Position Description

Application 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 looking for a developer for RAPID pipeline team. As a part of the Physics, Math, and Astronomy Division at Caltech, IPAC (www.ipac.caltech.edu) provides science operations, user support, data and archive services, and scientific vision to maximize discovery with observatories both in space and on the ground. We are partners with NASA, NSF, JPL, and the international research community to advance exploration of our Universe. Over our three-decade history, we have provided a range of support for more than 20 astronomy missions, helping each to bring forth major advances in astrophysics and cosmology. As a member of our RAPID team, you will enable scientists to explore the dynamic sky, finding supernovae, other rare cataclysmic events, variable stars, asteroids, and all other manner of time-varying phenomena from our solar system to the edges of the Universe.

Where You Fit In

RAPID is a recently funded Project Infrastructure Team (PIT) for time-domain astronomy with the upcoming NASA Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope. The PIT is responsible for a low-latency pipeline to discover changes between observations, and alert astronomers for follow up with other resources. The pipeline will run within AWS, processing observations as soon as received, all fully automated without a human in the loop. The PIT will also provide other data resources to international community, such as historical brightness information (“light-curves”) for variable sources. The developer will help write, validate, and tune the pipeline and services, working with scientists and engineers across several Roman teams. 

Essential Job Duties

  • Refine project architecture and interfaces.
  • Write python modules for specific tasks.
  • Validate performance of delivered code.
  • Integrate modules into pipeline scaffolding.
  • Deploy, maintain, and tune pipeline in AWS.
  • Communicate regularly with the rest of the RAPID team.
  • Supporting similar cross-IPAC development tasks (at 50% level)
  • We work a regular work week; however, during operations you will sometimes need to support off-hours activities.
  • We encourage continuing career education, and this position offers occasional opportunities to attend industry conferences and related training.

Basic Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Astronomy, Physics, Math, or a related technical field.
  • At least 5 years of relevant experience.
  • At least 2 years of experience of code development and maintenance using python.
  • Experience with SQL.
  • At least 2 years of experience with Linux/Unix operating systems
  • Good written and interpersonal communication skills, with an emphasis on the ability to share ideas in a collaborative setting. 

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. 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:

  • Production experience with AWS.
  • Experience in automating infrastructure and code deployment, such as Terraform and Gitops.
  • Operation of multi-component pipelines, including batch systems, monitoring, logging, and dashboards.
  • Familiarity with Zoom, Slack, Jira, Github or Confluence will enable you to jump in quickly.

Application Documents

  • Resume
  • Cover Letter

Complete applications submitted by June 14, 2024, will receive full consideration, although review of applications will continue until a suitable candidate has been identified.

People choose to work at IPAC for many reasons, and the casual, employee-centric culture often leads to fulfilling, long-term careers and positive relationships. Caltech’s benefits program offers a quality, competitive benefits package that is affordable for you and the Institute. We also offer a 403(b) defined contribution plan to eligible staff as well as a Voluntary Retirement Savings (TDA) Plan. IPAC staff have access to the Institute’s facilities, including the athletic center, libraries, on-site daycare, professional development and enrichment classes, and Athenaeum club membership.

Hiring Range

$109,000 - $129,500 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

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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