Big Data Engineer and Spark Developer [New Position]


  • Period: full-time (36.25 hours/week) contract position for a period of 6 months
  • Salary: $30.00 to $40.00/hour
  • Mandatory technical skills: SPARK, Python, Pyspark, Big data, Data ingestion and visualization frameworks

The Social Media Lab at Ted Rogers School of ManagementRyerson University in Toronto, Canada is seeking a highly motivated Big Data Engineer and Spark Developer with expertise in the development and evaluation of distributed computing systems and familiarity with large-scale network visualization and analysis.

Network visualizations are frequently used to study group dynamics and their underlying structures as well as to form research hypotheses and communicate results. It can reveal information about the network’s structure that may be difficult to determine through quantitative and qualitative methods alone. However, networks such as those coming from social media are quite large and getting larger, existing visualization layout techniques are computationally expensive, and often their implementations are not easily scalable. 

The successful candidate will be responsible for:
1) developing and evaluating distributed computing solutions for large-scale network visualization and analysis; and then
2) applying the proposed methods to analyze the dissemination and reach of known dis/mis-information campaigns on social media sites such as Twitter and Reddit.

Applicants must have demonstrable expertise in applications of distributed computing and visualization techniques. Knowledge of social network analysis (SNA) is an asset.

The successful candidate will be a member of and work with an interdisciplinary team of researchers at Ryerson University’s Social Media Lab, headed by co-directors Dr. Anatoliy Gruzd, Canada Research Chair and Associate Professor at the Ted Rogers School of Management and Philip Mai, Director of Business and Communications. The developer must be available to work onsite at the Social Media Lab in Toronto, Canada.


The successful candidate will be expected to work actively with all team members and contribute to the intellectual life of the lab. These responsibilities include but are not limited to:

  • Contributing substantially to development projects,
  • Developing, evaluating and applying computational techniques to analyze social media data,
  • Communicating regularly with the project team,
  • Actively participating in the knowledge management and translation of the lab’s projects.


  • MSc in one of the following areas: Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Information Systems or a related field is required;
  • Hands-on experience with Apache Spark’s frameworks (such as GraphX, Graphframes or similar technologies) is a must;
  • Working knowledge of social network analysis (SNA);
  • Excellent communication skills are critically important.


  • Candidates should submit the following materials electronically to Dr. Anatoliy Gruzd and Mr. Philip Mai at info [at]

Please email one PDF file that includes the following:

  1. Cover Letter that describes your relevant background and skills,
  2. Resume.


  • Review of applications will continue until the position is filled.


Located in the heart of downtown Toronto, the largest and most culturally diverse city in Canada, the Social Media Lab is an internationally engaged multi- and interdisciplinary research laboratory at the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University. The lab studies how social media is changing the ways in which people and organizations communicate, disseminate information, conduct business and form communities online, and how these changes impact society. The lab’s research seeks to advance the public’s understanding of the benefits and pitfalls of social media adoption.

The Social Media Lab was established in 2010 and is the first of its kind in North America. It is led by co-directors, Anatoliy Gruzd (PhD) – Dir. of Research and Philip Mai (JD) – Director of Business and Communications. The lab is internationally recognized and attracts a diverse range of outstanding multidisciplinary scholars from around the world each year. It is a leader in social media studies and is the convener of the annual International Conference on Social Media and Society (#SMSociety).

The lab’s expertise lies in studying online communities and social networks, and developing new methods for analyzing and visualizing social media data. The Social Media Lab conducts research in a wide variety of areas including: Academia, Health, Information Privacy, Mis/Dis-information, Online Communities, Organizational Social Media Use, and Politics. The broad aim of the lab’s various research initiatives is to provide decision makers with additional knowledge and insights into the behaviors and relationships of online social network members, and to understand how these interpersonal connections influence our personal choices and actions. We also develop research apps, tools and methods for collecting, analyzing and visualizing publicly available social media data.

Ryerson University (with over 45,000 undergraduate and graduate students) is located in the heart of one of the world’s most culturally and linguistically diverse urban centres. Research at Ryerson is on a trajectory of success and growth, as evidenced by externally funded research doubling in the past 5 years. Longstanding partnerships with community, industry, government, and professional practice drive research and innovation that responds to real-world problems. The University’s academic plan, Our Time to Lead, can be found at Ryerson University is strongly committed to fostering diversity within our community. We welcome those who would contribute to the further diversification of our staff, our faculty and its scholarship including, but not limited to, women, visible minorities, Aboriginal people, persons with disabilities, and persons of any sexual orientation or gender identity. Please note that all qualified candidates are encouraged to apply but applications from Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority.