Applications Developer

California (US)
13 Jun 2019
End of advertisement period
12 Aug 2019
Contract Type
Full Time

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 has openings for Applications Developers to participate in NASA missions such as SPHEREx, NASA/ESA collaborations such as Euclid, and science data archive activities such as the NASA/IPAC Infrared Science Archive.

Caltech is more than a world-renowned science and engineering research and education institution, it is a community—a community of curious and passionate individuals who collaborate to understand and solve complex scientific and societal challenges. Caltech is an award-winning workplace and one of the best places to work in the greater Los Angeles area. We offer an exciting and dynamic work environment, exceptional career development opportunities, competitive pay programs, great benefits, and the opportunity to participate in many campus programs and activities. Exceptional employees are critical to Caltech’s success.

IPAC, part of the Physics, Math, and Astronomy Division at Caltech (, provides science operations, user support, data and archive services, and scientific vision to maximize discovery with observatories both in space and on the ground.

IRSA ( is the steward of scientific data sets, ancillary data products, and documentation delivered by NASA's Infrared and Sub-millimeter missions. SPHEREx is a recently approved NASA Astrophysics Explorer mission which will conduct a spectroscopic, infrared survey of the entire sky ( Euclid is a European Space Agency (ESA) mission to study the geometry and nature of the dark Universe. NASA established the Euclid NASA Science Center at IPAC to support US-based investigations using Euclid data. For these and other activities, IPAC provides algorithm development, calibration, data processing, archiving, and/or distribution.

Life at Caltech/IPAC
IPAC is located on the campus of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California by the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains. Caltech is small, but has an extraordinary science impact, with 39 Nobel Prizes awarded to faculty and alumni. Caltech manages the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for NASA, the leading US center for the robotic exploration of the Solar System. Caltech also operates large-scale research facilities such as the Palomar and Keck Observatories, and LIGO, which in 2016 observed gravitational waves from colliding black holes for the first time.

Pasadena is a city known for its contributions to science and technology, and its rich history, cultural treasures, scenic beauty, and year-round comfortable weather create a desirable environment for life and ideas to thrive. See Bill Nye’s take on our city:

People choose to work at IPAC for many reasons, and the casual, employee-centric culture often leads to fulfilling, long-term careers and lasting relationships. Caltech’s benefits program offers a quality, competitive benefits package that is affordable for you and the Institute. The program provides a strong base of coverage for you and your dependents, and the ability to choose the plan and the level of coverage that best meet your needs. 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.

We are an equal opportunity employer. All applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law. Caltech is a VEVRAA Federal Contractor. Click here to read more about Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO).

Job Duties

As an IPAC Applications Developer, you will work with the engineering and scientific team members on tasks which may include:
– Developing astrophysics data processing algorithms, prototype and production-quality software for science operations
– Maintaining up-to-date databases and archive content, and
– Developing tools to help scientists combine, extract and exploit information from archived datasets

Your work may involve processing astrophysics space mission data, simulating science data for processing validation, large scale databases, graphical web user interfaces, and/or interactive data analysis tools. You will also work with scientists and other developers to help interpret and implement project requirements, and document the work that you’ve accomplished.

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 Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Information Sciences or related field
– Experience as a software developer in a Unix/Linux environment using 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)

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. 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 or equivalent degree in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Information Sciences or 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 working with scientific data sets and use cases
– Experience developing software for astronomical data analysis
– Database applications (SQL), large scale data
– Interactive analysis environments such as Jupyter

Required Documents

– Cover Letter
– Resume