Assistant/Research System Engineer

Integrated Cyberinfrastructure Directorate

The National Center for Supercomputing Applications 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 these resources to address research challenges for the benefit of science and society. NCSA has been advancing many of the world's industry giants for over 35 years by bringing industry, researchers and students together to solve grand challenges at rapid speed and scale.

NCSA is currently seeking one or more Assistant/Research System Engineer(s) who will work individually and as part of a team to provide key hardware and software support functions for advanced computational and data systems. The main duties are closely aligned with that of a computer system administrator but with additional knowledge and expertise required for running systems in a research environment. The users perform academic and scientific research, and the software is purpose written and configured for the research needs of the users. The position requires coordination with scientific researchers, service team leads, divisional management, partners, and vendors as applicable.

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 Research System Engineer
  • Research Infrastructure and System Engineering
    • Contribute to the research and design of novel, HPC hardware and software solutions to achieve an effective computational research platform.
    • Enhance the quality and optimal use of NCSA’s research computing environment with the seamless integration of various advanced computational systems, data systems and services.
    • Install, update, and troubleshoot hardware and software on research HPC systems.
    • Deploy and maintain HPC clusters using existing provisioning tools such as xCAT.
    • Manage existing clusters using automated configuration management (CM) tools such as Puppet.
    • Use and modify existing Continuous Integration (CI) tools (eg: Gitlab runners, Github actions.)
    • Coordinate with divisional peers, direct manager, direct service team leads, and support vendors.
    • Maintain and update existing scripts written in one or more programming languages.
  • Research Engineering
    • Provide consulting expertise to researchers across a variety of domain sciences to leverage synergies across projects.
    • Engage with service teams to perform routine tasks.
    • Collaborate with researchers to diagnose and resolve their system usage issues.
    • Maintain documentation on user issues, system use, and system capabilities for both internal management and engineering as well as external users.
    • Train on new technologies.
  • Engagement and Outreach
    • Obtain and apply knowledge in research system engineering best practices.
    • Attend conferences and prepare reports on new ideas and technologies.
  • Research System Engineer

    These include the key responsibilities for the Assistant System Engineer with the addition of the following:

    • Research Infrastructure and System Engineering
      • Research and design novel, HPC hardware and software solutions to achieve an effective computational research platform.
      • Mentor Assistant Research System Engineers.
      • Plan upgrades and outages for HPC systems and services.
      • Research new hardware and software technologies.
      • Create new solutions within existing cluster provisioning and configuration management workflows.
      • Automate tasks using Continuous Integration (CI) tools (eg: Gitlab runners, Github actions.)
      • Create new scripts in one or more programming languages to improve the efficiency of routine tasks.
    • Research Engineering
      • Test and document new technologies, present prepared materials to internal engineers
  • Engagement and Outreach
    • Create and present training materials for internal and external use.
    • Participate in training junior staff on research system engineering best practices.
    • Author white papers and/or posters for publication at conferences and user groups.

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 as it relates to current NCSA projects and technologies
  • One year of experience in the following areas (a combination of training, internship, or professional experience allowed):
    • Support of IT technologies, especially servers.
    • Developing and utilizing scripting languages to accomplish tasks.
    • Activities associated with the deployment, operation and management of Linux clusters or data-intensive systems or other enterprise IT services.
  • Six months of experience researching, presenting, and/or publishing technical projects or papers in a professional or academic setting.
System Engineer
  • BA/BS degree in engineering, computer science, or related field. Alternative degree fields will be considered if accompanied by equivalent experience as it relates to current NCSA projects and technologies
  • Three years of training or experience in a combination of the following areas:
    • Support of IT technologies, especially servers.
    • Developing and utilizing scripting languages to accomplish tasks.
    • Activities associated with the deployment, operation, and management of Linux systems or other enterprise IT services.
    • Six months of experience researching, presenting, and/or publishing technical projects or papers in a professional or academic setting.

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.

For further information regarding our application procedures, you may visit ncsa.illinois.edu or email .

To apply, please create your candidate profile at jobs.illinois.edu and upload your cover letter and CV/resume by the close date of November 16. Contact information for three references must be included on the application. For full consideration, candidates must complete the Hiretouch application process by the above date.

University of Illinois conducts criminal background checks on all job candidates upon acceptance of a contingent offer. Convictions are not a bar to employment. The University of Illinois System requires candidates selected for hire to disclose any documented finding of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment and to authorize inquiries to current and former employers regarding findings of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment. For more information, visit Policy on Consideration of Sexual Misconduct in Prior Employment. As a qualifying federal contractor, the University of Illinois System uses E-Verify to verify employment eligibility.

The University of Illinois is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action employer. Minorities, women, veterans and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply. For more information, visit http://go.illinois.edu/EEO.

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