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Short-Term Programming Consultant


The family economic security unit at the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP), part of Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, is seeking a Programming Consultant for a six-month project to assist with updating its online data tool, the Family Resource Simulator (FRS), for the District of Columbia.

The Programming Consultant will be expected to revise and/or create all the codes, scripts, and programs necessary for this update as well as perform requested improvements to the existing FRS structure. He or she will work closely with two NCCP research analysts to translate their initial revisions of Perl code to ensure that the Perl code interacts correctly with the PHP code, SQL database, and HTML code also included in the FRS infrastructure. PHP and HTML coding will also be necessary. Once the initial codes are updated to NCCP’s staging (preliminary) site, the Programming Consultant will work with the center’s research analysts, the unit director, and an in-house web developer to debug any issues during the testing process. While the research analysts who will be participating in the update have some experience in Perl and the specific programming for this tool owing to recent updates, the expertise of an experienced programmer in Perl and the other languages the tool uses is required for the successful implementation and completion of this project.

This consultancy can be conducted remotely and is estimated to take about 100 hours over the course of six to eight months. Start date would be immediate upon completion of paperwork, and all work must be completed by September 30, 2017. Applicants must be highly responsive via email and/or phone.


The FRS is a policy-modeling tool available publicly at The FRS models net resources for a range of family types by subtracting a family’s estimated expenses from its estimated resources, including earnings and benefits from income and work supports such as tax credits and child care subsidies. It is designed to model both current work support programs, proposed reforms to these programs, and new policies and programs, making it a versatile tool. NCCP most recently updated simulators for Colorado, Florida, and Ohio.


  • Expertise in HTML, Perl, PHP, and SQL
  • Demonstrated success working in a collaborative team
  • Strong communication skills
  • Ability to meet deadlines

Preferred Skills

  • Knowledge of national- and state-level social policy for low-income families

Please send resume, cover letter, and three professional references to Suma Setty, Research Associate, at