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Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences seeks 3D Visualization and Software Developer

The Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) in Boulder, Colo. and NOAA’s Office of Education (OEd) are seeking a skilled 3D visualization and software developer to join the NOAA Science On a Sphere® (SOS) program (https://sos.noaa.gov/). The SOS program develops groundbreaking data visualization technologies from mobile apps to large exhibits that deliver real-time and other current Earth and space data. Game, simulation, and cloud technologies are undergoing a period of rapid growth and the SOS program strives to stay on top of technological trends and ensure an engaging and educational presentation of NOAA’s content that is accessible, scientifically sound, and culturally relevant. The intended users for these technological developments are museums, educators, students, the general public, and scientific professionals. We seek a dedicated and hardworking team member who is passionate about developing technologies that educate the public about climate change and other Earth and space science topics. This position is located in Boulder, Colo. with hybrid or remote work options available.

The University of Colorado Boulder is committed to building a culturally diverse community of faculty, staff, and students dedicated to contributing to an inclusive campus environment. We are an Equal Opportunity employer, including veterans and individuals with disabilities.

Who we are

The Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) is an internationally recognized leader in innovative environmental science and research and is a research institute within the University of Colorado Boulder. At CIRES, more than 800 environmental science professionals work to understand the dynamic Earth system, including people’s relationship with the planet. CIRES has partnered with NOAA since 1967, and our areas of expertise include weather and climate, changes at Earth’s poles, air quality and atmospheric chemistry, water resources, solid Earth sciences, and more. Our vision is to be instrumental in ensuring a sustainable future environment by advancing scientific and societal understanding of the Earth system.

The Education and Outreach program at CIRES is the go-between that helps to make innovative research accessible to students, teachers, and the public. The scientific team at CIRES includes more than 500 scientists, who are studying ideas like what drives large wildfires, how to detect methane pollution, and the behavior of Arctic sea ice. Some of the big topics we work on are climate change, water resources, forest health, pollution, our dynamic oceans, the chemistry of the atmosphere, and the special environments in the Arctic and Antarctic. We study these topics on the ground, aboard ships, on skis, in the labs, and from space. Because scientific understanding helps us take better care of the Earth, our researchers also tackle public policy, with the aim of guiding policymakers toward decisions that are based on the best available science. The theme that ties us all together is a desire to understand the Earth better, and specifically, how we can work toward a sustainable future. This mission is up to all people, not just scientists. Our core value is that the whole world benefits from science, but only if that science is shared with the world. Join us, and see where science can take you.

NOAA Office of Education Science On a Sphere Team

The SOS team is composed of a small group of dedicated software engineers, educators, and scientists who work together to create innovative data visualization and educational tools that give everyone the power to understand our interconnected world and inspire meaningful change. The SOS program includes three technologies. SOS is a room-sized, global display system that projects visualizations of planetary data onto a six foot diameter sphere to help illustrate Earth System science to people of all ages. It is installed in nearly 200 venues worldwide and is viewed by an estimated 67M people annually. A flat-screen version, SOS Explorer®, is popular in schools and the SOS Explorer Mobile app has had over 50K downloads and thousands of unique monthly users. Visit sos.noaa.gov for more information about the SOS program.

What your key responsibilities will be

  • Create 3D interactive applications incorporating models, multimedia and graphic design elements, and code frameworks, to work with visualization engines.
  • Maintain NOAA’s SOS Explorer, which is developed in Unity, including design, development, and technical support, and staying abreast of new developments in 3D technologies.
  • Work with other team members to develop immersive applications using technologies currently available or anticipated in the near term.
  • Identify technical problem areas, analyze and evaluate options, and propose appropriate solutions.
  • Test and document the function, performance, and reliability of the applications.

What you should know

  • This position will be part of CIRES at the University of Colorado Boulder but will be physically situated in the David Skaggs Research Center, 325 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80305.
  • Given the building and security access restrictions needed for this position, only U.S citizens and permanent residents (green card holders) are eligible for hire.
  • The selected finalist will be required to pass a federal background check due to the requirement that the position has to access federal resources.
  • All University of Colorado Boulder employees are required to comply with the campus COVID-19 vaccine requirement. New employees must provide proof of vaccination or receive a medical or religious exemption within 30 days of employment.
  • The targeted start date for this appointment is May 1, 2023.

What we can offer

  • CIRES offers a generous compensation package.
  • The team can offer a hybrid or fully-remote work modality for this role.
  • The annual hiring salary range for this position is $55,000- $100,000. Salary is commensurate with education and experience and determined based on the CIRES internal career track classification.
  • Relocation funds are available for this role following CIRES and the University of Colorado Boulder’s rules and regulations for relocation reimbursement.
  • Boulder is a vibrant community with access to mountain parks, dog parks, miles of trails, rivers, lakes, cafes, restaurants, boutiques, theaters, museums, and sports venues. Boulder was recently ranked as one of the top places to live in the U.S. by U.S. News.
  • As an employee at CU Boulder, you receive a pass allowing free access to the regional public transit system, which is an outstanding network of buses and light rail systems that provide service within Boulder and connect to Denver, the Denver airport, and surrounding communities.


The University of Colorado offers excellent benefits, including medical, dental, retirement, paid time off, tuition benefit and ECO Pass. The University of Colorado Boulder is one of the largest employers in Boulder County and offers an inspiring higher education environment. Learn more about the University of Colorado Boulder.

Be statements

Be ambitious. Be groundbreaking. Be Boulder.

What we require

  • Bachelor’s degree in computer science, electrical engineering, physical sciences, or related field.
  • At least 2 years of experience in the field of software development.

What you will need

  • Solid foundation in object-oriented design, debugging, benchmarking, testing, code management, containerization, continuous integration, and documentation
  • Experience programming in C# for large software projects.
  • Experience programming with the Unity game development engine.
  • Exposure to creating augmented reality or virtual reality (XR) applications.
  • Strong understanding of data structures, algorithms, and performance.
  • Understanding of the basic concepts in a 3D rendering pipeline.
  • Excellent problem-solving skills and logical thinking ability.
  • Team-oriented and collaborative approach and a passion for the educational mission of the program.
  • Desire and ability to work in a diverse and collaborative team.

What we would like you to have

Please note that while the position details both required and preferred skills and experience, we invite applicants to apply even if they do not have the preferred skills and experience outlined in this “What We Would Like You To Have” section. If you meet the requirements and have passion for the work, you are encouraged to apply. We encourage on the job training for any additional skills or knowledge that become relevant to the position.

  • Familiarity with JavaScript and other web technologies.
  • Familiarity with relational databases, such as MySQL.
  • Exposure to UI/UX concepts and implementation.
  • Experience consuming and creating REST APIs.
  • Experience with cross-platform development.
  • Familiarity with Geographic Information Systems (GIS).
  • Familiarity with Earth Science.

Special instructions

To apply, please submit the following materials:

  1. Resume or CV.
  2. Cover letter addressed to the Search Committee briefly describing your qualifications, professional goals, and specific interest in this position.
  3. List of 3 professional references who may be asked to provide a reference on your behalf (one of your references must be a supervisor). Please include name, affiliation, professional relationship, and current contact information for each. If you are selected as a finalist, we will ask you to contact your references so that they can complete a SkillSurvey questionnaire on your behalf. SkillSurvey is an online automated reference check solution. This information will be kept confidential and viewable only by the search committee.

If you are selected as the finalist, your degree will be verified by the CU Boulder Campus Human Resources department using an approved online vendor. If your degree was obtained outside of the United States, please submit a translated version as an optional attachment.

This position will remain posted until finalists have been identified. Applications received by March 22 will receive full consideration.

Note: Application materials will not be accepted via email. For consideration, applications must be submitted through CU Boulder Jobs.

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