Institute of Astronomy

Computer Officer (Linux systems administrator)

Published on 02/05/2017 
Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge
Starting Date: 
as soon as possible
Three years in the first instance

There is an opportunity for an experienced Linux systems administrator with excellent problem-solving abilities to join the IT support team at the Institute of Astronomy, which is on the outskirts of Cambridge (free parking available on site) on the West Cambridge site.

The key responsibility of the role-holder will be to support and develop Linux systems and Linux-hosted services. The role-holder also needs to be a good all-rounder and team-player, as they will be working as part of a team of five systems administrators who provide support to around 200 academic staff, postdoctoral researchers, postgraduate research students and administrative support staff in five buildings on a single site. The team provides a world-class scientific computing environment, and supports users at all technical levels, recording transactions using specialist helpdesk software. As a team member, the role-holder will be expected to contribute to all areas of computing support at the Institute.

The Institute's computing resources include Redhat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) servers and desktops, NetApp fileservers, some Windows servers and desktops, Mac desktops, and printers integrated into a coherent computing environment. Astronomical data processing and mathematical modelling are mainly carried out on RHEL systems. The IT support team are collectively responsible for operating systems, application installation and user support in this scientific computing environment. The team also supports the departmental network, websites, mailserver, relational databases and a large number of hardware peripherals including 100TB-scale RAID arrays for data and document storage. Other responsibilities of the team include providing Windows systems administration support to the administrative support staff, and acting as front-line support in the helpdesk office (on a rota), including support of AV systems in meeting rooms and the lecture theatre.

Applicants are expected to be educated to degree level (or equivalent) in a scientific subject, have broad IT expertise, and be able to provide in-depth cover on a wide variety of IT issues. Excellent communication and interpersonal skills are essential as the role-holder will need to communicate verbally and via email in a helpful and friendly manner with a wide variety of people. Significant experience of Linux systems is essential, as are demonstrated strong skills in diagnosing hardware and software faults. The successful applicant will be enthusiastic, conscientious, articulate, well-organised, self-motivated and proactive.

Applicants need to have demonstrated the ability to learn complex technical concepts and new technologies, and should describe, in their covering letter, how they have delivered a technology change in a previous role. The Further Particulars document details the main responsibilities of the role and the profile of the person that we are hoping to employ. Applicants should ensure that their CV and covering letter address the role requirements, as these criteria will be used in the short-listing process.

We encourage people to apply if they have significant Linux administration experience and more than half of the other requirements, as training can be provided for some areas of expertise.

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 3 years in the first instance.

The University values diversity and is committed to equality of opportunity.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.

Application Information: 

To apply online for this vacancy, please click on the 'here'. This will route you to the University's Web Recruitment System, where you will need to register an account (if you have not already) and log in before completing the online application form.

Please ensure that you upload your Curriculum Vitae (CV) and covering letter and the contact details of two referees. Referees of short-listed candidates will be contacted and asked to provide a reference before the interview date of Wednesday, 21st June 2017. Please submit your application by midnight of the closing date of Monday 5th June 2017.

If you have any queries about your application, please contact Ms Joy McSharry by email jpm (at)

Please quote reference LG11740 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

Application Deadline Date: 
5 June 2017
Application Deadline Information: 
Applications to be received by midnight. GMT
Page last updated: 2 May 2017 at 17:18