W. M. Keck Observatory
  • 138140 per year The starting salary range for this engineering position is $113,465 to $138,140

4 weeks annual paid vacation + 8% 403(b) employer contribution (4% employee contribution) + 100%-paid employee health insurance + additional benefits.

W. M. Keck Observatoryin Kamuela, HI is looking to hire a full-time Software Engineer to improve upon our existing software systems and design, code, and implement new ones. Are you a highly skilled, motivated software engineer with a passion for scientific discovery? Would you like to work in a cutting-edge facility on the summit of Maunakea? Are you interested in joining an organization that performs groundbreaking research and pushes the boundaries of human knowledge? If so, please read on!

The starting salary range for this engineering position is $113,465 to $138,140 + 4 weeks annual paid vacation + 8% 403(b) employer contribution (4% employee contribution) + 100%-paid employee health insurance + additional benefits. If this sounds like the right opportunity for you, apply today!



From Hawaii's Maunakea, astronomers around the world use our observatory to observe the universe with unprecedented power and precision. Our twin observatory telescopes are the world's most scientifically productive optical and infrared telescopes! With our highly advanced technology, we focus on service and stewardship and are very committed to being the science leader in large land-based telescopes. We support the mission of the observatory and work to unravel the mysteries of the universe!

Each employee is a part of our mission. We provide meaningful jobs and an exciting place to pursue careers. Employees are able to work with a variety of equipment and scientific applications for the good of humanity and pure science. We work in a wonderful setting and environment and are passionate about what we do. We're looking for more individuals to join us!



As a Software Engineer, you are responsible for designing, coding, and maintaining the software systems that directly support the functions of our telescopes and laboratory equipment. You work with cutting-edge technology, writing code that supports advanced optical and mechanical systems for applications that require extreme precision. For each new project you work on, you collaborate with engineers from various disciplines and create innovative solutions that are intuitive for the end user.

In addition to new software systems, you update and maintain the systems we already have in place. You become an expert on our technology, providing end-user support and troubleshooting issues if they arise. As necessary, you train technicians on the use of the systems you build. You also maintain detailed documentation of all the systems you work on. Your satisfaction comes from supporting scientific discovery and tackling challenging problems with a high-performing team!



  • BS or equivalent in computer science, electrical engineering, physics, mathematics, or another relevant engineering or science field
  • 5+ years of experience in the development and maintenance of distributed control systems for engineering or scientific applications
  • Hands-on experience with real-time or near-real-time control systems
  • Direct experience implementing and maintaining complex automation controls (such as device control, motion control, and sequence control) in a scientific or industrial setting
  • Competency in Unix/Linux, C, and at least one of the following domain-specific languages: MatLab, IDL, LabVIEW, or Function Block
  • Strong competency using O-O paradigm and design patterns in delivering software-based solutions in Java or C++
  • A sound working knowledge of software concepts such as process and task management, multi-threading, inter-process communications, and network programming in distributed control environments
  • Familiarity with user interface development using Java, Qt, Python, Tcl/Tk, or other toolkits
  • Microsoft Office suite proficiency

Experience with the following is also preferred: motion controllers, embedded controllers, programmable logic controllers (PLCs), distributed control frameworks, adaptive optics systems, detector interfaces, image analysis, and coordinate transformation processing. Experience at an astronomical observatory or high-energy physics experiment facility would be a plus. Excellent math skills and the demonstrated ability to apply them to control applications are also preferred.

Are you a solution-oriented problem solver with excellent critical thinking skills? Do you work well in a collaborative, high-stakes environment? Are you an excellent communicator who can easily build rapport with others? If yes, you might just be perfect for this automation engineering position!



This full-time automation engineering position may occasionally work nights and weekends.



If you feel that you would be right for this automation engineering job, please fill out our initial 3-minute, mobile-friendly application. We look forward to meeting you!

Our salary ranges are determined by the role and level of the position. The range displayed on each job posting reflects the minimum and maximum starting base pay for new hire salaries for the position. Within the range, individual pay is determined by experience, skillset, and qualifications of the new hire. Should you be selected for an interview, the HR team will be happy to further discuss the compensation details of this position with you

Location: 96743

W. M. Keck Observatory
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