Engineer II/ Research Engineer

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Woods Hole, Massachusetts 02543
  • Job Type
  • Job Status
    Full Time


Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is currently searching for an Engineer II / Research Engineer to join the Deep Submergence Lab (DSL) in the Applied Ocean Physics & Engineering Department. This is a regular, full-time, exempt position, and is eligible for benefits.



Tired of sitting at your desk and testing your code in simulation?  Looking for a job where the “field” in field robotics truly deserves to be the first word in the phrase?  Looking for a place where research and technology directly intersect operations and where you can make a difference in the way we understand the planet we live on while pursuing your passion for robotics?  

Join the Deep Submergence Lab (DSL) at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI).  DSL has numerous Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) and related projects including the National Deep Submergence Facility ( NDSF comprises three vehicles: a human occupied submersible, Alvin; a remotely operated vehicle, Jason; and an AUV, Sentry. Sentry is an operationally deployed AUV that spends 100 – 200 days per year at sea gathering data for ocean scientists, and testing new technology ( DSL also undertakes numerous other autonomous vehicle projects, both deep and shallow, for both scientific and military purposes. DSL specializes in new technologies and new vehicles as well as ancillary underwater technologies. Most members of DSL, including you, will serve a dual role as technology developers/engineers as well as vehicle operators engaged in missions of scientific and societal importance. Recent missions have included oil spill response, locating black boxes, studying sub-sea volcanoes, and looking for mantle rocks, to name just a few. In between deployments, you will be working on cutting edge sub-sea vehicle technology projects by developing new control code, communications code, GUIs, data processing pipelines, and other software for AUV operations. Past project sponsors include NSF, NOAA, Office of Naval Research, DARPA, NASA, foreign governments, philanthropic organizations, and corporations.

Software engineers within the group are expected to routinely deploy with the systems that they work on.  This entails both testing deployments where new technology is refined and validated, but also operational deployments where the systems developed are utilized in direct support of a science mission.  These deployments can happen worldwide, are typically offshore, and typically range between 7 and 60 days.  Candidates are expected to be willing to deploy for up to 120 days per year, although many people do spend less time in the field. A significant commitment to success of the program and the mission will be required particularly while at sea. This is a group that is known for going to extreme measures to make a cruise succeed even in the face of significant setbacks and any long-term part of the group will need to have the same attitude. Candidates must be highly creative when it’s time to be creative, but must be able to become highly-focused and effective as deadlines approach. The ship will sail whether the software is ready or not.

Medium-term career potential includes the potential to work with more senior staff to propose your own ideas to funding agencies, as well as the potential to manage small-to-medium-sized projects. This is a software-centric position, and while we are very open to engineers with relevant experience, there will be limited opportunity for any form of hardware design.



  • Develop soft real-time control code, communications code, GUIs and other code for AUV operations
  • Develop data post processing tools
  • Develop software relevant to a variety of other funded research projects
  • Support field operations and testing
  • Candidates must be comfortable balancing multiple projects and priorities with limited supervision.




  • As deemed necessary by supervisor




Physical duties for this position include but are not limited to, ability to lift 25-50 lbs independently, 2-3 times per day; carry 25-50 lbs, 3-4 times per day. Visual abilities to include near, far, peripheral, depth perception, and ability to distinguish basic colors. Hearing requirements include the ability to hear and respond to instructions, communicate effectively in loud areas (pier/dock, warehouse). Other physical tasks include occasional prolonged standing/walking; use of hands for basic /fine grasping and manipulation, reaching above and below the shoulders, kneeling, bending, and stooping. Other occupational requirements include being exposed to conditions such as excessive cold, heat or humidity, greases and oils, electrical/mechanical/power equipment hazards, hazardous substances or specimens, extended periods at sea and prolonged work hours. Physical duties are subject to change.


May work at least 8 hours per day and, at times in excess of 12 hours per day, 7 days per week. Sleep and work hours can deviate from those on land. May be expected to work on watch schedule (such as 8 hours on and 8 hours off or 12 hours on and 8 hours off) for all or part of a cruise or to work as hours are needed to accomplish the planned work. May need to travel during holidays and for long distances to and from foreign ports. May experience rudimentary living and working conditions, with shared and basic living quarters and laboratories. May experience bad or extreme weather conditions, including heavy seas, winter weather or hot, tropical weather. Work on deck may occur in both hot and cold conditions around the clock. Sea conditions will lead to active ship motion. Should be able to climb steep and vertical ladders and able to enter and exit compartments through hatches, doors, and sills. Should be able to carry heavy gear and participate in the loading and unloading of the ship as well as in the activities on deck and in the labs during the cruise. Shipboard environment may include: confined areas, shared sleeping quarters (berths) and bathroom facilities, small and basic berthing, fixed meal times and basic menus. Modest levels of heating, cooling, ventilation, and illumination, limited or no email and internet access and limited off-duty and recreational facilities (library, lounge, movies). May be exposed to potential allergens and irritants, including paint fumes. May experience constant and intermittent loud noises, and slippery and uneven surfaces.





WHOI is a member of the Higher Education Recruitment Consortium (HERC). We are sensitive to the issues of dual career candidates and we will work with applicants to address them. Please visit HERC - for more information.

WHOI is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer/Disabled/Veterans/M/F. We encourage Veterans and those with Disabilities to apply. Applications are reviewed confidentially. Applicants that require accommodation in the job application process are encouraged to contact us at (508) 289-2253 or email for assistance.






  • Minimum of Bachelor in Science in an engineering discipline or computer science
  • Substantial coding experience in C++ beyond experience gained as an undergraduate


Engineer II level*

  • Require either a MS in an engineering discipline or computer science or a BS degree and several years of relevant work experience. 


Research Engineer level*

  • Must have either a PhD or a lesser degree and substantial relevant work experience.


*Position level will be determined by the selected candidate’s level of education & experience.


Desired Experience to include (regardless of level):

  • C++. Barring experience with C++, candidates will need to demonstrate extensive experience with another object-oriented language including Inheritance.
  • Prior experience with ROS.
  • Prior experience in medium- to large-scale projects consisting of tens to hundreds of thousands of lines of code and 5-10+ developers
  • Electrical/Electronic debug skills
  • Integration of COTS peripherals into code
  • Linux in desktop, embedded and/or server applications
  • Revision control systems
  • Data processing in Python or Matlab
  • Acoustic or other oceanographic data
  • GUI programming (ideally QT)



  • Must be a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident
  • Ability to obtain a Secret clearance is very strongly desired
  • Must be able to acquire a TWIC card



Before you go...

Our free job seeker tools include alerts for new jobs, saving your favorites, optimized job matching, and more! Just enter your email below.

Share this job:

Engineer II/ Research Engineer

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Woods Hole, Massachusetts 02543

Join us to start saving your Favorite Jobs!

Sign In Create Account