HR: Employment Opportunities
 Job posting 13-32
Opening date: September 27,2013
Closing date: November 19, 2013

TITLE: IT Specialist (APPSW), IS-2210, Grade 11, 12; $62,758 to $97,787/annually
TYPE OF POSITION: Trust Fund (Non-Federal) Indefinite
LOCATION: Cambridge, MA
AREA OF CONSIDERATION: All qualified candidates.

First consideration may be made 14 days after the opening date. Selection may be made at the grade 11 or grade 12 level. If selected at the grade 11 the employee may be non-competitively promoted to the grade 12 level, upon the recommendation of the supervisor, based on the position classification as well as the qualifications and satisfactory performance of the employee.

The NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS) Project within the High Energy Astrophysics Division of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory is seeking a software developer. The ADS was originally conceived and developed over 20 years ago as a system to support the discovery and retrieval of data from the NASA Astrophysics missions and the scholarly literature about them. Today, the ADS finds itself as the central discovery engine for astronomical information, used nearly every day by nearly every astronomer. Moving into its third decade, the ADS continues to serve the research community while remaining at the forefront of the massive technological and sociological changes occurring in the field of scholarly communication. By joining our group you will be actively supporting the discovery, dissemination and reuse of scientific publications and data!

The ADS is currently developing the next-generation web-based platform supporting current and future services. To this end, the project is committed to re-using and enhancing public domain software modules when they exist, and developing new open-source software when necessary. The main components of the system architecture are Apache SOLR/Lucene, CERN Invenio and MongoDB. The development stack includes java, python, flask, javascript and bootstrap.

The project is looking for a highly-motivated full-stack developer interested in joining a dynamic team of talented individuals architecting and implementing the new platform. The primary responsibility of the employee is the design, development, and support of the ADS front-end applications (including the new search interface) as well as the implementation of the user database, login system and personalization of the new software platform.


Duties at the grate 11 level may include, but are not limited to: designing and developing robust software applications and components to support the ADS services, in particular the ADS user interfaces, and its interaction with the back-end system components; providing ongoing support for the ADS systemís platform, including its bibliographic database, search engine, user database, and other web-based applications used by the project; defining system requirements and develop new tools to improve user submission and curation efforts; developing and/or modifing existing tools used for digital content harvesting, metadata enrichment, document conversion and indexing; participating in the maintenance of ADS data holdings by taking part in the creation, curation and enrichment of datasets and metadata records, and their ingestion in the ADS databases.

Duties at the grade 12 level, in addition to those reflected at the 11 level, may include: working with members of other organizations to coordinate software development efforts and enable data exchange between ADS and its partners; designing and implementing services and Application Programming Interfaces that enable a high level of interoperability and integration between ADS and its collaborators.


Qualification requirements must be met within 30 days of the job opportunity announcement closing date. For information on qualification requirements, see Qualification Standards Handbook for General Schedule Positions viewable on the web at 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 knowledge of Linux, Apache, Python and python frameworks; knowledge of javascript and javascript frameworks; knowledge of HTML, CSS, json, XML, XSLT, relational and document database systems. Candidates should also have strong analytic and problem solving skills, skills in oral and written communication, and skills in using software management systems. Familiarity with authentication and authorization systems, and knowledge of digital library standards are desirable.

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 expert knowledge of the Python programming language and python frameworks; knowledge of distributed version control and software management system, and familiarity with authentication and authorization frameworks; Knowledge of text or data mining principles, knowledge of machine learning and information extraction techniques, knowledge of semantic computing technologies and techniques, and experience with the Java programming language are desirable.


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.

APPLICATION PROCEDURE: We will only accept applications on line for this position. To view the complete vacancy posting, requirements and the procedures to apply, 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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