NOAO Software Systems Engineer

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Sunday, October 1, 2017
Archive Date: 
Sunday, November 26, 2017
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Science Engineering
Institution Classification/Type: 
United States of America
Job Announcement Text: 

The Community Science and Data Center (CSDC) division of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) seeks to hire two (2) full-time Software Systems Engineers to work on development and operations of the ANTARES and Data Lab systems. These systems are designed to support a broad community user base of scientists pursuing data-intensive astronomical research with public data sets and data streams.

Essential Functions:

  • Design, develop, test, and deploy Python and/or C/C++ code for online scientific analysis platforms and services, in collaboration with other technical and scientific staff.
  • Take primary responsibility for operational reliability of deployed platforms and services.
  • Work with other technical staff to implement practices, environments, and workflows that support software system reliability and sustainability (e.g., configuration management, automated test coverage, pre-production environments, monitoring and analytics, developer practice standardization, release engineering.).
  • Work with project scientists, user-interface developers, and representative end users to optimize system user experience.
  • Research and assess new software and service technologies and trends for their potential to deliver increased value to science end users.
  • Provide Linux system administration support as needed.


  • Experience with both Python and C/C++, with expert programming ability in at least one of these languages (Python preferred).
  • Experience with software system development and operation.
  • Experience with version control systems and online code management repositories (preferably git-based).
  • Experience with continuous integration and DevOps concepts.
  • Competence in a Linux environment.

Preferred Education/Experience/Skills/Abilities:

  • Knowledge of modern development methodologies (iterative, agile, lean).
  • Experience with virtualization/containerization.
  • Experience with SQL.
  • Experience with system administration and cluster environments.
  • Knowledge of compilation technologies.
  • Education or professional background in astronomy.

Appointments may be made at the level of Software Systems Engineer or Senior Software Systems Engineer depending upon experience. Appointments are expected to be for an initial term of three years, with the possibility of extension to an open-ended appointment subject to job performance, funding, and observatory program needs.

Headquartered in Tucson, AZ and funded by the US National Science Foundation (NSF), NOAO is the US national center for nighttime ground-based optical and infrared (OIR) astronomy. The fundamental mission of NOAO is to enable scientific discovery by a global research community. NOAO’s Community Science and Data Center (CSDC) operates archives, software, and services to enable data-intensive astronomy, and coordinates access to the full array of OIR astronomy resources available to the US community, including the twin 8.1-m telescopes of the International Gemini Observatory. In addition to the CSDC, NOAO operates world-class telescopes at Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO) on the Tohono O’odham Nation in Arizona, and at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) in Chile.

NOAO offers an excellent benefits package, competitive salary commensurate with experience, and a very attractive work environment.

Applicants are requested to submit a resume or CV, a list of 3 professional references, and a cover letter describing how their skills and experience are matched to the essential functions of the position (PDF Files preferred). Please name any attachments with the following format: 17-0195LastnameDocname. Application documents that are not uploaded as part of the application may be sent to This position will be open until filled, however applicants are encouraged to apply by 01 November 2017 to ensure full consideration.

About Data Lab ( The NOAO Data Lab is a platform for efficient scientific exploration and analysis of the large datasets being generated by instruments on NOAO’s wide-field 4-m telescopes. The Data Lab allows users to perform large-scale catalog data queries, access image-pixel data for selected objects, and analyze these catalog and pixel data through a variety of means including web interfaces, programmatic interfaces, and a Jupyter Notebook server. Data Lab provides users with server-side virtual storage to support their analysis. With continued development, the Data Lab will also allow users to publish datasets for community use, and to implement custom automated workflows.

About ANTARES ( The 8.4-meter Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, currently under construction in Chile, will detect several million sources every night that have changed in brightness or position. The Arizona-NOAO Temporal Analysis and Response to Events System (ANTARES) is designed to process these detections in near-real time by annotating them with external information, characterizing them through algorithmic comparison with known and predicted objects, ranking them by rarity, and distributing them to the astronomical community. The ANTARES project is a collaboration between NOAO and the University of Arizona Computer Science Department.

The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. (AURA) manages several astronomical observatory centers (including the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, the National Solar Observatory and the Gemini Observatory) and construction projects (Large Synoptic Survey Telescope and Daniel. K. Inouye Solar Telescope) in the United States and Chile under cooperative agreements with the National Science Foundation.

AURA, as a leader in the astronomical community, is committed to diversity and inclusion. AURA develops and supports programs that advance our organizational commitment to diversity, broaden participation, and encourage the advancement of diversity throughout the astronomical scientific workforce. Learn more at

As a recipient of U.S. Government funding, AURA is considered a government contractor and is subject to Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action regulations. As an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer, AURA does not discriminate based on race, sex, color, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity/gender identity expression, lawful political affiliations, veteran status, disability, and/or any other legally protected status under applicable federal, state, and local equal opportunity laws. The statements below as well as the requests for self-identification are required pursuant to these regulations. We encourage your participation in meeting these federal reporting requirements which are included for protection and to assist us in our recordkeeping and reporting. Your responses are kept strictly confidential.

Application Deadline: 
Wednesday, November 1, 2017
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
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