MDF Tech Exchange Fellow, Tech Design Researcher

We’re looking for an experienced Tech Design Researcher to catalyze building our new TRUST initiative, a community-based data-driven research initiative that results in resources for technologists, designers, and policymakers.

The role

  • You’ll be a critical part of our team, responsible for collaboratively outlining our research agenda, conducting community-based research to support real needs, and building the TRUST initiative in an open, secure, and publicly accessible way.
  • You’ll work with internal and external project teams, bringing your data-based expertise to collaborate with our human-centered design expertise to explore some of today’s thorniest issues at the intersection of technology and society. 
  • You’ll help the team build resources for the community, share them openly, and “translate” key concepts across sectors. 
  • You’ll report directly to the Executive Director, and work in close partnership with our Managing Director, Program Director, and other staff. This role will start in early February, 2022, and will be in the $60,000-$85,000 range, including benefits.

About us

Changing who technology serves. Simply Secure is a small US 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, founded in 2014 at the intersection of digital design and human rights. 

Simply Secure leverages design as a transformative practice to shift power in the tech ecosystem. We apply a critical lens to technology development, and view design as an intervention opportunity to center people and their needs. We collaborate closely with others in the space to grow the community focused on shaping our collective online future. Our vision is a world where everyone has the knowledge, network, and digital tools needed to enrich their lives. 

Our approach to changing who technology serves includes:

  • Resourcing & Practice: building human-centered design capacity through coaching and leadership programs, developing content and information architecture strategy, and facilitating workshops and organizational sprints.
  • Research & Innovation: conducting organizational and community-based research, producing best practices and design resources for practitioners and policymakers, and collaborating with funders to leverage research practices and ecosystem experience.
  • Community Convening: cultivating a global community through in-person and online opportunities, increasing communal connectivity and knowledge-sharing, and incubating a values-driven practitioner movement through fiscal sponsorship.

Over the past seven years, we’ve supported hundreds of projects and practitioners, including:

We’re currently working through an open rebranding process, moving away from the name “Simply Secure” and toward an identity that more accurately reflects the diversity of the work we do. Learn more on our blog.

In 2022, the organization aims to launch the TRUST initiative – a “big tent” collaborative focused on exploring and answering critical design research questions to further democracy, human rights, and internet freedom, through safe, equitable participant management. In the inaugural year, TRUST will focus on the interplay between tech policy, UX design, and technology, supporting community-based data-driven research that result in resources for technologists, designers, and policymakers. The goal is to increase understanding in the broader internet freedom space about the role of UX/UI design, and how design is a transformative intervention point for a more democratic online experience for all. The MDF Tech Exchange Fellow would help launch this initiative. 

About you

  • A critical thinker with strengths as a strategist, convener, and builder.
  • Knowledgeable or interested in usable security, privacy, big data, algorithms, tech policy and internet freedom issues.
  • Experienced with privacy conscious web development, leveraging static site generators (e.g. Hugo), CSS, Javascript (client & server side), etc.
  • Experienced with technical problem solving focused around research, data analysis and visualization, using the appropriate technical tools, e.g. Python, R, ETL pipelines, SQL-based databases, NoSQL document stores, D3js, etc. 
  • Knowledgeable about one or more of the following areas: open source software, internet freedom, tech criticism and activism, human rights technology.
  • Are comfortable with cross-cultural communication, collaboration and conflict resolution, through work with international teams.
  • Availability during our prime work hours (11-6pm Central Europe / 10-5pm UK / 8-6pm US Eastern / 8-3pm US Pacific).

Nice to have

  • You have experience and deep understanding of the civil society space as it intersects with technology.
  • Experience with research and design work, e.g. human-centered design, design thinking, service design, ux design, or participatory research (specifically field research).
  • Have experience managing and enjoy working with a fully remote, distributed team, across many time zones and cultures.
  • Comfortable with collaborative work tools (we currently use Notion, Miro, Slack and Google Suite).
  • Proficiency in a language other than English – especially German, French or Spanish.

Sound like a good fit?

Please send us your resume and 2-5 community-based research topics you’re interested in pursuing as part of this Fellowship to jobs@simplysecure.org with the subject line “MDF Tech Exchange Fellow”. The deadline for applications is 00:00 on Saturday, January 22 (extended from January 15).

We believe that systemic bad behaviors disproportionately hurt the most marginalized people in society — including people of color, people from working class backgrounds, women and LGBTQ people. We believe that these communities must be centered in the work we do. We strongly encourage applications from people with these identities or who are members of other marginalized communities. We are open to candidates from around the world. Final hiring decisions will be contingent upon our ability to contract and pay in the candidate’s country. Simply Secure does not provide relocation or visa support.