The universe awaits

Software and Controls Manager

Software & Controls
  • Full-Time
  • Engineering
Pasadena, CA
Temporary remote work due to COVID-19
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


Project Manager


The Software and Controls Manager will be a key member of the GMT System Software team, taking the lead role in developing the top-level software infrastructure for the GMT. He/she will report to the GMT Project Manager.

The Software and Controls Manager’s responsibilities will include establishing software system requirements from the top-level science requirements, crafting the overall GMT software architecture that encompasses all software subsystems of GMT, specifying interfaces to internal and external subsystems, establishing software standards and developing the software production plan. In this effort he/she will work closely with Systems Engineering and the other internal and external teams responsible for the telescope, instrumentation, facilities, and operations. As the System Software Group grows, he/she will supervise the work of the team, and be accountable to the Project Manager for delivery of software and control capabilities consistent with the project schedule and budget.

The Software and Controls Manager is expected to take a hands-on role in software development including the prototyping of software modules, writing simulators for various subsystem components, and final development of the production code. He/she will be intimately involved in commissioning activities of the GMT facility.

The Software and Controls Manager will also be involved in contracting for the design and/or production of software components. This will include defining work packages, identifying potential suppliers, writing statements of work and specifications, participating in the bid evaluation process, and monitoring contracted work in progress. This shall include developing interface agreements for operations and data processing/archiving roles and responsibilities with the National Science Foundation’s NOIRLab.

The selected candidate will be called upon to write technical reports, make presentations at project reviews, and to represent the schedule and cost performance of the effort at management reviews.


  • Lead the System Software effort
  • Analyze requirements
  • Define the overall software architecture of the GMT facility
  • Establish software standards
  • Specify internal and external subsystem software interfaces
  • Prepare the system software development plan
  • Provide supervision of the software and control team and coach team members to work effectively with others
  • Oversee the execution of the software development plan, identifying the causes of cost and schedule variances from plan, and develop and lead corrective actions to maintain the effort on budget and on schedule
  • Participate in the project management team and report implementation status at management reviews
  • Develop prototype software modules, GUI’s and simulators
  • Recruit additional members for the System Software Group
  • Direct the production of code
  • Collaborate with the engineers developing controls for the telescope, enclosure and instrumentation
  • Provide software support for the data management and archiving team
  • Prepare and deliver presentations at technical reviews and conferences
  • Participate in the procurement process for engineering services and software production including identification of potential vendors/suppliers, preparation of technical specifications and statements of work, and participation in the contracting process and monitoring of work

The Software and Controls Manager will work closely with others to:

  • Derive System Software requirements from top-level science requirements
  • Select software packages
  • Define interface requirements between telescope subsystems and outside organizations, and assist in the preparation of the relevant specification documents
  • Coordinate integration and test plans
  • Prepare operations manuals
  • Prepare the group work breakdown structure, budget and schedule
  • Understand variances from plan and implement corrective actions


  • Master’s degree in Software Engineering, Physics or an equivalent discipline
  • 7 years of post-degree experience developing high level software for large, technically complex projects
  • Demonstrated ability to lead a software effort.
  • Control system software and hardware expertise with distributed motion control systems.
  • Strong analytical experience.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to work in a team environment.
  • Willingness and ability to travel to foreign and domestic vendor, partner, and observatory locations as the need arises.


  • PhD in Software Engineering, Physics or an equivalent discipline.
  • Matlab experience.
  • Expertise with telescope control systems.
  • Experience with software development in an earned-value management environment.


  • Real-time Software Engineer (2)
  • Scientific Programmer
  • Software Engineer
  • Software Release Manager
  • Distributed Core Services Software Engineer
  • UX/UI Software Engineer


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


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.

The GMTO Corporation is an equal employment opportunity employer.

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