Applications Developer

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Thursday, November 9, 2023
Archive Date: 
Thursday, January 4, 2024
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Scientific/Technical Staff
Institution Classification/Type: 
Small Academic
Department Name: 
United States of America
Job Announcement Text: 

Job Summary

As a part of the Physics, Math, and Astronomy Division at Caltech, the NASA Exoplanet Science Institute (NExScI; provides science operations, analysis tools and archive services related to the discovery and characterization of planets beyond our solar system (exoplanets) using data from observatories in space and on the ground. NExScI operates as part of IPAC on the Caltech campus ( which provides support for NASA's NEOWISE mission, 6 other NASA missions in development, more than half of NASA’s astronomy archives as well as ground-based observatories like the Zwicky Transient Facility. Together IPAC and NExScI have supported more than 20 astronomy missions, including Spitzer, Kepler, TESS and the 10 m Keck telescopes, which have contributed to major advances in exoplanet science, astrophysics and cosmology.

The Keck Observatory Archive (KOA) is a collaboration between NExScI and the W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii. It archives at NExScI all data acquired by the 10-m telescopes at the W. M. Keck Observatory and makes them available through web interfaces and a Python API. KOA is undergoing an exciting and dramatic expansion. Data acquired each night are now ingested close to near-real time, and science ready processing of these data are ingested no more than 24 hours later. In support of this expansion, KOA is developing a new Python-based software infrastructure and new outward facing web page.  Real-time ingestion prepares KOA for the scientific analysis of the torrent of transient alerts that will be generated by the next generation of survey telescopes, such as the Rubin Observatory. This will offer, to a scientific programmer, extraordinary opportunities to develop powerful new services that will be at the forefront of astronomical research. In the coming years, unique new instruments at the observatory will offer further opportunities for advanced  services, particularly those that involve cross-matching and fusion of data from multiple sources. As a member of the NExScI engineering team, you will be working to enable scientists to make exciting discoveries in diverse fields, from our Solar System to the distant regions of the Universe.  New science applications are anticipated to comply with the data access standards defined by the International Virtual Observatory Alliance (IVOA), which are now in worldwide use in astronomy, and will be made Open Source.

Job Duties

  • Work with the KOA team, especially scientists, to define and implement public-facing science applications
  • These applications will often involve accessing astronomy data at remote archives and combining them with KOA data
  • Support the development of the archive query infrastructure
  • Support the maintenance and operations of the archive
  • Respond to technical questions from users, where appropriate

Basic Qualifications

These are a set of skills and experiences which are necessary for your ability to contribute to the roles and responsibilities of the position:

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience in Physics, Astrophysics, Computer Science, or a related field
  • 2 years  professional experience of programming in Python
  • Working knowledge of C
  • Working knowledge of database programming and Structured Query Language (SQL)
  • Strong oral and written communication skills as well as the ability to work well with others on a small team
  • Working knowledge of the Unix/Linux operating system
  • Experience with modern software development techniques including configuration management principles and tools, source code version control (such as git/github)

Preferred Qualifications

These are a set of skills and experiences which will add to your ability to contribute to the roles and responsibilities of the position. The following attributes would make you a better fit for this position, but even if these do not describe you or your experience, we would still like to hear from you.

  • Master’s degree or equivalent experience in Physics, Astrophysics, or a related field
  • 4 or more years  professional experience of programming in Python
  • Knowledge of technologies such as JSON and HTML
  • Experience working with astronomical data sets and the astropy software environment
  • Knowledge of the operation of commercial cloud platforms, especially Amazon Web Services.
  • Experience with shell scripting
  • Experience developing algorithms and software for astronomical data analysis
  • Knowledge of the international data access protocols defined by the International Virtual Observatory Alliance (IVOA)

Required Document

Hiring Range

$40.00 - $45.00 Per Hour

The salary of the finalist(s) selected for this role will be set based on a variety of factors, including but not limited to, internal equity, experience, education, specialty and training.

As one of the largest employers in Pasadena, CA, Caltech is committed to providing comprehensive benefits to eligible employees and their eligible dependents. Our benefits package includes competitive compensation, health, dental, and vision insurance, retirement savings plans, generous paid time off (vacation, holidays, sick time, parental leave, bereavement, etc.), tuition reimbursement, and more. Non-benefit eligible employees will have access to some benefits such as onsite counseling and sick time. Learn more about our benefits and staff perks

EEO Statement

We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

Caltech is a VEVRAA Federal Contractor.

To read more Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) go to eeoc_self_print_poster.pdf.

Disability Accommodations

If you would like to request an accommodation in completing this application, interviewing, or otherwise participating in the employee selection process, please direct your inquiries to Caltech Recruiting at [email protected]

Application Deadline: 
Friday, December 29, 2023
Selection Deadline: 
Friday, December 29, 2023
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
Apply to Job
Attention To: 
Caltech Recruiting