Software Engineer - Data Discovery

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Friday, October 5, 2018
Archive Date: 
Friday, November 2, 2018
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Scientific/Technical Staff
Institution Classification/Type: 
United States of America
Job Announcement Text: 

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

The National Solar Observatory (NSO), Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope (DKIST) is seeking a Data Discovery - Software Engineer. This position will be located in Boulder, CO. The DKIST is currently under construction in Maui, Hawaii on the summit of Haleakala and scheduled for completion in 2019. The DKIST, will be the world's largest most advanced solar telescope and will help resolve the fundamental interactions between solar magnetic fields and the dynamic atmospheric plasma on scales below 0.1 arcsec over entire active regions. 


General Description of Position:

The Data Center (DC) of the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope (DKIST) is looking for a Data Discovery Software Engineer to design and implement a modern, user-centric services and user experience for accessing and downloading DKIST data. The DKIST is a flagship project of the National Science Foundation and is being built by the NSO/AURA on Maui. The Data Center, located in Boulder, Colorado at the NSO headquarters, is responsible for distributing petabytes of processed scientific data to the community of users interested in leveraging data from the world’s largest solar telescope.

The DC is using numerous modern, open-source tools and frameworks for its scalable, microservice architecture, designed to meet the petascale data processing, management and distribution demands of the DKIST. Agile and continuous integration approaches are used, and the Software Engineers will contribute UI mockups, systems software, unit tests, and clear documentation for the data search and visualization interfaces that end-users will access. They will integrate front-end and back-end services and aid in the integration and deployment of developed services in concert with other DC team members and DKIST personnel. The Software Engineers will help lead user interface workshops, soliciting feedback on the utility of in-development user interfaces. Experience with technical or scientific data representation on the web is particularly of interest.


Essential Functions:

  • Mock-up user-centric data search and access interfaces
  • Build clean, modern, and maintainable data access services and interfaces
  • Lead user workshops and incorporate feedback into technical development
  • Integrate front-end interfaces with back-end data retrieval and distribution services
  • Participate in sprint planning and execution
  • Collaborate closely with senior Data Center staff on design feasibility and development
  • Identify and prototype appropriate software technologies, demonstrating feasibility of web architecture
  • Comply with applicable software industry standards and best practices, and remain current with emerging technologies


Required Education/Experience/Skills/Abilities:

  • Bachelor’s degree in computer science, engineering, or physics
  • At least five years of progressively responsible experience in web development
  • Extensive, demonstrable background in Java, Javascript, Python.
  • Demonstrable experience with Javascript web frameworks (e.g., React, Angular, Vue)
  • Demonstrable experience with data visualization on the web (e.g., through d3.js)
  • Experience developing and consuming RESTful APIs
  • Demonstrable experience working with Agile software teams using JIRA
  • Demonstrable experience building, managing, and implementing efficient code deployed via microservices
  • Experience with ORM tools (e.g., Spring Hibernate, SQLAlchemy)
  • Extensive, demonstrable experience using Version Control systems (e.g., Subversion, Mercurial, Git) and working within continuous integration environments
  • Experience developing secure code
  • Experience working in scientific or technical (e.g. engineering) organizations, and/or have been involved with developing system architecture serving such organizations.
  • Ability to understand astronomical observing techniques and procedures, and basic concepts in astronomical data management
  • Ability to speak and write effectively in English, including preparation of comprehensive technical reports
  • Occasional travel (<10%) expected


Desirable Experience/Skills/Abilities:

  • Master’s degree or higher in Computer Science, Physics, Astronomy, Engineering
  • Extensive knowledge of design patterns


Physical Demands:

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to sit; use hands to finger, handle, or feel and talk or hear.
  • The employee is occasionally required to stand; walk; reach with hands and arms and stoop; kneel; crouch; or crawl.
  • The employee must regularly lift and /or move up to 10 pounds and occasionally lift and/or move up to 25 pounds.
  • Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, depth perception and ability to adjust focus.
  • Must possess - sufficient mobility, strength, or dexterity in both arms and hands and both legs to a) reach upward, sideways, downward to work with paper files; b) sufficient mobility and dexterity to utilize computer systems, fax machines, copiers, and other office machines.
  • Must possess – 1) ability to read and understand instructions, drawings, safety guides, and other written materials necessary to perform job; 2) sufficient visual capacity to
  • perform the applicable functions without assistance of visual aids other than eye contacts or eye glasses; 3) sufficient spoken aural capacity to hear and understand instructions, warning bells, fire alarms, or shouted instructions without assistance of auditory aids other than a hearing aid; and 4) ability to impart information orally so that others understand and can respond appropriately


Please list 3 professional references in your application and attach a CV or resume to your application.  Should you have any questions, please contact

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.

NSO will accept and review applications until the position is filled. Please be sure to submit a completed application along with supporting documents by no later than October 19th 2018 to be considered in the first review.  Qualified internal candidates will be given preference.


Application Deadline: 
Monday, November 5, 2018
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
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AURA Human Resources
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