Iridium Satellite

Principal Data Engineer

Job Locations US-VA-McLean
Job ID 2022-2286
Worker Category
Regular Full-Time[F]

Company Overview

Aireon has deployed the world’s first and global space-based air traffic surveillance system, which is revolutionizing the entire aviation industry.  The Aireon system provides real-time aircraft monitoring spanning never before covered areas of the planet, including remote, oceanic and polar regions.  Aireon’s receivers are hosted on the Iridium constellation, which consists of 66 operational satellites in low-earth orbit and utilizes a unique cross-linked satellite architecture creating a web of coverage around the world.  The Aireon system enables safer, more efficient and more environmentally friendly aviation travel, resulting in significant CO2 emission reductions.  Numerous Air Navigation Service Providers have already signed on as customers and are receiving Aireon’s space-based ADS-B data, including NAV CANADA, NATS (UK), Naviair (Denmark), Enav (Italy), the Irish Aviation Authority, Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, Air Traffic and Navigation Services (South Africa) and more.


We are committed to offering an employment experience and benefits package that enables you and your family to grow with us and to share in our success.

Position Summary, Job Requirements & Responsibilities

Aireon is seeking a Data Engineer to join our Integrated Product Team in Engineering.


As a Data Engineer, you will be critical to the lifecycle of Aireon's data architecture. You will be responsible for building scalable data engineering solutions and processes to deliver data products and services to internal and external customers. You will work within the engineering group's high-tech Integrated Product Team focused on innovative technology.


What You'll Do

  • Collaborating with Solution Architects, DevOps Engineers, and Data Scientists in implementing complex end-to-end solutions on public and government cloud environments.
  • Providing technical leadership and actively participating in building scalable data architectures that will ingest, store, process, and organize the data critical for supporting analytics of near real-time data streams and historical data.
  • Designing and building the infrastructure required for optimal extraction, loading, and transformation of data from various data sources using SQL/NoSQL and data analytics technologies.
  • Defining and implementing data management standards and best practices.
  • Defining data quality and consistency rules and establishing processes to implement them throughout the data processing lifecycle.
  • Collaborating with external data providers to ensure data updates are processed in a timely fashion.
  • Ensuring technical specifications are aligned with both business needs and technical design standards.
  • Developing and maintaining data lake schematics, layouts, architectures, and relational/non-relational databases for data access and advanced analytics.

Experience & Education Requirements / EEO

Required Qualifications

  • A Bachelor's degree in Computer Science or a related field.
  • Five or more years of professional experience in a data engineer role.
  • Hands-on working experience with data modeling and building ETL/ELT pipelines using lake house architectural patterns.
  • Significant hands-on working experience managing and tuning SQL and NoSQL database systems, including SQL Server, Azure Cosmos DB, and others.
  • Strong hands-on working experience designing, developing, and maintaining data pipelines with Spark using Python, Scala, or Java.
  • Strong working experience managing the lifecycle of structured and unstructured data sets.
  • Working experience in implementing data engineering techniques and tools related to data automation frameworks, metadata management, and delta lake architecture.
  • Strong knowledge of distributed data processing systems (e.g., Spark), distributed data storage systems (e.g., HDFS), column-oriented data file formats (e.g., Apache Parquet), and real-time streaming systems (e.g., Spark Structured Streaming).
  • Working experience in designing, building, and maintaining data platforms while partnering with internal and external stakeholders.
  • Strong knowledge and working experience with Agile Software Development methodologies.
  • Possess an analytical mindset, with the ability to understand a situation or problem and think critically to make decisions and produce out-of-the-box solutions.
  • Must have excellent problem-solving skills in a dynamic environment.
  • Eligible to obtain SF-85P public trust.

Desired Qualifications

  • Azure Data Engineer certification is a plus.
  • Databricks Certified Data Engineer is a plus.
  • Familiarity with DevOps, CI/CD, and Scrum methods of delivery.
  • Working experience in Azure native data platforms.
  • Experience in coaching and mentoring junior data analysts or data engineers.

About You

You are a self-starter. Sitting and waiting isn't an option. You take the initiative to make things happen.

You are hands-on. You are not afraid to roll up the sleeves to code regularly. You can support multiple design & product activities at the same time.

You love solving problems. You are passionate about solving problems that will deliver value to our customers over time.

You are collaborative. You're a team player who puts the team's interest above your own. You display a positive attitude, are open, and enjoy contributing.

You are a natural leader. No matter where you find yourself, others tend to gather around you, leading to encouragement and mentoring.

You are comfortable with ambiguity. Sometimes we must move fast. That means the path forward isn't always well-defined. You are comfortable and collaborative through the discovery process and willing to take calculated risks.

Technology is your passion. It doesn't just provide a paycheck, and you are genuinely interested in what you do and its impact on others.

1-6-12 Month Plan

In the first month we'll expect you to…

  • Get onboarded and trained with your manager.
  • Be proactive in learning what Aireon does.
  • Understand our internal processes and cloud-based products and architectures.
  • Understand the role of IPT at Aireon and learn about IPT members' roles and responsibilities.


Within the first 6 months we'll expect you to…

  • Develop the Aireon's Data Management playbook of guidelines, design patterns, and best practices on how our data platform will collect, store, catalog, ensure quality, secure, process, and distribute data to consumers.
  • Develop best practices, templates, and documentation to create data pipelines and architecture designs.
  • Develop a roadmap based on opportunities you identified to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and security of Aireon's data management capabilities.
  • Assist Product Development Director in developing a business case and cost/benefit analysis for budget requests to support sustainment, new development, and data engineering initiatives.
  • According to the agreed-upon roadmap, priorities, and timelines:
  • Standardize and improve existing pipelines to adhere to best practices.
  • Implement processes and enable technologies that will improve Aireon's data management capabilities.
  • Develop new data pipeline processes using ETL/ELT approaches according to standards and patterns you help develop and refine to enable data for real-time and offline analytic processing.
  • Assist in developing and refining functional and non-functional requirements and participating in technical platform designs as products and business needs evolve.
  • Lead all phases of data engineering solution development. Explains technical considerations to stakeholders and technical team members.
  • Participate in rapid prototyping and POC (Proof of Concept) development efforts.
  • Develop staffing plans to ensure the data engineering team is adequately staffed with skilled professionals to support business needs and growth.

At 12 months we'll expect you to…

  • Update Aireon's Data Management playbook based upon new business requirements, technology trends, or as needed.
  • Refine and update roadmap plans to drive the maturity of Aireon's data management capabilities over time.
  • Anticipate and analyze trends in technology while assessing emerging technologies and their impact on existing capabilities.
  • Continue supporting new and ongoing projects leading all phases of data engineering solution development.
  • Lead recruitment efforts to attract, retain high-quality and diverse talent.

About the Team

  • The Integrated Product Team is primarily responsible for developing and operating secure and reliable products for internal and external customers. The team shares customer satisfaction, faster delivery, and profitability responsibility.
  • The Integrated Product Team comprises product development and product engineering.
  • You will play a critical role in the product development team.
  • The product development team is responsible for translating customer requirements and business objectives into product and sprint backlogs, designing a robust architecture to support the product goals, creating technical roadmaps, planning product releases, and improving the efficiency of people and processes, leading to faster and reliable deployment.
  • We follow the Scrum methodology and work on a 2-week sprint basis.
  • We leverage collaboration tools to connect remotely with team members and stakeholders.
  • Most of the team members are in the Washington DC area, with external consultants based in Canada.

Perks and Benefits 

  • Premium medical, dental and vision plan
  • Life Insurance and AD&D
  • Short Term and Long Term Disability
  • Health Savings Account (HSA)
  • Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA)
  • Retirement 401K plan with Employer Matching
  • Education Assistance and Tuition Reimbursement
  • Paid Time Off, Sick Leave, Floating Holidays
  • Paid Parental Leave
  • Company Sponsored Events
  • Employee Referral Program


Aireon requires all employees/new hires to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 prior to starting work. Aireon is an equal opportunity employer and will consider requests for exemption from this policy as a reasonable accommodation where it can do so absent undue hardship, consistent with federal, state, and local law.


Aireon is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or status as a protected veteran. EOE of Minorities/Females/Vets/Disability and other protected categories.


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