Local recruitment: Junior Data Scientist

The World Bank

Washington, DC, United States 🇺🇸


Do you want to build a career that is truly worthwhile? Working at the World Bank Group provides a unique opportunity for you to help our clients solve their greatest development challenges. The World Bank Group is one of the largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries; a unique global partnership of five institutions dedicated to ending extreme poverty, increasing shared prosperity and promoting sustainable development. With 189 member countries and more than 120 offices worldwide, we work with public and private sector partners, investing in groundbreaking projects and using data, research, and technology to develop solutions to the most urgent global challenges. For more information, visit www.worldbank.org

The World Bank’s Development Data Group is seeking a highly motivated and talented data scientist with experience in environmental statistics research, an interest in advancing methodological research on development statistics, and a passion for data science.

Data and statistics that improve our knowledge of development in all its forms are at the heart World Bank Group’s operational and research work. The Development Data Group’s mission is to put data to work for development through continuous improvements in data quality, accessibility and use.

The Development Data Group is responsible for supporting many of the most prevalent and influential data products in the international development sector and includes a diverse range of technical backgrounds and areas of subject expertise. We provide technical expertise, subject matter expertise, partnership, and innovation to client countries, World Bank staff, and colleagues in international organizations, academia, and the non-profit and private sectors. The Development Data Group (DECDG) also serves as a liaison to the international statistical and development data communities.

The selected candidate will work in the Sustainable Development Statistics team situated in DECDG’s Indicators & Services (DECIS) cluster. The Sustainable Development Statistics (SDS) team is responsible for collecting and publishing reliable, high-quality statistics on demography, education, environment, finance and markets, health, labor, and poverty. The SDS team manages several data outputs, including the World Development Indicators (WDI).

Position Context:

The selected candidate will work on developing the environmental statistics portfolio for the WDI, and will be responsible for promoting an understanding and the use of environment related development data to specialists and non-specialists through research and analysis, visualizations and storytelling and other global public goods.

The advertised position will focus on improving data, methods, documentation, and the dissemination of environment-related indicators in the WDI. The WDI is an important public resource and attracts considerable interest with around 13 million unique visitors each year to find data related to all aspects of development, both historical and current, and to follow trends and monitor development progress; its users include analysts, policymakers, students, academics, program managers, and all those curious about the state of the world. The WDI is an important source of information on countries’ trajectories towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs’ strong focus on the environment and sustainability (e.g., Goals 6 on water, 7 on energy, 11 on sustainable cities, 12 on sustainable consumption, 13 on climate change, 14 on life under water, 15 on life on land) and the corresponding indicators place new demands on reporting on international environmental statistics. The selected candidate therefore would be expected to work on these areas.


Duties and Accountabilities:

We are looking for an environmental analyst with strong data science skills to help us strengthen the methodology, data and the data management systems behind the WDI’s environment statistics related work. The specific duties will include:

Methodology and analysis

* Manage the curation, development, implementation and documentation of World Bank’s Environmental portfolio in the World Development Indicators.

* Effectively communicate indicator’s current methodologies and changes through publications, methodological notes and research papers.

* Contribute to the improvement of methodologies for curating development data, in particular the World Development Indicators (e.g. researching methods for handling missing data, outlier detection, and aggregation).

* Use spatial datasets to create novel environmental indicators for internal and external publication and dissemination, and contribute to research on alternative data sources for development indicators

* Contribute to a new Data Letters initiative, a sequence of methodological notes, published several times each year, on approaches, quality issues, current practices and changes in development data.

Data management and curation

* Evaluate, document and automate data management and curation processes such as data ingestion, transformation, quality control and dissemination.

* Contribute to the redesign of the World Development Indicators’ platform to improve functionality, user interface and documentation of data and methods.

* Coordinate the improvements to the underlying computer systems with the relevant IT specialists and lead computational implementation of new measurement approaches.


* Support the maintenance and updating of the World Development Indicators database, as new data become available or methodological revisions become necessary.

* Coordinate the inputs from other World Bank departments on SDGs related to the environment.

* Participate in the working groups that coordinate activities across various World Bank departments.


Selection Criteria

* A Masters or higher degree in data science, statistics, economics, geography or environment-related fields (e.g. agriculture, climate change, environment & natural resources, sustainability science, public policy etc.) with a strong quantitative and computational background. 

* At least two years of working experience in development/environment policy and statistics.

Analytical Skills

* Environmental science: Strong technical knowledge of one or more domains of sustainable development data such as agriculture, climate change, environment & natural resources, and water

* Statistics: Experience in statistics, econometrics, geospatial analysis, and/or machine learning

* Data science: Experience in problem solving with strong skills in design and problem formulation; data curation; data acquisition, cleaning and management; data interpretation and analysis; and the presentation and communication of results in an engaging and reproducible manner

* Communication: Excellent oral and written communication skills in English with ability to translate research findings into policy relevant language

Technical Skills

* Programming: Excellent working knowledge of modern statistics, scripting and programming languages such as STATA, R, and/or Python and associated software libraries

* Spatial analysis: Expertise in at least one GIS analysis software, such as QGIS or ArcGIS

* Data visualization: Knowledge of data visualization tools such as R Shiny, Plotly or D3 is a strong advantage.

* Database management: Familiarity with SQL, database systems, and the management of data in enterprise environments is an advantage.

Soft Skills

* Analytical skills: ability to think strategically and rapidly analyze, interpret and integrate data information from varied sources into clear conclusions and recommendations.

* Communication skills: strong writing and data presentation skills, including data visualization.

* Ability to produce quality work with a high degree of accuracy and attention to detail.

* Self-starter: ability to take the initiative and work independently.

* Strong teamwork orientation, good interpersonal skills, and a proven ability to work effectively with a range of clients and colleagues.

* Enthusiasm for, and commitment to, development and data work.

Core competencies

* Collaborate Within Teams and Across Boundaries – collaborates across organizational boundaries, internally and externally with a sense of mutuality and respect. Consistently engages others in open dialogue, brings out any conflicting viewpoints and incorporates viewpoints into solutions, giving credit where credit is due. Leverages expertise of all team members to ensure successful outcomes. Makes choices and sets priorities with a World Bank Group (WBG) corporate perspective in mind.

* Lead and Innovate – encourages and works with others to identify, incubate and implement relevant solutions. Identifies opportunities in changing circumstances and energizes others to continuously improve, using intentional strategies to boost morale, team spirit, and productivity in context of WBG’s values and mission. Helps others to understand problems, client needs and the underlying context.

* Deliver Results for Clients – Develops and implements solutions that show understanding of how clients and/or own work achieves results that are financially, environmentally and socially sustainable. Shares new insights based on in-depth understanding of the client and recommends solutions for current and future needs of clients. Holds self and team accountable for risk management and outcomes.

* Create, Apply and Share Knowledge – ensures systematic sharing of good practice and learning from lessons from across WBG, clients, and partners. Is known across WBG in their subject area and is sought out by WBG colleagues to advise, peer review, or contribute to technical knowledge products of others. Builds networks across the WBG and as part of external professional groups/networks.

* Make Smart Decisions – applies critical thinking and seeks inputs and experience from others to recommend a course of action consistent with the WBG’s strategy. Evaluates risk and anticipates the short- and long-term implications of decisions. Commits to a decision and acts once a decision has been reached. Maintains a high degree of initiative, and can derive and implement clear courses of action, even when information is incomplete, incorrect, or the situation is otherwise ambiguous.