ICT Advisor – Technology Innovation (Platform Lead)

Website UN Global Pulse


Deadline to apply: 23 March 2023

UN Global Pulse UN Global Pulse (UNGP) is an initiative of the Executive Office of Secretary-General (EOSG) founded in 2009. We work in support of the Secretary-General’s priorities, in advancement of the UN Charter. UNGP serves as a cross-pillar lead and hub for experimentation and digital innovation. We have a globally distributed team in the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia. The teams work with digital innovation, strategic foresight, real-time data and artificial intelligence to further sustainable development, humanitarian and peace outcomes. Our vision is ‘A world in which responsible and inclusive digital innovation serves to empower people and protect the planet’. Our mission is to work at the intersection of digital innovation and science to inform, inspire and support the entire UN and those it serves, to anticipate and respond to the challenges of today and tomorrow.

Global Pulse’s GDAI is an initiative managed by UNOPS and the Executive Office of the Secretary General (EOSG) and across Pulse Labs that brings together UN agencies and private, public, and social sector partners for the development of data and AI products as digital public goods (DPGs). GDAI aspires to catalyze the formation of a cohesive and responsibly open ecosystem of data and AI products and services that reduces inefficiencies in the development of digital solutions for sustainable development and humanitarian action—with an initial focus on natural disaster response and recovery—to accelerate attainment of the sustainable development goals.

The Platform Lead is a key senior level role and instrumental for the success of GDAI. With experience in the development of cloud-based data platforms from data ingestion to insights, the Platform Lead will be accountable for the development of vision and technical direction to  GDAI’s data access and processing platform. Under the supervision of the Strategy Lead, the Platform Lead will put together the roadmap for platform development balancing the need for quick delivery with robustness and scalability. The Platform Lead will translate needs for privacy protection and other relevant considerations into technical specifications and will work in collaboration with other team members to ensure the right expertise are utilized. The platform lead will manage and integrate multiple different data streams from different providers and will put in place identity and access management and other solutions to ensure appropriate access to data and technology resources. Working with a variety of contributors, from product managers to data scientists and front-end developers, the Platform Lead takes a proactive approach in addressing their needs and enabling their work on the GDAI data access and processing platform.

This is an exciting opportunity to be part of a new initiative and to shape the direction of data and AI products as digital public goods to enable the development of digital solutions for impact at scale. The incumbent of this position will be a personnel of UNOPS under its full responsibility.

Functional responsibilities

Reporting to the GDAI Strategy Lead, the incumbent will be responsible for the following:

    1. Vision and strategy for platform development
    2. Implementation guidance
    3. Reliability Engineering
    4. Team coordination
1. Vision and Strategy for Platform development 

  • Create and maintain the roadmap for the development of the GDAI data access and processing platform in collaboration with the Technology Lead and in coordination with the GDAI team
  • Oversee and coordinate between technical teams to balance the need for quick delivery on a tight timeline to support the development of use cases with the need for a flexible, yet robust, secure, and scalable infrastructure as use cases are scaled to new users and geographies and new use cases are added
  • Consider needs for and (future) transitions to hybrid or multi-cloud solutions, seek to minimize dependencies on a single cloud provider offering
  • In collaboration with the Policy lead; discover and translate the needs for privacy protection and other relevant considerations for responsible use of data and AI into technical specifications (platform, use cases), research and take advantage of, for example, privacy-by-design approaches and privacy-preserving computation where appropriate
  • Set up and maintain identity and access management (IAM) to ensure appropriate access to data and technology resources, while potentially being involved in and/or support the development of workflows to ensure transparent and responsible access to data and AI assets developed within GDAI
  • Set up and maintain cloud storage and data warehouses. Manage environments (e.g., to deploy containerized applications based on MLOps best practices) and virtual machines as required for the implementation of use cases
  • Set up monitoring, logging, and general technical performance management for applications and systems – including, potentially, audit functionalities
  • Integrate and manage multiple different data streams from ingestion to serving front-end applications
  • Design and maintain change and release management including CI/CD as appropriate

2. Implementation guidance

  • Onboard technical contributors onto the GDAI platform, some of whom on short-term rotations from GDAI partners, and provide ad hoc support in service of their work and the development of use cases
  • Proactively seek to address developer needs in platform design choices
  • Track and control costs of running applications and services
  • Seek to identify and utilize expertise from technical contributors, in particular, from those on rotation from GDAI partners, for platform design, development and future improvements
  • Provide hands on support for the technical development, maintenance and support needs of GDAI’s use cases and data products from an infrastructure / technological standpoint
3. Reliability engineering

  • Assume accountability for the reliability of the data access and processing platform and proactively seek to reduce inefficiencies and downtime
  • Seek to increase observability of the system to diagnose inefficiencies and other factors that may decrease platform reliability
  • Design incident management processes
4. Team Coordination

  • Proactively seek to identify and overcome pain points, keep lines of communication with the Technology Lead and Delivery Lead (Strategy Lead as relevant) very open
  • Contribute to a positive, can-do team culture and attitude among team members
  • Supports team members with technical backstopping and feedback as needed.

Impact of Results

The effective and successful achievement of key results by the Platform Lead is key to the success of Global Pulse’s Global Data Access Initiative (GDAI) which, in turn, positions the UN Global Pulse as a leading player in safeguarding the access and use of data for sustainable development and humanitarian actions and key contributor of digital public goods (DPGs) in service of the sustainable development goals (SDGs). This promotes the image of UNOPS as an effective service provider and leader in innovation and enhances UNOPS’ competitive position as a partner of choice in sustainable development and project services at the global, regional, and local level.

Qualifications and experience


  • Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) in computer science or a related field;
  • A first-level university degree in combination with an additional two (2) years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of an advanced university degree;

    • A minimum of seven (7) years of experience in platform engineering configuring, deploying, and operating critical data-driven applications and pipelines on public cloud services (e.g., Azure, AWS, GCP) including IAM is required;
    • Exposure to machine learning, data science, computer vision, etc. and a track record of successful collaboration with machine learning engineers and/or data scientists is required;
    • Exposure to the development of frontend and backend applications is an asset;
    • Proven track record of successfully working as a part of large, collaborative, agile(ish) teams including distributed international teams is an asset;
    • Experience with translating user needs and product requirements into engineering design documents is an asset;
    • Demonstrated ability to create environments for rapid prototyping and piloting with a mindset towards enablement of data/machine learning engineers and data scientists is is an asset;
    • Proven track record in DevOps and MLOps for reliable and efficient deployment to production is an asset;
    • Expertise in infrastructure as code (e.g., cloud formation, Terraform, Chef, Puppet) is an asset;
    • Experience and knowledge around deployment of ML pipelines, models, and workflows or ML workloads is an asset;
    • Experience and knowledge around deployment of ML pipelines, models, and workflows or ML workloads is an asset;
    • Experience with DevSecOps is an asset;
    • Experience with privacy-preserving computation is an asset;
    • Experience working with the UN system is an asset;

Language Requirements:

  • Full working knowledge of English is required;
  • Knowledge of another official UNOPS language is an asset.

To apply for this job please visit jobs.unops.org.

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