1. Playbook
  2. Tech Leaders Program

Tech Leaders Program

Datopian is doing work for many clients and demand is consistent and growing. We have a suite of our own tools, products and patterns.

To meet that demand we need people who are able to analyse and specify technical work in a way that meets client needs as well as developing our own tooling and approaches to data management problems.

These are the Datopian Tech Leaders. Through a rigorous development program you will be able to consistently and powerfully design technical solutions to the data management problems we encounter, with a common approach to problem analysis and shared design principles.

Pre-alpha: The Tech Leaders is in its infancy and we are still working a lot of things out. Expect things to evolve.


The purpose of the Tech Leaders program is to empower you to be a tech leader for Datopian. Someone who is able to distinguish client needs rapidly, architect excellent solutions and effectively empower and enable a team in their own planning and implementation.

Participation in the Program

Anyone at Datopian may apply to participate in the program and acceptance into the program will be decided by the CTO.

Participants in the program are known as Tech Leader Apprentices.

Upon successful graduation you will be a Datopian Tech Leader.

Commitment and Agreements

Phase I of the program involves about 50-60h of classrooms. The classrooms are part of your normal working time. In addition, you will be expected to take on up to 24h of homework (usually no more than 2h a week) which you will complete in your own time.


  • Attend 1h classroom 4d a week (at least 80% attendance)
  • Be on time
  • Do assigned homework
  • Bring aliveness and curiosity
  • Be an active stand for the integrity of yourself and others

What is a Tech Leader?

Key Dimensions

A Tech Lead reliably and effectively:

  1. Distinguishes needs of clients and users.
  2. Designs solutions that address those needs utilizing and developing our (and others) tools and patterns.
  3. Delivers results by empowering and enabling teams to plan and implement those solutions within and across projects.
  4. Provides leadership making things happen that weren't going to happen anyway, developing others and exemplifying the Datopian way.

1 + 2 (plus the planning in 3) together form what we term:

Areas of Mastery

A Tech Leader has a solid foundation in all of the following areas and proficiency in several:

  • Foundational capabilities
    • Meetings and communication
    • Collecting and processing information
    • Self-learning
  • Analysis and planning
    • Distinguish customer needs into user epics, personas, stories and requirements
    • Analysing those into tasks with estimation
    • Evaluating technical options for addressing those tasks
  • Research and innovation to discover new and better ways to do technical work
    • Knowledge and research third-party tools and approaches
    • Extend and combine existing approaches
    • Create new tools, patterns and products
  • Data Context: Data Portals, Management, Engineering and Policy
    • Key features
    • Patterns
    • Key aspects of data engineering
    • Open data, closed data and in between
  • Our patterns and tools and how they address the above
    • CKAN (Classic)
    • Frictionless Data
    • CKAN Next Generation
    • DevOps including Kubernetes and Docker
  • Leadership
    • Integrity as a foundation of workability
    • Authenticity
    • Commitment to something bigger than themselves


This Coggle provides an overview of the topics we cover:


The program is structured more like a business school class than a traditional course. Learning is centred around case studies and classrooms oriented to discussion and review. As far as possible, we try to have case studies focused on live, real-world examples.

The program is divided into two phases:

  1. Phase I focuses on the "technical" in Technical Leader and looks more at analysis and, specifically, dimensions 1 and 2 "Distinguishing Needs" and "Designing Solutions".
  2. Phase II focuses on the "leader" in Technical Leader and looks more at dimensions 3 and 4: "Delivering Results" and "Providing Leadership".

During Phase I of the program, participants will take on at least three projects:

  1. Project A: in-depth analysis of a self-selected problem. This will include full needs analysis and should ultimately result in a new case study write-up.
  2. Project B: mini-project to create or improve some part of our technical training materials. This will exercise needs analysis in the area of documentation and also include implementation.
  3. Project C: Graduation project. Full analysis and design on a set problem.

You will also get to take a approx. 3h graduation quiz.

Successful graduation from Phase I will earn you the title of Technical Lead Novice (Level 1). Graduation from Phase II earns the title of Technical Lead Competent (Level 2).