Full Stack Developer – Database Management and Server Administrator, Individual Consultancy, Home-based At UN High Commissioner for Refugees

UNHCR is a global organisation dedicated to saving lives, protecting rights and building a better future for refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people. Every year, millions of men, women and children are forced to flee their homes to escape conflict and persecution. We are in over 125 countries, using our expertise to protect and care for millions.

The UNHCR Innovation Service is mandated by UNHCR to help nurture and support a culture of innovation within UNHCR. The Service works closely with country operations, regional bureaux and HQ-based divisions and services in the pursuit for more efficient, effective, and creative solutions to challenges that refugees and forcibly displaced populations face. The Service does this by rethinking the way UNHCR works, the way it involves Refugees and forcibly displaced populations in the design of the programs, and the way it looks at good practices in the humanitarian, development and private sectors.

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is offering a remote work home-based consultancy that will be co-sponsored by the UNHCR Innovation Service and UNHCR Brazil, Boa Vista sub-office. For this reason, UNHCR Innovation requires to contract a Full Stack developer to work on the development of a scalable, artificial intelligence (AI)-based web application, which is particularly devoted to user engagement with the predictive analytics project for UNHCR Brazil. The current solution is composed of three elements: a) nowcast datasets curated and anonymized; b) forecasting models based on movement predictor factors and c) shelter simulation tool. The product/solution will be part of the deliverable and the developer will be responsible for responding to maintenance and support issues in order to ensure that the back-end of the AI system operates in a more user-friendly manner.

  • Title: Full Stack Developer: Database Management and Server Administrator
  • Duty Station: home-based, remote work
  • Duration: 3 months
  • Contract Type: Individual Consultant. Per deliverable, remote work on application development
  • Closing date: 7 December 2021
  • Start date: 15 December 2021

Organisational context

Stemming from UNHCR Innovation Service’s commitment to be the trigger for future-oriented thinking and provide options for UNHCR to accelerate its efficiency in delivering its mandate, improve its organizational efficiency and to be better prepared for the future, several teams have explored artificial intelligence-based (AI) platforms to predict population displacement, particularly in mixed-migration settings and complex humanitarian settings. To this end, UNHCR Brazil, Boa Vista Sub-Office has requested the support of the Innovation Service to help in predicting the number of people crossing the Brazil-Venezuela border.

In light of the above, UNHCR Innovation Service aims to expand existing research on the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI), particularly machine-learning (ML) and predictive analytics to continue building an AI-based platform that meets UNHCR Brazil operational needs and that could potentially be scaled for use in other operations. This application will need to comply with UNHCR data protection, ethics and human rights-based standards and would need to be built (e.g. for both external and internal audiences) for database management as well as open source tools where appropriate.

The position

UNHCR Innovation is seeking a committed full stack developer that is able to self-manage time and deliverables, as well as someone who is proactive and likes out-of-box thinking and innovation. We welcome applications from all diversity backgrounds. The Innovation Service is a dynamic team, that

The full stack developer will work closely with the UNHCR Innovation Service data innovation/technical team – currently composed of a Data Scientist (Project Manager) and AI Engineer (Production focal point) – as well as with data scientists from UNHCR Global Data Service and UN Global Pulse, which are partners to the project. All of the abovementioned composed the data science “modelling/modelers” team, who meets once or twice a week to develop the application together based on UNHCR Brazil feedback and operational constraints and needs.

Duties and responsibilities

Project Specifications:

Innovation design support

  • Coordinate with the data science/modelers team, UNHCR Brazil operation and UNHCR innovation design team members, to understand common challenges and incorporate them into the design process.
  • Actively engage with users, via workshops and user testing, in order to collect feedback on current solutions, new prototypes, and first launches
  • Test any new developments and adapt the solution to address new requests/requirements (e.g. new features, bugs and other dependent issues)

Data Structure Design

  • Serve as a technical expert on efficient data management practices in order to integrate and store different project API-based datasets (HDX, conflict data, social media data, markets data and others) and other CSV-based datasets(e.g. UNHCR datasets, historical database extracts), in a manner that will drive optimal application performance.
  • Support the data science/modelers team in designing/improving current data acquisition pipelines, and in automating data collection for modeling and nowcasting purposes.
  • Collect data at regular intervals, complying with applicable laws and with best practices for ensuring data protection and privacy.
  • Support the data science/modelers team in maintaining the project’s GitHub repository including assisting in code and data versioning, and function and integration testing.

Databases aggregation/model compilation

  • Design of data structure, and implement the build of data queries, as requested, to visualize in dashboards and other application components.
  • Provide documentation for server administration (e.g. partition), according to user (UNHCR operation) teams to improve application visualization
  • Incorporate models into pipeline(s) for automation and inform databases with predictions.

Build data visualization pipeline

  • Develop the back-end for potential user-facing application to visualize and explain datasets, modeling, and simulation results
  • Create admin/users differentiated design for database/solution login.
  • Infographics in an automated way
  • Conceptualize — along with data science/modelers team, the UX/UI designer, and other innovation service team members — the feedback loop for model retraining from the back-end perspective.
  • Coordinate with the UNHCR Innovation team to develop the web-based application, including weekly communications with this team and regular meetings with different members of the UNHCR Boa Vista, UNHCR Global Data Service, and UN Global Pulse teams.

Server administration and troubleshooting

  • Set up a testing environment and design a potential production environment for the website/application and/or migrating databases/applications from different server sections (e.g. data storage/AI/ML processes).
  • Set up docker/prototype pipeline for potential visualization, working closely with a UX/UI designer and different data science team members on user requirements.
  • Install, configure, maintain, and administer the integrated operating system software and hardware of the potential infrastructure solution, including server configuration modifications, optimization work and automation.
  • Respond to UNHCR Global Service Desk (GSD) and IT issues, as they arise, via email and other communications (e.g. ticketing system) on issues related to server or database management.
  • Provide engineering support to troubleshoot, and triage production application issues, including hardware failures (e.g. server), networking, bugs and other performance issues.


  • Draft technical documentation, including process diagrams, as requested in order to explain the functionality of the developed product.
  • Effectively maintain the team’s backlog and task performance management system (e.g. Asana).
  • Follow engineering standards and best practices.
  • Provide inputs and feedback on systems analysis, framework documentation and other AI research for project documentation purposes.
  • Incorporate amendments and comments from the team.

Essential minimum qualifications and professional experience required

The ideal candidate will have:

  • A first-level university degree/diploma in: computer science, computer engineering, informatics, data science, information technology, information systems, physics, or other related quantitative-heavy/engineering majors.
  • Strong Python/R programming skills
  • Experience developing applications, including familiarity with AWS server requirements and server administration experience
  • Database management experience (e.g. SQL, MongoDB, API-based related work)
  • Experience in ICT, IT or computer science, particularly some familiarity with machine learning
  • Good scripting skills and experience in documentation of scripts (e.g. repository/notebooks)
  • Ability to communicate in English. Additional languages are desirable, but not essential.
  • Be highly organised and have good attention to detail.
  • Be able to multi-task and to prioritise workload.
  • Be a flexible, team-player.


The successful candidate will be remotely working from home with scheduled deliverables to submit to the technical team (modeling team), as per agreement.


The successful candidate will be expected to attend the technical meetings, which happens at least once a week for 1-2 hrs. There is no minimum number of hours required to work for a certain week, as long as it complies with a series of deliverables scheduled per date, in an agreed deliverables calendar (e.g. documentation, scripts, back-end development, docker/visualization, etc). The successful candidate can arrange their own work schedule, as long as they complies with the deadlines.

How to apply

To learn more and apply, please visit https://bit.ly/3nNkKxa

The UNHCR workforce consists of many diverse nationalities, cultures, languages and opinions. UNHCR seeks to sustain and strengthen this diversity to ensure equal opportunities as well as an inclusive working environment for its entire workforce. Applications are encouraged from all qualified candidates without distinction on grounds of race, colour, sex, national origin, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity.

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).

Closing date of applications: 7 December 2021.

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