Global site tag (gtag.js) - Google Analytics
The universe awaits

Senior Software Engineer

Software & Controls
  • Full-Time
  • Engineering
Pasadena, CA
Position code


The Giant Magellan Telescope is the most powerful ground-based telescope ever engineered. It was designed to push the boundaries of human knowledge and discover the unknown. With unmatched image quality, seven of the world’s largest mirrors will launch our view into the universe to uncover the cosmic mysteries of dark matter, investigate the origins of chemical elements, and search for signs of life on distant exoplanets for the first time.

The 30-meter class telescope is under construction at Las Campanas Observatory in Chile’s Atacama Desert, one of the best locations on Earth to view the heavens. From this unrivaled vantage into the southern sky, the Giant Magellan Telescope will produce the sharpest and most detailed images ever taken of our universe.

When complete in the late 2020s, the Giant Magellan Telescope will be the largest public-private funded science project in history. The endeavor was founded by an international consortium of leading universities and research institutions representing five countries, and is managed by the GMTO Corporation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Pasadena, California. Our culture is impactful, inclusive, and fearlessly innovative. We solve the most difficult engineering challenges and scientific questions with talented individuals who share a passion for revolutionizing humanity’s knowledge of the universe.

We invite you to join our team and leave your mark on astronomy’s future and beyond.

The Universe Awaits.


Software and Controls


Software and Controls Manager


The GMT Observatory Control System (OCS) comprises the full software and hardware suite needed for telescope operation and control, observation scheduling and execution, data management, observatory configuration and monitoring, and operation user interfaces. The OCS is (1) based on a distributed component architecture, (2) fully defined in a formal specification (model), and (3) developed using a set of core frameworks.

The Senior Software Engineer will be part of the GMT Software and Controls (SWC) team, and will fill a pivotal role in designing, developing, testing, and maintaining key components of the Observatory Control System (OCS). Initial responsibilities will focus on distributed computing, performance testing, and real-time control applications, but there will be opportunities to gain experience in, and contribute to, many other areas and disciplines in the future.


  • Design, develop, and maintain complex software systems, applications, and modules of the Observatory Control System, ensuring scalability, efficiency, and maintainability.
  • Develop features for, and help maintain, the GMT Core Frameworks, including, but not limited to, the Control framework and I/O Framework.
  • Help build, analyze, and improve the performance of OCS hardware and software platform prototypes.
  • Collaborate with cross-functional teams including astronomers, designers, and other engineers to deliver high-quality software solutions.
  • Write effective, maintainable, and well-tested code for production use.
  • Troubleshoot and resolve complex software defects and issues, providing timely and effective solutions.
  • Conduct thorough code reviews to ensure adherence to coding standards, best practices, and architectural guidelines.
  • Develop and maintain technical documentation such as design documents, Interface Control Documents (ICDs), user guides, API documentation and examples to promote the correct utilization of the core frameworks by both internal developers and external partner teams.
  • Mentor and guide junior engineers, providing technical expertise and fostering a culture of continuous learning and growth.
  • Stay up to date with emerging technologies, industry trends, and software development best practices, and propose their adoption where appropriate.


  • BS in Computer Science, Software Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Control Engineering, or related field.
  • 7+ years of relevant industry experience or equivalent academic experience after BS.
  • Strong C/C++ and Python programming skills.
  • Solid understanding of Computer Science fundamentals, including data structures, algorithms, design patterns, object-oriented programming, functional programming, and general best practices.
  • Strong problem-solving skills and the ability to analyze complex technical issues.
  • Curious, self-motivated, positive, and solution-focused with a team player mentality.
  • Experience implementing, tuning, and debugging large scale distributed fault-tolerant systems.
  • Strong knowledge of software testing strategies, techniques, and tools, including continuous integration and regression testing.
  • Good written and verbal communication, teamwork, and presentation skills.
  • Willingness and ability to travel to foreign and domestic vendors, partners, and observatory locations as the need arises.


  • MS or PhD degree in Computer Science, Software Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Control Engineering, or related field
  • Expertise in control system hardware and software for distributed motion control systems.
  • Background in high performance computing and performance critical applications.
  • Experience in software for ground-based Astronomy, or similar large experimental physics facilities.
  • Expertise in high-performance distributed systems, including reliable solutions for critical resource management, and hard and soft real-time constraints.
  • Strong Node.js and/or Javacript programming skills.
  • Experience with common messaging libraries, like nanomsg, ZeroMQ, or NNG.
  • Experience with User Interface development and User Experience optimization.
  • Experience with SysML and UML specification.
  • Experience in Agile software development methodologies.


  • Normal open-plan office environment
  • Access to the Server Room and Electronics lab for prototyping and testing
  • Occasional trips to foreign and domestic vendors, partners, and observatory locations


  • Ability to function safely and effectively in remote and high elevation (2500m/8500ft) construction environments


  • Medical insurance
  • Vision insurance
  • Dental insurance
  • Disability insurance
  • 401(k)



GMTO has implemented a mandatory vaccination policy effective March 14, 2022, requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for all employees (with GMTO-approved exemptions for religious or medical reasons only). At present, an individual is deemed “fully vaccinated” for Covid-19 two weeks after they have received the second dose in a two-dose series, or two weeks after they have received a single-dose vaccine. GMTO management may revise the definition of Fully Vaccinated in this Policy based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force or other relevant Government or Health agencies. Any changes will be communicated to all employees before its effective date.

As a condition of employment, employees must submit official COVID-19 vaccine documentation.


$155,000- $185,000

The salary for this role will be set based on a variety of factors, including but not limited to, internal equity, experience, education, and training.


To apply send your resume and a cover letter to

If your skills and experience are a match for the position or if we need additional information, we will contact you. If we do not see a suitable match between your qualifications and the position, we will keep your information on file in the event future positions become available that are more suitable to your qualifications.

We are an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.


Similar Positions

Quality Assurance Manager
  • Engineering
  • Full-Time
Systems Engineer
  • Engineering
  • Full-Time
JavaScript and Web Developer
  • Engineering
  • Full-Time

This Website Uses Cookies

We use cookies that are essential for our site to function. We do not collect personal identifiable information. By using our site, you agree to our Privacy Policy.