Database Engineer (10210)

At the SKAO we are coordinating a global effort to deliver one of the largest science facilities on the planet. The SKAO telescopes will be next-generation instruments that will help to answer key questions in astrophysics, drive technological innovation and support human capital development. 

More than a dozen partner countries and over a thousand scientists and engineers around the world are already on board, making the SKA project an international collaboration like no other, and one of the most ambitious science and engineering endeavours of the 21st century.

Headquartered in the UK, with telescope sites in Australia and South Africa, the SKAO will be one observatory operating two telescopes, an endeavour spanning three continents. Multinational by design, in early 2021 the SKAO became an intergovernmental organisation, one of only a select handful of science infrastructures to do so worldwide.

Our Global HQ is located near the buzzing city of Manchester at the historic Jodrell Bank Observatory, a UNESCO World Heritage site located in the Cheshire countryside. It is home to a rapidly expanding international team of more than a hundred, working in a highly collaborative and inclusive way, in coordination with SKAO teams in Australia and South Africa as part of a global astronomy and engineering community.

Being part of Team SKA means contributing to something extraordinary: a uniquely exciting project to advance human knowledge that will last for decades. In return, we offer a diverse multicultural working environment, 30 days annual leave plus public holidays, a generous pension scheme, visa and support with relocation (if applicable), regular social events, a family-friendly environment and much more. Come and join us!

Database Engineer

An amazing opportunity for an experienced and creative software engineer to join a multicultural organisation and support the SKAO database development and operations at a global level.

Job Location
Cheshire, UK (Head Office)
Area / Department
Software Data Management and IT
Contract Type
GBP 50,000 - 65,000 depending on experience, with excellent benefits
Closing Date
Ref No

The Role

The Database Engineer will ensure that the software platforms supporting the development and operations of the SKA telescopes are developed to the highest standards. This position will initially join the development activities for the Observation Monitoring and Controls for the SKA telescopes, working closely with the teams developing the SKA control system and observatory tools.

The Database Engineer will be joining the SKAO Computing and Software team under the supervision of the Services Architect and will work alongside other engineers.

The SKA telescopes operate on a range of different computing models and technologies, and the project is always looking at the evolution of the technologies in this area, making this an extremely exciting role.

SKAO is committed to providing a flexible working environment meeting the requests of our Colleagues whilst also fulfilling the needs and objectives of the Observatory. We encourage open conversations during the interview and application process in relation to any specific requirements, and later with line managers to assess individual flexible working arrangements alongside the needs of the organisation and responsibilities and accountabilities of the specific role and team.
There may be occasions where this role requires the post holder to work across different time zones and, in line with SKAO policy, flexible working hours will be supported in agreement with the line manager.

Key Responsibilities, Accountabilities and Duties

  • Work in coordination with the Services Architect and other platform and network engineers to define the strategy and the activity to support the SKAO database development and operations.
  • Contribute to the definition of the database architecture with particular attention to our globally distributed operation model.
  • Be responsible for and drive the consolidation of the technical choices for database implementation across the different areas of development for SKAO.
  • As the role will interact with telescope operations, some international travel might be required to SKAO partner sites, as necessary and when possible in the context of any international travel restrictions (typically for up to one week, 2-4 times per year).

Mandatory Knowledge, Skills and Experience

  • Experience of software engineering to support and develop Relational Databases and associated services, and ability to write SQL queries, stored procedures, and perform basic database development leveraging SQL database standard.
  • Experience with different database paradigms and their related technical implementations: relational databases, no-sql or document oriented databases, time series databases.
  • Experience in developing and supporting operations of highly available database deployments utilising approaches such as sharding, replication and mirroring, and associated recovery techniques.
  • Ability to analyse requirements and select suitable database technologies to model applications.
  • Ability to communicate in a professional, friendly and effective manner, both orally and in writing, to an international, multicultural audience.
  • Be a flexible team player who is adaptable to change.

Desirable Knowledge, Skills and Experience

  • Interest in astronomy and large scientific collaborations
  • Expert in developing database web-APIs in languages and frameworks such as Python, JS, Go, or C++
  • Familiarity with or experience of working based on lean/agile principles

Equality Diversity and Inclusion Statement

SKA Observatory recognises that our diversity is a strength. We aim to create a welcoming and inclusive environment where everyone feels they belong, and diverse perspectives and ideas thrive. As such, Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion are at the core of SKA Observatory’s agenda.

Our aim is to recruit and retain the most talented individuals, regardless of gender, race, disability, age, sexual orientation, marital status, religion, nationality or background.

Women have traditionally been under-represented in the fields of science and engineering; SKA Observatory welcomes and encourages female applicants. 

Where applicants with a disability need facilities or adjustments to enable them to participate in the recruitment process, these will be provided.

SKA Observatory welcome all candidates, especially those from member countries.

The “How to Apply” information contained within the SKA Observatory recruitment portal provides more detail regarding our application and selection approach.