Careers at UMass Amherst

Computer Systems Administrator - Astronomy Department

Apply now Job no: 515567
Work type: Staff Full Time
Location: UMass Amherst
Department: Astronomy
Union: PSU
Categories: Computer & Information Technology, College of Natural Sciences

About UMass Amherst

UMass Amherst, the Commonwealth's flagship campus, is a nationally ranked public research university offering a full range of undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University sits on nearly 1,450-acres in the scenic Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts, and offers a rich cultural environment in a bucolic setting close to major urban centers. In addition, the University is part of the Five Colleges (including Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, and Smith College), which adds to the intellectual energy of the region. 


Job Summary

The Computer Systems Administrator (CSA) will join the Department of Astronomy’s active research and teaching mission with opportunities for professional growth while contributing computing expertise to ongoing research and education at all levels.  The CSA will help recommend and implement computing solutions, support IT policy decisions, and represent the department’s IT needs to the College and beyond. Ongoing research computing activities include the in-situ operations of the Large Millimeter Telescope and various High-Performance Computing projects.  Educational activities include sharing best practice computing solutions for faculty, students and staff.    


Essential Functions 

  • Provide programming support to Linux, Macintosh, and Windows workstations and laptops used for research and teaching activities of faculty and research staff. Design, install, configure, and support hardware, software, and network connections on relevant systems, including astronomy-specific software.  
  • Configure and administer security for systems. Educate students, staff, and faculty about effective security procedures and train them on security tools, procedures, and policies. 
  • Analyze independently and respond to requests for assistance with complex computer problems in Linux, Macintosh, and Windows systems. Diagnose and repair hardware and software issues or refer the repair to other resources as appropriate. 
  • Work cooperatively with College and University network technical staff. Contribute knowledge and provide technical support for the deployment and migration of new network technologies in an active research environment. 
  • Maintain an electronic inventory of information technology owned by the department, both hardware and software. 

Other Functions

  • Work collaboratively and effectively to promote teamwork, diversity, equality and inclusiveness. 
  • Perform other duties as assigned in support of the mission and goals of the Department of Astronomy and the College of Natural Sciences. 
  • Work in partnership with colleagues within the CNS community and across the campus to support the University and Dean’s strategic priorities. 


Minimum Qualifications (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Education, Experience, Certifications, Licensure) 

  • Bachelor’s degree and three (3) years of relevant experience OR Associate's degree and five (5) years of relevant experience. 
  • Minimum three (3) years demonstrated proficiency in LINUX and Mac systems management for multiple users in a networked computer environment, including parallel computing environment, cluster environments, and commonly used HPC containers. 

Preferred Qualifications (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Education, Experience, Certifications, Licensure) 

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science preferred. 
  • Five (5) or more years demonstrated proficiency in LINUX and Mac systems management for multiple users in a networked computer environment, including parallel computing environment, cluster environments, and commonly used HPC containers. Experience with parallel programming. 
  • Ability to work independently to organize multiple tasks and set priorities for action, take initiative, be creative, achieve goals in a timely manner and operate with self-direction in a fast- paced and changing environment. 
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills. 
  • Ability to interact effectively, and work productively with a diverse population of faculty, staff, and students, with a history of establishing and maintaining positive working relationships. 
  • Ability to formulate plans, prioritize goals, collaborate, work with, and develop deadlines, and implement and manage multiple long and short-term IT projects simultaneously while maintaining high standards of accuracy and quality for the Departments and for a multiple customer/user base. 
  • Demonstrated experience configuring and supporting Windows (all versions) and Macintosh operating systems and managing computers using the Unix/Linux operating systems. 
  • Ability to design and develop clear instructional materials, and to communicate with patience and clarity technical concepts to a non-technical audience, including individuals and cross- functional teams with diverse backgrounds and experience. 
  • Experience with network switches and an understanding of network topology, including VLANs. Extensive knowledge of computer network protocols such as TCP/IP. Demonstrated success in implementing TCP/IP-based network applications in support of needs which include but are not limited to: Internet-based mail handling software (SMTP, POP); File- Transfer-Protocols (SFTP); Interactive network logins (SSH); Network-based printing services (LPR/LPD), LDAP, Samba and MySQL. 
  • Ability to complete any assigned trainings by their supervisor, Department, College, or University. 
  • Understands responsibilities with respect to conflicts of interest and performs in ways consistent both with law and with University policy. 
  • Previous experience working in an academic environment. 
  • Knowledge of Mac and Windows management solutions like JAMF and KACE. Knowledge of computer and network hardware and cabling. 
  • Knowledge of Python, PHP and/or C/C++ programming languages is desirable. 

Physical Demands/Working Conditions 

  • Typical office environment.
  • Ability to lift and manipulate moderately heavy objects (approximately 20 lbs.) such as CPUs and computer monitors. 
  • Ability to climb 6'-12' ladders. 
  • Willingness to work in teaching and research labs where hazardous material or conditions are present. Ability to successfully complete appropriate EH&S safety training. 

Work Schedule 

  • Typically Monday – Friday, 8:30 am – 5:00 pm (37.5 hours/ week).
  • Required to work some nights and/or weekends.
  • Ability to be on-call as needed for emergencies.


Salary Information 

Level 28 


Special Instructions to Applicants 

Along with the application, please submit a resume, cover letter, Diversity Statement (see below) and contact information for three (3) professional references. The search will remain open until filled.

As part of a commitment to their own multicultural community, CNS seeks an individual with a demonstrated commitment to diversity and one who will understand and embrace university initiatives and aspirations. In addition to application materials above, candidates will need to submit a Statement of Contribution to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. The Diversity Statement should identify past experiences and future goals. These contributions may result from lived experiences, scholarships, and/or mentoring, teaching, and outreach activities. (


UMass Amherst is committed to a policy of equal opportunity without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, age, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, disability, military status, or genetic information in employment, admission to and participation in academic programs, activities, and services, and the selection of vendors who provide services or products to the University. To fulfill that policy, UMass Amherst is further committed to a program of affirmative action to eliminate or mitigate artificial barriers and to increase opportunities for the recruitment and advancement of qualified minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and covered veterans. It is the policy of the UMass Amherst to comply with the applicable federal and state statutes, rules, and regulations concerning equal opportunity and affirmative action. 

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