Ruby of Rails engineer wanted to work on PlantVillage humanitarian project with United Nations

Posted on March 26, 2020 by PlantVillage

PlantVillage is the frontline tool for the United Nations as it tackles locusts across East Africa which the United Nations considers a humanitarian issue affecting 19 million people. We also work for the UN on their global fall armyworm platform which is another pest insect causing losses of food  from  West Africa to China.  PlantVillage operates via apps that run AI tools inside the phone and data is reported back to our backend database where it is mapped for country level responses. Currently the Fall armyworm app is used across 66 countries and 29 languages and the eLocust3m app is used across 26 countries.

PlantVillage is run out of Penn State University as a global public good. The recent upsurge in Locust activity  has placed extra strain on our capabilities to respond. We need urgent support from a senior level engineer with expertise in Ruby on Rails. This will be on a consultancy model initially, but we intend to also advertise a position at the University. Penn State has a group of Ruby engineers working on projects like Scholar Sphere so opportunities to work with other senior engineers exist. We are looking for someone who will be a strong advocate for best practices, testing, deployment, api versioning.

Confident in current skillset, willing to expand skillset based on the needs of the project. Interested in dealing with a lot of different "clients", each with their own priorities, and has the experience and confidence to push back when it's good for the project. Interested in / experience with building a long-term platform.

PlantVillage is a global public intended to help the poorest people on the planet cope with the ravages of climate change and pests. The people we serve typically earn less than $2.5/day (see the blogs on this site). So, your work would have an impact. All our engineers are required and expected to engage across a wide group of people from UN staff to smallholder farmers in Kenya. You also have the chance to work in Africa.  

The salary is in the range of $40-48/hour. The goodwill factor will be unmatchable. Come join PlantVillage and put your skills to work for humanity.

Please send a CV and cover letter to 

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