TL:DR; There are currently more than 100 open EA-aligned tech jobs, including roles such as software engineering, ML engineering, data science, product management, and UI/UX design.
Thanks to Vaidehi Agarwalla, Yonatan Cale, Patrick Gruban and David Mears for feedback on drafts of this post.
EA’s tech needs in 2018
Flashback to EAG London 2018: Having just come out of a web development bootcamp, I got the impression that the only use for software engineers within the EA community was earning-to-give. There were very few software engineering jobs at EA organizations, and they didn’t seem to be particularly exciting. As one conference participant said to me: “There are only so many EA orgs for which websites must be built”. Sure, there was AI safety research, but your “standard” web developer does not have the required skill set.
EA’s software needs in 2022
Fast forward 3.5 years, this has changed. Probably partly due to EA growing significantly in funding, more and more tech jobs are advertised every day. The diversity of jobs has also increased, with roles ranging from app and web development, to data science, ML engineering or product management, as well as varying in seniority levels.
- Anthropic is looking for a senior software engineer to build large scale ML systems to do AI alignment work.
- Momentum is hiring a frontend engineer to help build their donation app.
- Our World in Data is searching for a Head of Product and Design.
- IDInsight has open positions for junior data scientists and engineers.
At the most recent EAG London, I was talking about this to someone working at a big tech company, and they asked me: “But how many EA-aligned tech jobs are there? Surely not a 100?”, to which I replied without much thinking, “No, 100 sounds about right!”
Are there really more than 100 open EA-aligned tech jobs?
Curious whether I was correct, I’ve compiled this list, and, lo and behold, my estimate seems rather spot on. I could find 115 openings for EA-aligned tech jobs, at least if we interpret the relevant terms as follows.
What I counted as a tech job
I consider the following roles a tech job:
- Software engineer/developer
- Data scientist
- Data engineer
- IT admin
- Product manager
- UI/UX designer
- Research engineer
- Machine Learning engineer
What I didn't count as a tech job
I did not include AI research jobs, like this one at DeepMind. Under some interpretation of the term “tech”, you might want to add such jobs, but the target audience for this post are people working in “ordinary” industry jobs that don’t require a PhD in Computer Science. I have met many EAs who have a data/software background, but aren’t drawn to AI research work as they aren't qualified. I did, however, include any tech jobs from the above list in organizations working on AI alignment, such as this one at OpenAI.
I excluded internships, as calling these “jobs” seems to be somewhat misleading.
What did I count as EA-aligned?
As EA-aligned, I considered jobs that satisfy any of the following conditions:
- Posted on the 80k job board
- A job at an organization that is on this list of EA-aligned organizations
[EDIT] To avoid confusion, it is worth pointing out that some of the jobs on the 80k job board are listed there not because they are directly impactful, but because they help people build up career capital to be impactful later. As Niel Bowerman from 80k writes in a comment to this post: "I'm keen for people to take these "career capital" roles so that in the future they can contribute more directly to making the development of powerful AI systems go well." So "EA-aligned" shouldn't be read as "directly impactful towards EA goals".
[EDIT 2] Some have argued in the comments that working on AI capabilities research, e.g., for OpenAI or DeepMind, would be actively harmful.
There is probably much more to come
I did not reach out to the organizations to check whether the positions listed are all still open. Even if some of them have already been closed and the ads have just not been taken offline, it is reasonable to expect that lots more jobs will be posted soon given that the FTX Foundation is expected to give out at least $100m in grants this year and has in recent weeks made its first funding decisions.
Does EA have an impactful tech job that would fit you?
There are lots of EAs with tech skills. As a proxy, of the roughly 1250 public profiles on the EA Hub that have been filled with more information than just the user’s name, roughly 200 have listed “software engineering” as a skill. Extrapolating this to an estimated community size of 7400 active EAs in 2021 (based on the EA survey), and subtracting the 31% of students in said survey, we should expect there to be have been more than 800 active EAs who are professionals with software engineering skills at that time. (Granted, these skills are quite different from UX or product management skills, so I am not saying that the talent pool for those skills is large within EA.)
Despite this, it has been noted that EA organizations don’t find it easy to hire tech talent. So, if you work as a software engineer, UX designer, data scientist or product manager in the industry, consider applying for an EA-aligned tech job. My sense from having run many events in the EA tech community is that the average member would like to use their skills to do direct work, but underestimates how many jobs there are.
Where to find EA-aligned tech jobs
- For current openings (as of 26 April 2022), see this list of jobs I created. I do not intend to update it regularly, but feel free to make suggestions for any jobs I might have missed by adding a comment.
- The 80k job board, filter by “Engineering”
- The Software, Data, and Tech Effective Altruism Facebook group
- Attend EAG(x)s. Some organizations are looking for people and present at career fairs, but haven’t posted those jobs yet.