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Principal Cloud Engineer

National Student Clearinghouse
vision insurance, parental leave, paid holidays, sick time, 401(k)
United States
April 29, 2024

Are you looking for more than just a job and want to make difference? If so, then join the National Student Clearinghouse talent community and discover your impact today!

We are a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization and the leading provider of educational reporting, data exchange, verification, and research services. Serving the education, workforce and learner communities has been at the heart of our mission for over 30 years. Our work - performed in a trusted, secure, and private environment - provides numerous time- and cost-saving benefits to students, schools, administrators, and requestors.

About the Role:

We are seeking a Principal Cloud Engineer with the proven ability to design and support a multi-cloud environment. These environments will support our large data centric applications in conjunction with The Clearinghouse's vision and mission. You will be a key contributor in the Digital Transformation effort reengineering and migrating applications from on premises to multi-cloud environments. Implementing a highly available infrastructure is key to the success of The Clearinghouse. You will lead the team in providing root cause analysis while troubleshooting resolutions. The Principal Cloud Engineer works as part of a team responsible for operating and maintaining multi-cloud infrastructures with a focus on security, reliability and cost optimization.

The Clearinghouse is modernizing its application portfolio to be hosted in a hybrid cloud environment from its current on-premises environment. This modernization effort will also include migrating to an open-source technology stack. This position works on a team in an Agile/Scrum environment where the focus is on the teamwork and ownership of each project. The ideal incumbent has a drive for learning new things, has a desire to mentor others and is passionate about engineering end-to-end technical solutions. A commitment to collaborative problem solving, sophisticated and simplistic design, and product quality are essential.

Currently, this is a remote-first position, and this position may be required to periodically work on-site at our office and the frequency would depend on the department/division's requirements. Therefore, candidates must either reside within a reasonable distance to commute to our office or be willing to travel to our office in Herndon, when required.

How You Contribute:

  • Demonstrate NSC's competencies, which align with our corporate values. Manager will provide more detail to candidates as needed.

    • Core Competencies include: Customer Focus, Optimizes Work Processes, Collaborates, Communicates Effectively, and Be Open and Authentic.

Customer Focus:

  • Research new technologies and make recommendations to management.
  • Actively participate in the reengineering and migration of on-premise applications to a multi-cloud environment.
  • Support applications in a multi-cloud environment comprised of custom-built applications, SaaS solutions, and open-source components.
  • Ensure all application services are monitored and performance meets or exceeds established SLAs.
  • Administer access, rights, and privileges to Clearinghouse staff in one or more cloud environments (e.g., AWS, OCI, Azure, etc.).
  • Ensure continuous operation of servers and components through effective patch management, backup and archival of data, and ensuring that monitoring/alerting needs are met.
  • Develop, maintain, configure, and monitor the infrastructure.
  • Rapidly respond to production issues, diagnose problems, troubleshoot and develop innovative technical solutions.

Optimizes Work Processes:

  • Create, maintain, and operate all servers and infrastructure devices including troubleshooting, patching, backups, monitoring and alerting, architectural and operational documentation, creating and managing VPC, URL proxies, and Bastion Hosts.
  • Develop and deploy automation infrastructure as code using the AWS Cloud Formation templates as part of the using CI/CD process. Ensure that any infrastructure deployed is correctly sized based on the environment needs and projected volume of data/transactions tools.
  • Ensure all application components are monitored, performance is baselined, and actual performance meets or exceeds established SLAs.
  • Automate processes such as Disaster Recovery (DR).


  • Ensure all application components are monitored, performance is baselined, and actual performance meets or exceeds established SLAs.
  • Collaborate with team members to deliver technical solutions in an agile team environment.
  • Independently lead the teams problem solving efforts.
  • Present design solutions to the Architecture Review Board (ARB) for approval. Collaborate with Enterprise Architecture and ARB members to develop and refine designs prior to presenting to the ARB.

Communicates Effectively:

  • Actively participate with scrum teams in the development of new functions and features by provisioning needed services, assigning access levels, and developing cloud formation templates to deploy infrastructure as software in all environments.
  • Effectively monitor cloud optimization strategies, budget planning, governance, and reporting within AWS and Azure.
  • Create and maintain system documentation (e.g., network/system architecture, daily operational procedures, disaster recovery procedures, and checklists) for both on-premise and cloud hosted systems.
  • Monitor system components and application processing to proactively identify incidents, resolve issues, and participate in root cause analysis.
  • Collaborate and share knowledge with team members.

Be Open and Authentic:

  • Establish and maintain a strong working relationship with all team members.
  • Demonstrate openness with positive intent for entertaining new perspectives and ideas.

Position may be required to perform other duties as required. These essential functions are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the job. Reasonable accommodations will be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform these essential functions.

What You Bring to the Table:

  • Bachelor's degree in Computer Information Systems, Computer Science or other related technical field or some equivalent combination of education and experience. including through military service will also be considered .
  • 10+ years of overall IT experience and 5 years of experience in roles supporting IT infrastructure.
  • 5+ years of related multi-cloud-based IT infrastructure experience.
  • Experience with:

    • Managing and monitoring AWS SysOps using tools such as Cloud Watch, Cloud Trail, and X-Ray, etc.
    • Experience in traditional infrastructure migration to a multi-cloud environment
    • Working knowledge of SVN, GIT, and AWS Code Commit.
    • Cloud security using Guard Duty, WAF Rules, Service Policies, Guard Rail, AWS Control Tower IAM Roles and Policies.
    • Networking Elastic Load Balancers (ELB), VPN, Transit Gateway, Direct Connect and VPC Peering.
    • Windows and/or Linux operating system experience in administration and troubleshooting.
    • System installation of high availability/fault tolerance IT environments, including cloud, networking, and back- end data systems.
    • Collaborating with application support teams, architects, and others in support of IT projects.
    • Disaster Recovery planning and execution.

  • Demonstrated ability to provide backup system operation.
  • Familiarity with the ITIL service delivery, including system processes and documentation (architectural, logical, functional drawings and creation and maintenance of standard operating procedures).
  • Possession of an AWS SysOPS Administrator Associate certification is highly desirable.
  • Strong organizational skills (must be detail-oriented), and the ability to resolve problems quickly and successfully.
  • Excellent communication skills with the ability to communicate technical and nontechnical messages to all levels of staff.
  • Demonstrates ability to work independently with little supervision and be a team player.
  • Must live within a commutable distance to Herndon, VA or in one of the Clearinghouse's approved States for hiring purposes. Refer to our HR Policies Page, located on our Careers site at https://www.studentclearinghouse.org/careers/human-resource-policies/, for more details.

Physical Demands:

  • Use of a computer for 8 or more hours a day.
  • Use of a copy machine and telephone.
  • Frequently required to sit for 7 or more hours per day in close proximity to others in an open office environment.
  • Occasionally required to crawl and walk; use hands and fingers to operate, handle, and reach.
  • Vision abilities include close vision and the ability to adjust focus.
  • Lift and/or move up to 50 pounds, when needed.
  • Must be flexible to do out-of-town assignments and travel occasionally when needed.
  • Disaster recovery and/or business continuity efforts may require offsite work or travel and the acceptance of additional responsibilities to facilitate an efficient and effective restoration of operations. Responsibilities during these efforts may be unrelated to those normally associated with this position. Travel and offsite work in the event of a declared disaster will likely occur with no prior notice and may be prolonged in nature.
  • Must be able to work during maintenance windows, after business hours, and may be required to provide on-call remote, or 24/7 technical support

Benefits and Related Information:

The National Student Clearinghouse provides a robust benefit program designed to help meet the needs of each employee and their family, both now and in the future. We offer comprehensive medical, dental, and vision insurance, as well as life and disability insurance benefits, for employees and their qualified dependents. Health care, dependent care, and limited purpose flexible spending accounts, as well as a health savings account, are options available for employees to set aside pre-taxed dollars for certain qualifying expenses. We offer a very generous 401k matching contribution program with the opportunity to defer pre-tax and Roth contributions, as well as catch-up contributions for those who are eligible! We are proud to offer a competitive paid leave program consisting of vacation, sick, and personal time, as well as paid holidays and up to 3 weeks of paid parental leave during a 12-month period. Vacation time will accrue based on length of service, and new full-time hires can accrue up to 13 days of vacation and up to 10 days of sick time per year. On an annual basis, new employees may use up to 32 hours of accrued sick time as personal time. Additionally, the Clearinghouse observes at least 11 paid holidays per year.

Another perk is that employees have the option to get reimbursed for basic wholesale company and roadside assistance memberships (e.g., Costco and AAA) and to request a buy back on portions of unused accrued vacation based on tenure and certain other qualifications. Employees can further their education and professional development by using our Employee Education Assistance Program, which establishes reimbursement for qualified education expenses upon successful completion of the program, and leveraging the enterprise-wide LinkedIn Learning subscription. There are additional employee benefits too, including but not limited to, mental health and wellness benefits. To find out more, please request a copy of our Benefits at a Glance!

We reasonably believe that the salary range for this position is between $160,000 to $185,000 annually.

The requisition will be open for a minimum of three days, and applications will be accepted on an ongoing basis until the position if filled.


Equal Opportunity Employer/Protected Veterans/Individuals with Disabilities

The contractor will not discharge or in any other manner discriminate against employees or applicants because they have inquired about, discussed, or disclosed their own pay or the pay of another employee or applicant. However, employees who have access to the compensation information of other employees or applicants as a part of their essential job functions cannot disclose the pay of other employees or applicants to individuals who do not otherwise have access to compensation information, unless the disclosure is (a) in response to a formal complaint or charge, (b) in furtherance of an investigation, proceeding, hearing, or action, including an investigation conducted by the employer, or (c) consistent with the contractor's legal duty to furnish information. 41 CFR 60-1.35(c)