IPAC at Caltech Seeks a Software Developer

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Tuesday, May 19, 2020
Archive Date: 
Tuesday, July 14, 2020
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Science Engineering
Institution Classification/Type: 
Large Academic
United States of America
Job Announcement Text: 


Caltech is more than a world-renowned science and engineering research and education institution, it is a community—a community of curious and passionate individuals who collaborate to understand and solve complex scientific and societal challenges. Caltech is an award-winning workplace and one of the best places to work in the greater Los Angeles area. We offer an exciting and dynamic work environment, exceptional career development opportunities, competitive pay programs, great benefits, and the opportunity to participate in many campus programs and activities. We seek the best and brightest talent to join our workforce and become members of our community. Exceptional employees are critical to Caltech’s success.


As a part of the Physics, Math, and Astronomy Division at Caltech, IPAC (www.ipac.caltech.edu) provides science operations, user support, data and archive services, and scientific vision to maximize discovery with observatories both in space and on the ground. We are partners with NASA, NSF, JPL, and the international research community to advance exploration of our Universe. Over our three-decade history, we have provided a range of support for more than 20 astronomy missions, helping each to bring forth major advances in astrophysics and cosmology.

IPAC is seeking a Software Developer to join our team, where you will enable scientists to explore the mysteries of the cosmos, discover new planets, find out what dark energy is, and detect the next potentially hazardous asteroid. Most tasks at IPAC are accomplished by integrated, product-oriented teams of scientists and developers working closely together so the cycle from formulating requirements to testing products is as short and effective as possible.

Life at Caltech/IPAC

IPAC is located on the campus of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California by the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains. Caltech is small, but has extraordinary science impact, with 39 Nobel Prizes awarded to faculty and alumni.

Pasadena is a city known for its contributions to science and technology, and its rich history, cultural treasures, scenic beauty, and year-round comfortable weather create a desirable environment for life and ideas to thrive. See Bill Nye’s take on our city.

People choose to work at IPAC for many reasons, and the casual, employee-centric culture often leads to fulfilling, long-term careers and lasting relationships. Caltech’s benefits program offers a quality, competitive benefits package that is affordable for you and the Institute. The program provides a strong base of coverage for you and your dependents, and the ability to choose the plan and the level of coverage that best meet your needs. We also offer a 403(b) defined contribution plan to eligible staff as well as a Voluntary Retirement Savings (TDA) Plan. IPAC staff have access to the Institute’s facilities, including the athletic center, libraries, on-site daycare, professional development and enrichment classes, and Athenaeum club membership.

We are an equal opportunity employer. All applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law. Caltech is a VEVRAA Federal Contractor. Click here to read more about Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO).

IPAC (www.ipac.caltech.edu) provides science and data management for astronomy missions, planning for future projects, and vital science archives. IPAC supports NASA, NSF, and privately funded projects, including: Spitzer, WISE, NEOWISE, the Zwicky Transient Facility, the Thirty-Meter Telescope, and the US centers for Planck, Herschel and Euclid. IPAC is developing science user tools for the LSST project and is planning for WFIRST, SPHEREx and NEO Surveyor science center activities. IPAC operates the NASA/IPAC Infrared Science Archive (IRSA), the NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database (NED), the NASA Exoplanet Archive, and the Keck Observatory Archive.

Job Duties

IPAC is seeking a software developer to join one or more of the efforts listed above, including WFIRST, SPHEREx, and IRSA to participate in the developmen and operations of pipelines, archive and community services.  Anticipated starting dates are in Fall 2020, contingent on funding.

Depending on the team(s) joined, the job duties will include at least one of the following:

– Work with other developers and scientists to define, implement and test modules for the data processing pipeline
– Utilize C/C++, Java, JavaScript, and scripting languages such as Python to develop and support data services for community use

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 job position.

– Bachelor’s or equivalent degree in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Astronomy or related field
– 3+ years experience as a software developer in a Unix/Linux environment
– 1+ years experience software development in C/C++ or Python
– Experience with software configuration management principles and tools, source code version control (e.g. git/github), and issue/bug tracking systems (e.g. Jira)
– Strong communication skills, the ability to work well with others on a small team

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 job position.  The following attributes would make you a better fit for this position, but even if these all do not describe you or your experience, we would still like to hear from you.

– Master’s, PhD or equivalent degree in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Astronomy or related field
– Experience with agile/scrum software development methodologies
– Experience working with scientific data sets and use cases
– Experience developing software for astronomy data analysis
– Experience with containerized deployment of software

Required Documents

– Cover Letter
– Curriculum Vitae
– Names and Contact information of 3 references

To apply, please send the above to:  Narot Piric, nbahar@ipac.caltech.edu  For full consideration, these materials should be received by July 10, 2020.

Application Deadline: 
Friday, July 10, 2020
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
Apply to Job
Attention To: 
Narot Piric
Supervisor of Administrative Staff and Staff Operations
United States of America