Senior Software Engineer

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Tuesday, July 9, 2019
Archive Date: 
Tuesday, August 6, 2019
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Institution Classification/Type: 
La Serena
Job Announcement Text: 

The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) is a consortium of over 40 US institutions and four international affiliates that operates world-class astronomical observatories. AURA’s role is to establish, nurture, and promote public observatories and facilities that advance innovative astronomical research. AURA is responsible for managing the operations of the Gemini Observatory, the National Optical Astronomical Observatory, the National Solar Observatory, the Space Telescope Science Institute, and the construction of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope and the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope under cooperative agreements with the National Science Foundation and NASA.

The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) Project is currently constructing an 8.4 meter diameter ground-based observatory in Chile and a 3.2 gigapixel camera with funding from the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy. The telescope will survey the visible sky every few nights in six optical bands to address four key science themes: Constraining the nature of dark energy and dark matter, making an inventory of small moving bodies in the Solar System, exploring the transient optical sky, and determining the accretion history of the Milky Way.

LSST is looking for an outstanding Senior Software Engineer. The successful candidate will advance the design, and implement and verify components for the LSST telescope control software, including on-sky testing at the telescope. This exciting position will require passion for telescope as well as excellence and team work. Strong candidates will have experience in designing, building, and supporting control software applications, with a strong understanding of best software engineering practices.  

This position will be located in La Serena, Chile, with frequent visits to Tucson, Arizona.

Essential Functions:

  • Elicits software requirements, showing traceability to higher-level requirements; Identifies the requirements that the application must satisfy; translates user requirements into software design requirements.
  • Designs, develops, debugs, and maintains software code, documentation, and operator instructions.
  • Writes and debugs real-time control software, and provides low level coding for hardware control. Creates detailed unit tests that fully exercise the software design.
  • Performs system administrative tasks and minor hardware maintenance in conjunction with IT.
  • Communicates effectively with the scientist, manager, or committee that is providing the technical oversight for the application and fellow team members to ensure successful realization of project needs in this dynamic environment.
  • Operates computer systems and applications.
  • Assists those using the application or computer system.
  • Takes ownership of tasks and problems and provides solutions.
  • Implements EUIs (Engineering User Interfaces) as appropriate.
  • Participates with team in reviews of other components.

Other Functions:

  • Other duties as assigned.

Required Education/Experience/Skills/Abilities:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in a technical field such as Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering or Computer Science.
  • Working experience with at least three major aspects of the software development life cycle (requirements, design, implementation, and test)
  • Linux/Unix experience
  • LabVIEW and/or Python development experience
  • Git or distributed version control experience
  • 5+ years’ experience designing and delivering control software solutions
  • Experience in algorithms development and data structures
  • Working knowledge of responsive design principles
  • Is a self-starter who can work independently, but who also functions well in a collaborative team environment
  • Fluent in English - both verbal and written
  • Preferred Education/Experience/Skills/Abilities:
  • Graphical User Interface (GUI) development experience
  • Experience working in an Agile software development team
  • Experience developing in publish subscribe communications mechanism (DDS)
  • Experience with Docker, Jenkins and/or Puppet
  • Experience with C/C++
  • Experience working with telescope control software
  • Bilingual English/Spanish

AURA Requirements

  • All AURA employees are responsible for the proper management and control of all AURA property within their work area, whether assigned to them or someone else. This responsibility includes reporting any known missing, stolen, or non-working property in their work area to their supervisor or the AURA Property Officer.
  • Responsible for ensuring compliance with government award terms and conditions assigned to this position or subordinates of this position as defined in the Vela Award Management system.

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
  • Some international travel may be necessary

Please list 3 professional references in your application and attach: a cover letter and a CV or resume, PDF files preferred. Please name any attachments with the following format:  LastnameDocname. Application documents that are not uploaded as part of the application may be sent to

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 and all of the centers, do 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. 

Veterans, disabled individuals or wounded warriors needing assistance with the employment process should request assistance at

Application Deadline: 
Tuesday, August 6, 2019
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
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Aura HR
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