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Software Engineer II-III (4830)

Company: National Radio Astronomy
Location: Socorro
Posted on: March 19, 2023

Job Description:

National Radio Astronomy Observatory

Position Description: Position SummaryJoin the software development team that created and maintains the operational software for the ALMA Radio Telescope. The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) is an array of 66 radio antennas located at 16,500 feet (5,000 meters) elevation in the remote Chilean Andes. Its scientific capabilities are, by a large factor, better than any other millimeter wave radio telescope. ALMA was commissioned in 2013 and is one of the largest ground-based astronomical projects on the world. ALMA is used to investigate the cosmic origins of the Universe, and is supported by a diverse technical team on four continents (North America, South America, Europe and East Asia). We are seeking a Software Engineer (II-III) to join the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) North American (NA) ALMA Software Team in the Control Software Group. Collectively, the NA ALMA software team designs, implements and maintains the software used to operate the ALMA telescopes. This includes the software for automatically selecting what to observe (Scheduling software), software that decomposes high-level parameters into the commands sent to each piece of hardware (Control software) and software that collects the data and processes it down to a manageable volume (Correlator software). This requires close interaction with a diverse range of people on multiple continents. The software team frequently diagnoses and corrects difficult and subtle problems that can affect the telescope operations and data quality.ALMA is currently in the planning stages of a system-wide upgrade that will initially double, and eventually quadruple, ALMAs system bandwidth. The successful applicant will have the opportunity to contribute to the next generation of significant software and hardware upgrades to the ALMA telescope control system. We are a small team that values curiosity, diligence, and professional communication. There is potential to grow into leadership of significant software infrastructure upgrades, and to design, prototype, and install new software technologies. We operate in an environment of continuous upgrades to both ALMA and to our teams skills.Job Duties SummaryInitially the person selected will be responsible for maintaining and improving applications that configure, control and monitor the hardware devices on the ALMA telescopes. The successful candidate will develop new features, upgrades, and improve and maintain features already implemented. The successful candidate will engage in technical discussions with software developers, electrical engineers and instrument scientists at remote locations to ensure the software works as expected.Testing is an integral part of the development process and it is expected that the applicant will write and maintain test software that will be run in an automated way. They will also help maintain the internal test systems used, daily, for initial testing of the software. Longer term, the successful applicant may move into designing, implementing, testing and maintaining a more diverse range of software in the NA ALMA software team, such as web-based services and user interfaces. This may require programming in Java or Python and require the research and use of new software technologies.Essential responsibilities and duties will include, but are not limited to:

  • Maintaining and improving applications that control devices on the ALMA Telescopes
  • Managing and contributing code to large projects within the ALMA code base
  • Gathering requirements by working with engineers and scientists at multiple locations
  • Proactively diagnosing and troubleshooting problems found in the verification and validation of software
  • Utilizing continuous integration to automate builds and testing
  • Participating in multi-country ALMA-wide software meetings
  • Communicating effectively with staff at all ALMA sitesThis position will be located at one of the NRAO facilities in Charlottesville (VA), Socorro (NM), or Albuquerque (NM). The successful candidate will join a distributed team of professionals engaged in research and development in the fields of science, engineering, software development, and education. Work is typically performed in a research or development environment, with the potential for international travel and occasional work at high altitudes.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. NRAOs retirement benefit contributes an amount equal to 10 percent of a qualified participants base pay. No contribution is required of the employee; we also offer an optional supplemental, tax-deferred plan for employee retirement contributions. Additionally, NRAO offers educational benefits and professional development programs.Work EnvironmentThe successful candidate will join a team of professionals engaged in research and development in the fields of science, engineering, software development, and education. 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.Position Requirements: Minimum EducationBachelors degree in computer science, engineering, scientific or related field is required; highly relevant experience may be considered in lieu of Bachelors degree.Preferred EducationAdvanced degree in computer science, engineering, scientific or related field. Minimum ExperienceAt least one year of direct or related experience in software development commensurate with stated qualifications. In addition:
    • Proficiency with Linux or Unix operating systems
    • Strong interpersonal, verbal and written communications skills in English
    • Experience working in a distributed team
    • At least 4 of the following skills in the Competency Summary (below). Please list all that are applicable in the cover letter.Prefered ExperienceAt least three years of direct or related experience in software development.Competency Summary
      • Understanding of object-oriented design and development
      • Experience developing software using C++
      • Experience developing software using Java
      • Experience developing or testing threaded software
      • Experience using version control software as part of software development & bug fixing.
      • Experience with software testing and debugging.
        • Experience with graphical user interface development (please list which technologies).
          • Graduate level understanding of astronomy and interferometry.
          • Understanding of Digital signal processing and Fourier theory.
          • Experience with observatory operations.
          • Experience with understanding large, complex software systems.Application Instructions: Apply online at the NRAO Careers page; upload CV/Resume and letter of applicationEqual 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 PM20 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.

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Keywords: National Radio Astronomy, Albuquerque , Software Engineer II-III (4830), IT / Software / Systems , Socorro, New Mexico

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