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Electrical Engineer III

National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)

Boulder, Colorado
Job Code:
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Full Time
  • Electronics Engineer
  • Aerospace and Electronic Systems
National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)
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Job Details

About the Organization:

Formed in 2005, the Earth Observing Laboratory (EOL) is one of the seven laboratories of NCAR, the National Science Foundation’s Federally Funded Research and Development Center. EOL's mission is to provide leadership in observing facilities, field project support as well as research and data services needed to advance the scientific understanding of the Earth system. EOL manages the majority of NSF’s Lower Atmosphere Observing Facilities (LAOF) and deploys them in support of observational field campaigns, ranging from single investigator projects to large complex campaigns that involve multiple investigators, agencies, and platforms, nationally and internationally. EOL deploys its systems for research by scientists from universities, NCAR, and government agencies, as well as for education. An integral part of EOL’s mission is to develop the next generation of LAOF and to provide management and archiving of data from past supported campaigns. In order to ensure progress in the atmospheric sciences, EOL supports a wide-range of research areas within the Earth system science, ranging from microscale to mesoscale to climate process studies, and employs LAOF platforms and systems that reach from the surface of the Earth to the lower stratosphere and beyond.

EOL's In-Situ Sensing Facility (ISF) provides measurements made directly in the environment as well as profiling measurements of the lower atmosphere. Measurements are made in-situ at the earth's surface, on towers, on balloons, and on packages dropped from aircraft. Profiling measurements are made using vertically pointing radar, lidar and acoustic sensors. ISF aims to serve the advanced observational needs of the atmospheric science community by providing a flexible, state-of-the-art backbone measurement capability applicable to a wide range of experimental needs - emphasizing advanced sensor capabilities, sensor integration, system mobility, and
the ability to deploy to remote or difficult locations.

For more information on EOL please see the Join Our Team page.


Job Overview:

This position, primarily focused on electrical engineering, is part of a team of scientists, engineers, and technicians who develop and support advanced atmospheric science instruments and data systems for the Earth Observing Laboratory (EOL) at NCAR.  The position has full technical responsibility for engineering developments of new and existing instruments and develops and sustains analog, RF and digital circuits, FPGA, wireless systems, embedded systems and firmware, along with instrumentation architecture design.   The position is also responsible for troubleshooting and support of atmospheric instrumentation on international and domestic field deployments; supervises technical team members; and creates and maintains engineering documentation.



  • Full engineering responsibility for developing hardware for atmospheric research instrumentation, including design and development of digital, FPGA, embedded systems, analog, and basic RF electronic circuit design. Independently explores new emerging technologies in the areas of sensors, electronics, and instrumentation to meet EOL needs and goals. Uses advanced techniques and adapts engineering theories to define new systems. Works in a team with scientists, technicians, software engineers, students and other engineers in determining and developing instrumentation requirements and system goals. Determines timelines and personnel/cost estimates for projects. Provides guidance to lower-level staff for field campaigns and development projects as appropriate.
  • Full responsibility for preparation of complex equipment for field deployments, ensuring proper calibration, functionality and performance. Responsible for determining instrument maintenance plans and upgrade tasks and overseeing the implementation. Develops test procedures to ensure high quality accuracy and ultra-reliability of instrumentation, develops hardware burn-in processes, and develops automated test processes. Develops technical test plans for technicians to implement.
  • Works with the atmospheric science community, which includes scientists from NCAR, NSF, NASA, NOAA, and university partners, in developing technical requirements for new instruments and provides engineering expertise to assist in the planning of field deployments. Operates and supports scientific instrumentation for atmospheric research in the field and leads the In-Situ Sensing Faclity (ISF) field team when appropriate. Analyzes data sets from field projects to evaluate instruments’ performance and leads efforts to determine engineering solutions to improve data quality, reliability, and performance. Determines corrective actions and implements changes in the form of engineering circuit improvements and/or defining software enhancements.
  • Supervises, coordinates, and reviews the work of technicians preparing instruments for field deployment, prototyping and testing of electronic devices, documentation of electronic measurements and updating of basic wiring and electronic schematics.
  • Creates and maintains professional engineering documentation for all projects. Determines the best practices and formats for documentation based on project needs/requirements.



  • Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering and at least six years of engineering experience; or a Master's degree in Engineering and at least four years of experience; or a Ph.D. degree and at least two years of experience; or an equivalent combination of education and experience. 
  • Experience should be in leading engineering projects.
  • Highly skilled in the design of analog, digital electronic circuits, A/D circuits, printed circuit board (PCB) layout, embedded Linux systems, and embedded development tools.
  • Highly skilled in troubleshooting and testing procedures of electronic circuits and systems using electronic test equipment: Multi Signal Oscilloscopes, logic analyzers, Digital Volt Meters, spectrum analyzers, network Analyzers etc.
  • Excellent knowledge of electronic components, microprocessors, analog/digital (ADC) circuits, amplifiers, power supplies, digital logic, passive components.
  • Advanced knowledge of computer operating systems including Linux, embedded Linux, and Windows.
  • Advanced knowledge in Computer Aided Design (CAD) software for circuit design/simulation, schematic capture, and working knowledge in mechanical design.
  • Broad knowledge of engineering practices and procedures in Digital Signal Processing (DSP) hardware/software, FPGA programming, and architectural features.
  • Knowledge of embedded computer systems to include architecture design and firmware development.
  • Knowledge of Electrical Engineering Communication theory.
  • Experience working in a team coordinating staff, equipment, and resources.
  • Skill in working effectively as a member of a diverse team including interactions with a broad scope of UCAR and community staff.
  • Must have basic management skills necessary to complete and manage complex projects, direct technicians and other staff, and coordinating equipment and resources.


Other Requirements:

  • Willingness to travel up to approximately 60 days per year, typically for not more than 21 days per trip in support of field projects. 
  • Willingness to fly on research aircraft.
  • Must pass flight physical and complete Navy P3 aircraft survival swim and physiology course.
  • Must have a valid Colorado Driver’s license.
  • Motor Vehicle Record that meets UCAR’s acceptability requirements for driving on UCAR business under UCAR policy 4-5.


Desired But Not Required:

  • Pressure, temperature and humidity, and other in-situ sensor knowledge.
  • Advanced knowledge of engineering practices and procedures in analog/RF/microwave system design.
  • Knowledge of real-time operating systems and software.
  • Knowledge of radar engineering principles
  • Knowledge of basic mechanical engineering principles

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