Jr. Scientific Programmer, Integrative Biology Laboratory, Dr. Graham McVicker

La Jolla, CA
Jan 27, 2021
Jobs Outside Higher Education
Software & Technology
Employment Type
Full Time
Institution Type
Four-Year Institution

Application Instructions:

Employment History Include your last ten (10) years of employment history, or length of your employment history if less, including all position (even those that are not relevant to this position) and periods of unemployment. Incomplete information could disqualify you from further consideration.


The McVicker Laboratory at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies is seeking a scientific programmer to develop, maintain, and utilize bioinformatics software tools. These tools will be used to tackle important research problems in genetics, gene regulation and chromatin biology. The successful candidate will develop new software tools, maintain and extend existing software, and assist with bioinformatics pipelines and data analysis for ongoing research projects in the lab.

Applicants should have an undergraduate degree in a relevant discipline (Genetics, Computer Science, Statistics, Bioinformatics, etc.).


  • Programming (70%)
    1. Programming, primarily in Python and R
    2. Implementing new functionality in existing software packages
    3. Testing new software that is developed
    4. Debugging problems and implementing solutions
    5. Refactoring code to improve efficiency and modularity
  • Data Analysis (25%)
    1. Utilizing software tools to analyze datasets
    2. Training, validation and testing of models when applicable
    3. Simulating datasets and evaluating performance of different analysis methods
    4. Preparing figures to summarize results
  • Presenting (5%)
    1. Presenting results and current progress in lab meetings
    2. Contributing to writing of scientific papers



  • Experience with Python or other programming language
  • Proficiency in Unix / Linux and related shell environments
  • No professional experience required with relevant degree


  • Experience in R or other data analysis language
  • Experience in statistics and/or machine learning
  • Experience with bioinformatics tools / software
  • Experience with next-generation sequencing data
  • Experience with single-cell genomics data
  • Experience with high-performance computing environments and workflow management tools
  • Experience with git
  • Experience with data analysis libraries such as pandas, NumPy, SciPy, PyTables
  • Experience with C/C++ or other compiled programming language
  • Interest in genetics, chromatin, and gene regulation



  • Bachelor’s degree in discipline involving programming and/or data analysis


  • Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in Computer Science, Data Science, Bioinformatics, Statistics or related degree.



  • Demonstrated ability to program effectively in one or more languages.
  • Ability to write readable, well-organized code that can be utilized or extended by other individuals.
  • Ability to organize complex software repositories and datasets.
  • Ability to debug, diagnose problems, and implement fixes for complex software.
  • Highly organized, effective at multitasking, adept at juggling changing priorities.
  • Proven ability to work both independently and also as part of a collaborative team.
  • Excellent communication skills, both oral and written.
  • Strong interpersonal skills, including tact, diplomacy, and flexibility.
  • Demonstrated ability to interact effectively with diverse groups.
  • Demonstrated skill in establishing and maintaining effective working relationships with personnel at all levels.


  • Ability to read scientific literature and implement methods described in papers
  • Ability to perform statistical analysis of large datasets


  • Must be willing to work in an animal-related research environment.
  • Satisfactory completion of the Institute’s background investigation.
  • Willing to sign a confidentiality agreement


This position requires constant adjusting focus, grasping, hearing, keying, seeing, sitting, talking, analyzing, calculating, communicating, reading, reasoning, writing, and working inside. 

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