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Computing Support Specialist

University of Birmingham Dubai

Dubai, UAE

Ref: RP269-01

Job description / Role

Employment: Full Time

Computing Support Specialist – Dubai

Job Summary
As part of the University’s Dubai initiative the Experimental Computing Support Team is responsible for the design, development, testing, implementation, support and maintenance of the complex infrastructure and services which provide a foundation for all Computer Science teaching and research activities in Dubai.
The Computing Support Specialist will provide high level technical assistance and guidance to members of Computer Science, including academic and professional support staff, and students.

Main Duties

- Contribute towards the development and maintenance of a fully integrated platform and environment to provide a seamless and enhanced user experience. Ensure students are able to use a wide range of computing technologies and platforms to broaden their employability prospects in addition to their academic experience.
- Provide support for taught student projects. Develop, integrate and support facilities, services and devices as required to support these projects.
- Provide applications, services and environments appropriate for use in the teaching as demanded by academic programmes and provide specialist support for teaching during scheduled practical sessions as required.
- Develop and interface systems and hardware as demanded by changing themes, and identify and scope new horizon technologies.
- To work flexibly to support teaching delivery, including working with academic, technical and administrative teams.
- Act as a communication channel between Dubai and Edgbaston teams, triaging as appropriate.
- Support teaching as a tutorial / lab demonstrator where appropriate to assist students with their practical work.

Leadership and Strategy

- Maintain the computing infrastructure and services within the School to support the demands of research and teaching intensive discipline.
- Implement underlying infrastructure and services in accordance with the School’s Computing strategy.
- Contribute towards the development of new technologies and bespoke solutions.
- Provide information and technical advice to research staff, projects and grant proposals.
- Take operational responsibility for the day-to-day running of the Computing infrastructure that supports teaching and research to ensure maximum levels of availability.

Management, Planning and Delivery

- Provide guidance and feasibility advice to teaching and administrative staff to allow the facility to create and provide novel, modern and technologically sound teaching modules and administrative processes.
- Provide purchasing advice for research, teaching and administrative projects to ensure that suitable and compatible equipment and software is selected.
- Exchange technical knowledge and experience with other staff, students and University sections. In particular, contribute specialist advice to IT Services arising from specialist computing experience.
- Monitor developments, methodologies and new technologies in the computer world, observing opportunities and threats.
- Keep up to date with University and IT Services policies.
- Keep up to date with relevant Laws, particularly in Dubai. Make Edgbaston staff aware of relevant laws as required, and to advice regarding their impact on technical designs and implementation.
- Provide guidance and advice to research staff involved in complex research projects both at conception and throughout a project’s lifetime. This may require detailed technical and operational expertise to ensure compliance with the School’s Computing strategy.
- Liaise with local IT teams, Edgbaston IT teams and Edgbaston Experimental Computing Support Teams.
- Contribute to collaborative developmental or project work, as required, across the facility and University.

Health and Safety

- Provide information for users in regard to safe, proper and effective use of Computing resources.
- Develop local procedures, establish and maintain a safe compliant working environment.
- Oversee compliance tasks ensuring timely completion and maintenance of risk assessments and electrical testing of Computer Science specific equipment.

Equipment Procurement and Maintenance

- Assist principal investigators in choosing and procuring new equipment or delegate to other technical staff, as appropriate. This may include arranging for the demonstration of equipment, obtaining quotations and assisting academic members of staff with the procurement process for the purchase of items of equipment and ensuring the School complies with University policy on procurement. Ensuring the School achieves the best deal/value for money on all purchases, including consumables and to provide advice on installation issues.
- Managing the inventory/asset register and disposal record system in conjunction with the accounts office, ensuring that both are accurate and up-to-date.
- Providing advice on, and arranging for, appropriate service/maintenance contracts for equipment where appropriate. Arranging contracts for the necessary testing of equipment and facilities as appropriate.
- Encourage academics to cost in equipment maintenance etc. into research grant applications.
- Ensuring that all equipment within the facility is fit for purpose and is maintained to a satisfactory standard. Ensuring that any redundant equipment is disposed of quickly and effectively, and that all statutory requirements are met.
- To manage equipment service contracts, maintain the University Asset register for the School, and ensure compliance with equipment and chemical disposal policy and regulations.


- Assess, develop and implement facility-wide training / development arrangements.
- Design, develop and deliver inductions, demonstrations and training covering a broad range of activities (not limited to techniques and equipment).
- Develop and maintain a broad knowledge and skills base, sharing with others.
- Mentor/coach junior staff.
- Continuously write and update comprehensive system documentation.


Person Specification


- Educated to degree level in a Computing related discipline or with equivalent practical experience.
- Must possess a high technical knowledge of computer technology with a broad knowledge of the diverse areas of Computing.
- Experience of scripting languages (e.g. Python, bash, ruby)
- Experience of administering Linux based systems
- Ability to adapt to working with new technologies, programming languages and operating environments
- Possess knowledge of a wide range of core computing technologies e.g. TCP/IP, DNS , IPv6.
- Capable of working both as an individual and as part of a team, provide guidance and assistance to other team members where appropriate.
- Good time management skills, including the ability to plan and prioritise work.
- Excellent English written and oral communication skills.


- Experience of using version control tools (e.g. git)
- Experience of using configuration management tools (e.g. puppet, ansible)
- System administration experience of Windows and / or MacOS.
- Practical experience of several systems programming and high level programming languages
- Experience of developing web based applications

About the Company

The University of Birmingham Dubai offers a unique opportunity for innovative and creative Academics and Professional Service Staff to be involved in building a sector leading teaching and research environment that is synonymous with a truly global and forward thinking University.

Already recognised as one of the world's top 100 universities across the globe, this latest phase in the University of Birmingham’s global expansion builds on the University’s international teaching activities in Singapore and China, and its extensive international research collaborations.

Over the next twelve months, then expanding thereafter, we will be looking for new staff to join our already talented and committed Academic and Professional Services staff in ensuring that our campus in Dubai is open and ready for a new intake of students by September 2018. A number of new opportunities will become available in the areas detailed below.

Our ambition is to grow the University of Birmingham Dubai to around 4,500 students studying on a full range of programmes; and to establish an active programme of research.

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