College of Science & Engineering

PNSN Senior Computing Specialist

University of Washington, Earth and Space Sciences Department

Seattle, WA

Job Description


Req #: 172293
Job Location: Seattle Campus
Posting Date: 09/24/2019 
Closing Info: Open Until Filled 
Salary: Salary is commensurate with education and experience. 
Shift: First Shift 
As a UW employee, you have a unique opportunity to change lives on our campuses, in our state and around the world. UW employees offer their boundless energy, creative problem solving skills and dedication to build stronger minds and a healthier world.

UW faculty and staff also enjoy outstanding benefits, professional growth opportunities and unique resources in an environment noted for diversity, intellectual excitement, artistic pursuits and natural beauty. All of which has allowed the UW to be nationally recognized as a “Great College to Work For” for six consecutive years. 

The Pacific Northwest Seismic Network within the Department of Earth and Space Sciences has an outstanding opportunity for a Senior Computer Specialist. The department is seeking a Senior Computer Specialist to support the real-time seismic monitoring projects. 

PNSN monitors earthquakes in the states of Washington and Oregon for public safety and scientific research.  We operate about 450 remote seismic stations throughout the region, most of which are essentially small Linux computers. Data from these remote sites are transmitted to the UW continuously in real time to our cluster of about 2 dozen Linux servers. The data are processed through several applications to provide a series of products, including real-time warnings of imminent shaking, earthquake locations and sizes, distribution of strong shaking, and raw data archived for scientific and engineering studies.  The Senior Computer Specialist (SCS) position is critical for designing and maintaining our network of computers, ensuring secure, high-availability, and low latency interconnections.

The successful applicant will work within a small team of computer specialists at PNSN and the Department of Earth and Space Sciences at UW. And they will interface with scientists and applications developers who produce and maintain the data processing and production codes.  An exciting challenge for the SCS is to work within a real-time and continuous production framework. The SCS is expected to participate in PNSN’s growing use of cloud services and deployments, virtualization, and automated performance monitoring techniques.


Server and Cloud Administration:

•Research, recommend, plan, and install new hardware and systems.
•Maintain hardware, virtual machines, containers, and software inventory.
•Maintain technical documentation of all systems for problem resolving and problem diagnosing procedures.
•Assess user needs/requirements: Research, recommend and/or request products, hardware, services, and software applications.
•Participate in testing and evaluating hardware and cloud products in planning for new applications.
•Plan, develop, test and schedule (on-premise, cloud, or virtual) server and desktop client software patches.
•Provide technical expertise and leadership for a complex operational infrastructure.
•Serve as PNSN primary technical contact to ShakeAlert partners
•Troubleshoot hardware and software for all end user devices and servers
•Respond to emergencies and occasionally be on-call.


•Assess, prioritize, implement, maintain, and enforce security measures that will comply with state and federal regulations. Includes, developing and enforcing security standards, audits, and policies for compliance, and coordination of security investigations.
•Analyze, plan, develop, implement, and maintain network security measures, including network monitoring tools, antivirus systems, firewalls, physical securities, and user training.
•Establish and maintain security access to the local area network: oversee and assist in creating and maintaining user accounts, monitor network security.
•Establish and maintain network trusts to UW IT and other necessary systems.
•Analyze, plan, develop, implement, and maintain a disaster recovery plan
•Schedule and run routine network and systems backups and coordinate/maintain off-site storage of recovery archives.

Application support

•Support, maintain, and monitor applications on premises as well as in the cloud.
•Maintain, support, and enhance several Nagios systems.
•Write scripts to enhance monitoring capabilities such as log parsers.
•Support the ShakeAlert and PNSN monitoring staff.
•Support the ShakeAlert and PNSN Developers.

As a UW employee, you will enjoy generous benefits and work/life programs.  For detailed information on Benefits for this position, click here.



Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science or closely-related discipline.


At least 3 years of IT progressively responsible experience including Linux system administration, shell scripting, computer networking, and application support.

•Demonstrated ability to learn, research and apply new solutions.
•Keen attention to documentation, standards, procedures, and controls
•Understanding of industry best practices
•Understanding of computer networking, including VPNs and private networks.
•Team player mindset, with strong communication, organizational, and interpersonal skills
•Self-motivated, attention to detail
•Ability to identify and establish new standards for quality, performance, and/or productivity
•Excellent writing and communication skills; ability to maintain open communication with all internal and external contacts
•Able to receive and apply feedback in a professional manner
•Demonstrated interpersonal skills, to include collaborating, mentoring, and training others

Equivalent education/experience will substitute for all minimum qualifications except where there are legal requirements such as license/certification/registration.


•Familiarity with real-time data flow from IoT devices via private networks
•Familiarity with working in a 24/7 operational organization
•Familiarity with Ansible
•Familiarity with Nagios
•Interested in supporting scientific research and advancing public safety

Application Process:
The application process for UW positions may include completion of a variety of online assessments to obtain additional information that will be used in the evaluation process.  These assessments may include Workforce Authorization, Cover Letter and/or others.  Any assessments that you need to complete will appear on your screen as soon as you select “Apply to this position”. Once you begin an assessment, it must be completed at that time; if you do not complete the assessment you will be prompted to do so the next time you access your “My Jobs” page. If you select to take it later, it will appear on your "My Jobs" page to take when you are ready. Please note that your application will not be reviewed, and you will not be considered for this position until all required assessments have been completed.

Committed to attracting and retaining a diverse staff, the University of Washington will honor your experiences, perspectives and unique identity. Together, our community strives to create and maintain working and learning environments that are inclusive, equitable and welcoming.

The University of Washington is a leader in environmental stewardship & sustainability, and committed to becoming climate neutral.The University of Washington is a leader in environmental stewardship & sustainability, and committed to becoming climate neutral.

The University of Washington is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer. To request disability accommodation in the application process, contact the Disability Services Office at 206-543-6450 / 206-543-6452 (tty) or


Pull Date

Tuesday, December 31, 2019