Job Type
Job Duration
1-2 Years
Required Travel
Salary - Type
Yearly Salary
Job Function


Please note: This is a 2 year fixed-term employment with potential to extend. You will be a regular, full time employee of Global Fishing Watch. 

The application period for this role closes on July 20th. 

 Global Fishing Watch (GFW) is an international, nonprofit organization advancing transparency of human activity at sea to improve the management of our ocean. We do research, develop technology, and publicly share data about human activities and associated impact to enable a fair and sustainable use of our ocean. Founded in 2015 through a collaboration between Oceana, SkyTruth, and Google, GFW became an independent organization in June 2017. Using machine learning, cloud computing and satellite data, we have produced the first global mapping of industrial fishing and energy development across the ocean. By 2030, we aim to map the activity of most ocean-going vessels and offshore infrastructure, all the way from small-scale and industrial fishing to transport and energy activities. We believe human activity at sea should be public knowledge in order to safeguard the global ocean commons for the benefit of all. 

The Position

The Research team at Global Fishing Watch (GFW) connects data science and machine learning experts with leaders in the scientific community to produce new datasets, publish impactful research, and empower others to use our data. Our work aims to harness satellite imagery, computer vision, and big data technology to address some of the most pressing issues facing the marine environment. 

GFW’s Research team seeks a scientific programmer to support our data scientists and machine learning engineers to develop models using petabytes of satellite data. The programmer will work closely with the GFW engineering team while being embedded within the research team, supporting researchers at the start of projects to understand the source data and develop processes to easily run models while accounting for engineering requirements. Working with the engineering team, the programmer will ensure that data and model pipelines are cost-effective and easy to maintain and that these principles are adopted at the beginning of projects. The programmer will also support engineering to publish the data in GFW products (our front-end maps, APIs, and bulk data downloads).

The incumbent will gain experience interfacing daily with GFW’s team of data scientists, engineers, and machine learning experts. They will further develop technical skills in programming, big data, and cloud computing while working for a globally diverse, fully distributed, and growing organization. The successful candidate will be highly organized and proactive, and should have demonstrated experience working with complex datasets, analytical research, and technical communication.

Principal Duties and Responsibilities

  • Work with machine learning engineers and data scientists to create proof of concepts and prototypes and prepare models for later automation. Examples of models include:
    • Identifying different types of fishing based on GPS tracks.
    • Estimating carbon emissions based on vessel movements and identity.
    • Identifying vessels and offshore infrastructure in satellite imagery.
  • Work with engineers to deploy models to production and help data scientists update and run experiments on models already in production. 
  • Support engineering to maintain models in production. 
  • Develop and maintain internal tools (e.g., Python modules, Docker containers) to streamline research workflows.
  • Assist with data QA, documentation, and publication.

Additional tasks may include

  • Develop models and inspect data, supporting core work of data scientists.
  • Promote best practices in data and code management within the research team.
  • Support research partners in their efforts to publish high impact science.
  • Support engineering in maintaining and improving the satellite imagery pipeline.  

Required skills and experiences:

  • Strong Python programming skills, including object oriented programming.
  • Experience with containerization using Docker and container deployment.
  • Demonstrated experience with large and complex datasets.
  • Fluency with git/GitHub workflows and complex branch management.
  • Ability to quickly understand and offer solutions to data processing problems.
  • Strong mathematical and scientific computing skills.
  • Ability to be highly productive in a remote work environment.
  • Proven track record of embracing challenges and continuous learning.

Helpful skills and experiences:

  • Big data frameworks such as Spark or Apache Beam.
  • Python numerical and statistical libraries (e.g. numpy, scipy, statsmodels).
  • Experience with R.
  • Python machine learning libraries (e.g. TensorFlow, scikit-learn).
  • Remote sensing (GPS, optical and/or radar imagery).
  • Data analysis workflow, including QA and visualization.
  • Research publication cycle.
  • Scientific applications and working with researchers.

The successful candidate will meet most, but not necessarily all, of the criteria above. If you don’t think you check all the boxes, but believe you have unique skills that make you a great fit for the role, we want to hear from you!

Please submit a CV with your relevant experiences and a cover letter stating your interest in the position and how your previous experiences would support you to be successful in this role. We look forward to getting to know more about you!

Additional Information:

Please note: Visa sponsorship is not supported at this time.

Location: This is a remote role, but candidates must be legally authorized and based in the following countries to be considered. : Argentina, Australia, Barbados, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Fiji, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, Panama, Philippines, Senegal, Spain, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, UK, USA

Reporting to: Senior Data Scientist

Term: Two years with possibility of extension

FT/PT: Full-time

Recruiting process

The application period for this role is from June 20-July 20th, however we encourage you to submit your application as soon as possible.

Recruiting Process: A cover letter along with a CV will be requested to see how your experience and interest connect to the position. We expect the cover letter to allow applicants an opportunity to explain details on how their skill set aligns with the role and provide a better understanding of their suitability for the position. If selected for consideration, the hiring process for this position will include a call with our Talent Acquisition team to go over logistics, an interview with the team, a take home assessment, and a final interview. 

Working Hours:
 Global Fishing Watch supports flexible working, so the pattern of hours may vary according to operational and personal needs. The position will be part of a global team spanning many different time zones and so the candidate must be able to accommodate regular early/late meetings to be able to work effectively. Weekend work may be required on occasion. The post holder may be required to undertake regional and international travel. No overtime is payable.

 A compensation range for this position is US$ 85-105k for US-based employees - For applicants located outside of the US, the pay range will be adjusted to the country of hire. Compensation is commensurate with experience and will vary depending on the hired candidate’s country of residence, in accordance with local laws and regulations. GFW offers pension/retirement, health and other benefits commensurate with similar level GFW employees in the country of employment. The position may be a GFW employee or consultant, depending on the country of residence  

Equal opportunities
: Global Fishing Watch is proud to be an equal opportunities employer. Global Fishing Watch is committed to promoting diversity and inclusion within our organization and in the greater ocean management and conservation community. We believe that diverse backgrounds, skills, knowledge and viewpoints make us a stronger organization. Bringing together professionals who possess broad experiences and a spectrum of perspectives will enable us to reach our goal of improved ocean governance faster. We hire and promote qualified professionals without regard to actual or perceived race, color, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital or parental status, national origin, age, physical or mental disability or medical condition, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law. Our organizational goals match the urgent challenges facing our global ocean, and our mission is designed to help secure a healthy ocean for all. We are committed to building a workforce that is representative of humanity’s diversity, by providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all employees of Global Fishing Watch and for our partners, vendors, suppliers and contractors.

Job ID: 74113997
Non-Profit / Charity
Washington DC , DC , US

Our Purpose The beauty of the ocean, the life it contains and the services and resources it provides are part of humanity’s shared heritage and shared future. But the health of our ocean is under immense pressure from both intensive human activity and climate change. Despite its importance and the threats it faces, the ocean remains the least observed part of our planet. As a result, there is no global picture of all human activity at sea and we cannot truly understand humanity’s impact on life below water. We believ...

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