Software Engineer II-IV

Computers/Software Charlottesville, Virginia Socorro, 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 to recruit a full-time software engineer 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.  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 position will be based at either our headquarters in Charlottesville, VA (preferred) 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 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.

Work Environment

The position is located at the NRAO in Charlottesville, VA (preferred) or Socorro, NM. Work is typically performed in a research or development environment.  Must be able to communicate effectively both verbally and in writing.  Occasional travel (domestic and international) will be required.


Position Requirements:


Minimum Education

Bachelor’s degree in computer science, engineering, scientific or related field is required; highly relevant experience may be considered in lieu of Bachelor’s degree.


Preferred Education

Advanced degree and background that includes physics or mathematics is highly desired. 


Minimum Experience

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

  • Software development in Linux
  • Software development with Python
  • Experience using version control software


Preferred Experience

  • Familiarity with basic astronomical principles and data reduction
  • Experience with large development projects in Python
  • An understanding of formal software engineering principles, including design, documentation, ticketing systems, version control, testing frameworks, and requirements traceability
  • Experience with scientific software development, numerical processing techniques, linear algebra, digital signal processing concepts or mathematical packages such as Python/numpy
  • Ability to learn new scientific concepts and apply learning to engineering implementation, specifically in radio astronomy and interferometry
  • 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


Application Instructions:


For consideration, please select the "Apply" button below. 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



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.