Application Developer

Location: Headquarters, Washington, DC
Department: Center for Conservation Innovation  
Supervisor: Director, Center for Conservation Innovation


The application developer plays a key role in the Center for Conservation Innovation at Defenders of Wildlife, assisting with the development of software for translating data and knowledge into on-the-ground conservation improvements.  In the Center, we focus on wildlife conservation research, development, and advocacy at the intersection of science, technology, and policy.  This includes leading and collaborating on original research, developing new tools for conservation that use cutting-edge technologies, and imagining the next generation of policies, all to improve conservation outcomes. 

The developer will be an ambitious and creative programmer with a strong desire to help translate data and knowledge into real-world change for conservation.  The developer will work with Center staff to develop our emerging toolkit that allows users to tailor 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 Center director and working closely with Center staff, develop web-first applications to integrate our conservation data and applications into a toolkit for conservation.  This will include assisting Center staff in understanding possibilities and potential limitations of different approaches to developing the toolkit.

  • Lead the creation of pilot applications, which we will test with audiences from federal agencies to states to the private sector.  Center staff will facilitate this testing, but the associate will be closely involved in the process.

  • Help establish the infrastructure required for large-scale deployment of our toolkit.  This will include identifying key technological needs and opportunities for the Center’s development strategy. 

  • Perform all other related duties as assigned.


  • Education:  Bachelor’s degree in a field with extensive programming requirements. Master’s degree preferred. 

  • Experience: Four years of experience with progressive responsibility.

  • A combination of education, experience, and demonstrated skills may substitute.


  • Demonstrated experience with Python application development using tools such as Django, flask, and Google Cloud Platform and Google App Engine is essential.

  • Experience with the R statistical programming language, Rmarkdown, and packages such as shiny, is essential.  Experience developing with OpenCPU and/or ShinyProxy is desirable.

  • Experience working with various databases, including PostgreSQL and elasticsearch, is highly beneficial.  Knowledge and interest in user design and user experience is desirable. 

  • Experience with front-end JavaScript frameworks such as React, ember, or Vue.js is beneficial.

  • A substantial network—online and real-world—to help expand capabilities and capacity will be useful.

  • High aptitude for problem-solving and creative thinking. Strong attention to detail. Demonstrated ability to follow through on tasks and meet deadlines.

  • Excellent communications skills, both verbally and in writing, with an emphasis on communicating in plain English without jargon;

  • Experience working alone and as part of highly collaborative teams, and a self-starter with a flexible nature who knows when to seek direction.


  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to use a computer and communicate with others while doing so. 


  • General office working conditions, the noise level in the work environment is usually quiet.


  • Up to $65,000


  • Defenders of Wildlife is a national, non-profit membership organization dedicated to the protection of all native wild animals and plants in their natural communities. Our employees work in an environment that is inclusive and honors each of our unique perspectives and backgrounds. We believe that the conservation of biological diversity is best advanced by the contributions of people of diverse backgrounds, experiences, beliefs and cultures.  We strive toward a collective goal of including all people in the conservation of our Nation’s wildlife and wild places.

  • Visit Our Values and Diversity page to learn more about who we are and how we operate.


Interested applicants should complete an application for employment. Please reference Application Developer in your subject line and submit a letter of interest, along with your resume and a link to your GitHub account (or equivalent) with public repos to us via e-mail at:

It is the policy of Defenders of Wildlife to provide equal employment opportunity to all qualified individuals without regard to their race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity (including gender expression), sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, family/parental status, or any other characteristic protected by law, in all personnel actions.

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.