University of California, Berkeley — Field Engineer, Berkeley Seismological Lab

Field Engineer (7120U) – Berkeley Seismological Lab

About Berkeley

At the University of California, Berkeley, we are committed to creating a community that fosters equity of experience and opportunity, and ensures that students, faculty, and staff of all backgrounds feel safe, welcome and included. Our culture of openness, freedom and belonging make it a special place for students, faculty and staff.

The University of California, Berkeley, is one of the world's leading institutions of higher education, distinguished by its combination of internationally recognized academic and research excellence; the transformative opportunity it provides to a large and diverse student body; its public mission and commitment to equity and social justice; and its roots in the California experience, animated by such values as innovation, questioning the status quo, and respect for the environment and nature. Since its founding in 1868, Berkeley has fueled a perpetual renaissance, generating unparalleled intellectual, economic and social value in California, the United States and the world.

We are looking for equity-minded applicants who represent the full diversity of California and who demonstrate a sensitivity to and understanding of the diverse academic, socioeconomic, cultural, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, and ethnic backgrounds present in our community. When you join the team at Berkeley, you can expect to be part of an inclusive, innovative and equity-focused community that approaches higher education as a matter of social justice that requires broad collaboration among faculty, staff, students and community partners. In deciding whether to apply for a position at Berkeley, you are strongly encouraged to consider whether your values align with our Guiding Values and Principles, our Principles of Community, and our Strategic Plan.

At UC Berkeley, we believe that learning is a fundamental part of working, and our goal is for everyone on the Berkeley campus to feel supported and equipped to realize their full potential. We actively support this by providing all of our staff employees with at least 80 hours (10 days) of paid time per year to engage in professional development activities. To find out more about how you can grow your career at UC Berkeley, visit

Departmental Overview

Standing nearly on top of the Hayward Fault, the Berkeley Seismological Laboratory (BSL) provides robust hazard information while engaging in essential geophysical research. Throughout the BSL's long history of innovation, beginning with the 1897 installation of the first seismograph in the western hemisphere, our commitment to probing the Earth's deepest secrets has remained unchanged.

Today, the BSL operates several different networks and has expanded into a broader range of geophysical monitoring. Data from these geophysical networks are recorded digitally and are archived at the Northern California Earthquake Data Center, which is located at the Berkeley Seismological Lab. Researchers from around the world use data from the BSL. In addition to their use in earthquake studies, these data are useful for rapid notification of earthquakes. Together with the USGS Menlo Park, the Berkeley Seismological Laboratory reports earthquake information within a few minutes of occurrence. Our lab also acts as part of a statewide earthquake monitoring system, the California Integrated Seismic Network.

BSL operates a network of geophysical observatories throughout Northern California and Southern Oregon. These seismic or geodetic observatories send near real time data to our datacenters and are used for research purposes and a new earthquake early warning system called “ShakeAlert”.

This position involves professional engineering and engineering technician support as part of academic instructional lab and/or research projects and programs. Engineering activities include the design, construction, testing of experimental systems, operation of analytical systems, establishment of performance specifications, and documentation. Engineering Technicians may be assigned duties within a single discipline (e.g., electrical) or span a range of disciplines [Note: for machine specialty work in a research or lab setting, see Research and Laboratory Job Field, Lab Mechanician Job Family].

The selected engineer will be expected to: 1) Be involved in the locating, planning, permitting, construction, installation and maintenance of new and existing observatories; 2) Ensure that produced data is being telemetered property and data meets quality specifications; 3) troubleshoot and repair complex issues at remote observatories.

This position involves supporting research efforts within the department and partner agencies. Activities span a wide range of disciplines, including but not limited to, power systems, analog and digital circuits, construction & fabrication, computer networking, planning, and documenting. A working knowledge of Windows, Mac, Unix, and Linux operating systems is desirable. These task are done under the supervision of management and/or senior engineers.

Many tasks are expected to be completed with little or no support or supervision in very remote settings. Work is often performed in extreme conditions such as rain, snow, heat, cold, high winds, etc. The position involves overnight travel up to 50% of the time.

Some remote sites utilize a private microwave radio system to telemeter data. Repairing this equipment often requires work at remote radio tower sites. This position involves climbing radio towers to remove and replace equipment. The employee will be trained and certified and appropriate equipment will be provided.

BSL Employees routinely interact with the public and are required to exhibit a high level of professionalism and judgement. This includes interfacing with public and private property owner and various stakeholders in the public and private sectors.

**This is a 2-year contract position with the possibility for extension with continued funding.**

Application Review Date

The First Review Date for this job is: November 8, 2022 – Open Until Filled



  • Locate, permit, construct and install new seismic monitoring and geodetic observatories and maintain and correct deficiencies with existing sites. This involves interacting with the public and various public and private stakeholders.
  • Review area using various online software platforms.
  • Interact with land owner and negotiate agreement for land use.
  • Meet with contractors, provide building materials, identify construction location and approve minor changes to design/construction.
  • Installing sites involves deploying sensors, data loggers, installing other equipment such as, radios, routers, cellular modems, and programming these devices for operations.
  • Travel with co-workers or alone to remote field sites.
  • Install new monitoring observatories with co-worker over the course of multiple days in remote conditions.
  • Ensure to follow safety protocols set by safety team, site notes, and supervisor direction.
  • These responsibilities include exercising independent judgement and decision making.


  • Prepare for field work by testing equipment, gathering supplies, loading field vehicles, and handling complex logistical issues.
  • Before any installation, test sensors, date loggers, routers, and other equipment and prepare them for Quality Control with department researchers.
  • Determine mode of failure with equipment and repair or return for repairs.
  • Determine and purchase necessary field supplies for field site visit. This involves researching and selecting appropriate equipment according to site needs/requirements.
  • Stage, pack and load vehicles. Ensure vehicles are in good working order.
  • During a field site visit, sourcing failed equipment, repair sensors, scheduling shipments to remote locations while meeting deadlines.


  • Troubleshoot and repair analog and digital circuits, radio and telemetry systems, power systems (AC (up to 480V) and DC), analog sensors (seismometers), data loggers and other peripheral equipment. This includes aligning and orienting sensors, and configuring networked equipment. These repairs are done in the lab or in remote field settings.


  • Document all field activities and work that was completed remotely. This involves updating field logs with site issues, equipment repairs or replacement, site and owner information, and station characteristics. Excellent written communication is required.


  • Work within a team to identify deficiencies and solve complex problems related to BSL network. Attend and contribute to regular team meetings. Suggest solutions for site improvement and repairs. Participate in process improvement discussions. Provide engineering information advice to internal and external Principal Investigator and/or other faculty and research personnel.


  • Other duties as assigned.

Required Qualifications

  • Thorough knowledge associated with independently performing the full range of engineering professional design work.
  • Thorough knowledge necessary to apply principles, practices and procedures in the completion of assignments.
  • Demonstrated organizational and decision-making abilities to prioritize competing work assignments in order to meet deadlines and adherence to quality standards.
  • Strong analytical and judgment skills to independently conduct analyses and develop appropriate recommendations.
  • Effective written and verbal communication and presentation skills.
  • Ability to work in a collaborative manner; identify challenges and barriers and recommend resolutions.
  • Ability to lead and influence others.
  • Knowledge of AC and DC power systems, analog and digital circuits, telemetry and radio systems.
  • Knowledge of Linux, Unix, Mac OS, and Windows operating systems and associated applications.
  • Strong analytical skills and the ability to solve complex problems.
  • Ability to manage multiple tasks and projects and demonstrate good time management skills.
  • Bachelor's degree in related field (engineering, physics, computer science, etc.) and/or equivalent
    combination of experience/training.

Salary & Benefits

Salary is commensurate with experience. This is a 100% FTE contract position.

For information on the comprehensive benefits package offered by the University visit:

Driving Required

A valid driver's license and DMV check for driving record is required.

Other Information

**This is a 2-year contract position with the possibility for extension with continued funding.**

Conviction History Background

This is a designated position requiring fingerprinting and a background check due to the nature of the job responsibilities. Berkeley does hire people with conviction histories and reviews information received in the context of the job responsibilities. The University reserves the right to make employment contingent upon successful completion of the background check.

Equal Employment Opportunity

The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or protected veteran status. For more information about your rights as an applicant see:
For the complete University of California nondiscrimination and affirmative action policy see:

To apply, visit