Software Engineer II - IV (4852)

Computers/Software Charlottesville, Virginia Socorro, New Mexico Green Bank, West Virginia Albuquerque, New Mexico


Position Description:


Position Summary

Would you like to be writing mission-critical software for some of the largest scientific endeavors on the planet? Would you like to be part of a highly skilled international team of engineers and scientists pushing the boundaries of humankind’s knowledge of the universe?


The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) is seeking three full-time software engineers to design, develop, and maintain code for their radio interferometer data reduction and analysis pipeline. The pipeline is used for the vast majority of data processing by users of the ALMA and VLA telescopes, and it will undergo exciting evolution to support the Next Generation VLA (ngVLA) radio telescope and the upgraded ALMA telescope.


Pipeline Software Engineers are responsible for all aspects of the software engineering lifecycle, from requirements derivation through design, development, testing and maintenance of code used in telescope data processing. They must be capable of formulating complex technical solutions suitable for operational deployment from broad scientific objectives in a research environment. They must possess both software engineering domain knowledge as well as the educational background and ability to understand the basic scientific concepts of radio interferometry.


The three positions will focus on the following areas:

  • Implementing new Pipeline features and capabilities for NRAO’s Science Ready Data Products (SRDP) Initiative and other scientific endeavors.
  • Maintaining VLA calibration heuristics and add new imaging capability for NRAO’s VLA Sky Survey to produce the highest quality data products for the science community.
  • Improving ALMA quality assurance (QA) processes and the common pipeline infrastructure.


All Pipeline development uses a common infrastructure written in Python, which serves as the foundation of all essential aspects of the Pipeline functionality, including, heuristics-driving data calibration/imaging, weblog-based presentation of workflow and data quality assessment, as well as the final science data product delivery.


The positions will be based either at our headquarters in Charlottesville, VA; at the Science Operations Center in Socorro, NM; at a satellite office in Albuquerque, NM; or at the Green Bank Observatory in West Virginia. A remote workstation within the United States may be considered for candidates with sufficient experience, who can work independently while still communicating effectively with the team.


Summary of Job Duties

Responsibilities will include, but are not limited to:

  • Developing new radio interferometer data reduction algorithm implementations as needed by new scientific objectives;
  • Maintaining pipeline heuristics in support of ongoing telescope data processing operations and research endeavors;
  • Evolving the Pipeline code base to be modern, lean, efficient, and well understood;
  • Operating in a distributed international team environment with other software developers and scientific staff;
  • Taking ownership of a subset of functionality and providing technical direction, decision-making, and subject-matter expertise in that area, while continuing to consult with team members and stakeholders;
  • Other duties as assigned.


In addition to competitive pay, NRAO provides excellent paid time off benefits (vacation and sick leave). Medical, dental and vision plans are effective on the 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.


Work Environment

Work is typically performed in a research and development office environment. Occasional travel (domestic and international) may be required.


Who You Are:


Minimum Education

You have a Bachelor’s degree in computer science, engineering, scientific or related field.


Minimum Experience

You have one to two years of demonstrable experience in software development.


Preferred Education

You may have an advanced engineering or science degree and a background that includes astronomy.

Preferred Experience

You have:

  • An understanding of formal software engineering principles including design, documentation, ticketing systems, version control and testing frameworks
  • Experience with large development projects in Python
  • Experience writing code for data visualization and web presentation
  • Familiarity with basic astronomical principles and data reduction
  • Demonstrated ability to learn new scientific concepts and apply them to engineering implementation, ideally in radio astronomy and interferometry
  • Experience with scientific software development, numerical processing techniques, and mathematical packages such as Python/numpy
  • Experience with CASA (or similar data reduction package)
  • Familiarity with High Performance Computing and Big Data concepts including distributed data storage, parallel I/O, parallel processing, and memory caching



  •              Familiar with a variety of software engineering concepts, practices and procedures including:
    •                Software development in Linux
    •                Software development with Python
    •                Experience using version control software


Application Instructions:


Select the “Apply” button. You will need to be prepared to upload your current resume and a cover letter 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 [email protected].


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.