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Job Details

Requisition Number 17-0132
Post Date 6/22/2017
Title Data Engineer
City Boulder
State CO

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

The National Solar Observatory (NSO) currently has Data Engineer position open 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.

General Description of Position: The Data Engineer will provide expertise for the design, development, and implementation of a petascale data management service and process architecture supporting the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope Data Center. S/he will contribute to all aspects of Data Center data management, supporting scientific data and metadata verification, ingestion, long-term storage, utilization, distribution, and service integration. S/he will be responsible for designing scalable, flexible, maintainable, and extensible systems to support long-term data management, and broad scientific and operational use of stored data and metadata to internal and external users. S/he will also contribute to the development and deployment of high-speed, low-latency filesystems supporting multi-user scientific data processing. The ideal candidate has experience deploying both relational and non-relational data management systems at scale within large scientific or technical organizations.

Essential Functions:

  • Develop designs for and demonstrate feasibility of data and metadata management infrastructure
  • Develop extensible, flexible conceptual, logical, and physical data models capturing operational and scientific needs
  • Construct effective data quality verification protocols and codes
  • Develop and optimize data flows within the DKIST Data Center system architecture
  • Provide system administration of deployed data management solutions, including but not limited to relational and non-relational databases
  • Contribute to adoption and deployment of high-speed, low-latency filesystems
  • Contribute to strategic planning and recommended improvements and upgrades for DC systems
  • Comply with applicable electrical, hardware, and software industry standards and best practices

Required Education/Experience/Skills/Abilities:

  • Bachelor’s degree in a technical or business field
  • At least ten years of demonstrable, progressively responsible experience in the administration of large data storage systems, with at least four years in a senior role
  • Extensive, demonstrable experience designing, building, managing, and maintaining large data management systems, including scalable deployment and maintenance of enterprise relational databases (e.g., Oracle, PostgreSQL, MySQL) and non-relational data stores (e.g., HDFS/HBase, Cassandra, Redis, Mongo)
  • Extensive, demonstrable experience creating, documenting, and deploying logical and physical data models in relational database management systems (RDBMS) with common tools (e.g., UML, Data Architect)
  • Extensive experience optimizing large (terascale/petascale) data management infrastructure for performance, scalability, and availability
  • Demonstrable experience creating schema for non-relational database management systems
  • Demonstrable experience deploying Ceph or OpenStack Swift object stores
  • Demonstrable knowledge of data and metadata standards for structure, format, and interchange
  • Demonstrable experience designing infrastructure for and deploying high-speed, low-latency parallel filesystems (e.g., Lustre) • Demonstrable scripting experience (e.g. shell, Python, Ruby)
  • Demonstrable experience developing and implementing disaster recovery, failover, and colocation plans
  • Demonstrable experience developing and executing data integrity audit procedures and operationally
  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • Ability to speak and write effectively in English, including preparation of technical reports

Desirable Experience/Skills/Abilities:

  • Extensive experience designing and deploying high-performance PostgreSQL
  • Experience optimizing Ceph, with a deep knowledge of Ceph components and services
  • Experience with non-relational database models, implementations, and administration
  • Experience with cloud data management, e.g., Amazon S3/Glacier, Google Cloud Platform
  • Experience working in scientific or technical (e.g. engineering) organizations, and/or have been involved with developing system architecture serving such organizations.
  • Knowledge of astronomy-related data organization formats (e.g., FITS, HDF)

NSO will begin reviewing applications the week of July 10th, 2017 and will continue to accept applications until the position is filled. Please be sure to submit a completed application and resume by no later than Friday, July 14th 2017 to be considered in the first review.

Please list 3 professional references in your application and attach a CV or resume (PDF files preferred) to your application. Please name any attachments with the following format: 17-0132LastnameDocname. 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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