Electronics Engineer - Digital Back End (4653)

Engineers, Technical Specialists and Technicians Charlottesville, Virginia


Position Description:


Position Summary:

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory’s (NRAO) mission is to enable forefront research into the Universe at radio wavelengths. In partnership with the scientific community, we:


  • Provide world leading telescopes, instrumentation and expertise,
  • Train the next generation of scientists and engineers, and
  • Promote astronomy to foster a more scientifically literate society.


NRAO announces employment opportunity for an Electronics Engineer at the Central Development Laboratory (CDL) with available work locations in Charlottesville, VA, Socorro, NM, or Albuquerque, NM. The selected candidate will be the laboratory’s lead engineer in the development of the Next Generation Very Large Array’s Antenna Digital Back End. The next-generation VLA (ngVLA) is a future centimeter-to-millimeter wave interferometer that opens a new window on the Universe through ultra-sensitive imaging of thermal line and continuum emission down to milliarcsecond resolution.


The ngVLA is an NRAO-led project of a future interferometer for radio astronomy, currently at its design phase. The design is expected to be completed in the next five years. Critical parts of the system are the Central Signal Processor and the Digital Back End.


Leading a team of highly qualified engineers, the selected candidate would be responsible for the design and development of ngVLA’s Digital Back End. This includes prototype testing in the laboratory and on site, as well as providing support to the implementation team during production and deployment of the system. The selected candidate would be reporting to the ngVLA’s Central Signal Processor Integrated Product Team Lead.


In addition to technical abilities, this position requires strong interpersonal and organizational skills and the ability to work within modern project management frameworks. The selectee would be expected to comply with NRAO and government safety policies and procedures and demonstrate a commitment to promoting and sustaining principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

The position is initially available for 1 year with continuation contingent on progress and additional ngVLA project funding.


NRAO offers competitive pay and excellent benefits – medical, dental and vision plans are effective first day of employment. Our 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

  • Responsible for the technical management, planning, coordination, and communication of the engineering team responsible for designing, developing, and testing the ngVLA Digital Back End.
  • Ensures the team’s objectives are achieved on schedule and meet project requirements.
  • Responsible for recruitment and training of team members, driving the team to deliver high quality products.
  • Develops basis of estimates, cost proposals and updates of schedules to reflect design progress and progressive project plan elaboration.
  • Ensure the team’s work meets the established budget and schedule baselines.
  • Manage execution of the Digital Back End subsystem requirements development, compliance analysis, and testing plans.
  • Ensure proactive compliance with NRAO and government safety policies and procedures.


Work Environment

Work is typically performed in a research/development environment, but the selectee may occasionally be required to work outdoors. Some domestic and international travel will be required; must be willing to travel at regular intervals within and outside the U.S.


Position Requirements:


Minimum Education

Bachelor's degree in engineering or a related field (such as BSET).


Preferred Education

Master of Science in Electrical Engineering.


Minimum Experience

Five years of experience in a leading role in digital hardware design and development teams.


Preferred Experience

Seven years of experience leading digital hardware design and development teams, plus experience in the following areas: systems architecting, DSP techniques and concepts, FPGA technology, analog to digital conversion. A methodical, self-managed team leader who seeks diverse perspectives, does not sacrifice long-term value, rises to the occasion, and never settles.


Additional Requirements

The Observatory requires staff to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to access our facilities. An offer of employment will be considered contingent until the selected applicant provides proof of vaccination. A selected applicant may request consideration for an accommodation for a disability or for a sincerely held religious belief.


Application Instructions:

Select the Apply button below. You will need to be prepared to upload your current resume and cover letter.

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 http://jobs.jobvite.com/nrao/jobs. 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 [email protected].


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