Systems Administrator IV

Information Technology Charlottesville, Virginia


Position Description:


Position Summary


The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) is seeking to recruit a Systems Administrator IV to join our Information Services team at our headquarters in Charlottesville, Virginia. The NRAO is a major partner in ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter/ submillimeter Array), an international next-generation radio astronomy observatory located in Chile and accessed through the North American ALMA Science Center (NAASC) in Charlottesville, Virginia. This position will support science user database management to retrieve archived observation data and enable access to high performance computing and storage systems. We seek a database systems administrator to evaluate, deploy and maintain the hardware, OS and database application (Oracle) providing these services, as well as supporting the day-to-day technical needs of users in a highly dynamic science research environment.


The National Radio Astronomy Observatory has enabled forefront research into the Universe at radio wavelengths for more than sixty years. We provide state-of-the-art radio telescope facilities for use by the international scientific community. The position will be based at our NRAO headquarters in Charlottesville, Virginia.


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


The Systems Administrator will work with other NRAO staff and ALMA partner institutions to understand the architectural design and implementation requirements of the Next Generation Archive System and integrated Oracle database, currently used to store the North American replica of the ALMA science data.  This will include working with the scalable computational solutions currently employed to facilitate the pipelined and interactive processing of the data, resulting in a preference for High Performance Computing expertise, in addition to database server support.


Essential responsibilities and duties will included, but not limited to:

  • Responsible for the installation and optimization of Oracle Database systems for science data access.
  • Assists with the installation and performance optimization of Unix/Linux computer software and hardware.
  • Coordinates system upgrades and incident resolution with partner institutions.
  • Assists in the installation and management of high performance storage and shared computing resources.
  • Supports test and production versions of applications.
  • Investigates and resolves software and hardware related problems.
  • Works with software engineers to troubleshoot issues.
  • Takes initiative in solving cross-system problems that are difficult to diagnose.
  • Assists in organizing and preparing educational materials and documentation for users and other sys admins.
  • Advises computer users on effective use of systems and portal-based archive query tools.
  • Responsible for working with senior systems administrators in planning systems upgrades.
  • Be able to collaborate and communicate in a distributed environment using a variety of tools.
  • Proactive compliance with safety policies and procedures in own work area is expected.
  • Other duties as assigned.


Work Environment


Work is typically performed in a research environment supporting systems for external observers.   While performing the duties of this job, the employee frequently sits at a desk, uses a personal computer, telephone, and other standard office equipment; the ability to climb stairs is required.  The employee is required to bend, reach, and must have finger dexterity.  The employee is required to lift and/or move up to 25 pounds.  Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, color vision, and ability to adjust focus. May occasionally work at high altitudes.  Must be able to communicate effectively both verbally and in writing.


Position Requirements:


Minimum Education

Bachelor’s degree in computer science or related field or an equivalent combination of education and experience.


Preferred Education

Master’s degree in computer science or related field.


Minimum Experience

Six years of database systems administration experience with systems and networks comparable to those of the Observatory. Must be familiar with advanced systems administration performance management tools and processes, and have extensive understanding of operating systems and hardware diagnostics.


Competency Summary

In-depth knowledge of the Linux (RedHat) Operating System. Experience with Oracle database support and real-time data replication required using Golden Gate.  System performance measurement and optimization for I/O and batch queue management experience is useful. Familiarity with System/Storage Area Networks and commodity Ethernet solutions will be valuable.  Working knowledge of Office productivity applications. Skills and working knowledge in the following or related areas: Linux installation, DB administration, Scripting (Perl, Bash, Python), batch scheduling, and production system support including technical and user-facing documentation.  Work closely with software engineers, diagnosing cross-system problems, collaborate/communicate using a variety of tools.  Must be able to collaborate and communicate effectively in a geographically distributed environment.



Application Instructions:


For consideration, please select the "Apply" button below. You will need to be prepared to upload your current resume and a cover letter describing interest and suitability for the position. Applications review will continue until the position is filled.


Equal Opportunity Employer Statement:


AUI is an equal opportunity employer.  Women, Minorities, Vietnam-Era Veterans, Disabled Veterans, Veterans and Individuals with Disabilities are encouraged to apply.  To view our complete statement, please visit  If you require reasonable accommodation for any part of the application or hiring process due to a disability, you may submit your request by sending an email to



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.