Software Engineer I-II

Engineers, Technical Specialists and Technicians Charlottesville, Virginia


Position Description:

Position Summary

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) announces an opportunity for a full-time Software Engineer I-II to join our team at the Central Development Laboratory (CDL). The mission of the CDL is to support the evolution of NRAO’s existing facilities – including the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) located on the Chajnantor plateau in northern Chile -- and to provide the technology development and expertise needed to build the next generation of radio astronomy instruments.


We are seeking an entry level or early-career software engineer to join the CDL.  The laboratory maintains a sizeable collection of in-house developed software projects for CDL use as well as for use at the ALMA site in Chile. Most of the software products are single-purpose tools for operating or characterizing receiver hardware; a few are for larger multi-function systems. Much of the software requires ongoing maintenance, improvement, and in some cases, replacement during the coming years. The incumbent will assist with any and all of these software maintenance tasks. Job classification and compensation will be commensurate with education and experience.


In addition to competitive pay, NRAO provides excellent paid time off benefits (vacation and sick leave). Medical, dental and vision plans are effective first day of employment. NRAO’s retirement benefit contributes an amount equal to 10 percent of a qualified participant’s base pay. No contribution is required of the employee; we also offer an optional supplemental, tax-deferred plan for employee retirement contributions.


Job Duties Summary

Using prescribed methods, the incumbent researches and coordinates detailed phases of software engineering work as assigned. He or she performs work that uses conventional software engineering practices.  The successful candidate collaborates with members of the CDL and ALMA operations and maintenance group to contribute to full life cycle development of applications for electronic device control, measurement, data processing, and analysis.

  • Under general instruction and using pre-established guidelines, designs, develops and implements software applications for subsystems, and for implementation and support of subsystems under close supervision.
  • Participates in documentation, installation, testing, maintenance support and further development of software subsystems within established standards.
  • Works with other software developers, engineers, and scientists to identify and solve problems.
  • Assists in preparing costs and time analyses of projects.  Makes recommendations for procedures, equipment purchases, and other improvements.
  • Proactive compliance with NRAO and government safety policies and procedures in own work area is expected.
  • Other duties as assigned.

May include occasional travel to the ALMA Operations Support Facility (OSF) located at 2900m altitude near the array in northern Chile.



Position Requirements:

Minimum Education

Bachelor's degree in computer science, engineering, scientific or a related field.


Minimum Experience

No previous related work experience is required.  However, candidates with at least three years of related experience may be considered for a higher level, Software Engineer II position. 


Requires the use of PCs, workstations, and software packages. Must be familiar with standard software engineering concepts, practices and procedures through academic training or internship experience(s), or formal work experience.  Requires strong interpersonal and communications skills.


Required Technical Experience

  • Understanding of object-oriented design and development,
  • Demonstrated ability to learn and apply new software languages, software engineering tools and techniques,
  • Experience with version control software,
  • Experience debugging low-to-medium complexity software systems,
  • Ability to clearly convey technical information to developers, engineers, and scientists; interact with peers in a positive and respectful way and calmly resolve conflicts.


Preferred Technical Experience

  • Experience developing software for Windows
  • Experience with National Instruments LabVIEW or similar systems or languages that control electronic measurement hardware
  • Experience developing software using Python
  • Experience developing basic web applications using PHP, JavaScript, and MySQL
  • Experience using an agile methodology


Application Instructions:

Select the "Apply" button below. Applicants must be prepared to upload a CV/Resume and letter of application.


The NRAO is an equal opportunity employer (M/F/D/V)

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc.