Research Associate (Software Engineering)


The Sustainable Progress and Equality Collective (SPEC) is seeking to hire part-time Research Associates (RA) with a focus in software engineering. SPEC is an open learning organization with a mission to empower individuals to be catalysts for positive change. SPEC offers paid service-learning opportunities to help participants learn skills, build careers, and make an impact in the world. RAs collaborate with the SPEC's Core Team to contribute to organizational projects and community development initiatives. SPEC provides RAs with mentorship, training, and career coaching. The duration and extent of SPEC RA work engagements depend on each individual contributor's career goals, skill level, and availability of funding and project work.


  • Collaborating and communicating with SPEC's Core Team and external stakeholders

  • Writing and editing technical documentation, research papers, and project proposals

  • Researching, learning, and applying findings to support SPEC initiatives

  • Contributing to open-source software, open research, and citizen science

  • Maintaining and improving SPEC’s marketing website

  • Supporting development of SPEC’s learning management system

  • Analyzing and visualizing data to report and synthesize results

Skills & Qualifications:


  • Equivalent of a high school education or GED

  • Interest and enthusiasm got advancing social and environmental justice

  • Proficiency and/or willingness to learn academic research methodologies

  • Strong written and verbal communication skills

  • Experience building web applications using HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript

  • Basic proficiency in programming, data structures, and algorithms

  • Familiarity with database concepts and SQL

  • Ability to use the terminal/command line to perform file manipulation, run scripts, and use dependency management tools.


  • Enrolled or recently graduated from a community college or 4 year university, with a GPA of 2.75 or higher, OR enrolled or recently completed a software development boot camp

  • Highly organized, detail-oriented, and able to effectively manage information and data

  • Ability to collaborate effectively in a distributed work environment

  • Familiarity with a front-end framework such as ReactJS, Ruby-on-Rails, or VueJS

  • Experience with a backend programming language like Python, Ruby, or Java Knowledge of backend frameworks such a Django, Ruby-on-Rails, or ExpressJS

  • Entry-level understanding of cloud services such as AWS, Google Cloud, Digital Ocean, and Heroku.


The currently pay rate for Software Engineering RAs is $20 per hour. This pay rate is based on SPEC's compensation structure and contributor levels. As a collective under the fiscal sponsorship of Open Collective Foundation (OCF), SPEC RAs are legally classified as 1099 independent contractors rendering services for OCF. SPEC contributors receive compensation by submitting expenses through SPEC's Open Collective portal. Expenses submitted must follow SPEC's expense policy and be approved one of SPEC's administrators. SPEC contributors receive their payments from OCF and are paid out the bank account of their choice.

Application Process

Please send a cover letter and your resume to Your information will be reviewed by our core team and co-founders. We will contact you to let you know if you have been selected for an interview.

Additional Information

SPEC is proud to be an equal opportunity employer that is committed to diversity and inclusion in the workplace. We prohibit discrimination and harassment of any kind based on race, color, sex, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, genetic information, pregnancy, or any other protected characteristic as outlined by federal, state, or local laws.

This policy applies to all employment practices within our organization, including hiring, recruiting, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, leave of absence, compensation, benefits, training, and apprenticeship SPEC makes hiring decisions based solely on qualifications, merit, and business needs at the time.

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