The Metro Ideas Project (MIP) is a national public-benefit research firm and think tank working for America’s cities. We help communities design solutions and policies that are practical, evidence-based, and informed by local data to more effectively address tough urban challenges.

We’re looking for a capable and multi-talented Civic Data Engineer to join our team and help us create practical policies, processes, and tools to help cities step into the 21st century. This role requires a person who has a unique blend of technical expertise, a passion for civic issues, and an ability to quickly adapt to new challenges. We’re looking for a teammate that is comfortable transforming messy data into something useful and has the coding chops to use automated techniques that make the task easier.

The Civic Data Engineer role will be critical as we help local governments make sense of an increasingly complex digital environment—whether by building effective ETL pipelines, designing a scalable repository for municipal data, or firing off SQL queries to tackle a research question.

The initiatives that you will work on will be challenging and deeply meaningful, ranging from poverty-related issues to food security. That’s why we are assembling smart, diverse thinkers from a wide range of professional backgrounds eager to help build a better urban future.

Join our team as we work to redefine how cities solve problems.

Skills and responsibilities

  • Partner with our policy team to develop and support sustainable open data policies and practices within local governments
  • Develop high-throughput ETL utilities to convert dirty and disorganized data into high quality data assets and APIs
  • Access, extract, and clean data through various means (web services, bash/shell scripts, ad hoc scrapers, OCR, etc)
  • Collaborate with our research team to create practical tools and web applications that allow the public and stakeholders to better understand urban challenges
  • Lead the design and development of scalable civic data systems and data infrastructure in coordination with our municipal partners
  • Assist in tracking down data sets that may be difficult to access or find for use in a research and policy design context
  • Conduct workshops with local government agencies to identify uses of and promote understanding of their data
  • Contribute to various data visualizations and modeling in collaboration with our production team
  • Write clear and concise documentation for any internal tools, applications, or processes you create


  • Location:
  • Deadline: n/a


Minimum qualifications

  • Passionate about our work to help America’s mid-size cities tackle their toughest challenges through research, policy design, and resident engagement
  • Competitive candidates have been building web and data applications professionally for 3+ years
  • Comfortable accessing and putting lots of (potentially messy) data to work, ideally with substantial experience utilizing APIs
  • Working knowledge of SQL and/or experience with non-relational/alternative database systems
  • Capable of writing effective shell scripts and complex SQL queries
  • Fluency with modern scripting languages (e.g. Python)
  • Ability to quickly learn the tools, languages, and utilities used in our stack (e.g. AWS, static site generators, Node.js, MongoDB, etc)
  • Writes clear, testable, and maintainable code (and documentation!)
  • Strong interpersonal and communications skills
  • Willing to relocate to Chattanooga, TN

Preferred qualifications

  • Used geospatial analysis tools, such as Postgres and Post GIS
  • Familiar with machine learning and/or applied statistics practices and packages (e.g. R, SAS, etc)
  • Experience working with presentation and data visualization tools and libraries (e.g. Tableau, D3.js, etc)
  • You have some experience working in a civic or government environment

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