On the Market: Why you should consider a dev job at this poverty reduction nonprofit - Technical.ly Philly

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Jul. 15, 2019 3:15 pm

On the Market: Why you should consider a dev job at this poverty reduction nonprofit

Benefits Data Trust's tech team is as advanced as any startup's. Plus: The National Park Service is looking for local IT talent, and we can finally announce the location of Super Meetup 2019, happening on Thursday, Aug. 22.
At Benefits Data Trust in Center City.

At Benefits Data Trust in Center City.

(Courtesy photo)

On the Market is a Technical.ly column where we highlight noteworthy job openings and the people who are lookin’. Got a submission? Email us and tell us why it belongs in the roundup.


Benefits Data Trust (BDT), which rolled out a machine-learning model last year to better assist Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) beneficiaries, has more than a few openings in Philly. The organization is currently searching for data and software engineers; project and product managers; and a strategy analyst, so you can nab a position and send a few out to friends.

Why consider a dev role with a mission-driven nonprofit that connects low-income folks around the country to the benefits they’re eligible for, instead of some flashy startup? BDT’s focus is to build tech products that are enablers instead of barriers for a difficult-to-reach population, said Chief Data and Technology Officer Ravindar Gujral — and that’s a problem worth solving.

“In today’s world, we as consumers have this dignity of service where we can get access to any product we want on Amazon, and we are targeted on Google” to find that perfect product in the first place, Gurjal said. “We are in the center of that whole transaction. [But] that level of dignity does not exist in the social services sector.”

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Individuals trying to find out whether they qualify for, say, Medicaid are often passed from one agency or service provider to another before getting adequate information, or those providers are open at inconvenient hours, he said. It’s not an integrated experience.

Instead, BDT uses “solutions-based” technology to “make that individual the center of that equation,” Gurjal said. “They’re able to get the services and benefits that they are entitled to in a way that they would like to get it.”

For a single mom working two jobs, for instance, that might mean a midnight text conversation with an AI-based system referring her to the best resources. Or it might mean a conversation with one of BDT’s call center operators that’s been streamlined so that within 45 minutes, the benefits the caller is eligible for have been identified, and an application has been submitted on their behalf.

And don’t think that just because BDT is a nonprofit, the work won’t be technically challenging: “It’s the mission that attracts, and the complexity of the problem you’re trying to solve that keeps people interested in the work here,” Gurjal said. “Our tech platform rivals many of the technical startups in the area.”

Some of the dev tools used by BDT devs: Ruby, Ruby on Rails, JavaScript, React, Python, SQL, Airflow, Luigi, NiFi.

P.S. BDT will likely be making a big hiring announcement soon: Its longtime CEO, Ginger Zielinskie, stepped down from her post in April, and said she’d stay on until her successor is selected. It’s been three months, so maybe that time is coming.

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Grab your ranger hat: The National Park Service is searching for an IT specialist to work out of its Northeast Regional office at 20th and Market streets.

Manager of Information Services Heidi Graham said the office’s mission is to provide program, policy and tech support to the 68 national park sites in the Northeast. (If you’re wondering if a sweet perk is traveling to said 68 parks, the posting says travel is a must.)

“I am looking for an enthusiastic, customer-focused individual who will be committed to not only supporting messaging and enterprise applications in our agency, but can play an active role in promoting use of these tools and technologies,” Graham said.

Despite the National Park’s less-than-enthusiastic support from the presidential office, there’s still room on the 12-person team. Graham also said the office is in the midst of transitioning from a Google and Microsoft environment to just Microsoft, and the new recruit will be an active leader in the switch. Oh, and don’t forget to pack sunscreen.

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You could sit here and let us tell you about all the great tech jobs in Philly, or you can find one before it even hits the boards at our Super Meetup event on Thursday, Aug. 22 — and we can finally announce that it’s happening at Cherry Street Pier!

Each year, we connect a bunch of great smaller meetups (last year we had about 21) over local food and swag from our sponsors. In 2016, we had about 1,000 attendees for a night of drinks, relaxing, reconnecting and making new friends, and the best part? It’s free!

RSVP on Meetup

Plus, we have even more opportunities for companies to be a part of Super Meetup Philly. Click below to find out more:

Show off your organization with sponsorship

And if you’re interested in getting your meetup group involved, reach out to events@technical.ly for more details and we’ll be sure to get you connected for this awesome event.

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Here are even more jobs, hot off the press from our tech jobs board:

*Denotes a Technical.ly Talent client. Talent clients get guaranteed inclusion in our monthly On the Market series.

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