Open-source Software Architect will be responsible for making the final recommendations to guide the development of the new version. In order to perform this function, the Open-source Software Architect will have to carry out the following tasks:

(i) Evaluation Criteria:
a. Working with the Business Analyst, define the criteria that will be used to evaluate and compare different technology stack options.
b. Specify key factors such as cost, performance, scalability, security, maintainability, development and community support, and compatibility with existing systems.

(ii) Technology Research and Analysis:
a. Conduct an in-depth analysis of various open-source technologies and frameworks suitable for the web platform.
b. Evaluate their features, capabilities, strengths, weaknesses, and suitability for the project requirements.
c. Consider factors such as development language, frameworks, libraries, databases, APIs, and deployment options.
d. If possible, build small proof-of-concept applications to test and demonstrate certain technologies’ suitability.

(iii) Recommendations and Justifications:
a. Present recommendations for the technology stack based on the research and analysis conducted.
b. Provide justifications for each recommended technology, explaining how they align with the project requirements and evaluation criteria.
c. Highlight any potential risks or challenges associated with the recommended technology stack.

(iv) Implementation Roadmap:
a. Outline the steps required to implement the chosen technology stack.
b. Provide an estimated timeline for the implementation process, including key milestones and dependencies.

Essential Minimum Educational Level, Qualifications and Professional Experience

• Degree in Computer Science, Software Engineering, Information Technology, or a related field: a strong foundation in computer science principles and software engineering concepts is essential.
• Additional certifications or specialized training: Relevant certifications or training in open-source technologies, web development frameworks, or specific programming languages can demonstrate expertise and proficiency and are an asset.

Required experience and skills:

Essential Experience
• Previous experience conducting market research and fit/gap analysis of potential software solutions for a complex content management systems.
• Previous experience working on web development projects using headless/low-code/no-code technologies.

Required experience
• 9 years of relevant experience with Bachelor’s Degree or equivalent, 8 years of relevant experience with a Master’s Degree or equivalent, 7 years of relevant experience with a Doctorate Degree
• Experience with working in a multi-cultural environment

Required Skills
• Proven track record of delivering new global-scale production systems.
• Experience working with data platforms and CMS in multi-national organizations.
• Excellent organizational skills, reporting and documenting.
• Excellent interpersonal skills.
• Excellent written and spoken English.

Desirable skills and knowledge:
• Experience in working for UN organizations / International organizations / NGOs / Public Sector

Location and Conditions

This is a full-time consultancy for three months only and the successful candidate will be home-based.

Shortlisted candidates might be required to sit for a written test. Only shortlisted candidates will be notified. No late applications will be accepted.

The remuneration level and the applicable entitlements and benefits may differ based on the residence of the selected candidate.

Recruitment as a UNHCR staff member and engagement under a UNHCR affiliate scheme or as an intern is subject to proof of vaccination against Covid-19.

Please note that UNHCR does not charge a fee at any stage of its recruitment process (application, interview, meeting, travelling, processing, training or any other fees).

All UNHCR workforce members must individually and collectively, contribute towards a working environment where each person feels safe, and empowered to perform their duties. This includes by demonstrating no tolerance for sexual exploitation and abuse, harassment including sexual harassment, sexism, gender inequality, discrimination, and abuse of power.

As individuals and as managers, all must be proactive in preventing and responding to inappropriate conduct, support ongoing dialogue on these matters and speaking up and seeking guidance and support from relevant UNHCR resources when these issues arise.

How to apply

Apply here

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