Senior Technical Specialist (Linux & Storage)

Durham University

Senior Technical Specialist (Linux & Storage) (
Job Number:
Computing and Information Services
Grade 8:  £44,414 to £52,841 per annum
Open-Ended/Permanent  Full Time
Contracted Hours per Week: 35
Closing Date
: 19-Jun-2023, 6:59:00 PM
Disclosure and Barring Service Requirement: Not Applicable. 

The University  

At Durham University we are proud of our people.  A globally outstanding centre of educational excellence, a collegiate community of extraordinary people, a unique and historic setting – Durham is a university like no other. We believe that inspiring our people to do outstanding things at Durham enables Durham people to do outstanding things professionally and personally.    

Across the University we have a huge variety of roles and career opportunities, which together make us a large and successful community, which is a key hub of activity within our region and nationally.  We would be thrilled if you would consider joining our thriving University.  Further information about the University can be found here

The Role and Department

The Computing and Information Services (CIS) has an annual operational budget in excess of £12m, multi-million pound programmes of change within year, and approximately 185 staff. The Senior Leadership Team report directly to the Chief Information Officer (CIO) with the following portfolios: Strategy and Change; Operations; Information Systems, and Cyber Security. CIS work with departments across the university to provide academic, teaching and administrative services that underpin the day-to-day activities of the whole organisation. Details of the Digital Strategy and ongoing work can be found in our Digital Strategy .

CIS is a friendly, but demanding department, where much is expected and can be achieved by competent, self-motivated individuals who demonstrate team work ability. The department works in a hybrid (remote and on-site) capacity depending on the job role and individual personal requirements.

The Senior Technical Specialist (Linux & Storage) will be a member of the department’s specialist Linux team, which is responsible for design, configuration, deployment, support and maintenance of new and existing services based on Linux, supporting the goals of the Computing and Information Services department as well as academic colleagues and students in departments, research institutes and colleges.

Most of the current Linux server estate is CentOS / RHEL – and currently in the process of migrating to RHEL.  These are fully config managed, and version controlled using Puppet and Github Enterprise.  The managed storage platform is based on NetApp and Pure FlashArray.

The Linux Desktop estate is Debian, with plans to upgrade to a later version in the next year.  Many applications are packaged and made available to our desktop platform.  We aim to be flexible and open to new technologies in all areas of our service.

To be successful in the role you should have experience with design, installation, configuration and management of enterprise level, modern Linux Server and Storage platforms, and be able to demonstrate excellent communication and organisational skills.  You should have demonstrable experience of leading technical projects at significant scale, and having followed change management processes.
Further information about the role and the responsibilities is at the bottom of this job description.  
Working at Durham   
A competitive salary is only one part of the many fantastic benefits you will receive if you join the University: you will also receive access to the following fantastic benefits:   

•    30 Days annual leave per year in addition to 8 public holidays and 4 customary days per year (the University closes between Christmas and New Year) – a total of 42 days per year.    
•    We offer a generous pension scheme, As a new member of staff you will be automatically enrolled into this University Superannuation Scheme (USS).  
•    No matter how you travel to work, we have you covered.  We have ample parking across campus, a cycle to work scheme which helps you to buy a bike and discount with local bus and train companies.  
•    There is a genuine commitment to developing our colleagues professionally and personally.  There is a comprehensive range of development courses, apprenticeships and access to qualifications and routes to develop your career in the University.  All staff have dedicated annual time to concentrate on their personal development opportunities.   
•    Lots of support for health and wellbeing including discounted membership for our state of the art sport and gym facilities and access to a 24-7 Employee Assistance Programme.  
•    On site nursery is available and children’s clubs in the summer holidays.
•    Family friendly policies, including maternity and adoption leave, which are among the most generous in the higher education sector (and likely above and beyond many employers).  
•    The opportunity to take part in staff volunteering activities to make a difference in the local community  
•    Discounts are available via our benefits portal including; money off at supermarkets, high street retailers, IT products such as Apple, the cinema and days out at various attractions.   
•    A salary sacrifice scheme is also available to help you take advantage of tax savings on benefits.   
•    If you are moving to Durham, we can help with removal costs and we have a dedicated team who can help you with the practicalities such as house hunting and schools.  If you need a visa, we cover most visa costs and offer an interest free loan scheme to pay for dependant visas.  

Durham University is committed to equality, diversity and inclusion

Our collective aim is to create an open and inclusive environment where everyone can reach their full potential and we believe our staff should reflect the diversity of the global community in which we work. As a University equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) are a key part of the University’s Strategy and a central part of everything we do.  We also live by our values and our Staff Code of Conduct.  At Durham we actively work towards providing an environment where our staff and students can study, work and live in a community which is supportive and inclusive. It’s important to us that all of our colleagues are aligned to both our values and commitment to EDI.  
We welcome and encourage applications from members of groups who are under-represented in our work force including people with disabilities, women and black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.  If you have taken time out of your career, and you feel it relevant, let us know about it in your application.  If you are a candidate with a disability, we are committed to ensuring fair treatment throughout the recruitment process. We will make adjustments to support the interview process wherever it is reasonable to do so and, where successful, reasonable adjustments will be made to support people within their role. 

What you need to demonstrate when you apply/Person Specification  
When you apply it is important that you let us know what skills/experience you have from a similar role and/or what skills/experience you have which would make you right for this role.  Further information about the role and responsibilities is at the end of this job description.  Where a criteria has an asterisk* next to it, it may be given additional weighting when your application is considered.    
Your application should cover the following criteria:  

Essential Criteria


1.     Educated to degree level (or equivalent experience).

2.     Professional practitioner with specialist knowledge and expertise to influence service delivery and activities within the organisation.

3.     Experience of participating in networks to share and discuss good practice and develop strong and productive working relationships.

4.     Experience of delivering and developing specialist IT service provision.

5.     Experience of delivering major infrastructure projects involving multi-agency working within an educational, commercial or industrial environment. 

6.     Experience of providing specialist advice and guidance to a range of customers and colleagues, including more senior colleagues.

7.     Experience of implementing policies and procedures and supporting service improvements.



8.     Excellent spoken and written communication skills including the ability to develop effective working relationships, both internally and externally.

9.     *Strong digital competence across a range digital devices and apps including installing, maintaining and administration of Linux (e.g. RHEL / CentOS / Debian) infrastructure and associated software (e.g. LAMP Stack, Tomcat).

10.   *Installation / Configuration / Management of system and service monitoring. (e.g. Prometheus / Grafana)

11.   *An excellent understanding of Version Control (e.g. Git)

12.  Recent experience of using Incident & Change Management for Lifecycle and Project management.

13.  *Experience using Configuration Management (e.g. Puppet)

14.  *Significant experience of managing enterprise level Storage systems.

15.  Experience using Backup Management services.

16.  Experience with Virtualisation platforms (e.g. VMware)

17.  Committed to continuing professional development to maintain professional recognition.

18.  Professional knowledge and experience of compliance and regulations.

19.  Ability to solve problems and decide on and plan appropriate solutions.

20.  Knowledge and experience of health and safety issues and compliance.

21.   Extensive knowledge and experience of ensuring compliance with regulatory and organisational policy and guidelines.

22.   Ability to contribute to planning at operational and strategic levels.

Desirable Criteria

23.  ITIL Foundation

24.  Achievement of recognised industry and professional standards supported by relevant courses or certifications [e.g. RHEL certification]

25.  A practical understanding containerisation with Docker / Kubernetes or similar

How to apply  
To progress to the assessment stage, candidates must evidence each of the essential criteria required for the role in the person specification above. It will be at the discretion of the recruiting panel as to whether they will also consider any desirable criteria, but we would urge candidates to provide evidence for all criteria.  Please don’t forget to check if there is any weighted criteria (see above).  
While some criteria will be considered at the shortlisting stage, other criteria may be considered later in the assessment process, such as questions at interview.     
Submitting your application   
We prefer to receive applications online.   We will update you about your application at various points throughout the selection process, via automated emails from our e-recruitment system. Please check your spam/junk folder periodically to make sure you have not missed any of our updates.  
What you need to submit     
•    A CV: and     
•    A supporting statement which outlines how you meet all of the criteria within the Person Specification.      
•    Case studies to demonstrate how you meet the asterisked essential criteria       

Contact details     

For a chat about the role or any further information please contact Barry Simpson (Senior Manager – Platforms)
Typical Role Requirements  

Service Delivery/Development

·         Show a commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion and the University’s values.

·         Develop and promote an in-depth understanding of University policy and external developments relevant to your role.

·         Ensure that policy and regulatory standards are met by activities, processes and transactions that are carried out in services you are responsible for.

·         Use your professional knowledge and experience as a Linux and Storage practitioner to resolve problems, shape processes and activities, develop systems, and provide subject matter expertise and advice.

·         Provide specialist advice when on the analysis and interpretation of complex data and information relevant to your area.

·         Responsible for operational activity across Linux and Storage platforms.

·         Look for ways to continually improve services and take a lead role in the development and implementation of assigned policies, processes and standards.

·         Instigate and manage business process reviews to improve the service in your area.

·         Ensure data (commercially sensitive and/or personal) is appropriately stored and managed.


Planning and Organisation

·         Contribute to the development of operational and strategic level plans relevant to your area.

·         Scope, plan and implement large scale/University wide initiatives.

·         Lead and manage major projects across the organisation, monitoring performance, providing progress reports and taking action to ensure agreed outcomes are met.

·         Provide oversight for short term/temporary project teams.

·         Assign activities within agreed operational and strategic plans to relevant project teams for them to deliver.

·         Ensure that projects deliver agreed objectives while solving any problems which are encountered.

·         Lead the design and implementation of transformative service developments.

·         Source, install, configure and manage hardware and software critical to service delivery.

·         Research technological trends to determine the implications and opportunities to change how services are delivered in your area.

·         Manage and monitor health and safety assessments and security procedures to ensure compliance.

·         Allocate and monitor designated budgets, expenditure and resources.



·         Influence University policy and standards by leading operational business meetings, working groups and sub-committees.

·         Provide professional guidance and advice when managing complaints, referrals and specialist services

·         Build and establish contacts and networks with key stakeholders, internal and external staff, suppliers, contractors and industry specialists.

·         Design and deliver training to your stakeholders to support their development and information needs.

·         Create positive working relationships, including internal and external networks, using your networks to increase your knowledge and skills, swap information with peers and positively influence the University’s reputation.

·         Represent the service and University at promotional events.


·         Any other reasonable duties.

Useful links  
If you would like further information you may find the following will help  
Computing and Information Services Homepage

Please note that in submitting your application Durham University will be processing your data. We would ask you to consider the relevant University Privacy Statement Privacy Notices – Durham University  which provides information on the collation, storing and use of data.    
When appointing to this role the University must ensure that it meets any applicable immigration requirements, including salary thresholds which are applicable to some visas.





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