Position Description

Applications Developer
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.


IPAC at Caltech is seeking a Senior Software Applications Developer to lead the User Interface Tools team of the NASA/IPAC Infrared Science Archive (IRSA). Come be a part of the team that is helping astronomers and data scientists worldwide access and explore IRSA’s petabyte archives of astronomy data!

IPAC, part of the Physics, Math, and Astronomy Division at Caltech (www.caltech.edu), provides science operations, user support, data and archive services, and scientific vision to enhance discovery with observatories both in space and on the ground. IRSA (http://irsa.ipac.caltech.edu) is the steward of scientific data sets, ancillary data products, and documentation delivered by NASA's Infrared and Sub-millimeter missions. We are developing services for researchers seeking to exploit its petabyte-scale holdings of astronomy mission data using data science techniques. We are also preparing to support upcoming astrophysics missions including: SPHEREx, a NASA mission which will conduct a spectroscopic, infrared survey of the entire sky; Euclid, a European Space Agency (ESA) mission to study the geometry and nature of the dark Universe; and the Vera C. Rubin Observatory. Additionally, we provide archive services for NASA’s SOFIA airborne observatory, and the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF), an NSF-supported time domain survey led by Caltech.

Essential Job Duties

As IRSA UI Tools Team Lead you will guide a team of developers creating front-end applications used by scientists to find, access and utilize data from IRSA’s vast holdings of astronomy mission data. You will collaborate with the engineering and scientific staff on UI tool development tasks which may include:

  • Coordinating, planning, and supervising activities of the IRSA User Interface (UI) Tools development team in the creation, deployment, and operation of applications fronting IRSA’s operational archives
  • Participating as a member of the IRSA leadership team, working with project leadership and other team leads to develop and implement a vision for archive user tools supporting project and science end-user needs
  • Developing and improving tools to help scientists combine, extract, visualize and exploit information from archived datasets
  • Building and operating efficient search and retrieval mechanisms for IRSA’s petabyte-scale growing data holdings
  • Developing graphical web user interfaces, and/or interactive data analysis tools
  • Interpreting and implementing project requirements, and documenting the work that you’ve accomplished
  • Perform other related duties as assigned

Basic Qualifications

If you have the following in your background, then we want to hear about your interest in joining our team:

  • Bachelor’s or equivalent degree in a technical subject such as Astronomy, Physics, Math, Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Information Sciences, or a related field
  • 8+ years of experience as a software developer in a Unix/Linux environment
  • Proficiency in one or more of C++, Java, Python and/or JavaScript
  • Experience with multithreaded programming and client-server design and communication
  • Experience with functional programming, promises, closures etc.
  • Familiarity with software configuration management principles and tools, source code version control (e.g. Git/GitHub) and issue/bug tracking systems (e.g. Jira)
  • Experience with Continuous Integration and Delivery (CI/CD)

Preferred Qualifications

Beyond these basic qualifications, there are a set of skills and experiences which will add to your ability to contribute to the roles and responsibilities of an IPAC Applications Developer. Any of the following might give you a head start here, but even if these do not describe you or your experience, we would still like to hear from you!

  • Master’s degree in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Information Science or another related field
  • Experience leading a team of software developers, including coaching and mentoring
  • Demonstrated ability with JavaScript frameworks such as React and Redux, and related web technologies such as HTML, JSON, CSS and websocket
  • Familiar with deploying and managing CI/CD tools such as Jenkins
  • Experience with big data technologies and data workflows
  • Experience working with scientific data sets and use cases

Required Documents

  • Resume
  • Cover letter (optional)

People choose to work at IPAC for many reasons, and our casual, employee-centric culture often leads to fulfilling, long-term careers and lasting relationships. IPAC staff have access to Caltech's benefits programs and facilities, including the athletic center, libraries, on-site daycare, professional development and enrichment classes, and Athenaeum club membership.


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). Upon eligibility, employees are required to receive the COVID-19 booster as part of the vaccine mandate. 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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