Application Developer

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Post Details

Post title: Application Developer
Ref No: 2017/09
Grade: H
Type of appointment:          Fixed Term Appointment for 3 Years
Location: Peterborough
Team: Data Services
Closing date: 09:00 on 10 April 2017  (The anticipated interview date is 28 April 2017)



Team/Post background

We are a small team of skilled developers trying to make a real difference to nature conservation in the UK.  


JNCC is the statutory advisor to the UK government on nature conservation.

As a statutory body we enjoy full Civil Service benefits, including public sector pension, 37 days paid leave (including public holidays) and flexible working patterns.


Recently used technologies include Typescript, Node, React, Docker, Luigi, Python, PostGres/PostGIS, Geoserver, SQL Server (making increasing use of spatial datatypes and analysis), C#, ASP.NET, Entity Framework, MVC, Java, Spring, Jersey, Jackson, Javascript, jQuery, Mapserver, FME, QGIS and ArcGIS. We support one significant C# application and one significant Java/Scala application. We are open source by preference. We use Github (, AWS and Docker. We develop on Ubuntu and Windows.


As part of the Future Data programme at JNCC, we work with a broad range of other bodies across the UK such as Defra, the Devolved Administrations, the statutory nature conservation bodies, Earth Observation Centre of Excellence, Government Digital Service as well as internal colleagues to make and support software and digital services to help the aims of JNCC.


The team are currently involved in a wide range of work from highly technical IT work, application development, analytical (statistical) processing of data (increasingly spatial / georeferenced data), scalable workflows and automation in the cloud, establishing effective version control and developing data management working practices.  All of this work is integrated with the business of conservation. Recent projects include:


  • Building an open source cloud-based system to automate acquisition of raw satellite data, processing it to an ‘analysis ready’ standard and distributing it via a web interface and API. 
  • Authoring an internal data asset register to catalogue our data holdings and allow us to publish as Open Data
  • collation and on-line dissemination of marine habitat mapping and protected areas through JNCC Marine Protected Areas webGIS   and EMODNET  (
  • redevelopment of a system to allow on-line delivery and exchange of biodiversity data called the NBN Gateway (


The wider team are also directly involved in a range of projects looking at applying available data to specific conservation problems including detecting trends in biodiversity and using species data to predict habitat type.


JNCC played a leading role in the recent Defra Open Data initiative to make as much data as possible available to the public. We work alongside data specialists and analysts. We are moving towards exciting projects involving processing fairly big data. A lot of what we do involves data such as biological records, surveys and satellite maps. Much of this is geospatial data, so we use tools like Geoserver and OGC web services.


The successful candidate must be a good communicator with strong programming and technical skills. An interest in nature conservation would help to put your work in context but is not a necessity.


Post Duties

We need a full stack developer / engineer experienced in making backend web based, data-focussed services.


The following duties cover the full range of ways in which the Application Developer can assist with the delivery of targets across JNCC.  The focus of work will be narrower in any year governed by the specific priorities for that year and the skills of the post holder.  It should be noted that the post holder will be working within a team and they are not expected to have knowledge across all of these areas from the outset. However, there is the opportunity to expand skills to cover these areas through time. You will:


  • Develop and pilot applications to deliver biodiversity, earth observation and other geographical data to the web and beyond.  You will contribute to the delivery and use of biodiversity data by undertaking technical reviews, helping gather and analyse user requirements and developing pilot applications to test concepts or needs.
  • Advise and plan.  Apply your technical knowledge and experience to help shape and plan work within the team.  This can include translating information needs into costed options for delivery, estimating the work and breaking it down into manageable phases.  Help managers in JNCC and its partners decide which option to implement, based on best value for money / return for effort and the skills available within the organisation.
  • Lead development/implementation.  You will lead, or assist with, the implementation of the chosen option.  This could involve developing database systems, applications including web or GIS, negotiating and organising recruitment of data from other organisations, or data manipulation and analysis.  Where the skills or time are not available in-house, projects can be carried out under contract under your management.
  • Work within an agile distributed team. You will work with other developers situated in locations across the country. This involves holding online teleconferences and utilising a wider range of remote working technologies and practices.
  • Manage data, ensuring metadata, version control, processes for change, and licensing conditions are followed.  Provide information management advice to managers and partner organisations.
  • Apply technical expertise to develop reporting solutions so that staff within JNCC can make best use of the information available.




Specialist and Technical   

  • Knowledge of, and at least 2 years’ practical experience in, at least two of the following (Essential):
  1. Object orientated computer programming and programming concepts
  2. Programming and development of Geographic information systems (GIS) or experience of working with spatial data
  3. Development of database backed web based / desktop applications including HTTP and REST
  4. Development of cloud based applications / systems (e.g. using containerisation
  5. Experience of design, development and implementation of relational databases (e.g. PostGres, SQL Server – Desirable
  6. Knowledge of, and at least 2 years’ practical experience with, software development methodologies and the full software lifecycle - Essential



Seeing the Big Picture

  • Be alert to emerging issues and trends which might impact or benefit own and team’s work - Essential
  • Actively seek out and share experience to develop understanding and knowledge of own work and of team’s business area –Desirable


Changing and Improving

  • Find ways to improve systems and structures to deliver with more streamlined resources - Desirable


Collaborating and Partnering

  • Encourage collaborative team working within own team and across the organisation – Essential
  • Establish relationships with a range of stakeholders to support delivery of business outcomes – Essential


Managing a Quality Service

  • Work with team to set priorities, goals, objectives and timescales - Essential



£27,156 per annum plus £5000 possible recruitment and retention allowance
Hours of work
Normal hours of work for the post are 36 hours per week over a 5-day period, Monday to Friday.  Flexi time is available

Annual Leave Entitlement

The annual leave allowance is 25 days per year, rising to 30 days per year after 5 years service.  There are also 12 days public and privilege leave.  Staff appointed on a part time basis will receive this pro rata.
The closing date for this post is 09:00 on 10 April 2017
A screening interview will be conducted by phone during week commencing 10 April 2017
The anticipated interview date is 28 April 2017