Position Description

Network Engineer & Systems Administrator
Job Category Fulltime Regular
ExemptOvertimeEligible Exempt
Benefits Eligible Benefit Based
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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.

LIGO Laboratory (the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory) seeks a highly motivated and skilled Systems Administrator/Network Engineer to join its team in Hanford, WA.

LIGO Laboratory is a National Science Foundation major facility dedicated to observing the newly discovered gravitational-wave universe. Jointly operated by the California Institute of Technology and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the LIGO Laboratory operates world-leading observatories near Richland, WA and Baton Rouge, LA as well as R&D centers on the Caltech and MIT campuses. The LIGO Laboratory’s mission spans a broad and vibrant array of activities related to gravitational-wave physics and astronomy, including detector operations, R&D toward detector improvements, gravitational-wave astrophysics, observatory operations, and education and public outreach.

For more information, please visit the Laboratory website at (www.ligo.caltech.edu).

This position is located in Richland, WA.

Life at LIGO Hanford Observatory as a Caltech Employee

LIGO’s observatory in the shrub-steppe of Eastern Washington is an approximately 20-minute commute from Richland, WA., where it is located on the edge of the Department of Energy Hanford Site. Caltech employs a staff of 49 at the Hanford observatory. Caltech has an extraordinary science impact across many fields. Its small size creates a community where innovation and collaboration are the norm. Caltech manages the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) for NASA, the leading US center for the robotic exploration of the Solar System. Caltech also operates large-scale research facilities such as the Palomar and Keck Observatories.

The Tri-Cities (Richland, Kennewick, Pasco) is a rapidly developing community set in the heart of wine-country in southeast Washington state, where the Columbia, Yakima, and Snake rivers meet. The rivers and nearby Cascade and Blue mountain ranges provide ample outdoor recreation opportunities from water-skiing to fishing to hiking. The region is known for its contributions to science and technology in the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the DOE Hanford Site.

People choose to work at LIGO for many reasons, often with fulfilling, long-term careers. LIGO is a family-friendly laboratory and strives to ensure everyone is able to achieve the work-life balance they desire. Employees have access to a wide range of benefits including a child-care assistance program. Caltech’s benefits program offers a quality, competitive benefits package that is affordable for you and the Institute. The program provides a strong base of coverage for you and your dependents, and the ability to choose the plan and the level of coverage that best meet your needs. We also offer a 403(b) defined contribution plan to eligible staff as well as a Voluntary Retirement Savings (TDA) Plan.

Caltech HR diversity page: https://hr.caltech.edu/careers/2commitment-diversity

Caltech and LIGO Laboratory’s goal is to build a world-class, diverse workforce and support an inclusive environment that encourages professional development and offers top-notch benefits. Our talented staff, who work at the Caltech campus, or one of our Observatories, come from a variety of fields. Positions include scientists, engineers, information technology staff, outreach professionals, managers, writers, business professionals, and administrative staff. We are deeply committed to encouraging people of all backgrounds to apply for these opportunities. Our experience has demonstrated that the broader the styles, characteristics, backgrounds, and abilities of our staff—in other words, the more diverse our team is—the greater potential we have for success. Caltech is an equal opportunity employer.

LIGO Laboratory is committed to being a welcoming place for everyone regardless of race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, age, or veteran status.

Job Summary

This position will serve as the network engineer for LIGO Hanford Observatory, LIGO Livingston Observatory, and LIGO Caltech. Required experience includes knowledge of network architecture design and build concepts.  This includes experience with BGP protocols, on site layer 3 support, wireless networking support, management networks, remote management techniques and NAT. The candidate must have experience with a broad array of network equipment from Cisco, Juniper, Brocade and/or Rukus. Experience with network security, Cloud based networking and Science DMZ's is desirable.

A preferred candidate would also be able to support Systems Administration at LIGO Hanford and other LIGO sites. A strong background in Linux system administration to include support for Debian, REHL derivatives, and Ubuntu servers (both physical and virtual), site infrastructure protocols (DNS, DHCP, mail services) systems backup solutions, cloud computing, configuration management tools such as Puppet and ad-hoc services support would be desirable.

Job Duties

  • Report and coordinate work with the LIGO General Computing group.
  • Manage the local general computing budget.
  • Evaluate and purchase network and computing equipment as part of general lifecycle replacements.
  • Assist the local sysadmins as needed.
  • Redesign the LHO network around a LIGO owned IP network block.
  • Ensure that critical systems have multiple routes offsite.
  • Redesign the network such that critical network flows can be separated from non-critical networks.
  • Support the needs of local computing and instrument groups as well as site staff.
  • Integrating wired and wireless network systems.
  • Maintain the LIGO Hanford Observatory (LHO) network.
  • Act as a liaison and technical contact for our ISPs.
  • Manage changes to network configuration, both on local layer 2 and layer 3 networks.
  • Manage the BGP configuration and maintaining the connection to our ISPs.
  • Track all networking equipment at the LHO site from purchase to disposal.
  • Provide consulting, training, and assistance to other lab groups and sites to direct maintenance, management, and architectural changes to meet the needs of LIGO science.
  • Provide network consulting and troubleshooting help to other LHO based compute groups.
  • Standard 40 hour work week Monday-Friday with occasional off-hour, nights or weekend work to support mission critical tasks. Occasional domestic travel via airplane.

Basic Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science, Computer Information Systems, or 5 years of experience in a related field
  • 8+ year(s) supporting Network infrastructure (layer 2 and 3) Juniper, CISCO, Brocade switches as well as wireless networks.
  • Ability to support site infrastructure (such as DNS, DHCP, NAT, LDAP, LAN, WAN, email)
  • Management of onsite and remote backup systems.
  • Familiar with Cloud based platforms such as AWS or Azure.
  • Familiar and Hypervisors and Virtualization technology support concepts.
  • Familiarity with VOIP and telecom concepts.
  • Experience with managing and reconciling a budget.
  • Experience with network engineering and architectural design concepts.
  • Ability to support multiple physical locations both physically and remotely

Preferred Qualifications

  • 5+ years supporting Linux, Windows and Mac workstations and servers (hardware and operating systems) and peripherals
  • 5-10 + year(s) supporting Network infrastructure (layer 2 and 3) Juniper, CISCO, Brocade switches as well as wireless networks.
  • Experience in an Academic or research environment
  • Experience with remote management and systems automation concepts such as Puppet or Ansible.
  • Familiarity with Identity and Access Management (IAM) controls and concepts
  • 2+ Year experience with Cloud based platforms such AWS or Azure or similar
  • 2+ year experience Virtualization technology and Hypervisor support such as or VMWare or Proxmox (VM’s and Containers).

Required Documents

  • Resume
  • Cover Letter



COVID-19 Vaccine Required for All Employees

Caltech has implemented a mandatory vaccination policy effective October 15, 2021, requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for all employees (with Institute-approved exemptions for religious or medical contraindications only). At present, an individual is deemed “fully vaccinated” when that person has received, at least 14 days prior, either the second dose in a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series (e.g., Pfizer or Moderna) or a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine (e.g., Johnson & Johnson). As a condition of employment, employees must submit official COVID-19 vaccine documentation. More information may be found here.

EEO Statement

We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

Caltech is a VEVRAA Federal Contractor.

To read more Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) go to eeoc_self_print_poster.pdf.

Disability Accommodations

If you would like to request an accommodation in completing this application, interviewing, or otherwise participating in the employee selection process, please direct your inquiries to Caltech Recruiting at employment@caltech.edu

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