Public Lab Research note

Public Lab: Systems Administrator

by Shannon | March 09, 2015 20:22 09 Mar 20:22 | #11668 | #11668

Start Date: Early April
Location: Remote
Terms: Monthly contract; 6-month term, renewable

The Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science (Public Lab) is a community--supported by a 501(c)(3) non-profit--which develops and applies open-source tools to environmental exploration and investigation. By democratizing inexpensive and accessible Do-It-Yourself techniques, Public Lab creates a collaborative network of practitioners who actively re-imagine the human relationship with the environment.

We are looking for a contract-based systems administrator to maintain and build out Public Lab's web applications on an ongoing basis. These systems include:

  •, an Etherpad instance

Upcoming new services include:

  • 2 or more possible new Rails or Node based services in the next 6 months

We also run and rebuild small test VMs for most of the above services.

We're looking for someone with experience with the following systems:

  • setting up and managing linux (Debian) VMs with Rackspace and similar providers
  • Amazon AWS (S3)
  • Ruby on Rails, RVM, ruby-installer
  • nginx, SSL
  • mysql database administration
  • application deployment, potentially with capistrano
  • backup management with rsync, s3, s3cmd, and/or alternatives
  • user management with small teams (we have 4-12 users across our systems)
  • potential 24-hour availability for uptime monitoring and troubleshooting, depending on cost of service
  • optimizing and troubleshooting the above systems

An ideal candidate will be comfortable managing priorities and time, and communicating with developers of varying skill levels, as we have contributions and volunteered work from Google's Summer of Code and various open source communities. They will also be self-motivated to investigate and solve issues affecting uptime and maintainability in both the short and long term. They will communicate effectively about best practices with developers in order to improve maintainability and reduce required effort, while expanding service to new users as Public Lab grows.

Please send a short cover letter and resume to by March 27th. Public Lab has no geographic preference for where this position is located.

Public Lab is an equal opportunity employer committed to a diverse, multicultural work environment. We encourage people with different ability sets, people of color, and people of diverse sexual orientations, gender expressions and identities to apply.


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