Software Engineer

Updated: about 2 months ago
Location: Pasadena, CALIFORNIA


Posted: 04-Apr-24

Location: Pasadena, California

Salary: Open



Internal Number: 5151572

Software Engineer
Job Category: Fulltime Regular
Exempt Overtime Eligible: Exempt
Benefits Eligible: Benefit Based
Caltech is a world-renowned science and engineering institute that marshals some of the world's brightest minds and most innovative tools to address fundamental scientific questions. We thrive on finding and cultivating talented people who are passionate about what they do. Join us and be a part of the diverse Caltech community.
Job Summary
Caltech Optical Observatories (COO) is inviting qualified candidates to apply for the position of Senior Software Engineer within its Optical and Infrared (OIR) Instrumentation Group. The OIR Group develops world-class visible and infrared astronomical adaptive optics systems, imaging cameras, and spectrographs for the Palomar, Keck, and Thirty Meter Telescope International Observatories, as well as other astronomical facilities and flight missions in support of Caltech faculty and student astrophysics research.
Applicants are expected to have a demonstrated record of successfully managing diverse personnel developing software for sophisticated astronomical, experimental physics, or commercial optoelectromechanical instrumentation, while also making significant individual contributions to cross-disciplinary project teams.
The successful candidate will possess comprehensive software knowledge spanning multiple applications and development models. They will maintain close awareness of scientific and industry trends, are expected to gain high-level knowledge of Caltech research and business operations, and effectively work in close collaboration with the Software Group Lead and Associate Director for Instrumentation Development, the Caltech faculty, and peer group managers delivering an ambitious portfolio of leading-edge instrumentation.
The position is based at and requires a routine presence on the Caltech campus, with occasional travel and work at high altitudes (up to 14,000 ft.), including both daytime and occasional nighttime schedules, including in low light level conditions, as well as a successful pre-employment physical, DMV, and background checks.
Essential Job Duties
The successful Senior Software Engineer will:
  • Provide technical leadership of small project software teams developing embedded instruments and supervisory software for major new astronomical instruments.
  • Develop and manage data analysis and data reduction pipelines for new and existing instruments.
  • Broadly execute software development, including customer interfacing, requirements engineering, configuration management, unit and regression testing, deployment, and ongoing software maintenance.
  • Interact regularly and effectively with internal and external project managers, senior engineering staff, supervisors of complementary discipline groups, faculty, students, and administrative professionals.
  • Interact with customer stakeholders at partner observatories, universities, federal research laboratories, and private foundations.
  • Serve on review boards and lead peer reviews of subsystem activities, as necessary.
  • Maintain a safe and supportive working environment.
  • Work collaboratively and supportively in team environments, sharing software development responsibilities and contributing toward software team objectives.
  • Be aware of, and remain, in compliance with Institute policies, procedures, practices, and regulatory requirements.

The successful candidate will:
  • Demonstrate Customer Focus: Demonstrate a concern for the needs and expectations of customers (internal or external); focus efforts on identifying and meeting the needs of customers; use an understanding of customer needs as the basis for decision-making and organizational action; build strong relationships of trust with customers.
  • Make Good Decisions: Apply logic and practical thinking to decision making; gather necessary input and data from multiple sources to inform decisions and make decisions based on one's best thinking given the time available; draw correct and reasonable conclusions based on data and information; make decisions in a timely manner regardless of pressure or uncertainty; make decisions quickly when called to do so; consider the financial impact of decisions.
  • Plan / Organize: Determine objectives and strategies required to deliver results; allocate resources according to organizational priorities; determine how to use resources efficiently to accomplish a task or project; consider the fiscal impact of decisions.
  • Demonstrate Technical Knowledge and Skills: Apply technical and professional skills or knowledge in position-related areas; keep up with current developments and trends in areas of expertise.
  • Build Trusting Partnerships: Develop and leverage collaborative relationships based on mutual trust to facilitate the accomplishment of work goals; work cooperatively with stakeholders to identify and meet mutual goals.
  • Clearly Communicate: Clearly and succinctly convey information and ideas to individuals and groups; shape communication to the needs of the audience; convey ideas and opinions clearly to others; share relevant information and expectations openly, honestly, and in a timely fashion; listen attentively to others.
  • Actively Learn: Demonstrate zeal for new information, knowledge, and experiences; regularly seek and capitalize on learning opportunities; quickly assimilate and apply new information.
  • Demonstrate Agility / Flexibility: Be open to changing conditions; adjust one's behavior in light of changing conditions; adjust effectively to work within new work structures, processes, requirements, or cultures.

Basic Qualifications
  • B.S. in computer science, engineering, physics, mathematics, data science, astronomy, or related field and a minimum of 8 years' technical subdiscipline experience, or equivalent.
  • Expertise in software engineering processes, including requirements capture, software architecture, quality assurance, testing, deployment, and maintenance.
  • Facility with modern programming notations (e.g., Python, C++) and development methodologies prevalent in the astronomical, physics, or research engineering communities.
  • Enthusiasm to make impactful contributions, individually and within instrumentation teams, to human knowledge and understanding.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills and ability to lead technical peers and work collegially with astronomical faculty.
  • Strong analytical, problem-solving, and conceptual skills, with an ability to express complex technical concepts to non-experts.
  • Familiarity with effective systems engineering including requirements engineering, error budget analysis, requirements flow-down, formal interface control, and risk assessment and mitigation strategies.
  • Broad knowledge of experimental physics and multidisciplinary engineering principles.
  • Valid Driver's License and the ability to maintain it throughout the course of employment.

Physical Requirements
  • Ability to lift 25 lbs.
  • Ability to work at high altitudes (up to 14,000 ft.) and in low light level conditions.

Preferred Qualifications
  • M.S. in computer science, engineering, physics, mathematics, data science, astronomy, or related field and 12 years' experience, or equivalent.
  • Strong record of successful delivery of research instrumentation.
  • National and international recognition for experimental research or instrumentation leadership.
  • Professional recognition of effective personnel management.

Required Documents
  • Resume.
  • Cover Letter.

To be considered for this position please visit our web site and apply on line at the following link:
We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.
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