Assistant System Engineer/System Engineer/Senior System Engineer

Scientific Computing Services 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 System Engineers/Senior System Engineers/Senior System Engineers in its Scientific Computing Services (SCS) Division. The incumbents will work as part of a team, providing key hardware and software support functions for some of the most powerful and advanced computing and data systems in the world. The positions involve working on projects including the Blue Waters petascale system, which is one of the world’s largest and most powerful scientific resources; the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope Project, a one billion dollar astronomical survey project; the Innovative Systems Laboratory exploring the next generation of computing hardware and software; the Illinois Campus Cluster Program providing scientific computing to the University of Illinois community; and NCSA Industry enabling leading-edge computing for industry and more future projects.

NCSA is committed to increasing the diversity of the campus community. Candidates who have experience working with a diverse range of faculty, staff, and students, and who can contribute to the climate of inclusivity are encouraged to apply.

Key responsibilities

Assistant System Engineer
  • Diagnose and analyze simple problems related to functional subsystems within the NCSA computational environment.
  • Analysis requires an understanding of the functionality, capabilities, and interactions of major elements of the computational environment.
  • Make independent decisions to upkeep optimal system availability, performance, user environment and usability according to established NCSA procedures, guidelines and expectations known as "production standards."
  • Adjust configuration and/or designs and implement system enhancements to achieve optimal use of resources and/or job performance.
  • Serve as primary administrator for assigned high-performance computing (HPC) system for NCSA staff, campus staff, users (both internal and external), managerial staff and others as determined by task assignments.
  • Acknowledge and reply to service requests (e.g., problem reports, questions, and queries) and be part of a proactive escalation process.
  • Monitor status and use of resources (systems, networks, disk memory, as applicable).
  • Maintain documentation on system capabilities and installed software for use by the group and for operations staff.
  • Provide on-call and off-hours support as assigned.
  • Coordinate with the Primary Admin, team members, peers, and management on system work.
  • Document work accomplished and provide analysis/feedback on subsystems as requested.
  • Update and maintain system and admin logs manually with changes, observations and outage information.
System Engineer

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

  • Make technical recommendations on system software configuration, hardware configuration, user policies, security procedures, and administration procedures.
  • Diagnose and analyze complex problems related to functional subsystems within the NCSA computational environment.
  • Diagnose and analyze potential complex system implementations and their capabilities.
Senior System Engineer

These include the key responsibilities for the Assistant System Engineer and System Engineer in addition to the following:

  • Coordinate the deployment of new solutions for high-performance computing (HPC) use cases.
  • Direct testing of systems and software before and after system changes or upgrades for performance and functionality.
  • Coordinate scheduled updates/outages of HPC systems with the various project offices.
  • Take technical ownership of service requests (e.g., problem reports, questions, and queries); be part of a proactive escalation process; and manage the resolution of the issue and provide follow-up as appropriate.
  • Diagnose and analyze overall system issues, including OS, application and workload interaction.
  • Design and describe complete solutions to potential HPC use cases.
  • Make technical decisions on system software configuration and administration procedures per group policy.
  • Make technical recommendations on hardware configuration, user policies and security procedures.
  • Design and run tests and benchmarks to assess the performance and effectiveness of the system in a proactive and/or reactive manner.
  • Test systems and software before and after system changes or upgrades for performance and functionality.
  • Proactively ensure that users have up-to-date information about HPC systems, including any changes, failures, corrective actions and their impact on the users.
  • Monitor status and use of resources (systems, networks, disk memory, as applicable) and adjust configuration and/or designs and implement system enhancements to achieve optimal use of resources and/or user performance.
  • Convey user feedback and concerns to other SCS and project staff.
  • Coordinate with the lead system engineer, management and other entities as appropriate on system work.
  • Document work accomplished and provide analysis/feedback on HPC systems as requested.
  • Coordinate log collection and analyze logs for information about recurrent issues, performance or usage.
  • Develop technical training material and web-based technical documentation.
  • Develop and present tutorials, seminars or other training about NCSA's HPC systems, services or processes.
  • Train other staff and consultants in support of new capabilities and services.

Required education and experience

Assistant System Engineer
  • BA/BS degree in engineering, computer science, or related field. Alternative degree fields will be considered if accompanied by equivalent experience (depending on nature and depth of experience as it relates to current NCSA projects and technologies).
  • Training or experience in the support of IT technologies and servers.
  • Training or experience developing and utilizing scripting languages such as bash, perl, python or others to accomplish tasks.
System Engineer
  • BA/BS degree in engineering, computer science, or related field. Alternative degree fields will be considered if accompanied by equivalent experience (depending on nature and depth of experience as it relates to current NCSA projects and technologies).
  • 1 year of experience in the support of IT technologies and servers.
  • 1 year of experience developing and utilizing scripting languages such as bash, perl, python or others to accomplish tasks.
  • 1 year of experience in activities associated with the deployment, operation and management of HPC clusters or data-intensive systems or other enterprise IT services as may be applicable.
Senior System Engineer
  • BA/BS degree in engineering, computer science, or related field. Alternative degree fields will be considered if accompanied by equivalent experience (depending on nature and depth of experience as it relates to current NCSA projects and technologies).
  • 3 years of experience in the support of IT technologies and servers.
  • 3 years of experience developing and utilizing scripting languages such as bash, perl, python or others to accomplish tasks.
  • 3 years of experience in activities associated with the deployment, operation and management of HPC clusters or data-intensive systems.

Preferred experience

Assistant System Engineer
  • Knowledge of Linux/Unix operating systems.
  • Use of scripting languages to accomplish basic tasks.
  • Knowledge of normal OS conditions.
  • Awareness of Linux/Unix services and configurations.
  • Awareness of server hardware components.
System Engineer
  • Knowledge of Linux/Unix operating systems.
  • Use of scripting languages to accomplish basic tasks.
  • Knowledge of Linux OS conditions and operations.
  • Knowledge of HPC hardware (servers, network, storage, etc).
  • Knowledge of HPC service specific software and applications (Torque, xCAT, Puppet, etc).
  • Knowledge of Linux/Unix services (sshd, HTTP, LDAP, DNS, etc).
  • Awareness of HPC programming languages and applications.
Senior System Engineer
  • Knowledge of Linux/Unix operating systems.
  • Use of scripting languages to accomplish complex tasks.
  • Knowledge of HPC hardware (servers, network, storage, etc).
  • Knowledge of HPC service specific software and applications (Torque, xCAT, Puppet, etc).
  • Knowledge of Linux/Unix services (sshd, HTTP, LDAP, DNS, etc.).
  • Familiarity with HPC programming languages and applications.
  • Programming experience in one or more of the following languages/systems: C, C++, Fortran, Java.

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.

To apply, please create your candidate profile at jobs.illinois.edu and upload your cover letter and CV/resume by the close date, December 22, 2017. Contact information for three references must be included on the application (letters maybe 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.