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Senior Programmer
Harvard University in Boston, Massachusetts
Date Posted 01/12/2022
Employment Type
Application Deadline Open until filled


Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health


Job Summary

The Department of Epidemiology, at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, studies the frequency, distribution, and determinants of disease in humans, a fundamental science of public health. In addition to pursuing ground-breaking global research initiatives, we educate and prepare future medical leaders and practitioners as part of our mission to ignite positive changes in the quality of health across the world.

The CausaLab (within the Department of Epidemiology) conducts cutting edge research involving the study design and statistical analysis of large health care databases for several national and international NIH-funded projects. The Lab consists of a team of 6. The investigators within the CausaLab have obtained uninterrupted funding for their teams for more than 20 years. Currently this includes projects in HIV, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, opioids, COVID-19, pregnancy and methodological applications of causal inference and artificial intelligence. Results from studies have informed guidelines for the treatment and prevention of multiples diseases, and contributed to the innovation of methods to generate valid evidence from real world data. The candidate will join this core team of two investigators and our current Programmer, whom has been with the team for over 15 years.

The CausaLab is seeking a full-time Senior Programmer to support a research team of faculty members (principal investigators Miguel Hernán and Sonia Hernández-Díaz), postdoctoral researchers, students, and external collaborators. The Senior Programmer will be responsible for data cleaning and management of healthcare databases and other complex databases, as well as for the development, maintenance, and documentation of code.

Job-Specific Responsibilities

Additional job duties and responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Develop and deploy data cleaning, data management, variable creation, and variable naming protocols of projects involving electronic health records, administrative claims, and other complex databases
  • Create and maintain databases using R and SAS in collaboration with members of the research team
  • Create and link customized databases and analytic datasets in UNIX and Windows environments
  • Lead the development, maintenance, and documentation of software in R and SAS (including R functions and SAS macros for data management and analysis support), and occasionally Python & SQL
  • Function as a resource for researchers, post-docs and other trainees to help debug programs and to access correct data
  • Identify inefficiencies in the programming and data management infrastructure and advise the Principal Investigator on potential solutions and alternatives
  • Obtain approval to access and work with data from US Veterans Administration
  • Troubleshoot the team’s IT server infrastructure
  • May assist the PIs with development of data management standard operating procedures and policies
  • Performs other duties as assigned
An ideal applicant will have practical experience in SAS and/or R and SQL, an engineering-like mindset, be mathematically oriented, and enjoy writing code for large and complex datasets.

PLEASE NOTE: This position has a term end date of two years from date of hire, with the possibility of extension.

PLEASE NOTE: Shortlisted candidates will be required to submit work samples (sample code) and/or complete a coding assessment.

PLEASE NOTE: The finalist will be required to complete both the Harvard University and US Veterans Administration background screening processes.

PLEASE NOTE: The primary work location for this position is Boston, MA and in order to be on Harvard payroll, you must reside in one of the following states – MA, NH, RI, ME, CT, VT, NY, MD, or CA. Until our return to campus and full operational status, which is still to-be-determined, this interview process and position will take place in a slightly modified manner – including virtual interviews and a combination of remote and on-site onboarding and work. On-campus/in-person work is expected, though, upon start date – in accordance with approved COVID-related guidelines and protocols.

Basic Qualifications

  • 4+ years post-secondary education and/or relevant work experience required
  • Professional working experience with R, SAS and/or related software required
  • Professional experience working with SQL required

Additional Qualifications and Skills

The following job-specific skills and competencies are preferred:

  • Master’s Degree in Statistics, Data Science, Computer Science, Mathematics, Informatics, or other health data related field
  • Experience with Python
  • Knowledge of maintenance and support of IT infrastructure systems within an enterprise environment
  • Excellent written, verbal, and interpersonal communication skills
  • Excellent efficiency and time management skills
  • Highly organized with a strong attention to detail and accuracy
  • Experience collaborating with all levels of research team; demonstrated team performance skills
  • Service-oriented mindset and approach
The following cultural competencies are also preferred:
  • Awareness of and aptitude to appropriately and effectively understand, respect, and adapt to cultural and identity-based difference within group environments
  • Knowledge of and commitment to concepts and issues tied to social justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Skills related to creating and supporting an environment that allows for inclusion, effective intercultural engagement, and personal humility and authenticity

Additional Information

Harvard University offers an outstanding benefits package including:

  • Time Off: 3-4 weeks paid vacation, paid holiday break, 12 paid sick days, 12+ paid holidays, and 3 paid personal days per year.
  • Medical/Dental/Vision: Excellent and affordable medical, dental & vision plans, with coverage beginning as of an employee's start date.
  • Retirement: University-funded retirement plan with full vesting after 3 years of service.
  • Tuition Assistance & Reimbursement Programs: $40 per class at the Harvard Extension School, discounted options through participating Harvard graduate schools, and reimbursement options for accredited schools outside of Harvard.
  • Transportation: 50% discount on MBTA passes, as well as additional options (rideshare, biking, etc.) to assist employees in their daily commute.
  • Wellness & Professional Development: Programs and classes at little or no cost, including stress management, hard & soft skills development, career planning, massages, nutrition, meditation, and complimentary health services. Additionally, access to Harvard athletic facilities, libraries, campus events -- and many discounts for various cultural and leisure activities throughout metro Boston.
Join the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health to support our mission of health research and education, and to be a part of the oldest institution of higher learning in the country!


  • The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health does not provide visa sponsorship, now or in the future, for staff positions.
  • Harvard University requires pre-employment reference checks and background screenings.
  • This position has a 180 day orientation and review period. The O&R period will be waived for any internal Harvard employee transfers.

The University requires all Harvard community members to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and remain up to date with COVID-19 vaccine boosters, as detailed in Harvard’s Vaccine & Booster Requirements . Individuals may claim exemption from the vaccine requirement for medical or religious reasons. More information regarding the University’s COVID vaccination requirement, exemptions, and verification of vaccination status may be found at the University’s “COVID-19 Vaccine Information” webpage: http://www.harvard.edu/coronavirus/covid-19-vaccine-information/ .

Job Function

Information Technology, Research


USA - MA - Boston

Job Code

383157 App Progrmng/Analysis/Develop


00 - Non Union, Exempt or Temporary

Pre-Employment Screening

Criminal, Education, Identity

Commitment to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging

At the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, we believe that diversity is integral to the Harvard experience and our mission of improving public health education, research and policy. Diversity of cultural backgrounds, identities, lived experiences, perspectives, and ways of understanding the world enriches our community and enables us to best meet the public health needs of the United States and the world. Ongoing learning and development related to diversity allows for both individual and institutional growth, and is necessary to foster and sustain a culture of inclusion. To achieve this, we are committed to ensuring equitable access to opportunities for learning, living, and working at the Harvard Chan School. We maintain an unwavering dedication to diversity, inclusion, and belonging as core to our institutional values and to actively counter, minimize, and address racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, gender bias, and all forms of discrimination.

Learn more about the School’s mission, objectives, and core values and our diversity, inclusion, and belonging initiatives.

EEO Statement

We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions, or any other characteristic protected by law.

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