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Jet Propulsion Laboratory Senior Cost Engineer / Estimator in Pasadena, California

Senior Cost Engineer / Estimator

Job Details

Job ID:12854

New ideas are all around us, but only a few will change the world. That’s our focus at JPL. We ask the biggest questions, then search the universe for answers—literally. We build upon ideas that have guided generations, then share our discoveries to inspire generations to come. Your mission—your opportunity—is to seek out the answers that bring us one step closer. If you’re driven to discover, create, and inspire something that lasts a lifetime and beyond, you’re ready for JPL. Located in Pasadena, California, JPL has a campus-like environment situated on 177 acres in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains and offers a work environment unlike any other: we inspire passion, foster innovation, build collaboration, and reward excellence.


In this role at JPL you will enable mission success by developing credible early-lifecycle cost estimates using relevant historical data from JPL projects and a variety of cost estimation toolsets. The Engineering Cost Estimation group uses analogous, parametric, and grassroots methods to create competitive mission proposals, support key technical trades, and help decision-makers strategize the future of robotic space exploration.

A typical cost engineering assignment focuses on project formulation, independent assessment, or cost data archiving. Cost engineers frequently work on several assignments at any given time, and there is significant knowledge overlap among these three types of assignments. As a Cost Engineer III, you are expected to work independently with general guidance and expectations from management. You will be able to work on complex missions that require expert guidance for the selection and implementation of various cost estimation methods and products.

  • Capture cost, schedule, and technical performance parameters for JPL projects at key milestones (e.g., NASA Cost Analysis Data Requirement records)

  • Partner with technical and business experts to develop early formulation cost estimates and cost risk analysis

  • Lead and support independent cost and schedule assessments of ongoing JPL projects in order to ensure compliance with NASA business requirements

  • Learn, maintain, and develop innovative uses of cost estimation tools


  • Typically requires a Bachelor’s degree in Business, Engineering, or related field with a minimum of 6 years of related experience; Masters degree in similar disciplines with a minimum of 4 years of related experience; or PhD in similar disciplines with a minimum of 2 years of related experience

  • Demonstrated experience in one or more of the following areas: cost estimation, mission concept development, historical data mining and analysis, cost/schedule analysis, risk analysis, or proposal development

  • In-depth understanding of the concepts and application of grassroots estimation, analogy-based estimation, and parametric estimation in early formulation

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience in NASA cost estimation, project formulation, and/or project assessment

  • Experience working with multi-disciplinary teams, especially teams including business, engineering, and management roles

  • Experience working on a range of project types and valuations

  • Ability to guide teams and make independent decisions in terms of cost estimation processes

  • Advanced knowledge of Microsoft Excel, especially VBA development, advanced functions, pivot tables, goal seek, and scenario development

  • Experience with PRICE TruePlanning, SEER, PCEC, NICM, SSCM, and other civil space cost estimation toolsets

  • Experience with ProPricer

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JPL is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to sex, race, color, religion, national origin, citizenship, ancestry, age, marital status, physical or mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, pregnancy or perceived pregnancy, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, protected military or veteran status or any other characteristic or condition protected by Federal, state or local law.

In addition, JPL is a VEVRAA Federal Contractor.

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The Jet Propulsion Laboratory is a federal facility. Due to rules imposed by NASA, JPL will not accept applications from citizens of designated countries or those born in a designated country unless they are Legal Permanent Residents of the U.S or have other protected status under 8 U.S.C. 1324b(a)(3). The Designated Countries List is availablehere ( .

JPL is an equal employment opportunity and affirmative action employer and will, whenever possible, actively recruit and include for employment members of underrepresented minority groups, females, disabled veterans, protected veterans, and otherwise qualified persons with disabilities. JPL will hire, transfer, and promote based on the qualifications of the individual to ensure equal consideration and fair treatment of all. JPL is a VEVRAA Federal Contractor. For more information about "EEO is the Law" click here: The Jet Propulsion Laboratory is a federal facility. Due to rules imposed by NASA, JPL will not accept applications from citizens of designated countries unless they are Legal Permanent Residents of the U.S or have other protected status under 8 U.S.C. 1324b(a)(3). The Designated Countries List is available at If you are interested in applying for employment with Jet Propulsion Laboratory and need special assistance or an accommodation to apply for a posted position, contact our Human Resources department at (818) 354-5150 or via email at Written requests may be mailed to: Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Attention: Staffing and Employment Programs, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Mail Stop T1720C, Pasadena, CA 91109