Database Architect

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Saturday, October 1, 2016
Archive Date: 
Saturday, October 29, 2016
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Scientific/Technical Staff
Institution Classification/Type: 
Job Announcement Text: 

The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. (AURA) operates several observatory centers (including the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO), the National Solar Observatory (NSO), the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) and the Gemini Observatory) in the United States and Chile under cooperative agreements with the National Science Foundation.

The National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) seeks to hire a Database Architect to take the leading technical role in designing, implementing, operating, and optimizing multiple database systems to support data-intensive astronomical research.

Headquartered in Tucson, AZ, NOAO is the US national center for nighttime ground-based optical astronomy. The fundamental mission of NOAO is to enable scientific discovery by a global scientific research community. That mission is fulfilled through the acquisition, processing, visualization, and analysis of measurements of hundreds to hundreds of millions of celestial objects. Those measurements are extracted from gigabytes to terabytes of raw data obtained every night by world-class telescopes in Arizona, Hawaii, and Chile operated by NOAO and its partners, including the 570-megapixel Dark Energy Camera (DECam). The raw and processed data are archived & served by NOAO, with current data holdings of 2 PB and growing. Large survey datasets like those being generated using NOAO facilities provide excellent opportunities for scientific discoveries by the broad community.

Essential functions for the Database Architect:

o Lead the design, implementation, operation, and optimization of multi-terabyte-scale and distributed astronomical catalog databases for the NOAO Data Lab, and provide support for similar work within the ANTARES project.
o Lead the modernization of database systems supporting the main NOAO telescope data archive.
o Work in collaboration with NOAO scientific, administrative, and technical staff to develop modern, efficient, and maintainable database solutions to other Observatory needs through analysis of existing databases, scientific applications, and administrative processes.
o Identify and pursue opportunities to employ commercial database technology, consultant services, and systems from other astronomical projects (e.g., Qserv from the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope.)
o Collaborate with other NOAO developers to create and deploy database-enabled applications and services.

Minimum Qualifications:

o  Master’s degree in computer science, engineering, physics, astronomy, or related field, or equivalent work experience.
o  5 years’ experience architecting, deploying, and supporting modern relational database systems (e.g., PostgreSQL, MySQL), plus familiarity with other database technologies (e.g., NoSQL).
o  Ability and willingness to work across all stages of the database lifecycle: requirements gathering, schema design, implementation, commissioning, administration, data ingestion, maintenance, performance optimization, and user support.
o  Ability to work collaboratively on complex technical projects.
o  Good verbal and written communication skills.

Applicants are encouraged to describe additional strengths and qualifications within their applications, for example:

o  Experience and comfort working within diverse teams.
o  Experience within a research or academic workplace in physics, astronomy, or other natural science.
o  Demonstrated ability to follow new developments in best practices and technologies for database systems design and administration.
o  Familiarity with commercial database technologies.
o  Good skill with common modern programming languages, especially Python and C/C++.
o  Ability for accurately estimating levels of effort associated with specific database development and operation tasks.
o  Ability for elicitation, gathering, and consolidation of technical requirements within complex domain scenarios.
o  Interest in public service consistent with the mission of a national observatory.

NOAO offers an excellent benefits package, competitive salary commensurate with experience, and a very attractive work environment. This position will remain open until filled.

This position will remain open until filled. Questions regarding this position may be addressed to Adam Bolton, NOAO Associate Director for Community Science and Data (

As an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer, AURA does not discriminate because of race, sex, color, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, lawful political affiliations, veteran status, disability, and/or any other legally protected status under applicable federal, state, and local equal opportunity laws. Preference granted to qualified Native Americans living on or near the Tohono O'odham reservation.

Included Benefits: 

No benefits information has been provided by the employer.

Application Deadline: 
Monday, October 31, 2016
Current Status of Position: 
No Status Given (Opted Out)
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