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Controls Engineer for the National Ignition Facility

Associate | Full-time
Engineering | livermore, CA | 04/15/2021

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Company Description

Join us and make YOUR mark on the World!

Are you interested in joining some of the brightest talent in the world to strengthen the United States’ security? Come join Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) where our employees apply their expertise to create solutions for BIG ideas that make our world a better place.

We are looking for individuals that demonstrate an understanding of working in partnership with team peers, who engage, advocate, and contribute to building an inclusive culture, and provide expertise to solve challenging problems.

Job Description

We have an opening for a Controls Engineer for the National Ignition Facility. You will be responsible for developing, implementing, and maintaining process control systems in the National Ignition Facility (NIF) using a broad-based controls approach from project inception through commissioning.  These systems are primarily based on the Rockwell ControlLogix family of Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) and control safety interlocks, vacuum systems, cooling systems, machine protection systems, pressure systems and interface with all types of instrumentation.  The systems vary from discrete control to complex automated system control.  This position is in the Laser Systems Engineering and Operations (LSEO) Division, within the Engineering Directorate.

This position will be filled at either level based on knowledge and related experience as assessed by the hiring team. Additional job responsibilities (outlined below) will be assigned if hired at the higher level.

In this role you will 

  • From project inception, gather requirements, develop moderately complex to complex system control strategies and applications, documenting all design and implementing software under strict configuration management.
  • Participate in formal and informal code review designs, giving input on proposed hardware installations, ensuring proper integration with associated software under limited direction.
  • Develop moderately complex to complex PLC applications for supervisory, automated processing and/or device level controls.  May include development and execution of test plans.
  • Refine and manage the system requirement specifications and control system design.
  • Write code for maintenance and to debug when necessary.  This may include conducting Failure Modes and Effects Analysis.
  • Maintain a close interface with the various programmatic and project elements to ensure effective teamwork and end-user communication.
  • Perform other duties as assigned.

Additional job responsibilities, at the SES.3 level

  • Research and provide in-depth analysis to advance the architecture of the complex control system and lead formal code and system design reviews.
  • Develop complex applications for PLCs and other suitable technologies and deploy systems into the lab and the field independently, under minimal direction.
  • Develop, design, implement complex software including automation routines that may not be well defined; develop and execute test plans, and conduct Failure Modes and Effects Analysis.


  • Ability to obtain and maintain a U.S. DOE Q-level security clearance which requires U.S. citizenship.
  • Bachelor’s degree in Engineering, Computer Science, or the equivalent combination of education and previous relevant experience.
  • Comprehensive knowledge of, and broad experience in development of moderately complex to complex process control, data acquisition, and computer interfacing.
  • Comprehensive experience and proficiency with the application, use, and programming of PLCs. 
  •  Broad experience with the systems and software engineering process for generation of requirements, design documents, configuration control, and preparation of test plans and user documentation under limited direction.
  • Experience working effectively in a dynamic multidisciplinary environment, which includes working with scientists, engineers, technicians, and designers.
  • Proficient verbal and written communication skills necessary to effectively collaborate in a team environment to present and explain technical information.

Additional qualifications at the SES.3 level

  • Significant experience with complex process automation.
  • Advanced knowledge of Rockwell’s ControlLogix PLC family, RSView and advanced knowledge of real-time control systems. Experience with the application of various safety standards such as ANSI/ISA S-84, IEC-61508, etc.
  • Advanced verbal and written communication skills necessary to effectively collaborate in a team environment and present and explain technical information and provide advice to management.

Qualifications We Desire

  • Master’s degree (MS) in Engineering, Computer Science or Computer Engineering.
  • Experience in the use of Rockwell’s Asset Centre system for configuration and code management
  • Knowledge of robotics, instrumentation, and process engineering.

Additional Information

Why Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory?

  • Included in 2021 Best Places to Work by Glassdoor!
  • Work for a premier innovative national Laboratory
  • Comprehensive Benefits Package
  • Flexible schedules (*depending on project needs)
  • Collaborative, creative, inclusive, and fun team environment

Learn more about our company, selection process, position types and security clearances by visiting our Career site

Security Clearance

LLNL is a Department of Energy (DOE) and National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Laboratory.  Most positions will require a DOE L or Q clearance (please reference Security Clearance requirement).  If you are selected, we will initiate a Federal background investigation to determine if you meet eligibility requirements for access to classified information or matter. In addition, all L or Q cleared employees are subject to random drug testing.  An L or Q clearance requires U.S. citizenship.  If you hold multiple citizenships (U.S. and another country), you may be required to renounce your non-U.S. citizenship before a DOE L or Q clearance will be processed/granted.  For additional information please see DOE Order 472.2.

Equal Employment Opportunity

LLNL is an affirmative action and equal opportunity employer that values and hires a diverse workforce. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, marital status, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, medical condition, pregnancy, protected veteran status, age, citizenship, or any other characteristic protected by applicable laws.

If you need assistance and/or a reasonable accommodation during the application or the recruiting process, please submit a request via our online form

California Privacy Notice

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) grants privacy rights to all California residents. The law also entitles job applicants, employees, and non-employee workers to be notified of what personal information LLNL collects and for what purpose. The Employee Privacy Notice can be accessed here.

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