• Senior Director, Research Technology

    Job Locations US-IA-Iowa City | US-CO-Lakewood | US-Remote
    Posted Date 1 month ago(3/23/2018 4:33 PM)
    Job ID
    # of Openings
    Research Management
    25 - 50% Travel
  • Overview

    ACT is a nonprofit organization helping people achieve educational and workplace success.  Our programs are designed to boost lifelong learning in schools and workplaces around the world. Whether it's guiding students along their learning paths, enabling companies to develop their workforce, fostering parent, teacher, and counselor understanding of student progress, guiding job seekers toward career success, or informing policymakers about education and workforce issues. ACT is passionate about making a difference in all we do.


    Learn more about working at ACT at act.org.


    The Senior Director of Research Technology leads a team of research business analysts and research software engineers with the purpose of enhancing ACT’s research and product outcomes through providing researchers with access to a network of cutting-edge platforms to enable high-quality innovative research and working with enterprise engineering to co-develop the resulting methods into near-real time operational analytics for products and services.



    Typical work-related activities include:

    • Partner with research area and cross-functional leaders to align research’s technology initiatives with its strategic direction, to ensure that the research area has the technology infrastructure to support state-of-the-science research and operational analytic capabilities, and to conduct change management required for adoption of new capabilities. Example technology initiatives include: automated test assembly, assessment analytics data repository, near-real time item analysis and calibration, platform to support exploratory analytics.
    • Engage with key research staff to assess existing needs and priorities and to develop a long-term technology plan and for identifying new or unmet technology needs, including leading edge solutions.
    • Lead a service-oriented team of research business analysts and research software engineers that works closely with researchers to understand and capture acceptance criteria for research technology needs and that collaborates with the enterprise engineering organization to implement those functionalities through participation in agile ceremonies.
    • Balance the research technology portfolio to be responsive to current and emerging analytic needs.
    • Anticipate and solve major challenges and addresses strategic matters associated with interactions of new components/subsystems/technologies with current systems.
    • Collaborate with the research data engineering services team to ensure proposed solutions align with data governance and privacy requirements.
    • Stay abreast of relevant software engineering best practices and guide the research area in implementing those best practices. Establish practices within the research area for analytic code performance, quality and version control in alignment with enterprise tools and procedures.
    • Participate in industry working groups establishing standards for interoperability and assessment and learning analytics.
    • Direct the work of professional staff. Attract, engage, develop, and retain top talent. Responsible for the team’s successful performance.





    • Master’s Degree in Computer Science, Engineering, or other technical field, or an equivalent combination or education and experience required.
    • Evidence of self-directed learning accomplishments (e.g., AWS certifications, software certifications, project management certifications, data science certifications) highly preferred.




    • 10+ years of management experience leading software development for applications in the assessment and/or learning analytics fields.
    • 8+ years managing direct reports with responsibilities for recruiting, hiring, developing, and performance.
    • Demonstrated record of working with scientists and engineers to deliver cutting edge algorithms, performance and functionality.
    • Demonstrated record of engaging and partnering with management and staff to accomplish the goals of an organization. This includes the ability to: a) creatively resolve problems in close consultation with stakeholders and, b) build consensus among differing perspectives to reach decisions that leverage the organization’s use of technology in service of its mission.
    • Experience with agile development methodologies and tools required; experience leading or serving on high velocity agile development teams and in leading teams to decompose functionality into reasonably sized user stories that each deliver incremental value to users preferred.
    • Experience leading the implementation of industry standards for interoperability of education technology software such as IMS Global QTI and Caliper Analytics required.
    • Experience leading the development of cloud-based applications required.


    Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

    • Project and budget management, strong business acumen required.
    • Proficient in multiple software languages, Operating Systems, software tools, software development processes and software architecture, such as Python, Java, C, C++, Linux, Windows, Unix, OOD, SOA, Web technologies, database technologies, AWS and other Cloud tools, Github, Bitbucket, JIRA, etc.
    • Demonstrated knowledge of software test methodology, automation and tool sets.
    • Exceptional written and verbal communication skills and the ability to communicate complex technology concepts to non-technical audiences required.
    • Strong technical trouble-shooting and root cause analysis skills required.
    • Strong organizational skills, including the ability to organize and manage multiple priorities and projects, required.
    • Knowledge of best practices in developing and maintaining clear technical documentation required.
    • Familiarity with statistical software packages such as R and SAS and their implementation in enterprise architectures preferred.
    • Innovative thinker and thought leader.
    • Exceptional collaborator and team member.
    • Demonstrated willingness to both teach others and learn new techniques.
    • Agile mindset.


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