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Systems Administrator

Los Angeles, California

The Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics seeks a Linux System Administrator with excellent communication and customer service skills to support research applications including use of large administrative health data. The system administrator works with minimum supervision to customize and maintain a multi-platform system configuration, ensuring efficiency and security. The system administrator will support a secure computing environment in the LA Health Research Cloud, including system maintenance and improvements, disk space and data management, technical controls for private information protection, and user support and training.  Troubleshoots problems reported by users and/or by automated network monitoring systems. Coordinates installations, replacements and upgrades of servers and operating systems with operations staff, technical support staff and department users. Designs, programs and/or installs tools to help manage systems and application environment.

REQUIRED DOCUMENTS: A cover letter and resume must be attached to your application submission.


  • maintain system availability and performance
  • maintain HIPAA-compliant data security
  • recommend changes to improve systems and network configurations, and determine hardware or software requirements related to such changes
  • monitor systems, servers and auxiliary devices for performance and security
  • troubleshoot and identify hardware and software problems in a timely manner
  • install software and system packages as needed; apply updates frequently
  • administer user accounts and data access
  • monitor backup systems; develop disaster recovery plans; implement tests to ensure that backups and disaster recovery systems are functioning
  • train users in how to access the systems and best practices for research workflows
  • provide technical support for users’ software problems
  • create shell scripts to automate system administration tasks
  • implement strategies for efficient disk space management and develop plans for future growth
  • become familiar with individual research projects in order to understand their computational requirements
  • seek and evaluate better solutions for our computing needs
  • maintain current knowledge in security and best practices for system administration
  • set up and maintain connections to external data sources (e.g., remote SQL databases)
  • administer web server and version control systems
  • communicate and coordinate with infrastructure vendors and providers


  • assist with data manipulation and automation of research workflows


  • Bachelor’s degree or higher in computer science, computer engineering, or similar field
  • 3+ years of Linux system administration experience, including file systems, disk quotas, user account and group administration, job scheduling, access control lists, shell scripts, GNU tools, process management
  • Experience in an academic research environment
  • Familiar with data analysis and scientific computing tools: SAS, Stata, R, Python (NumPy/SciPy)
  • Knowledge of networking protocols and security: TCP/IP, LDAP, SSH, HTTP, firewalls
  • SQL database administration experience


  • Experience supporting big data and parallel computing tools: MPI, Hadoop, Spark, AWS

About the Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy & Economics: The Schaeffer Center was established in 2009 to serve as an intellectual hub for health policy research at USC.  The result of a unique partnership between the School of Pharmacy and the Sol Price School of Public Policy, the Schaeffer Center takes an interdisciplinary approach to advance health policy and health economics. The Center supports 52 faculty affiliated with 9 schools at USC. Additionally, 41 staff provide support for research, administrative, and external affairs activities.  An innovative data core provides sophisticated data and analytic support – including research programmers, a statistician, system administrator, and a data scientist—and maintains data from more than 60 sources—including Medicare and Medicaid administrative data, private insurance claims, survey data, and electronic health record network data feeds with dozens of terabytes describing millions of individuals. Two analytic computing clusters accommodate complex data analyses in a HIPAA-compliant environment with security event monitoring 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Data Core also develops adaptable policy tools, including models as part of an NIA-sponsored Roybal Center for Health Policy Simulation. An external affairs team supports a sophisticated dissemination strategy to ensure Schaeffer Center research informs health policy. In addition to assisting in the publication of policy-relevant, peer-reviewed journals, the team produces e-newsletters, issue briefs, opinion pieces, and creative data visualizations and graphics. Through an established partnership with the Brookings Institution, the Center regularly convenes health policy conferences and publishes policy briefs on salient policy issues.  Robust outreach in social and traditional media help support the Center’s mission and establish faculty as thought leaders.   Finally, the Schaeffer Center supports interdisciplinary training opportunities for students and scholars at all levels—ranging from high school all the way to junior faculty. For additional information, see our website:

USC is an equal opportunity affirmative action employer that actively seeks diversity in its workplace.

REQ20065193 Posted Date: 09/17/2018

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