CIRES/ NSIDC Data Support Specialist

The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) User Services Office (USO) is an information service for NSIDC's scientific user community. The Data Support Specialist is a member of the User Services Office and team. This position provides support for data products from NASA, NOAA, NSF, and other programs at NSIDC. The Data Support Specialist will develop a detailed knowledge of the data products they are assigned to support, including understanding the scientific uses of the data and the tools used by the user community to work with the data. This knowledge is used by the Data Support Specialist to represent the user perspective in the publication of data products and development of tools to support data providing detailed information on all aspects of NSIDC’s user community needs. Additionally, the Data Support Specialist will work directly with users to solve problems with using NSIDC data, or to provide resources to improve understanding of the data. 

To accomplish these tasks, Data Support Specialists work closely with scientists and data management staff. Data Support Specialists may also occasionally represent NSIDC at engagement events to directly support users and promote NSIDC’s data and services. The position reports to the Deputy Communications Manager. 

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 website:


Data Product Publication and Discipline Awareness

  • Track and report information on user community requirements acquired by supporting end-users through request management and user engagement activities.
  • Participate in assigned NSIDC Data Product Teams to publish and support NSIDC data products.
  • Communicate user community requirements and User Services operational needs to assigned NSIDC Data Product Teams.
  • Research data format, content, and visualization methods for assigned NSIDC data products.
  • Participate in the review of data and metadata as part of the data publication process.
  • Make recommendations for data and tool improvements based on user needs.
  • Develop user support material, including tutorials and help documentation for assigned NSIDC data products, to educate and broaden the user community.
  • Participate in NSIDC development projects to communicate User Services operational needs and provide data expertise for testing developed tools and services.

Handling User Inquiries

  • Triage all incoming user requests through email, request forms, or phone.
  • Communicate with users to determine and understand their data needs, data or software problems, or support requirements.
  • Research sources and/or seeks appropriate specialists and/or scientists to obtain information needed to respond to users.
  • Raise requests requiring detailed data product knowledge to the appropriate team member and/or scientist when needed.
  • Develop reports to keep User Services staff, and NSIDC staff aware of trends in user needs based on requests.
  • Maintain the User Services help desk and mass mailing software.


  • Contribute to the development and content of outreach materials such as brochures, newsletters, Internet postings, webinars, workshops, and tutorials.
  • Occasionally attend conferences or user engagement events to represent NSIDC data product and services, and to interact directly with the user community.
  • Review and manage all email notices to users regarding data product updates.

What You Should Know

This position is located in Boulder, Colorado.

What We Can Offer

We can offer competitive salary and a comprehensive benefits package.


  • Bachelor’s degree in a science discipline, preferably in an earth science discipline.
  • Minimum of two years of relevant experience.
  • Training or experience in using remotely sensed data and satellite image analysis.

What You Will Need

  • Ability to clearly communicate scientific and technical information.
  • Strong oral and written communication skills.
  • Aptitude for problem-solving and attention to detail.
  • Ability to provide efficient and detailed internal and external customer support and satisfaction.
  • Ability to work on multiple teams that have diverse missions and operating styles.
  • Ability to work independently in an unstructured, collaborative environment.
  • Ability to prioritize, manage, and track simultaneous and continuing unresolved tasks.
  • Strong interest in teamwork and helping others.
  • Excellent customer service. 
  • Familiarization with data visualization and analysis packages.

What We Would LIke You To Have

  • Master’s degree in a science discipline, preferably in an earth science discipline.
  • Experience using GIS software packages.
  • Knowledge of Unix.
  • Experience working with programming languages, such as Matlab, Python, and/or IDL.
  • Assertive in communicating end-user needs.
  • Ability to accommodate some travel.

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. List of contact information for 3 references who will be willing to write a confidential Letter of Recommendation for you. You don’t need to include letters of recommendation with your initial application. The search committee will request letters of recommendation at a later time If you are identified as a finalist for this role.
If you are selected as the finalist, your degree will be verified by the CU Boulder Campus Human Resources department using an approved online vendor. If your degree was obtained outside of the United States, please submit a translated version as an optional attachment.
The position will be open until filled. Applications will be screened as they are received.
Note: Application materials will not be accepted via email. For consideration, applications must be submitted through CU Boulder Jobs.

Job Number


Date Posted

Wednesday, December 4, 2019