HR: Employment Opportunities
 Job posting 12-13
Opening date: December 27, 2011
Closing date: March 1, 2012

TITLE: IT Specialist (Systems Administration), IS-2210, Grade 11, 12, 13; $62,758 to $116,282/yr
TYPE OF POSITION: Trust Fund (non-federal) Indefinite
DIVISION: - High Energy Astrophysics Division
LOCATION: Cambridge, Massachusetts
AREA OF CONSIDERATION: All qualified candidates with U.S. Citizenship or U.S. Permanent Resident status

First consideration may be made 14 days after the opening date. Selection may be made at the grade 11, 12 or grade 13 level. This is a career ladder opportunity with promotion potential to grade 13. A candidate selected below the grade 13 level, may be non-competitively promoted to the next higher level, up to grade 13, upon the recommendation of the supervisor, based on the position classification as well as the qualifications and satisfactory performance of the employee.

DUTIES: Provides systems and network administration to a Local Area Network (LAN) of Sun, Linux and MacOS computers, including the development and installation of systems programs and tools to improve LAN performance and enhance the LAN environment. Major areas of responsibility are (1) general Unix systems administration; (2) hardware and software installation; (3) user support; (4) studies to determine future needs, both long and short term; and (5) network security.

Duties at the grade 11 level, in addition to the above, may include resource planning; developing and implementing preventative maintenance plans to minimize downtime and expedite repairs; recommending and implementing plans for improving and maintaining the LAN environment including the customization of computer workstations; providing input to the development of new procedures; providing technical interface with external groups to implement joint tasks; and providing technical interface with third party service companies.

Duties at the grade 12 level, in addition to the above, may include taking a lead role in developing new systems administration related products; developing and implementing LAN security improvements and problem resolution; planning and oversight of projects related to the installation of new operating systems or versions; developing scripts for automation; assessing changes and effects new installation may have on existing installed software packages; developing procedures for running installed software and help/how-to pages for systems use; and developing all aspects of system and user documentation packages.

Duties at the grade 13 level, in addition to the above, may include serving as a point of contact for CXC computer users requiring assistance or instruction in the use of the CXC LAN and serving as a resource to other CXC systems managers; and working to expand use of technologies like system virtualization, remote console and clustering to make better use of assets.

QUALIFICATIONS : Candidates for all grade levels must possess hands-on experience with Unix and experience in one or more of the following areas; Solaris, Linux (RedHat or CentOS preferred), MacOS; ability to express themselves both orally and in writing and the ability to work effectively as a team member in a scientific environment; Security experience is highly desired.

In addition, candidates must possess the qualifications required for the specific grade levels for which they are applying as noted below:

Candidates for grade 11 must possess a minimum of one year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the grade 9 in the normal line of progression for this occupation, which should demonstrate skill in organizing a complex system of computers into a cohesive LAN; skill in interfacing with programmers and scientists to understand the needs of system users and translate these into concrete hardware and software requirements; skill in oral communication; ability to develop preventative maintenance plans; ability to carry out inventory control and resource planning; and ability to plan, organize and prioritize work. Such experience may have included accomplishments that involved knowledge of the customary approaches, techniques, and requirements appropriate to an assigned computer application area or computer specialty area in an organization; planning the sequence of actions necessary to accomplish the assignment where this entailed coordination with others outside the organizational unit and development of project controls; and adaptation of guidelines or precedents to the needs of the assignment.

Candidates for grade 12 must possess a minimum of one year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the grade 11 in the normal line of progression for this occupation, which should demonstrate skill in organizing a large complex system of computers into a cohesive LAN; skill in working with complex external interfaces and network design; skill in developing procedures; skill in interfacing with external groups; and the accomplishment of computer project assignments requiring a wide range of knowledge of computer requirements and techniques where the applicant analyzed a number of alternative approaches in the process of advising management concerning major aspects of system design such as what system interrelationships must be considered or what operating mode, system software, and/or equipment configuration is most appropriate for a given project.

Candidates for grade 13 must possess a minimum of one year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the grade 12 in the normal line of progression for this occupation, which should demonstrate mastery of and skill in Unix operating systems and network administration, with emphasis on management and networking aspects of the Sun and Linux systems and expert knowledge of Unix system management practices and procedures; mastery of and skill in analyzing and evaluating data to provide recommendations based on studies relating to system performance, network performance, system security, and equipment and software evaluation to determine needs of users and to determine hardware and software requirements; mastery of and skill in organizing complex systems of computers into cohesive networks; mastery of and skill in assessing and responding to anomalous behavior, including server and client crashes; expert knowledge of systems programming languages such as shell scripts and C; skill in interpersonal relations; and skill in written and oral communications.


Individuals must have IT-related experience demonstrating each of the four competencies listed below.

Attention to detail - Is thorough when performing work and conscientious about attending to detail.

Customer Service - Works with clients and customers (that is, any individuals who use or receive the services or products that your work unit produces, including the general public, individuals who work in the agency, other agencies, or organizations outside the Government) to assess their needs, provide information or assistance, resolve their problems, or satisfy their expectations; knows about available products and services; is committed to providing quality products and services.

Oral Communication - Expresses information (for example, ideas or facts) to individuals or groups effectively, taking into account the audience and nature of the information (for example, technical, sensitive, controversial); makes clear and convincing oral presentations; listens to others, attends to nonverbal cues, and responds appropriately.

Problem Solving - Identifies problems; determines accuracy and relevance of information; uses sound judgment to generate and evaluate alternatives, and to make recommendations.


All academic degrees and coursework must be from accredited or pre-accredited institutions

Undergraduate or Graduate Education: Degree in computer science, engineering, information science, information systems management, mathematics, operations research, statistics, or technology management or degree that provided a minimum of 24 semester hours in one or more of the fields identified above and required the development or adaptation of applications, systems or networks.

Grade 11:Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree or 3 full years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to a PhD or equivalent doctoral degree.

Grade 12: No education substitution at this grade.

Grade 13: No education substitution at this grade.

APPLICATION PROCEDURE: We will only accept applications on line for this position. For complete information about this position and the online application procedures, please visit: USAJOBS

The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory is an equal opportunity employer committed to diversity in our workplace.

Visit our SAO website.


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