Software Engineer, Open Rank (II-IV)

Computers/Software Socorro, New Mexico


Position Description:


Position Summary

Join the development team that created and maintains software for NRAO's telescopes. The NRAO operates the world's most powerful radio telescopes at various locations world-wide. As part of that operation, the observatory develops and maintains software used by the astronomy community for proposing, planning, scheduling, and analyzing observations performed with these telescopes.


We are seeking a Software Engineer with a background in systems administration and DevOps to join the Scientific Computing Group (SCG) development team. The SCG works with the Science Support and Archive (SSA) team, the Common Astronomy Software Applications (CASA) team, scientific staff and observers to assist in the efficient processing of JVLA and ALMA data on NRAO computer clusters and external services such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) and via the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE).


The position is based in Socorro, NM on the campus of New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology ( in the Domenici Science Operations Center.  Socorro is a small, historical town in the Rio Grande Valley, 75 miles south of Albuquerque.  In addition to competitive pay, the NRAO provides excellent paid time off benefits (vacation and sick leave).  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

Duties of the SCG members include both the maintenance and necessary upgrades of the existing systems and software as well as developing new products to meet the challenges posed by developing the processing pipelines necessary for the Observatory to remain at the cutting edge of science and technology.  The Systems Administrator will:

  • Work with other members of SCG team to improve efficient use of existing compute clusters (schedulers, Nagios monitoring, Ganglia metrics)
  • Work with SAA & CASA staff to help scale up data reduction pipelines for science ready data products (SRDP)
  • Work with scientific staff and observers to assist with efficient data processing.
  • Deploy and scale up applications in external compute facilities like AWS or XSEDE
  • Facilitate in adapting to containers (Docker), continuous integration systems, and other modern build and deployment technologies.


Work Environment

Work is typically performed in a research or development environment. Must be able to operate a personal computer. 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, engineering, scientific or related field.


Preferred Education

An advanced degree in a related field


Minimum Experience

At least one year of direct or related experience in software development with JavaScript and related technologies.  Candidates with progressively more responsible experience will be considered for a higher-level position ranking.


Preferred Experience

  • Experience with cloud based services and deployments (AWS)
  • Experience with National Computing Centers (XSEDE)
  • Experience with Linux containers and related technologies (docker, kubernetes, mesos)
  • Experience developing software using Python
  • Understanding of object-oriented design and development
  • Demonstrated ability to learn and apply new software languages
  • Familiarity with basic astronomical principles and data reduction


Competency Summary

A strong background in Linux systems administration, storage technologies, shell scripting and Python; experience with version control software and testing methodologies; experience debugging and profiling software systems; strong interpersonal and communications skills.


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.