IT Infrastructure Lead Systems Engineer

Job Details

New ideas are all around us, but only a few will change the world. That’s our focus at JPL. We ask the biggest questions, then search the universe for answers—literally. We build upon ideas that have guided generations, then share our discoveries to inspire generations to come. Your mission—your opportunity—is to seek out the answers that bring us one step closer. If you’re driven to discover, create, and inspire something that lasts a lifetime and beyond, you’re ready for JPL.

Located in Pasadena, California, JPL has a campus-like environment situated on 177 acres in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains and offers a work environment unlike any other: we inspire passion, foster innovation, build collaboration, and reward excellence.


Are you ready to take your IT Infrastructure expertise to Mars? We are seeking an IT Infrastructure Lead Systems Engineer to support the mission team for our Mars Rover Curiosity. 

You will implement highly available systems for the mission team as Curiosity seeks to find out if Mars ever had the right environmental conditions to support small life forms called microbes.

As Lead IT Infrastructure Systems Engineer you will lead and support the design, development, and implementation of the Mars Science Lab (MSL) Ground Data Systems (GDS) infrastructure that supports all project GDS venues.

Your responsibilities will include:

  • Develop and implement highly available systems via methods such as cluster management and redundancy and failover testing
  • You will continually learn, adapt, and apply infrastructure and technology best practices
  • Design and implement the use of storage systems (NFS, SAN, NAS, RAID Array, etc)
  • Architect and oversee the implementation of networks in MSL GDS venues. Apply your solid knowledge of switches, routers, and network troubleshooting techniques
  • Harden and maintain secure systems
  • Design and deploy infrastructure (e.g. Docker, Kubernetes, Mesos, Elastic Container Service) to support and run containers
  • Plan and lead Linux server administration tasks such as system installation, configuration, administration, troubleshooting, performance tuning, preventative maintenance, capacity
  • Plan and direct infrastructure and operations development and automation projects
  • Implement infrastructure-as-code standard methodologies as applicable, with CM and provisioning tools such as Puppet, Terraform, Cloud Formation, etc)
  • Deploy, configure, and utilize centralized monitoring tools such as Zabbix, Splunk, Elk, and/or others
  • Architect and implement solutions in AWS as applicable
  • Use excellent judgment, problem resolution, team development, and decision-making skills
  • Work under the pressure of firm deadlines as seen on JPL flight projects
  • Utilize excellent verbal and written communication skills when required
  • Produce system documentation, including writing requirements, operational specifications, system architecture, test plans and as-built documentation, all with attention to detail


This position typically requires a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, Information Technology, or related technical discipline, with a minimum of 9 years of related experience; or a Master’s degree in similar disciplines with a minimum of 7 years of related experience; or a PhD in similar disciplines with a minimum of 5 years related experience.

  • Expert knowledge of VMware, NetAPP and AWS with extensive experience
  • Extensive experience working with containers
  • Familiarity with Puppet
  • Experience using monitoring tools such as Zabbix and Splunk
  • Experience in at least one relevant scripting or programming languages (Python, Golang, Ruby, Shell, etc.)
  • Proven decision-making and problem-solving skills in a complex environment, including the ability to perform highly complex needs assessments, root cause analysis, leading to the implementation of complex plans involving several teams of engineers.
  • Ability to establish task priorities and manage change as project systems evolve in reaction to new IT capabilities.
  • Track record of successfully resolving highly complex and/or technical system issues.
  • Effective interpersonal, verbal and written communication skills.
  • Strong commitment to customer satisfaction with effective broad-based teamwork skills.
  • Ability to partner with external organizations to achieve superior implementation in pursuit of flight project mission control system evolution.
  • Flexibility to support and work during any off hour maintenance as needed.



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JPL is an equal employment opportunity and affirmative action employer and will, whenever possible, actively recruit and include for employment members of underrepresented minority groups, females, disabled veterans, protected veterans, and otherwise qualified persons with disabilities. JPL will hire, transfer, and promote based on the qualifications of the individual to ensure equal consideration and fair treatment of all.

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