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Work/Study Opportunity: Backend Engineer

Work/Study Opportunity: Backend Engineer


Published on September 5, 2018

Job Title: Special Projects Assistant (Work/Study)

Job Description: 

The Work Study Student program provides on-campus job opportunities for eligible York University undergraduate students. Work Study Student employees are provided opportunities to contribute to support roles while developing valuable, relevant skills and work experience for the workplace. These roles offer a learning and development opportunity for Work Study Student employees to receive experiential on-the-job training, guidance and mentorship. Under the guidance of permanent staff members, Work Study Student employees will provide support to their relevant department/faculty in clerical, administrative and technical capacities.

The Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research (DIGHR) is committed to a pursuit of Global Health that seeks healthy people, healthy communities, and a healthy planet. The pursuit of equity and social justice, as well as excellence and effectiveness in research, are core values. The DIGHR aims to be truly transdisciplinary and collaborative in its perspectives and methods, drawing from the breadth and depth of expertise at York University, including from its six founding Faculties (Health, Engineering, Environmental Studies, Engineering, Education, Law, and Liberal Arts & Professional Studies). The DIGHR is also committed to local, national and international partnerships around its core values and themes with public institutions, civil society organizations, the private sector and other academic research centres. For more information, please visit our website:

Under the direction of the Director, the Special Projects Assistant (SPA) provides technical support for Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research (DIGHR) research projects through the creation of better tools for collecting, storing, and analyzing results from research projects in the fields of humanitarian response and global health.

Basic Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Create powerful data analysis of ongoing DIGHR research to support humanitarian response work.
  • Create custom applications to automate data analysis and apply statistical models, including through machine learning.
  • Create applications for automatic speech recognition (ASR) and natural language processing (NLP)
  • Create Python applications for extracting, transforming, and storing data from other APIs
  • May have access to highly confidential and sensitive documents (e.g. budgets). Attend all training sessions and meetings, unless in direct conflict with a class. Inform supervisors of any conflicts well in advance if attendance is not possible.
  • ·Stay in regular contact with supervisors and meet regularly to keep all parties informed.
  • Complete other duties as assigned.


Education & Experience:

Experience in data analysis, statistical modeling, data wrangling, and machine learning

Experience writing applications with R, Python, and relevant databases (Postgres, SQL querying, or NoSQL)

Experience with text and voice programming (AWS, Google, and/or Twilio) would be an asset

Some experience in MatLab, web applications, REST, API, JavaScript, test-driven development, Docker, Git/open source development, AWS, UX design, or UI design would be considered an asset

Current undergraduate York student (we encourage applicants from diverse programs of study)

Experience and familiarity with York (Keele) campus life, policies, and procedures as they relate to Finance, Campus Services, Human Resource, Health and Safety etc.

Skills & Qualifications:

  • Excellent communication skills: professional email/phone correspondence, public speaking and presentation proficiency
  • Experience working with people from a variety of backgrounds/cultures
  • Excellent computer skills (word processing, email, database management, spreadsheets)
  • Demonstrates an eagerness to learn and take on initiative
  • Demonstrates organizational and time management skills
  • Students who are a good fit for this position are approachable, knowledgeable, and well organized. They will show ability and willingness to work both independently and as part of a team.

Personal and Professional Development:

As part of your work-study experience, you will have the opportunity to meet and interact with researchers and invited guests from across York University and all over the world. The DIGHR will support you in development of effective time and workflow management skills. Additionally, you will gain exposure to and experience within a professional office environment as well as, increased knowledge of campus resources. Throughout your work-study experience you will have the opportunity to meet regularly with your supervisor to set goals and objectives, report and reflect on your progress and get valuable feedback. The Special Projects Assistant will be asked to participate in a self-assessment and performance review process with their supervisor each term. In addition, the supervisor provides feedback during regularly scheduled meetings as challenges and successes arise.

Student Learning Components:

Orientation and Training: The Special Projects Assistant will develop comprehensive skills in communications, including project planning, developing and sticking to timelines, event promotion, and use of emergent technology. As well, through a very comprehensive onboarding and training program (e.g. monthly DIGHR workshops for staff and researchers), you will develop the ability to identify and confidently articulate your learning, skills, and experiences.

Networking: The Special Projects Assistant will have the opportunity to work along-side professional staff, faculty, researchers, and students at the DIGHR, York University, and international participants. Specifically, you will be able to meet, interact, and establish lasting relationships with many partners of the DIGHR.

Complements Classroom Learning: The Special Projects Assistant will gain experience working with the public and developing interpersonal, communication, public speaking, and presentation skills; which will lead to enhanced academic success skills to complement classroom learning (e.g. improved ability to deliver classroom presentations and communicate academic ideas in a thoughtful and eloquent manner while providing articulate and carefully considered responses to difficult questions).

Feedback: The Special Projects Assistant will have regular one-on-one meetings with their supervisor to receive further specialty and project specific training. The Special Projects Assistant will prepare a short weekly written summary of the projects they are working with and identify any challenges they are facing, which helps them work in collaboration with the supervisor to determine areas for support and solutions.

Position Start Date: ASAP
Approximate Hours Per Week: 10
Job Type: Part-time
Salary Level: $15/hour

Application deadline: October 12, 2018

Please send your application (cover letter, resume, student number) to with the subject "SPA application backend engineer".



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