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United Airlines Principal - Database Engineer in Houston, Texas

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The United IT team designs, develops and maintains massively scaling technology solutions that are brought to life with innovative architectures, data analytics and digital solutions.

Job overview and responsibilities

This role will be responsible for all activities related to the design, operations, implementation, and 24x7 production support of United's complex, highly-available Kafka, Elastic and Hadoop ecosystem. Responsibilities include defining database standards and best practices for Kafka, Elastic, Hadoop and programming of data access layer. This role will align with architecture, engineering & application portfolios to deliver best-in-class systems in a hybrid data center environment to achieve business goals.

This is a hands-on role with team lead responsibilities and requires strong drive to find the optimal solutions as well as mentoring team members and developers to evangelize Kafka and Elastic technology with United Airlines, Inc.

Kafka Administration and support.

  • Designing, operationalizing, maintaining and scaling production Kafka clusters

  • Responsible for Kafka tuning, capacity planning, disaster recovery, replication, and troubleshooting.

  • Implementing Kafka security, limiting bandwidth usage, enforcing client quotas, backup and restoration.

  • In-depth understanding of the internals of Kafka cluster management, Zookeeper, partitioning, schema registry, topic replication and mirroring

Elastic Administration and support.

  • Architect, configure, deploy and maintain Elasticsearch clusters.

  • Architect and deploy Elastic Cloud Enterprise

  • Configure Logstash and Beats to collect data necessary to meet client requirements.

  • Configure X-Pack plugins to include Security, Watcher, Machine Learning, Monitoring, Graph, and Reporting.

  • Design, implement, and configure Kibana visualizations and dashboards.

Architecture, Design and Standardization.

  • Modernizing ETL pipelines through the use of Kafka and Elastic.

  • Maintaining Kafka connectors to move data between systems.

  • Working with enterprise architects to advise on best practices for Kafka & Elasticsearch both on prem and in the cloud.

  • Experience training, mentoring and leading an emerging team is beneficial

  • Knowledge of Cloud Formation/Terraform scripts.

  • Work closely with Big Data and AWS cloud technology groups.

  • Experience with open source Kafka distributions as well as enterprise Kafka products preferred.

  • Familiarity with both cloud native Kafka (on AWS) and on-premise architectures.

  • Managing Kafka & Elasticsearch clusters & creating tools to automate and improve clusters' reliability and performance.

  • Design and implement DR solutions for Confluent and Apache Kafka and Elasticsearch.

Lead and train team on Kafka and Elastic implementations.

  • Lead and participate in OnCall rotation for production support.


  • Strong data analysis skills; ability to independently write scripts/code to parse and analyze complex data

  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills

  • Communicate and work effectively in a team environment

  • BS in Computer Science and/or equivalent work experience required

  • 3+ years of experience architecting and implementing Kafka clusters in a large-scale enterprise environment.

  • 3+ years of experience with Elastic (Elastic Search, Logstash, Kibana) in a large-scale enterprise environment.

  • 3+ years of experience supporting Linux environments.

  • 3+ years of experience with Shell scripting

  • 5+ years of related work experience

  • Must be legally authorized to work in the United States for any employer without sponsorship

  • Successful completion of interview required to meet job qualification

  • Reliable, punctual attendance is an essential function of the position


  • Experience with Elasticsearch Beats packages a plus.

  • Experience with Big Data and NoSQL technologies a plus

  • Experience in parsing logs with GROK and regex

  • Experience in Java, Spring, Spring boot, Apache, Confluent, Kafka, Spark, SQL, Hadoop

  • Experience in Configuration Management (Puppet, Chef, Ansible), Source code Management (GitHub/Gitlab)

  • Experience with other features of Elastic Stack (Canvas, Elasticsearch-SQL, and Elasticsearch-Hadoop,)

  • Field and document modeling for fast and efficient searching and loading.

  • Elasticsearch Engineer I or II certification.

  • Previous managerial experience

  • Experience with configuration management tools like Ansible is a plus.

Equal Opportunity Employer – Minorities/Women/Veterans/Disabled/LGBT

Division: 47 Technology/IT

Function: Information Technology

Equal Opportunity Employer – Minorities/Women/Veterans/Disabled