Data Engineering Lead-New Practice Lab

Full Time
New Practice Lab
The New Practice Lab is a force multiplier for social and economic policies that uplift American families. We make the American safety net simpler, easier to access, and more responsive to the lives of real people.
The big idea behind the Lab is simple: when we make policy away from the people it impacts most, or rely on the tools of past eras to administer it, it tends to fail in delivery. The only way to improve delivery is to bring users back into the process through the use of more modern and participatory design tools. This approach can and does improve delivery, and what we learn along the way offers powerful insights that reshape the way the next generation of policymakers does its work.
With this cycle in mind, our work rests on two critical pillars of activity:
  • We run “delivery sprints,” or focused intense projects with clear scope of work that engages families and government partners to identify changes the government can make to improve delivery and/or uptake of key services within the public benefits system.
  • We carry the insights of real families into the policymaking process to center delivery in policy design.
Role Description
To meaningfully affect change in how policy is designed and delivered, members of the Lab work closely together across two disciplines of policy and product delivery. The Data Engineering Lead will be a critical member of the Lab’s product team who will work closely with the Lab’s Director of Product, Data and Strategic Impact Lead, and design and policy teams to ensure the ultimate success and impact of the Lab. The Data Engineering Lead will be energized by joining a startup team while navigating the nuances of working inside a larger established think tank.
At a high level we see this person working alongside the Lab’s Data and Strategic Impact Lead, as well as our product delivery and policy teams, to:
  • Find ways to scale data engineering and architecture approaches between different government agencies who are working on similar problems
  • Help partners create and maintain robust data ecosystems during delivery and policy sprints by analyzing existing systems and then making architecture and practice recommendations
    • Lead data modeling conversations with partners, incorporating data science, service design, policy, and product management expertise
    • Help partners think about using data to model business events and decisions, not just collect numbers, and then collaboratively design the infrastructure to support those models
    • Advocate for data and software engineering best practices, such as automated testing, continuous integration, and monitoring
  • Work with data science and policy experts to identify and advocate for the right numerators and denominators
While this role requires prior experience building, maintaining, and troubleshooting data systems to be successful, day to day work will not involve much coding.

The Ideal Candidate
Our ideal candidate:
  • Is passionate about harnessing the power of better public policy design and delivery to create a nation where all families and young children thrive;
  • Is a strong engineer who understands both pipeline- and database-focused engineering;
  • Is ready to move from building things themselves to coaching, consulting, and influencing others;
  • Is excited to look holistically across data ecosystems and how they drive both policy and practice;
  • Is deeply passionate about the relationship between policy and human experience, and leverages their technical expertise to drive a strong feedback loop between the two;
  • Confidently navigates ambiguity, whether that’s by establishing a plan and then seeking feedback or proactively asking for clarity from those around them;
  • Works enthusiastically across disciplines and is excited to both teach and learn from their colleagues.
We are seeking candidates excited to improve the way policy is made for American families by rolling up their sleeves, implementing a “new practice,” and learning in collaboration with community, private, nonprofit and public sector partners.

  • Help the Directors of Policy and Product scope projects towards high-impact areas of work and drawing out actionable insights with partners, and seize opportunities to implement high-priority recommendations or predict the effects of new or updated policies, and serve as a key executing member of sprint teams;
  • Establish and socialize recommendations for replicable data engineering models in government;
  • Pair with the Lab’s Data and Strategic Impact Lead to understand our government partners’ data systems and propose and execute methods for making unstructured or loosely structured data usable;
  • Work with the Lab’s Data and Strategic Impact Lead and Director of Policy to meaningfully measure outcomes and create strong feedback loops between policy, implementation, and human outcomes;
  • Advise the Lab’s government partners on suitable and scalable data architecture and infrastructure, as well as technical team structure, in both green and brown field contexts;
  • Work with the Director of Product and Service Design Lead to create a robust approach to assessing and then improving the health of government IT systems.
What Success Looks Like in Year 1
  • Look across a benefits domain, identify reusable patterns (such as common architectures or data models) and best practices, and then create resources that will help benefits delivery teams within that domain adopt those patterns and practices.
  • Execute 2-3 policy delivery sprints with families and government partners to improve economic security outcomes for American families.
  • Iteratively improve and codify the role data engineering plays in delivery sprint processes to enable more meaningful improvements to public services, reliable repetition, and scalability of results over time.
Compensation and Benefits
This position is a full-time role with benefits. The annual salary will be between $150,000 – $180,000 depending on experience. New America offers a highly competitive benefits package that includes health care, dental, and vision coverage; a generous retirement plan; paid time off; observes all federal holidays; and an office-wide closure between Christmas and New Year’s Day.
  • A platinum-level health care plan, plus vision and dental insurance
  • A 403b retirement plan with a 3% matched contribution by New America upon hire, and 7% automatic contribution by NA (no individual contribution needed) after one year of employment based on New America's vesting schedule.
  • Paid parental leave
  • Generous PTO (20 days in year one; higher in future years)
  • The office is closed for all federal holidays including Juneteenth and Veteran’s Day, for about two weeks at the end of December, and also has early closure on Fridays in the summer.
  • 100% remote work for this position with occasional team travel
  • Ability to travel to tech hubs (Bay Area, Seattle, Boston, New York)
  • $2000 annually for professional development stipend
The position is remote and is open to candidates regardless of location.

  • Minimum 5 years experience in data engineering
  • Experience working at a high level across complex data systems, including systems with longitudinal data
  • Experience architecting and supporting the creation of complex data systems
  • Experience developing and maintaining data pipelines
  • Experience leading or facilitating data modeling
  • Comfort with speaking and writing
  • Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively on the design and implementation of projects with people from more than one discipline
Desirable, but not required
  • Experience working with government benefits systems
  • Experience with data science and data analysis
  • Experience with software development, software engineering, or software systems architecture
Application Process
Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Along with your resume, please submit a cover letter that describes your qualifications to apply.
No phone calls please.

New America provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability or genetics or any other category as protected by law. In addition to federal law requirements, this policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation and training.


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