Postion Summary:
The role is focused primarily on back-end systems development in support of data science, data curation and data management activities within SAEON, as well as in support of products developed by the SAEON uLwazi Node for external funders and stakeholders. The role is a position within the uLwazi Systems Development Team, and as such the
developer will be encouraged to collaborate constructively, proactively and professionally with fellow team members and uLwazi colleagues, as well as to participate in and adhere to agreed development processes and best practices.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Analysis:-Consult with data curation and data science teams to collect and understand product requirements
  • -Analyse and understand the functioning of existing production and legacy systems
  • -Carry out research into available tools, technologies and best practices in formulating an approach to system design and development
  • -Create and maintain system design diagrams (UML, ERD, etc) using online diagramming tools
  • -Create and maintain system documentation using the uLwazi wiki
  • -Give presentations and demonstrations of work, at intervals, for review and feedback by team leads and stakeholders
  • -Engage with team mates during weekly development team meetings, to discuss and evaluate system designs, technological choices, etc
  • Coding:-Develop product features and enhancements
  • -Create unit tests where appropriate (back-end services and APIs)
  • -Perform code reviews
  • -Fix bugs
  • -Apply library updates and security patches
  • -Maintain source code using git and GitHub
  • -Provide progress updates during weekly development team meetings; discuss and resolve any impediments to progress
  • Deployment:-Liaise with the infrastructure team in respect of server setup, server certificates, etc
  • -Deploy new and updated systems to development and production servers, adhering to agreed deployment schedules
  • -Configure runtime environments, web servers, proxy servers, etc
  • -Perform integration testing
  • Innovation:-One day per week is allotted to “blue sky” work, which may involve experimental work and/or prototyping, without set timelines or deliverables
  • -Blue sky projects to be discussed and agreed with the team lead; projects must be of interest to the developer and be relevant to the work that SAEON does
  • -Regular discussion, demos and feedback on blue sky projects to be conducted with team mates and team lead

Minimum Qualification:

  • Bachelors Degree / Advanced Diploma / NQF 7

Minimum Experience:

  • Bachelors degree in computer science, mathematics, engineering or the physical sciences
  • 5+ years of professional experience in software development


  • Experience in the design, development, testing and deployment of production-grade services, APIs and web applicationsExperience in relational database design and usage of SQLSome experience of working in Python, and a strong interest in further developing Python programming skillsExperience in the use of version control software
  • Experience working with geospatial data


  • Exposure to data science and statistical analysisFamiliarity with the Linux command line and performing administrative tasks on Linux server

Additional Notes:
An aptitude for solving complex problemsThe NRF website provides more details on the initiatives and activities
Applicants should submit a comprehensive CV by registering and apply online through the NRF Recruitment and Selection Portal.
Applications should be accompanied by a letter of motivation indicating the applicant·s suitability for the position.
The names and contact details of at least three referees should be provided.

Desired Skills:

  • Skilled in applied field of position
  • Knowledge to be relevant
  • Responsible in performing duties

About The Employer:

The National Research Foundation (NRF) supports and promotes research and human capital development through funding, the provision of National Research Facilities and science outreach platforms and programmes to the broader community in all fields of science and technology, including natural sciences, engineering, social sciences and humanities.
The South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON) is a research platform funded by the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) and managed by the National Research Foundation (NRF). SAEON is mandated to establish and manage long-term environmental observatories; maintain reliable long-term environmental data sets; promote access to data for research and/or informed decision making; and contribute to capacity building.

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