HR: Employment Opportunities
 Job posting 19-55
Opening date: July 11, 2019
Closing date: November 29, 2019

TITLEIT Specialist (Systems Admin), IS-2210, Grade 11, $69,016 - $89,726 Annually
TYPE OF POSITION: Trust Fund (non-Federal) Indefinite
DIVISION: - CE Central Engineering Department
LOCATION: Cambridge, MA

AREA OF CONSIDERATION: This position is open to all qualified candidates.

Note: First consideration may be made 14 days after opening date. This is a career ladder opportunity with promotion potential to grade 12.

SUMMARY: Serve as the Central Engineering (CE) technical expert and computer systems administrator. The incumbent will manage the daily operation of CE computers and their networks. Responsibilities include performing hardware and software procurement, installation, configuration and maintenance tasks; optimizing system performance; network data security and recovery; and user training.


1. Provides overall computer systems administration tasks as follows:

a. Performs Windows, MacOS X and Linux systems administration, including software installation, upgrade and user support, data protection, archival, user backup and recovery on a fully networked environment. Provides access, administrative and technical support for CE CAD/CAE and Project Life-cycle Management database systems on Servers, Client Desktop and Mobile Workstations. Keeps Operating Systems and Engineering Software up-to-date, secure, licensed and supported.

b. Maintains and updates a current record of all computer equipment in use at CE as well as stored and retired equipment kept for replacement, upgrade or temporary usage. Configures and procures new nodes and peripherals as required by new hires and projects. Handles internal moves and reassignments of desktop and mobile nodes in coordination with Central Facility staff and inventory maintenance.

c. Responsible for diagnosing and resolving critical problems in existing systems, which may require innovative solutions. Performs basic diagnostics in the event of a system or component failure or malfunction. Coordinates external service support as required. Schedules automated online scheduled backup routines for all individual and shared data on CE Server and Client notes using Rapid Recovery software. Devises and maintains recovery plans for systems failure situations.

d. Administers Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) CE computer systems in compliance with the policies, rules and procedures defined in the Smithsonian Institution (SI) Directive on Computer Use (SD-931), as they apply to users and computer systems administrators.

2. Responsible for implementing and enforcing SI and (SAO) IT security policies and procedures, as well as following the SI/SAO Configuration Management Plan regarding system configurations. Responsible for maintaining a fully secure environment on all CE nodes, installing designated anti-virus software throughout the CE network. Will also make recommendations and implement policies directed at the protection and optimization of the digital working environment. Alerts users to security best practices and policies.

3. Interfaces with the Observatory Computer Facility staff with a view to keep current networked resources correctly inventoried and identified.

4. Maintains hardware and software in use in its optimal functioning condition. Requires diagnostics on computer and peripheral equipment, interface debugging, as well as handling the speedy replacement of failed parts. Troubleshoot, diagnose, and resolve day to day user problems.

5. Provide support to staff in the use of systems software.

6. Creates and maintains an overall inventory of nodes in use of CE computer networks and determines which equipment is outdated and thus targeted for replacement or retirement.

7. Recovers and safely archives user data associated with personnel turnover in order to preserve historical documentation on CE Projects and ensure the enactment of SI approved security norms.

8. Supports the Director of Central Engineering (DCE), Department Administrator (DA) and senior engineering staff in special projects, and performs related administrative duties as required.


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.

In addition to the above four competencies listed above, candidates must have a qualifying level of experience or education as described 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. 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 application software installation and maintenance, setup and maintenance of backup software, and general troubleshooting of Microsoft Windows and Mac OS problems in a networked engineering workstation environment.



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 Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree.

APPLICATION PROCEDURE: We are only accepting online applications for this position. 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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