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California Academy of Sciences

San Francisco, California - United States
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Planetarium Production Systems Engineer


Are you a talented systems administrator, looking for an opportunity to make science films that change the world?  Would you like to apply your technical skills to transform how people see their connection to our planet, nature and the cosmos?   The Planetarium Production Systems Administrator will play an integral role in the creation of beautiful cutting-edge science content showcased in San Francisco and planetariums around the world.  You will design and maintain the infrastructure of our in-house, award winning science Visualization Studio (Viz Studio) comprised of a small team of visual effects artists and engineers creating science visualizations, animations, and fulldome imagery for planetarium programs.  This position reports to the Visual Effects Supervisor.

The California Academy of Sciences welcomes people of all backgrounds, identities and beliefs to join us in achieving our mission to explore, explain, and sustain life on Earth.  We place diversity, equity, and inclusion at the heart of our recruiting efforts and strive to build a culture centered on mutual respect, equal treatment, and the opportunity to succeed.


? Design, implement and maintain complex and high-performance systems to support the Viz Studio:  improve network, storage, workstation and render farm infrastructure in support of the science visualization team creating high resolution image sequences and realtime content generated from 3D models, animations, textures and scientific datasets

? Customize workstations for 6-10 Viz Studio artists in Linux and Mac environments

? Configure visual effects software and custom operating system environments

? Identify, negotiate, and collaborate with expert consultants, vendors and Cal Academy staff on long term design, planning and budgeting of future hardware and software infrastructure and cloud-based services

? Design, spec, install and manage equipment.  Generate/maintain documentation of systems

? Plan, construct and maintain disaster recovery, backup and archive strategy

? Provide support and coverage for planetarium systems operations and render farm, with periodic night, weekend and holiday shifts

To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily.  The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required or preferred.  A qualified candidate will possess a combination of the following:

? Linux/Mac systems and data server administration experience: RHEL7 or CentOS 7, macOSX

? Good understanding of TCP/IP networking, ethernet configuration, fiber switches; proven ability to troubleshoot and resolve network issues in a timely manner

? Knowledge of render server, 3D and video production workstation architecture, custom CentOS and MacOSX operating system image testing and deployment

? Comfortable scripting with high level languages (e.g., Python)

? Works well with cross-discipline and cross-departmental teams

? Open collaborator who tracks/shares projects’ progress proactively and regularly

? Self-starter with solid problem solving abilities, a willingness to learn, attention to detail, excellent communication skills, and a sense of humor


? Experience working in a visual effects, real-time graphics, science visualization or audio/visual production environment

? Experience with visual effects software (e.g. Houdini, Maya, Blender, Nuke, Adobe CC) and good understanding of 3D and 2D computer graphics and visual effects workflows

? Virtual environments and virtual machines knowledge

? Remote workstation, cloud storage and computing familiarity. 

? Job management software experience (e.g. PipelineFX Qube)

? AR, VR or 360 Video experience 

Ability to read and fully comprehend documents such as safety rules, operating and maintenance instructions, and procedure manuals. Ability to write daily reports and correspondence. Ability to speak effectively before groups or individuals.  Bilingual (spoken and/or written) in Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, or other non-English language preferred but not necessary.

The physical demands and work environment described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is frequently required to stand, sit, walk, and reach with hands and arms, and talk or hear.  Must be able to lift 30 lbs.  Must be able to perform repetitive motions 50 % of the time.  Must be able to climb a ladder and work on aerial lifts.  Must be able to experience tight spaces and tolerate fan noise and low temperatures in server cold rooms.

Please submit your cover letter and resume online at Note that the recruitment timeline for positions vary and depend on many factors, so it is impossible to accurately predict when a position will close. We appreciate your patience during this process. No phone calls please.

The California Academy of Sciences will consider for employment qualified applicants with arrest and conviction records pursuant to the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance. For more information visit:

The California Academy of Sciences is an Equal Opportunity Employer and is committed to ensure that all employees and applicants receive equal consideration and treatment, regardless of race, color, creed, gender (including gender identity or gender expression), religion, marital or domestic partner status, age, national origin or ancestry, physical, mental or medical disability, sex, sexual orientation, citizenship, military service status, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by state or federal law or local ordinance.

The California Academy of Sciences is a non-smoking facility. There is also no smoking in Golden Gate Park.

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