HR: Employment Opportunities
 Job posting 18-48
Opening date: May 24, 2018
Closing date:June 14, 2018

TITLE: Supervisory IT Specialist, IS-2210, Grade 15; $134,011 to $164,200 Annually
TYPE OF POSITION: Trust Fund, Indefinite
LOCATION: Cambridge, MA
AREA OF CONSIDERATION: This position is open to all current qualified Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory employees

This is an opening for a Supervisory IT Specialist with the Chandra X-ray Science Center (CXC) for the High Energy Astrophysics Division (HEAD) of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO). The employee reports to CXC Data System (CXCDS) Software Development Manager and functions as a deputy manager, technical leader, and as supervisor of the group of IT specialists developing software subsystems. The employee will apply mastery of IT concepts, principles, methods and practices in interpreting or developing requirements, procedures and strategies to plan and implement software subsystems and computer services. The employee applies mastery of project management principles, methods and practices to design, develop and manage complex IT products and services that meet current and future data system requirements and that enhance, extend, or optimize existing systems and resources. The employee provides expert technical advice, guidance and recommendations to management and other technical specialists on critical IT issues. The employee applies mastery of new and emerging technologies to solve difficult problems, enhance and improve on-going programs, and to address integration and interoperability issues that arise from the outside groups which interact with systems and services developed by the group. The employee demonstrates excellent oral and written communication skills in communicating complex technical requirements to non- technical personnel and in briefing senior management on complex or controversial technical issues. The CXCDS serves CXC and GMTO projects and other smaller projects that the group is contracted to perform.


1. Provide technical mastery and leadership on a wide range and variety of complex IT issues.

a)Lead the planning, development, testing and implementation of a coordinated suite of software covering the full range of CXCDS responsibilities. Ensure integration of multiple IT specialties in the development and implementation process.

b) Apply technical mastery of software technologies to the CXCDS product decision process.

c) Provide overall technical mastery and direction for CXCDS subsystems and projects (data reduction, data analysis, monitoring, trending, archive), and at the system level.

2. Provide overall management and supervisions to a team of IT Specialists in the development of deliverable and verified products. Allocate staff, technical and equipment resources to meet changing project needs. Schedule tasks and projects and assess schedule and resource impact. Ensure team performs duties within the project framework, which includes maintaining current UDFs and use of the configuration management system

3. As Deputy manager of the CXC Software Development Group leads in development of deliverable and verified software for the CXC Data System. Directs the design and development activities of the Software Development Group in coordination with the Software Development Manager. Assesses project resource needs, e.g., hardware, staff, etc; assesses the overall software requirements for the different subsystems (database and archive, user interface, application software, analysis software, and external interfaces); provides overall technical direction for the design, development, test and integration of the Data System subsystems; provides overall technical direction at the system level; schedules and assesses schedule impact; allocates resources on projects; and ensures that the different subsystems integrate in the overall software system, and that software release milestones are achieved.

4. Formulate and keep current a strategic plan that anticipates future project requirements. Determine the direction that the applications development needs to take in order to achieve enhanced science return from the data.

(a)Interface with CXCDS software leads, software staff, other project staff, project management, internal and external scientists, and program management to obtain information regarding their needs as the users of the system and associated products.

(b)Plan and develop methods of obtaining and tracking end-user feedback, and develop a problem management system to recognize, report, assign, track and resolve problems.

(c)Analyze the scientific hardware requirements and the physical systems involved to define the scientific requirements and develop responsive IT system requirements, taking into consideration the rapidly evolving and emerging technologies and evolving project and user community needs. Formulate short and long term strategic plans for system upgrades including hardware and software, training, and new product lines.

5.Represent the project as the authoritative technical expert in interactions with other organizations concerning software products, services and standards. Function as CXC authoritative technical expert and technical liaison for software product development issues involving outside interfaces within the astronomical community. Be cognizant of external data analysis systems and/or environments used and being developed in the astronomical community. Work with external organizations to customize standards as appropriate for use at SAO.

6.Provide technical mastery and IT support for special projects of a high profile public nature upon request. Provide technical advice/troubleshooting on other IT issues as requested by the CXCDS software manager. Prepare and present weekly, and other summative reports concerning groups activities and accomplishments, as required. Develop systems for collection of relevant statistics and analysis thereof. Advise and assist member of the scientific staff, engineers, and members of the programming and data processing staff as appropriate concerning hardware and software requirements and operations.


For all positions individuals must have IT-related experience demonstrating each of the four competencies listed below.

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

2. 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.

3. 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.

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


Candidates for grade 15 must possess minimum of one year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the grade 14 in the normal line of progression for this occupation. Specialized experience is experience that has equipped the applicant with the particular competencies/knowledge, skills, and abilities to successfully perform the duties of the position such as leading the planning, development, testing and implementation of a coordinated suite of software covering the full range of system capabilities.

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.

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