CIRES/ NSIDC Data Operations Specialist

The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) seeks a new member for the Data Operations team to manage and support NSIDC's archive of satellite, aircraft, and ground data. The Data Operations team operates multiple automated systems for ingest, archival, and distribution of a broad range of NASA, NOAA, and other cryospheric data products. Individual Data Operations Specialists are also embedded within project and data product teams to provide insight to the role of Data Operations and knowledge of archival best practices.  The successful candidate will support NSIDC's mission by operating our data systems, providing data system knowledge to software development projects, and providing data management support to science data product teams.

Who We Are

At CIRES, the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, more than 800 environmental scientists work to understand the dynamic Earth system, including people’s relationship with the planet. CIRES is a partnership of NOAA and the University of Colorado Boulder, and our areas of expertise include weather and climate, changes at the Earth’s poles, air quality and atmospheric chemistry, water resources, and solid Earth sciences. Our vision is to be instrumental in ensuring a sustainable future environment by advancing scientific and societal understanding of the Earth system.

The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC),, part of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado at Boulder, serves as a national information and referral center in support of snow and ice research. NSIDC is a trusted source of cryospheric data and services, and is a leader in research and development within this field.


  • Operate and sustain existing NSIDC data systems, including the NASA Earth Observing System Data Information System (EOSDIS) Core System, NASA EOSDIS cloud data management system, and other custom software stacks.
  • Troubleshoot and resolve system integrity and system performance [AML1] [DLC2] issues.
  • Monitor ingest, archive, and distribution processes.
  • Communicate best practices around data archival [AML3] [DLC4] with other groups and projects in the center, including science data product teams and software development projects.
  • Engage with science teams, data providers, and other data managers about data flows into and out of our systems.
  • Develop scripts to extend or enhance the automation of operational processes.
  • Perform migrations of scientific data across data management systems.
  • Attend relevant meetings and teleconferences with team members and external collaborators.
  • Perform configuration management and testing for a variety of custom software systems.
  • Duties may also include one or more of the following:
    • Produce data and metadata,[AML5] [DLC6]  including reports on quality assurance[DLC7] , for products being archived and managed by the center.
    • Author and implement system documentation and operational procedures.
    • Install, configure, and tune data management software.
    • Lead projects that impact the Data Operations team - either with a team of Data Operations Specialists or other groups within the center.
    • Supervise interns or students within the Data Operations team.

What You Should Know

  • The position is located in Boulder, CO.
  • Appointment will be made at the rank of Professional Research Assistant.

What We Can Offer

CIRES/NSIDC can offer a competitive salary, commensurate with experience.


  • Bachelor's Degree.
  • Proven ability to communicate with technical and non-technical audiences.
  • Intermediate Linux skills.
  • Ability to handle multiple assigned tasks, prioritize them, and efficiently context-switch between critical tasks.

What You Will Need

  • Ability to creatively problem solve to break down system level problems into tasks, organize them, and work them through to completion.
  • Ability to work collaboratively on highly efficient, cross-functional teams.
  • Ability to effectively represent technical needs.
  • Ability to learn new systems quickly in an on-the-job environment.
  • Ability to be self-directed; the successful candidate will recognize tasks that need to be completed, take ownership of them, and work through them, and ask for help when needed.

What We Would Like You To Have

  • Experience with Perl, python, shell scripting, or equivalent.
  • Data management experience with digital data archives of remote sensing or climate data.
  • Understanding of how operational systems run, including monitoring, troubleshooting, and system impact dependence.
  • Knowledge of version control systems (such as Github), continuous integration (such as CircleCl, Jenkins, or Bamboo), and software delivery.
  • Experience with virtual machines, including use of Vagrant, Puppet, Docker, and other related tools.
  • Experience with cloud technologies, including deployment and troubleshooting.


The University of Colorado offers excellent benefits, including medical, dental, retirement, paid time off, tuition benefit and ECO Pass. The University of Colorado Boulder is one of the largest employers in Boulder County and offers an inspiring higher education environment. Learn more about the University of Colorado Boulder.

Application Materials

To apply, please submit the following materials:

  1. Resume or CV
  2. Cover letter addressed to the Search Committee briefly describing your qualifications, professional goals, and specific interest in this position. 
  3. Transcripts or scan of diploma as proof of degree.
  4. List of 3 references: the names, professional titles, and phone/e-mail contact information of those who are familiar with your qualifications and work history.

If you are selected as one of the finalists, the Hiring Committee will request letters of recommendation. Please do not include letters of recommendation with your application materials.

Position will remain open until filled. For consideration, applications must be submitted through CU Boulder Jobs. Application materials will not be accepted via email.

Job Number


Date Posted

Friday, September 6, 2019


Professional Research Assistant