Software Architect (4327)

Computers/Software Charlottesville, Virginia Socorro, New Mexico


Position Description:

Position Summary

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) announces an opportunity for a full-time Software Architect (Software Engineer IV) to provide consistent technical direction for software systems developed and maintained by the Data Management and Software (DMS) Department. The software architect will be responsible for improving end-user satisfaction and system development efficiency, coherence, and maintainability through high-level system design, direction on system elaboration, and advice on implementation strategies.


The position will be based at either our headquarters in Charlottesville, VA on the grounds of the University of Virginia (; or at the Science Operations Center in Socorro, NM on the campus of New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology ( Socorro is a small, historical town in the Rio Grande Valley, 75 miles south of Albuquerque.


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

Responsibilities are anticipated to evolve and expand and will initially include, but are not limited to:

  • Providing technical direction for software projects across NRAO;
  • Defining architecture for projects which span applications and organizational boundaries;
  • Prototyping solutions for new applications and new approaches to existing applications;
  • With stakeholder groups, helping to clarify requirements and technical success criteria for software development;
  • Recognizing and/or define boundaries and interfaces between components to create working applications and a maintainable development path;
  • Working with the CASA architect to assist in setting technical direction for long-term efforts such as casacore scalability and future CASA development;
  • Working with SSA and other teams to advance a unified framework for the user-facing tools;
  • Guiding future ALMA development direction for ONLINE software;
  • Working with DMS Software Management to help define consistent standards for technologies across the observatory, balancing re-use of tools and software across the observatory with strategic exploration of new tools;
  • Ensuring critical documentation is delivered;
  • Working with Testing Team to help define test infrastructure and observatory-wide test practices.


Work Environment

The position is located at the NRAO in Socorro, NM or Charlottesville, VA. 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.  Occasional travel will be required.


Position Requirements:

Minimum Education

Bachelor's degree in computer science, engineering, or a related field.


Preferred Education

An advanced degree is highly desired.  Scientific degree or background in astronomy is also desirable.


Minimum Experience

Seven years of progressively more responsible experience in the software engineering field.


Preferred Experience

While the focus of this position is technical, project management experience would be a valuable addition.


Competency Summary

  • Familiarity with a wide variety of software engineering concepts, practices and procedures;
  • Demonstrated leadership capabilities;
  • Strong interpersonal and communications skills;
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills;
  • Familiarity with project management concepts and techniques;
  • Familiarity with a variety of technologies such as C, C++, Python, Java, frameworks, databases, threading, parallelization, load testing, high availability, authentication;
  • Demonstrated understanding of different design approaches, advantages and disadvantages of each;
  • Experienced in producing functional flow, state transition, behavioral, and hierarchal diagrams, concept of operations, system and component level design documentation;
  • Demonstrated ability to learn new areas and apply learning;
  • Strong troubleshooting and problem-solving abilities;
  • Strong initiative in gathering requirements, setting technical direction, and facilitating alignment;
  • Ability to builds strong relationships with customers and other stakeholders across sites (distributed work environment).


Application Instructions:

Select the “Apply” button below.  Applicants should be prepared to upload a CV/Resume and a letter of interest.


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.