HR: Employment Opportunities
 Job posting 19-05
Opening date: November 28, 2018
Closing date: December 12, 2018

TITLE: IT Specialist (APPSW), IS-2210 Grade 14; $113,929 to $148,108 ANNUALLY
TYPE OF POSITION: Trust Fund Indefinite
DIVISION: - High Energy Astrophysics Division
LOCATION: Cambridge, MA
AREA OF CONSIDERATION: This position is open to all qualified candidates.

This is the position of Information Technology Specialist (Applications Software) with the Chandra X-ray Center (CXC) of the High Energy Astrophysics Division at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory.


The employee reports to the CXC Data Systems Technical Lead, and functions as a technology leader, and data processing operations and configuration management expert for the CXC Data System (CXCDS) in one or more of the following areas: Compute cluster configuration and optimal operations use, pipeline processing management systems and efficient data processing operations, configuration management of the Data System.

The employee provides strategic computing and operations expertise across all projects, groups and activities within the CXC. The employee applies mastery of IT concepts, principles, methods and practices in interpreting or developing requirements, strategies, and algorithms to solve complex problems. The employee provides expert technical advice, guidance and recommendations to management, scientists, and other technical specialists on critical or complex 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 who interact with CXC DS systems and services. The employee demonstrates excellent oral and written communication skills in communicating complex technical requirements to nontechnical personnel and in briefing senior management on complex or controversial technical issues.

Duties Include:

Lead the planning, development, testing, implementation and maintenance of advanced data processing systems. Serve as the primary resource for the development of advanced computing systems as well as serving as an independent technical resource for the division in the area of infrastructure development, data processing management optimization and implementation.

Provide overall technical mastery and leadership on a wide range and variety of complex IT issues. Lead the planning, development, testing, and implementation of complex astronomical data analysis problems by meeting with scientists and technical leads, reading literature, and researching options. Provide technical guidance to PhD level scientists and realizable technical solutions to their complex problems.

Interface with science staff and technical leads at the highest project levels to obtain information regarding their needs as a user of the system. Analyze the scientific software and hardware requirements and the physical systems involved to define the scientific requirements and develop the system requirements, taking into consideration the rapidly evolving technology and the science need. This involves applying an advanced understanding of the science and physical systems for which the software is being developed.

Design software following the CXC software design standards, applicable vendor's literature, and established CXC practices; conduct software development at the subsystem and component levels by interpreting NASA software project standards and developing CXC documentation accordingly, ensuring compliance with standards throughout the process; propose and develop new standards when modification or extension of existing CXC standards is needed.

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 requested by the CXCDS software manager. Prepare and present weekly, and other summative reports concerning activities and accomplishments, as required. Develop systems for relevant statistics and analysis thereof.

Represent the CXC as the authoritative technical expert in interactions with other organizations concerning software and hardware products, services and standards. Function as CXC authoritative technical expert and technical liaison for software development issues involving outside interfaces within the astronomical community and vendors. Publish conference and journal papers on technical subjects related to our work.


For all positions 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.

In addition to the basic requirements listed above, candidates must possess a minimum of one year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the grade 13 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 knowledge of Computing Cluster configuration/operations

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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