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Job Details

Requisition Number 17-0234
Post Date 10/19/2017
Title Senior Software Engineer
City Boulder
State CO

The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. (AURA) operates several observatory centers (including the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, the National Solar Observatory (NSO), Large Synoptic Survey Telescope and the Gemini Observatory) in the United States and Chile under cooperative agreements with the National Science Foundation.

The National Solar Observatory (NSO) is currently seeking to fill a Sr. Software Engineer position within the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope (DKIST) program. The DKIST is under construction on Maui, Hawaii on the summit of Haleakala. Organizationally, staff are located at the National Solar Observatory headquarters, housed on the Boulder campus of the University of Colorado, co-located with the National Optical Astronomy Observatories at the University of Arizona in Tucson, and in offices in Maui.

The Senior Software Engineer will design and implement the Operations Tools, a software package that will support proposal management, experiment architecture and planning, and operations monitoring for the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope. These tools, which are envisioned to provide a set of GUI and scripted data management and workflow functions, will be used in concert with existing software and infrastructure to execute telescope operations, and will generate information critical to DKIST Operations. The Engineer will work with the Project Manager and Operations Scientist to elaborate and refine the scientific goals of the tools into an achievable development roadmap, and will implement the tools in collaboration with various support staff. Finally, the Engineer will coordinate with members of the DKIST team(s) producing telescope operational software to leverage existing codebases and to define and support appropriate interfaces between the software stacks.

Essential Functions:

  • With the DKIST Operations Scientist and Data Center Project Manager, elaborate & refine the scientific and operational goals and development roadmap of the Operations Tools.
  • Implement the Operations Tools through a prioritized, test-driven continuous delivery guided by the evolutionary roadmap.
  • Build and maintain interfaces to DKIST facility software and libraries.


  • Bachelor’s degree in a technical or business field.
  • At least ten years of Java software development, with at least five years in a senior role
  • Agile Scrum.
  • Extensive hands-on experience designing, developing, and maintaining full software & infrastructure stacks, including web and application front-ends, database and service back-ends, and infrastructure.
  • Linux and open source technologies in general.
  • Middleware frameworks, particularly ICE.
  • Demonstrable expertise programming languages other than Java, such as Python, C++, JavaScript.
  • Hands-on experience with web development JavaScript frameworks (e.g., Angular, Ember, et al.).
  • Experience customizing forms and workflows in Atlassian JIRA and Confluence.
  • Hands-on experience with data management systems, including RDBMS and NoSQL.
  • Experience working within a continuous build, integration, and/or deployment environment.
  • Experience creating responsive end-user GUIs, and/or customizing available tools.
  • Willingness to learn new technologies and languages as needed.
  • Demonstrable experience working with other software developers, database administrators, and operations engineers in product delivery.
  • Proven ability to work with trained scientists in a collaborative manner.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills.
  • Ability to speak and write effectively in English, including preparation of technical reports.
  • Occasional travel (<10%) expected.

Preferred Education/Experience/Skills/Abilities:

  • Experience utilizing cloud (AWS, GCP) resources for development, test, and deployment.
  • Hands-on experience using container technologies (e.g., Docker, Kubernetes) for software/system development, testing, and deployment.
  • Experience working in scientific or technical (e.g. engineering) organizations, and/or have been involved with developing system architecture serving such organizations.

Physical Demands:

  • The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.
  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to sit; use hands to finger, handle, or feel and talk or hear.
  • The employee is occasionally required to stand; walk; reach with hands and arms and stoop; kneel; crouch; or crawl.
  • The employee must regularly lift and /or move up to 10 pounds and occasionally lift and/or move up to 25 pounds.
  • Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, depth perception and ability to adjust focus.
  • Must possess - sufficient mobility, strength, or dexterity in both arms and hands and both legs to a) reach upward, sideways, downward to work with paper files; b) sufficient mobility and dexterity to utilize computer systems, fax machines, copiers, and other office machines.
  • Must possess – 1) ability to read and understand instructions, drawings, safety guides, and other written materials necessary to perform job; 2) sufficient visual capacity to perform the applicable functions without assistance of visual aids other than eye contacts or eye glasses; 3) sufficient spoken aural capacity to hear and understand instructions, warning bells, fire alarms, or shouted instructions without assistance of auditory aids other than a hearing aid; and 4) ability to impart information orally so that others understand and can respond appropriately.

Please list 3 professional references in your application and attach a CV or resume (PDF files preferred) and cover letter to your application. Please name any attachments with the following format: 17-0234LastnameDocname. Application documents that are not uploaded as part of the application may be sent to

AURA, as a leader in the astronomical community, is committed to diversity and inclusion. AURA develops and supports programs that advance our organizational commitment to diversity, broaden participation, and encourage the advancement of diversity throughout the astronomical scientific workforce. Learn more at

As a recipient of U.S. Government funding, AURA is considered a government contractor and is subject to Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action regulations. As an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer, AURA does not discriminate based on race, sex, color, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity/gender identity expression, lawful political affiliations, veteran status, disability, and/or any other legally protected status under applicable federal, state, and local equal opportunity laws. The statements below as well as the requests for self-identification are required pursuant to these regulations. We encourage your participation in meeting these federal reporting requirements which are included for protection and to assist us in our recordkeeping and reporting. Your responses are kept strictly confidential.

  • Equal Opportunity Employer/Protected Veterans/Individuals with Disabilities.
  • Please view Equal Employment Opportunity Posters provided by OFCCP here.
  • The contractor will not discharge or in any other manner discriminate against employees or applicants because they have inquired about, discussed, or disclosed their own pay or the pay of another employee or applicant. However, employees who have access to the compensation information of other employees or applicants as a part of their essential job functions cannot disclose the pay of other employees or applicants to individuals who do not otherwise have access to compensation information, unless the disclosure is (a) in response to a formal complaint or charge, (b) in furtherance of an investigation, proceeding, hearing, or action, including an investigation conducted by the employer, or (c) consistent with the contractor's legal duty to furnish information. 41 CFR 60-1.35(c)
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