Scientific Data Analyst I (4496)

Observatory Service and Science Charlottesville, Virginia



Position Description:


Position Summary

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) enables forefront research into the Universe at radio wavelengths. In partnership with the scientific community we provide world leading telescopes, instrumentation and expertise. Additionally, we promote astronomy to foster a more scientifically literate society and train the next generation of scientists and engineers.


The Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array (ALMA) is the most powerful (sub)millimeter interferometer ever constructed, and is transforming our understanding of topics ranging from the formation of nearby protoplanetary disks to the earliest epochs of galaxy formation.


The primary goal of the Data Analyst 1 will be to provide assistance to observatory users by reducing data and assessing data quality, operating a data reduction pipeline, answering questions in the online helpdesk system, assisting with observing script preparation, testing observatory software, and contributing to the data delivery process.


The position is assigned to the North American ALMA Science Center (NAASC). The North American ALMA Science Center is located at NRAO headquarters in Charlottesville, VA (on the grounds of the University of Virginia). The Data Analyst(s) will work closely with members of observatory support groups and data services groups at all NRAO locations.


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.


Key Responsibilities and Duties

  • Provide assistance to observatory users by reducing data and assessing data quality, operating a data reduction pipeline, and testing ALMA software and data products;
  • Assist visiting scientists in preparation of proposals, observing scripts, data reduction, data analysis and archive access;
  • Maintain a working knowledge of all relevant user software for NRAO instruments, including those used for proposal submission, observation preparation, and especially post-processing data reduction;
  • Ensure appropriate and timely responses to user queries to the NAASC helpdesk by, for example, responding to a query, forwarding to another expert, following up on open queries, etc.;
  • Assist in the generation and editing of CASAGuides and helpdesk knowledgebase articles;
  • Assist scientific staff with testing of software and procedures, as requested;
  • Maintain relevant web page content and other documentation to ensure information for users stays current.


Competency Summary

Required competencies: strong communication skills (written and verbal); Must have good diagnostic and troubleshooting skills; Must work well with people.

Work Environment

Work is typically performed in an office environment.  The successful candidate will be required to sit for long periods and operate a personal computer.


Position Requirements:


Minimum Education

Bachelor's degree in astronomy, physics, computer science or related field.


Minimum Experience

Must have experience with user support and technical communication. Must be able to use computers with MacOS and Linux operating systems.


Preferred Experience

  • Experience working with astronomical data products and/or operating radio telescopes desired;
  • Experience with the CASA data reduction packages is desirable;
  • Experience with other data reduction software (e.g. AIPS, MIRIAD) is welcomed;
  • Experience with Python, Plone, and XML is desirable.


Application Instructions:


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


Final application deadline is Jan 31, 2020; interviews will be conducted from the posting date and positions may be filled on a rolling basis at any time.


 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.