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Job Title:
IT Specialist (Systems Administration), IS-2210, Grades 12-13; $98,240 - $151,870 per year
Type of Position:
Trust Fund (non-federal) Indefinite
Job Location:
Burlington, MA
Posting Opening Date:
Posting Closing Date:


This position is open to all qualified candidates with U.S. Citizenship or U.S. Permanent Resident status. Applicants that applied under 23-106 will be considered. This is a career opportunity with promotion potential to the grade 13. If selected at the grade 12 level candidates may be non competitively promoted to the next grade level, up to the grade 13 upon the recommendation of the supervisor based on classification requirements, satisfactory performance and qualifications of the employee.


The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory is part of what is arguably the largest and most diverse astrophysical institution in the world, where the staff carries out a broad program of research in astronomy, astrophysics and earth and space sciences. If you would like to join this exciting organization, apply today!


This is the position of Information Technology (IT) Specialist in the Chandra Operations Control Center (OCC) of the High Energy Astrophysics Division (HEAD) at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory.  The employee will take a lead role in performing all aspects of computer network management on a network of Windows and Linux workstations and servers and serves as a resource of expertise for other staff.  The employee is responsible for network maintenance and security, user accounts and services (such as on-line user documentation and user training), and utilities, scripts and system procedures.

Duties at the grade 12 may include, but are not limited to:

1.Install, maintain and troubleshoot Cisco and other networking equipment.

2.Monitor and troubleshoot network elements to ensure that problems are discovered and resolved in a timely manner.

3.Design, recommend, and implement network security improvements. Resolve security problems.  Stay current with Computer  Emergency Response Team (CERT) advisories and vendor-supplied security alerts, and implement security modifications as needed.

 4.Evaluate OCC computing needs and network performance. Plan new services and expanded roles for the network.  Design and implement network improvements such as system backup and recovery strategies, network performance enhancement, and optimization of system resources (disk, CPU, memory).

5.Provide user support. Serve as point of contact for OCC computer users requiring assistance or instruction in the use of the OCC local area network.  Write utilities and scripts to improve the user experience.

6.Maintain current knowledge of hardware and software products, including those from Cisco and other manufacturers, as well as Windows and Linux products and public domain utilities.

7.Perform other related duties as assigned by the supervisor.

In addition to the above duties at the grade 13 may include but are not limited to:

  1. Act as Lead Systems Administrator by providing technical direction and serving as a main point of contact for system information and procedures.
  2. Interfaces with other Chandra group leaders, computer specialists, engineers, and scientists in evaluating needs for the LAN and system software, defining requirements, developing implementation plans, and supporting software design and development, Configuration Management, testing and integration, and other OCC and site needs.
  3. Support Windows and Linux servers and desktops.  Develop plans for implementing new services and expanding roles of servers.
  4. Responsible for LAN security by staying abreast of Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) advisories and vendor-supplied security problems and fixes.  Designs, recommends, and implements security improvements and security problem resolutions.
  5. Conceive, implement, and make recommendations based on studies relating to OCC computing needs and performance including system backup and recovery strategy, LAN performance, optimization of systems resources (disk, CPU, memory), application evaluation, writing utilities such as shell scripts to provide LAN resource information to users, and others as required by the supervisor.
  6. Interface with manufacturers of hardware and software to provide up-to-date information on available products.  This includes review of Windows/Linux products, those available from third parties, and public domain utilities.
  7. Serve as point of contact for OCC computer users requiring assistance or instruction in the use of the OCC LAN.
  8. Fulfills other systems related responsibilities as requested by supervisor.


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.


Candidates for grade 12 must possess 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 skill in leading the organization of a large complex system of computers into a cohesive network; skill in leading network and system design and working with complex external interfaces; skill in developing procedures; skill in interfacing with external groups as a lead; and the accomplishment of independently completing computer project assignments requiring a wide range of knowledge of computer requirements and techniques where the applicant analyzed a number of alternative approaches in the process of advising management concerning major aspects of system design that are most appropriate for a given project.  Skill working in a mixed environment with Windows and Linux is key.

Candidates for grade 13 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 which should demonstrate 24/7 situational awareness for Linux IT systems; experience monitoring all IT systems for health and network connectivity, to include experience with IT monitoring tools and applications; experience providing network and system administration in support of initial triage and incident response to identified outages; and experience providing web development, web/portal administration, and web services standards and development.  Candidates must possess hands-on experience with CentOS and/or Red Hat Enterprise Linux servers and workstations, Cisco (or similar) networking equipment including layer 3 switches, with a fundamental understanding of switched IP networks. Candidates should have experience setting up and configuring Apache, Tomcat, sendmail, sftp, OpenLDAP, virtual servers, backups and disaster recovery.  Experience with VMware and vSAN is a plus.  Candidates must have the ability to express themselves both orally and in writing and the ability to work effectively as a team member in an operations environment.

For the latest information on the COVID-19 vaccination requirements and its impact on your application, click on Smithsonian Institution’s Frequently Asked Questions.

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

The Smithsonian Institution provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities where appropriate. Applicants requiring reasonable accommodation should contact the Human Resources Specialist listed. Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.

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

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The Smithsonian Institution is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We believe that a workforce comprising a variety of educational, cultural, and experiential backgrounds supports and enhances our daily work life and contributes to the richness of our exhibitions and programs. For more information on the Smithsonian EEO program please see

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