W. M. Keck Observatory
  • 02-Aug-2017 to 30-Sep-2017 (HST)

This position is responsible for a variety of duties related to developing, deploying and optimizing software for control solutions used at the observatory and integration of partner developed science instruments.

Essential Functions

  • Design, code, integrate, and test control software to implement new observatory control systems and to improve and optimize existing systems.
  • Provide technical support during and post commissioning.
  • Provide software documentation and assist in developing end-user documentation for operations handover to assure updated and accurate reference documentation is available when needed.
  • Respond to questions and perform troubleshooting to provide end-user support for observatory software, at times out of regular hours.
  • Ensure the quality and reliability of the software base through the application of standardized change control, build, and release strategies.
  • Provide highly effective collaboration across disciplines. This includes working with software, electronic, and opto- mechanical engineers as well as scientists at the observatory and external collaborators at other institutions. Collaborative assignments include engagement on systems engineering tasks and active participation on integration testing of subsystems in the laboratory and on the telescope.

Additional Responsibilities

  • Perform other duties consistent with the scope of the position.

Required Qualifications

  • Bachelor of Science or equivalent in Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, Physics, Mathematics or other relevant engineering or science field.
  • Three (3) years' experience in development and maintenance of distributed control systems for engineering or scientific applications.
  • Hands-on experience with real-time operating systems.
  • Experience implementing complex automation controls (such as device control, motion control and sequence control) in a scientific or industrial setting.
  • Strong math skills with a demonstrated ability to apply it for control applications.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Experience programming in distributed control frameworks such as EPICS.
  • Experience in adaptive optics systems.
  • Experience with camera interfaces and image analysis software.
  • Experience programming motion controllers such as PMAC or Galil.
  • Experience advancing system software infrastructure and architectures with evolving technologies including COTS.
  • Experience at an astronomical observatory or high energy physics experiment facility.


  • Broad knowledge of modern software engineering practices especially in areas of re-use and testability.
  • Competency in Unix/Linux, C, and at least one of the following: MatLab, IDL, LabVIEW, or Function Block.
  • Strong competency using O-O paradigm and design patterns in delivering software based solutions in Java or C++.
  • Practical experience of change control, build and release management processes.
  • Has 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.
  • User Interface development with Java, Qt, Python, Tcl/Tk or other toolkits.

 Certificates and Licenses

  • Certificates or licenses are not required.


 To perform the job successfully, an individual should demonstrate the following competencies:

  • Communication: Ability to communicate effectively and concisely at all levels.
  • Interpersonal skills: Ability to build collaborative, effective relationships with staff.
  • Professionalism: Approaches others in a tactful manner; reacts well under pressure; treats others with respect and consideration; accepts responsibility for own actions; follows through on commitments.

Other Requirements

  • Willingness to commit to WMKO core values: Safety, Integrity, Respect, Discovery and Service.
  • Willingness to commit to WMKO cultural values: Education/Learning, Communication, Teamwork, Rewarding Work Environment, Excellence, Community Involvement.
  • Willingness and ability to occasionally work nights and weekends.

Physical Demands

These physical demands are representative of the physical requirements necessary for an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of the job. This is not a complete list of the physical demands that may be required.

  • Sit: Remain in the seated position.
  • Hands: Use hands and fingers
  • Talk: Express or exchange ideas by means of the spoken word to impart oral information to clients or to the public and to convey detailed spoken instructions to other workers accurately, loudly, or quickly.
  • Lift: Raise or lower an object from one level to another (includes upward pulling) up to 25 lbs.

Work Environment

This job operates in a professional office environment. This role may use standard office equipment such as computers, telephones, photocopiers, filing cabinets and fax machines.

The above information on this job description has been designed to indicate the general nature and level of work performed by an employee in this classification.  It is not to be interpreted as a comprehensive inventory, or all duties, responsibilities, and qualifications of employees assigned to this job.  Management has the right to add to, revise, or delete information in this description.  Reasonable accommodations will be made to enable qualified individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions of this position.

W. M. Keck Observatory
  • Apply Now

  • * Fields Are Required

    What is your full name?

    How can we contact you?

    By clicking the button above, I agree to ApplicantPro's Applicant Information Use Policy.

  • Sign Up For Job Alerts!

  • Share this Page
  • Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Email
Logo About News Videos Events Photos Cosmic Cams Donate Visit Contact