GIS and Technical Computing Associate

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


This position provides GIS and technical computing support to the Center for Conservation Innovation (CCI) specifically, and Defenders of Wildlife more broadly, with priorities determined by the Director. The GIS and Computing Associate’s time will be divided approximately 2/3 GIS and 1/3 technical computing support. In the GIS domain, the associate will provide full-service mapping support and basic to intermediate geospatial analysis support. For example, the associate may create maps for Field Conservation staff that detail where road crossings should be installed to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions; for Renewables to guide solar development around desert tortoise habitat; or for Development to use in fundraising activities. In the technical computing domain, the associate will ensure the servers that host the CCI web applications are maintained, will update and maintain current applications and assist in the development of new applications. For example, the associate will ensure the elasticsearch database powering ESAdocs Search is maintained and develop new capabilities for that application. In both domains, the associate will work closely with Defenders staff to ensure project goals are understood and met. The associate will help CCI staff stay up-to-date on new developments in spatial and technical computing. Working with CCI staff, the associate will have opportunities to pursue research or development that aligns with their interests and our mission.


GIS Support: Create and assist with creating GIS products, performing analyses, and maintaining Defenders’ GIS files.

  • Mapping. The associate’s work will include cartography. Maps may be static—created using tools such as ArcGIS, QGIS, or R, for viewing on-screen or in print—or dynamic, web-based maps composed using tools such as ESRI storymap, ArcOnline, leaflet, or Mapbox.

  • Analysis. With guidance from CCI researchers, the associate will carry out or assist with basic geospatial and remote sensing analyses. This may include tasks such calculating basic spatial statistics or estimating habitat loss using satellite imagery.

  • Maintenance. The associate will work with the Conservation GIS Scientist to maintain the files and folders of Defenders’ GIS program. This will include implementing—and occasionally updating—standard operating procedures for file management.

Technical Computing Support: Maintain and assist with developing CCI web applications, code repositories, and underlying servers.

  • Web applications. The associate will ensure our web applications—available at—are kept up-to-date in terms of underlying data, content, and libraries. User interfaces will be maintained and updated as resources allow and in conjunction with CCI staff. The associate will lead the development of certain new web applications, with guidance from the Director and CCI staff.

  • Code repositories. The associate will work with CCI staff to maintain our extensive and growing set of code repositories. This will include working with git and GitHub, Colab notebooks, and other standard repositories. Tasks may include organizing repos, writing documentation, and managing bug reports.

  • Server maintenance. The associate will ensure CCI’s web application servers are maintained. The servers currently run standard applications such as PostgreSQL and Apache and Nginx servers, as well as R Shiny Server, Django and flask applications, and elasticsearch; we expect this list of technologies to expand in the future. Tasks will include regular package updating, application testing, capacity expansion, network testing and troubleshooting.

Coordinate with Staff: The associate will serve as a day-to-day liaison for Defenders staff and conservation partners on topics related to the associate’s projects. The Director and CCI researchers will be the primary contact for new projects or significant decisions.

Perform all other related duties as assigned.


  • Education: Bachelor’s (B.A./B.S.) degree or equivalent in related discipline; advanced degree preferred.


    Experience: 2+ years of relevant experience, which must include: strong familiarity with ArcGIS and/or QGIS; experience with substantive R and/or python development; and experience managing Linux on remote servers. An advanced degree in geospatial sciences or technical computing may substitute for the experience.


    Experience with tools such as Google Earth Engine and javascript, Google Cloud, nginx/Apache, PostgreSQL, R Shiny, rmarkdown, flask, elasticsearch, WordPress, the ArcOnline environment and/or other technical computing applications is preferred.



  • Education or training in conservation biology or similar field preferred.

  • Solid organizational and verbal communications skills.

  • Must be comfortable working with a variety of people, including federal/state agencies, elected officials and their staff, Defenders’ members, and the general public.

  • Requires high level of computer literacy with advanced knowledge of Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Internet applications.


  • 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 $53,000 


  • 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 GIS and Technical Computing Associate in your subject line and submit your completed application, a letter of interest, and resume 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.