Position Description

Data Engineer
Department Strategy, Forces & Resources Division
Location Alexandria, VA
Closing Date 12/25/19
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The Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA) is a federally funded research and development center supporting the Department of Defense and other federal agencies that require rigorous and objective analysis of national security issues. The Strategy, Forces and Resources Division (SFRD) performs interdisciplinary analyses of plans and policies related to national security strategy, the structure and capabilities of US, allied and adversary forces, chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear defense, organizational efficiency and management issues, and human capital challenges.

SFRD is seeking a motivated Data Engineer to streamline and upgrade the data management process for a large and growing set of data. The Data Engineer will support the research data needs of the IDA Personally Identifiable Information Enclave and other depositories. The Data Engineer should expect to learn while creatively contributing to interdisciplinary project teams responding to research questions of deep significance to DoD policy, regulation, statute, and culture through high-quality, timely, and objective research. Continued professional and intellectual development is important at IDA.


  • Design and maintain data warehouses for large datasets.
  • Design, organize, improve, and implement data warehouse Extract, Transform, and Load (ETL) and other data management, governance, and use processes.
  • Monitor and troubleshoot issues impacting data warehouses.
  • Work with researchers to meet data needs and plan delivery mechanisms.
  • Build contextual expertise in and ensure quality of the data.
  • Establish and maintain data cataloguing, documentation, and definitions for a large, evolving databases constructed from inputs received from diverse sources.
  • Develop mastery of new software/hardware/skillsets according to the needs of IDA and the sponsors.
  • Contribute to impactful IDA research efforts.
  • Exercise independent judgment, conscientiousness, and creativity.
  • Liaise with data holders in a professional manner.


  • Bachelor's degree in computer science, data management, information systems, information science, statistics, applied mathematics, or a related field. 5 years of equivalent work experience or 3 years equivalent work experience with a relevant non-degree certificate may also be accepted.
  • Experience working with SQL.
  • Experience in data management.
  • Experience in distributed computing.
  • Experience with programming languages or statistical software used in research (e.g., at least one of Python, R, Julia, Stata, MATLAB, etc.)
  • Astute attention to detail.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Ability to work independently and to collaborate as part of a team.

Additional Preferred Qualifications

  • Experience with Linux OS and Apache Hadoop.
  • Experience in data warehousing, particularly in a data engineer role.
  • Prior work experience in or familiarity with the military, government, or nongovernmental organizations performing national security related work.

Applicants are encouraged to include a cover letter detailing how their skills and experiences align with the requirements. We are particularly interested to read about any prior experiences managing large datasets for research or applied work. Those selected for an interview will be required to submit transcripts, computing code samples, and professional references. 

U.S. Citizenship is required
Ability to obtain and maintain a security clearance is required
Equal Opportunity Employer

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IDA is committed to working with and providing reasonable accommodations to individuals with disabilities. If, because of a medical condition or disability, you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application process or in order to perform the essential functions of a position, please send an email to employment@ida.org and let us know the nature of your request and contact information.