Data Visualization Fellowship


We’ve got a new job listing up, and I hope you’ll have a look. If you do, you’ll see that we’re doing something new. This position came about because we decided that we wanted to create more and better data visualizations — they’re interesting, people like them, and they’re a great opportunity to experiment with new technologies.

But as we started thinking through how to staff this position, we realized we didn’t really want someone who was an expert in d3, or processing.js, or any other presentation technology. Don’t get me wrong: finding someone with those skills for this position would be great. But we already have a bunch of talented front-end developers and designers. I think we can present answers in beautiful and compelling ways; what I could really use are better questions.

So, like I said, we’re looking for something a little different. The listing says “quantitative social scientist,” but you could easily substitute the “data scientist” buzzword that the tech industry seems to be embracing. Whatever you call it, what we’re looking for boils down to this: we need someone with the ability to understand the questions that can reasonably be asked of our data; someone who knows the questions that people have asked of the data in the past; and who is be able to find some decent answers of her own. At Sunlight, those questions are likely to be about the U.S. government and the entities that try to influence it. Once you’ve got an interesting answer, we’ll throw all the Javascript and CSS at it that you could ever want.

So please have a look, and if you know folks who you think would be a good fit, pass the link along to them. And if you yourself are thinking about applying, please don’t be scared off by the specific requirements — they describe what we think an ideal candidate would be, but we know that we’re likely to find some surprises. This fellowship is a bit of an experiment for us, but I’m excited about the possibilities it represents.