Network Engineer / Senior Network Engineer

Network Engineering and Research Division

The National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign provides supercomputing and advanced digital resources for the nation's science enterprise. At NCSA, University of Illinois faculty, staff, students, and collaborators from around the globe use advanced digital resources to address research grand challenges for the benefit of science and society. NCSA has been advancing one third of the Fortune 50 for more than 30 years by bringing industry, researchers and students together to solve grand challenges at rapid speed and scale.

NCSA is currently seeking one or more Network Engineers/Senior Network Engineers in its Network Engineering and Research (NER) Division. The incumbents will work as members of the team responsible for the design, maintenance, and operation of NCSA's high-performance research network in support of NCSA staff, HPC resources, researchers, partners, and NSF-funded projects awarded to NCSA.

The NCSA network is a multi-site, multi-vendor environment that leverages Ethernet, DWDM, and other transports to interconnect its IP network with the world over various dedicated WAN links that span the scientific computing community. The NCSA network evolves continually, incorporating cutting-edge technologies that enhance the Center's ability to further research in many scientific fields, as well as supporting research into new networking technologies. Consequently, this position requires not only skills and knowledge in many areas of networking, including network architecture, protocol performance analysis and tuning, software development, computer system administration, and high-performance computing (HPC) environments, but also the ability to diagnose complex interaction problems between these components.

Network Engineers/Senior Network Engineers are skilled generalists who are engaged with all aspects of network operations, from making network cables to configuring BGP peerings with other research institutions to conducting research on emerging networking technologies and publishing results of that research. In addition to the installation and configuration of equipment, the Network Engineer provides valuable feedback into the design and direction of the network, while the Senior Network Engineer is expected to develop and lead both technical and research projects, as well as contribute to the grant proposal development and leadership activities of the center. Collaboration with other team members is key.

Key responsibilities

Network Engineer
  • Architect and evolve the fault-tolerant, high-performance data network and related network services that interconnect all NCSA systems and computing resources to end-users and researchers.
  • Full lifecycle support of the networking hardware and software that comprise the NCSA high-performance network, including design, maintenance and troubleshooting. Coordinate with vendors as applicable for deployment and troubleshooting.
  • Full lifecycle support of the server hardware, operating systems, software, and server applications that provide network-critical services, network administration, monitoring, and diagnostics. Support includes designing, maintaining and troubleshooting systems.
  • Make technical decisions affecting the implementation of network systems' hardware and software configurations, including the servers that support network functions, develops user policies, and advises on security procedures.
  • With minimal supervision, physically install and maintain network equipment of all types, including the installation, termination, and routing of copper and fiber network cables, power cables, and serial/console cables.
  • Using independent judgment, identify, analyze, and resolve functional and performance-related problems affecting the network itself or the computer systems that provide network-related services.
  • Independently create and maintain documentation related to network design and implementation, network capabilities, inventories of installed equipment, instructional documents intended for end-users, working documents for ongoing projects, and system administration tasks and procedures.
  • Develop, maintain and document network administration tools and applications, as well as scripts created for internal use. Evaluate, obtain, and install 3rd party network administration tools as deemed appropriate.
  • Monitor network usage to inform network design and implementation changes that will enhance network performance, achieve optimal usage of network resources, and better support end-users and researchers.
  • Tune end-system network interfaces, including those of HPC and storage systems, to provide optimal network performance over the NCSA and wide area networks.
  • Collaborate with NCSA security staff to develop network-specific security policies, standards and practices. Incorporate security requirements into network design and implementation.
  • Present network documentation for use in end-user documentation, research grant proposals, and other NCSA published works to NCSA groups and Principal Investigators (PIs).
  • With minimal supervision, provide network design and installation for network connectivity that will meet the high-bandwidth needs of HPC research systems and their storage networks.
  • Maintain technical involvement in cutting-edge, multi-institution networking research projects and conferences; function as a representative of NCSA within the scientific computing community in that capacity.
  • Collaborate with external research and networking groups to further the strategic mission of NCSA.
  • Regularly communicate to NCSA technical management staff, consultants, and end users the impact of network system updates, failures and their corrections, as well as other changes made during regular operations.
  • Using independent judgment, advise application developers, researchers, consultants, and end users on optimal use of NCSA networks.
  • Train other NCSA staff and consultants on support of network capabilities and services.
  • Provide on-call and off-hours support as assigned.
  • Keep current on skills and knowledge regarding NCSA duties by researching on-line, with periodicals or by means of attending lectures or conferences.
Senior Network Engineer

These include the key responsibilities for the Network Engineer in addition to the following:

  • Lead technical and research projects in the area of networking for both grant-funded and center-wide activities. Present, publish, and/or report on the findings or results of these projects.
  • Provide technical direction, advice, and mentorship to Network Engineers on the team.
  • On behalf of NCSA, lead the development and writing efforts of grant proposals for submission to the National Science Foundation and other key funding agencies.
  • Collaborate across the department with on the development of network designs and policies to help the center meet the high-bandwidth needs of HPC research systems and their storage networks.
  • Accurately relate to NCSA technical management staff, consultants, and end users the impact of network system updates, failures and their corrections, as well as other changes made during regular operations.
  • Advise application developers, researchers, consultants, and end users on optimal use of NCSA networks.
  • Train other NCSA staff and consultants on support of network capabilities and services.

Required education and experience

Network Engineer
  • BA/BS degree in computer science, electrical engineering, or related field required. Alternative degree fields may be accepted if accompanied by an equivalent amount of experience.
  • Experience configuring and operating switched Ethernet and routed IP networks.
  • Familiarity with Unix shell and Unix troubleshooting and network utilities.
Senior Network Engineer
  • BA/BS degree in computer science, electrical engineering, or related field required. Alternative degrees may be accepted if accompanied by equivalent experience.
  • 10 years of experience configuring and operating switched Ethernet and routed IP networks.
  • 3 years of leadership experience on either technical or research-oriented networking projects.
  • Familiarity with Unix shell and Unix troubleshooting and network utilities.

Preferred experience

Network Engineer
  • Hands-on experience with Juniper, Arista, Cisco, and/or Extreme Networks equipment.
  • Experience with dynamic routing protocols (e.g. OSPF, IS-IS, BGP).
  • Experience with DNS and DHCP administration in a Unix environment.
  • Hands-on experience with many operating systems (e.g. BSD, Linux, OS X, and Microsoft Windows).
  • IPv6 deployment and/or operational experience.
  • IP multicast troubleshooting experience.
  • TCP performance tuning experience (including related Linux/Unix kernel tuning parameters).
  • Knowledge of the public telecommunications network.
  • Experience configuring and operating hardware firewalls.
  • Experience with site-to-site and remote-access virtual private networks.
  • Working knowledge of DWDM optical transport systems.
  • Working knowledge of optical Ethernet concepts (e.g. single-mode and multi-mode fiber, transceiver types).
  • Familiarity with server administration, both hardware and software, on various platforms.
  • Experience with various programming and scripting languages (e.g. Perl, Python, etc.).
Senior Network Engineer
  • Master's or PhD in computer science, electrical engineering or related field is preferred.
  • Experience writing grant proposal for the NSF or other federal agencies.
  • Experience leading an NSF or other federal agency award.
  • Experience presenting and writing technical research papers.
  • Hands-on experience with Juniper, Arista, Cisco, and/or Extreme Networks equipment.
  • Experience with dynamic routing protocols (e.g. OSPF, IS-IS, BGP).
  • Experience with DNS and DHCP administration in a Unix environment.
  • Hands-on experience with many operating systems (e.g. BSD, Linux, OS X, and Microsoft Windows).
  • IPv6 deployment and/or operational experience.
  • IP multicast troubleshooting experience.
  • TCP performance tuning experience (including related Linux/Unix kernel tuning parameters).
  • Knowledge of the public telecommunications network.
  • Experience configuring and operating hardware firewalls.
  • Experience with site-to-site and remote-access virtual private networks.
  • Knowledge of DWDM optical transport systems.
  • Knowledge of optical Ethernet concepts (e.g. single-mode and multi-mode fiber, transceiver types).
  • Experience with server administration, both hardware and software, on various platforms.
  • Experience with various programming and scripting languages (e.g. Perl, Python, etc.).

This is a regular academic professional position at NCSA and is an annually renewable, 12/12, 100%-time appointment with regular University benefits. Salary is commensurate with experience and start date will be as soon as possible after the close date of the search. Applicants must possess required education and experience by start date of position. Interviews and hires may occur before the closing date; however, all applications received by the closing date will receive full consideration. Applicants must possess required education and experience by start date of position. Interviews and hires may occur before the closing date; however, all applications received by the closing date will receive full consideration.

To apply, please create your candidate profile at jobs.illinois.edu and upload your cover letter and CV/resume by the close date, July 7, 2017. Contact information for three references must be included on the application (letters may also be uploaded or sent to the contact below). For full consideration, candidates must complete the application process by the above date. The University of Illinois conducts criminal background checks on all job candidates upon acceptance of a contingent offer.

Illinois is an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, sex, age, status as a protected veteran, or status as a qualified individual with a disability. Illinois welcomes individuals with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and ideas who embrace and value diversity and inclusivity. Visit www.inclusiveillinois.illinois.edu.

For further information regarding our application procedures, you may visit www.ncsa.illinois.edu or email NCSA-HR@illinois.edu.