Systems Engineer I-III - UPDATED (4465)

Engineers, Technical Specialists and Technicians Socorro, New Mexico


Position Description


Position Summary

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) is committed to maintaining its existing observatories while developing new technology to enable further research in radio astronomy. This system maintenance and development occurs in a collaborative environment involving technicians, hardware and software engineers, and scientists. By joining NRAO, an employee has a direct contribution to expanding the observatory’s state-of-the-art facilities and equipment used by scientists around the world. 


NRAO is recruiting a Systems Engineer to be part of the Electronics Division Systems Engineering team.  The team is tasked with specifying, designing, and integrating some of the observatory sub-systems, and verifying the sub-system requirements.


The positions are based in Socorro, New Mexico at the Domenici Science Operations Center, located 50 miles east of the Very Large Array (VLA), which is operated by NRAO.  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 successful candidate will work both independently and within a dynamic team environment to support ongoing developments for both future projects and existing telescope electronics hardware. The systems engineer will have exposure to multiple electronic and mechanical systems at all of NRAO’s arrays. General duties will include:

  • Execution of the full suite of system engineering processes on electrical, software, and mechanical systems
  • Support of Project Management Department systems engineering team in executing system level
  • Travel to assigned NRAO antenna locations  for field testing activities


Potential Project Areas:

  • VLA and Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA)


Other duties may be assigned.


Work Environment

Work is typically performed in a laboratory environment, but the successful candidate may occasionally be required to work outdoors or on antennas.  The successful candidate may be required to travel domestically and internationally by air carrier and to travel by car between NRAO sites.


Position Requirements


Minimum Education

Bachelor of Science degree in Systems Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Aerospace Engineering, Applied Physics, or other equivalent technical discipline


Preferred Education

Masters degree in Systems Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Aerospace Engineering, Physics, or other equivalent technical discipline.  INCOSE ASEP (or higher).


Minimum Experience

One year of direct Systems Engineering experience in an environment requiring interaction with, and analysis of, complex electronics systems.


Preferred Experience

Five or more years of demonstrated Systems Engineering experience in an environment requiring interaction with, and analysis of, complex electronics systems. Experience with microwave / radio frequency electronics systems preferred. Experience working within radio astronomy is highly desirable.  Candidates with five or more years of relevant experience will be considered for a higher classification.


Physical Demands

Most work is performed on a computer at a desk or at lab bench for extended periods. Will occasionally be required to lift and carry heavy lab equipment (up to 50 pounds) for relocation or installation of test apparatus, and to squat, kneel, or crawl to reach electrical/physical connections in tight spaces behind racks of under lab benches. Ability to work on walk-up antennas structures.


Competency Summary

The successful candidates will have hands-on experience analyzing systems, performing requirements development and decomposition activities, performing system integration and verification testing as well as troubleshooting issues.  The Systems Engineers will be capable of analyzing and understanding system architecture and requirements, generating system architectures, contributing to and leading development of system and sub-system integration and verification test cases and procedures, specifying and setting up test systems, performing testing on the different observatory systems in the lab or in the field.  Must be capable of accepting different tasks out of his/her comfort zone and base knowledge.  These are hands-on positions requiring multitasking, creative out-of-the-box thinking and commitment to own a wide range of systems engineering activities including requirements development and management, system architecture design and documentation, test documentation development and test planning, system integration and verification test execution, and troubleshooting issues both in the lab and out in the field. Additionally, the successful candidates will have skills and demonstrated competencies in all areas of systems engineering:

  • A strong foundation in electrical or electronics engineering is required.
  • Good documentation and communication skills.
  • Demonstrated proficiency in system engineering in the all areas of the life cycle of a product.
  • Ability to work very effectively with diverse teams


Additional Requirements

Due to the source of funding, the positions to be filled requires U.S. citizenship. Must possess a valid driver's license. May be required to drive Observatory vehicles. Must pass any applicable knowledge/skills assessments. 


Application Instructions


Select the “Apply” button below.  Please be will need to be prepared to upload your current CV/Resume and a letter of application describing interest and suitability for the position.


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