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.


Job Summary

IPAC at Caltech is seeking Senior Software Applications Developers to join the Data Systems development staff 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 an IPAC Senior Applications Developer, you will work with the engineering and scientific team members on development tasks which may include:

  • 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
  • Making IRSA’s holdings more usable and accessible to data scientists working in cloud-based platform environments
  • Interpreting and implementing project requirements and documenting the work that you’ve accomplished
  • Peform other 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/C++, Python, and/or Java
  • Familiarity with software configuration management principles and tools, source code version control (e.g. Git/GitHub) and issue/bug tracking systems (e.g. Jira)
  • Ability to communicate effectively across various technical levels and collaborate with internal and external stakeholders

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 with server virtualization and cloud services such as AWS, GCP, Azure
  • Experience with software containerization and deployment technologies, such as Docker and Kubernetes
  • Experience with big data technologies and data workflows
  • Experience working with scientific data sets and use cases
  • Experience with agile development methods and CI/CD tools
  • Hands-on experience with database development and application tuning

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.

Hiring Range

$120,000 - $147,000 Per Year

The salary of the finalist(s) selected for this role will be set based on a variety of factors, including but not limited to, internal equity, experience, education, specialty and training.

As one of the largest employers in Pasadena, CA, Caltech is committed to providing comprehensive benefits to eligible employees and their eligible dependents. Our benefits package includes competitive compensation, health, dental, and vision insurance, retirement savings plans, generous paid time off (vacation, holidays, sick time, parental leave, bereavement, etc.), tuition reimbursement, and more. Non-benefit eligible employees will have access to some benefits such as onsite counseling and sick time. Learn more about our benefits and staff perks

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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