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A cover letter is required for consideration for this position.  In order for the Career Portal system to accept a cover letter, please include a cover letter as the first page of your resume document.   The cover letter should specifically address why you are interested in this position and describe specific skills and experiences in your history and directly relate them to the responsibilities of, and qualification for, this position.

Job Summary

We are seeking a General Programmer/Analyst Senior (Data Manager) to join the Technical Services Group (TSG) at Survey Research Operations (SRO).  TSG is responsible for the development and support of systems and tools used to manage survey and data collection operations and processes including respondent contact, sample management, computer assisted data collection, resource management, reporting, and quality assurance.  SRO is the operations branch of the Survey Research Center (SRC) at the Institute for Social Research (ISR). 

For additional information on SRC and SRO, please visit our websites at and

This position is based in Ann Arbor with a salary range of $70,000 - $85,000 annually depending on the qualifications and experience of the selected candidate.

Data Manager Seniors provide direction and oversight to assure the quality of data management tasks on multiple survey research projects and serve as lead data manager to support large or complex survey research projects.  They are key members of project teams. Under general supervision, Data Manager Seniors query, transform, clean, integrate, curate, analyze, and report on a variety of complex research and administrative


Data Manager Seniors lead the design and development of methods, procedures, and specifications for collecting, organizing, classifying and reporting on complex information during all phases of a project’s life-cycle. The primary tools used by Data Manager Seniors are SAS, Python, and/or SQL.

Pre-production:  Project setup, testing, and implementation

  • Lead the setup and implementation of project-specific computerized sample management systems and databases and provide guidance and support for these activities to other data manager colleagues.
  • Establish and implement variable naming conventions, program recodes and derived variables necessary for quality control and monitoring of production.
  • Test third party and in-house data collection systems and utilities at all stages of their development to verify that the inputs and outputs work as expected. This may include creating and loading survey and system variables and test data sets, exporting data, and reviewing outputs to verify the accuracy and quality of systems.
  • Determine data collection workflow and communicate challenges that may impact project timelines.
  • Consult and collaborate with project team members and Principal Investigators on survey research project design.

Production phase:  Project monitoring, and quality control

  • Perform complex database queries and develop datasets and ad hoc reports for QC of data collection operations, production monitoring and analysis using SAS, SQL and other statistical packages.
  • Create and validate customized reports to help in the monitoring of production. 
  • Establish standards for running quality assurance checks on collected data and trouble-shoot problems reported. 
  • Assure that best practices for the implementation of reports and procedures are adopted across projects.
  • Take the lead in diagnosing, identifying and resolving serious technical or data problems, including programming, data and procedural errors.

Post-production:  Data cleaning, output, and documentation

  • Independently prepare final versions of complex datasets including cleaning, recoding, reformatting and outputting data as necessary for delivery to key stakeholders; document all work performed
  • Independently document quality assurance operations performed in final reports, provide basic documentation on datasets, and assure that other projects under their oversight are equally well-documented.
  • Harmonize data with previously collected data or aggregate disparate data sources for analysis and reporting.

General and developmental responsibilities

  • Lead in developing and designing methods, procedures, and specifications for collecting, organizing, classifying and reporting on paradata and survey data.
  • Oversee the creation of new data management solutions by implementing new database processes and/or adapting existing data management tools to work in new environments across multiple projects, and train others on how to use them.
  • Identify opportunities to improve the efficiency and/or quality of data processing and work with team members to implement solutions.
  • Train and supervise new staff and review their work.
  • Consult with key stakeholders and/or project team members on the development of complex technical and reporting systems for large survey data collection projects and associated processes.
  • Create training materials and documents.
  • Conduct quality checks on the work of team members.

Required Qualifications*

At least five years of research experience working with large research data sets; at least three of these years must be in survey research.  Experience must demonstrate broad understanding all areas of survey research (e.g. sampling, data collection, coding, data processing, application programming, analysis, and methodology) and widespread knowledge of general survey methodology concepts, survey sampling and/or advanced statistical analysis using survey data or related paradata.

At least five years of data management programming experience using common data management tools such as SAS, SQL, and/or Python. Experiences must demonstrate knowledge of basic programming concepts, and include experiences with combining data from disparate sources, programming reports, cleaning and preparing data for analysis, and/or debugging data in complex applications.

Experience with querying, managing and testing data in applications that store data in relational databases. Broad knowledge of relational database concepts and scripting languages, such as SAS, SQL, and Python.

Experience with complex survey and process data using various modes of data collection (paper, computer-assisted, web), and knowledgeable about the related data challenges/issues.

Strong organizational skills, including experience handling multiple projects with competing deadlines and prioritizing tasks in a fast-paced production environment. Must be able to respond flexibly to changing circumstances.

Effective communication skills, with both technical and non-technical audiences. Experience composing technical documentation.

Excellent attention to detail and accuracy.

Demonstrated ability to learn and use new computer programs quickly and effectively.

Demonstrated ability to work with minimal hands-on supervision and to make independent process and technical decisions while using correct judgment about when to seek guidance from more senior staff.

Demonstrated history of working collaboratively with team members and colleagues at all levels.

Demonstrated history of enhancing professional and technical skills.

Demonstrated experience providing guidance or oversight to team members working on projects for which you are not directly responsible.

Desired Qualifications*

Advanced programming skills in data management or report programming using tools such as VBA, Python, SAS macro, and SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS).

Experience with web survey data collection applications and working directly with the associated data/paradata.

Many of SRO’s projects involve multiple types of data and technical systems. Access to these systems and data files may be limited, in varying degrees, according to their sensitivity. The most sensitive data may only be accessible by data managers and other employees who have passed federal background checks (up to level 5), are US citizens, have signed Data Use Agreements, and have passed other industry standard background and security checks. We seek candidates who agree to submit to SRC-funded background and security checks

Additional Information

The Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan wants to recruit and retain a diverse workforce as a reflection of our commitment to serve the diverse people of Michigan, to maintain the excellence of the university, and to ground our research in varied disciplines, perspectives, and ways of knowing and learning.

U-M EEO/AA Statement

The University of Michigan is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.