Senior Software Engineer, JSTOR Access in Prisons Initiative - Ann Arbor or Remote
Posted: Monday, September 27, 2021 Permalink

ITHAKA’s mission is to expand access to knowledge and education around the world. Our services—Artstor, JSTOR, Portico, and Ithaka S+R— enable people everywhere to learn, to grow, and to overcome historical barriers to education. In carrying out our mission, as employees we feel a deep responsibility to each other and our well-being, and are committed to building and sustaining a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace.

The Role

ITHAKA is seeking a Senior Software Engineer, who will play a critical role in making JSTOR freely available to all Higher Education in Prison (HEP) programs.  jstor-access-in-prison Since 2007, JSTOR has been committed to expanding access to its digital library inside prisons , providing pilot programs with both offline and direct access solutions. As we expand our support for prison education, we seek a software engineer who is dedicated to further developing solutions, scaling the access to these solutions, and maintaining this infrastructure.

This role is best performed by a person with a high level of natural curiosity, that is eager to learn, with a proven inclination to action and a burning desire to have a positive impact in society. The role will involve moving forward on concepts that are loosely defined. Someone that is self-motivated and able to work with relatively high-level direction will do best in this role.
The Software Engineer will be a member of a two-person team dedicated to expanding access to JSTOR for incarcerated learners. This team will be part of JSTOR Labs (, a team dedicated to expanding access to knowledge through the development of innovative tools and services.

This is a fixed-term, grant-funded position for 36-months.


The Software Engineer will contribute to the development of solutions providing JSTOR access to HEP programs in both online (internet connected) and offline environments.

The software engineer will take part in all aspects of the software design and implementation of these solutions, but will likely focus on the further development of the user interface tier which includes support for both students and administrators.

Key responsibilities include:

? Working with team members and collaborators (both internal and external) to refine our understanding of the requirements and constraints of a robust and scalable solution for both offline and online solutions.
? Developing, testing, and documenting software components needed for the solutions.
? Assist in the loading, configuration, and remote troubleshooting of the computers used for the offline solution.

Experience and Skills

We deeply encourage applications from people who have been impacted by the criminal-justice system. Any combination of professional experience, volunteer work, coursework, and other transferable skills may be applied toward these qualifications.

This position involves “full-stack” development skills and in this role, the Labs Software Engineer will be expected to work with both back-end and front-end technologies. It is not expected that a candidate will have deep experience in each of the specific tools or technologies mentioned, but some prior experience with the key elements commonly found in a complete application is desired. A few specific examples include:

? Development of back-end services. Using a variety of AWS services and technologies, including EC2, DynamoDB, and Lambda. We are increasingly taking advantage of serverless architecture such as Lambda and containerized applications using Docker and Kubernetes.
? Development of user-facing applications. These are typically developed as Single Page Applications (SPAs) using modern javascript frameworks. Our current framework of choice is Vue (and Nuxt), but experience with other similar frameworks such as Angular or React would be beneficial.
? High-volume text and metadata processing. Many Labs projects and services involve data processing at scale on both structured and unstructured content.
?Use of semantic web technologies. Future Labs projects will increasingly leverage Semantic Web technologies including RDF and SPARQL. Prior experience is not required but would be a plus.
Below is a list of skills and technology experience that would be desirable, but the more important characteristics are an eagerness and demonstrated ability to quickly learn new skills.
? Agile development approaches
- Lean-startup and design-thinking inspired methods incorporating short product development, business-hypothesis-driven experimentation, iterative product releases, and validated learning
? Programming languages and operating systems
- Python
- Golang
- Javascript
- Unix/Linux/MacOSX
? Development and collaboration tools including Git, Slack, JIRA, and Trello

? Web app development
- Single Page Applications
- Node
? Backend services
- Enterprise search using SOLR/Lucene or ElasticSearch
- Amazon Web Services (AWS) or other cloud service providers
- Serverless computing (e.g., AWS Lambda)
- Application containerization (using Docker or Kubernetes)
? Javascript client frameworks
- Vue and/or Nuxt
- Webpack
? Mobile development
- Using responsive design and development techniques, possibly including the use of Progressive Web Application (PWA) techniques and technologies

The pay range for this position in Colorado is $105,000 - $125,000 per year; however, base pay offered may vary depending on job-related knowledge, skills, and experience.  A full range of medical, financial, and/or other benefits, dependent on the position offered may be included. This information is provided per the Colorado Equal Pay Act. Base pay information is based on market location. Applicants should apply via ITHAKA's internal or external careers site. 

Work for ITHAKA

We take inclusion seriously. Belonging is one of our core values, and it shows in our vibrant culture. People from a wide-range of backgrounds work at ITHAKA, and we believe that unique perspectives help us realize new insights and build better solutions.

We want to work with people who are passionate about ideas like these and who wish to contribute their perspectives and talents to ITHAKA’s mission. We enthusiastically welcome applications from people of all underrepresented backgrounds and credentials. We want to hear your story and include your perspective in the transformative work we aim to do.

Learn more about Working at ITHAKA.

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Interested candidates can submit their resume, a detailed cover letter, and salary requirements.

Apply at this link.

We are proud to be an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. All qualified applicants receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, sex, national origin, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, religion, domestic violence victim status, veteran status, disability, history of disability or perceived disability, or other status protected by law.