HR: Employment Opportunities
 Job posting 20-14
Opening date: January 27, 2020
Closing date: March 28, 2020

TITLE: IT Specialist(APPSW),IS-2210, Grades 11-13; $69,016 to $127,874 Annually
TYPE OF POSITION: Trust Fund, Indefinite
DIVISION: - Solar, Stellar, and Planetary Sciences Division
LOCATION: Cambridge, Massachusetts
AREA OF CONSIDERATION: This position is open to all current Smithsonian Institution employees within the local commuting area. First consideration may be made 14 days after the opening date.

Summary: This is the position of Information Technology Specialist in the Minor Planet Center (MPC). The MPC is the internationally recognized, NASA-funded clearinghouse, processing center, and archive for minor planet and comet observations. The MPC is tasked with identifying candidate near Earth asteroids from al data reported to the MPC, as well as with supporting asteroid survey programs, for example, through services, for identifying known asteroids and predicting their positions.


Function as part of a team to lead all aspects of the design and development of new capabilities and services to support the MPC website and database infrastructure, ensuring its reliability and scalability

Provide schedule assessment from a technical standpoint, technical guidance to other developers, and overall integration of software and other system components.

Interface with science staff at the highest project levels to obtain information regarding their needs as the users of the MPC data processing system and its web components. This involves applying basic understanding of the science and physical systems for which the software is being developed.

Lead the efforts to enhance the MPC APIs and front-end services to support the MPC user community. This will involve creating new software tools that allow scientists to easily and flexibly interact with the MPC data holdings.

Oversee the maintenance of the MPC data holdings

Collaborate with other team members and stateholders to lead the design and development of new capabilities and the maintenance of existing functionality.

Lead the development of original code and scripts to support education and outreach, particularly, web, app and social media based projects. This will involve creation of new materials adding to the online portfolio’s capability, as well as modification of existing materials to meet evolving requirements

Oversee the verification and testing of all generated pages and maintain as part of an overall system. Generate documentation according to MPC guidelines.


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 basic requirements listed above applicants 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. 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 (i) develop APIs and front-end web-services to enable data queries; (ii) develop web, app and social media products that enable education and outreach projects; (iii) develop capabilities and services that enhance the links between the MPC website and the MPC’s data holdings

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

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

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