This Position Is No Longer Available

Job Title:  IT Specialist (APPSW)
Agency:  Smithsonian Institution
Job Announcement Number:  13-05

This position is closed and no longer accepting online applications through USAJOBS.

The contents of the announcement can still be viewed.
$55,279.00 to $71,857.00 / Per Year
Thursday, December 13, 2012 to Monday, April 15, 2013
Trust Fund. - Full Time.
1 vacancy in the following location:
Cambridge, MA, US

This position is open to all qualified candidates.  

First consideration may be made 14 days after the opening date.


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! 



The software development team of the Chandra Data system division develops, maintains, and supports the software that drive most of the Chandra X-ray Center-based forward (proposer to spacecraft) and return (spacecraft to observer) threads necessary to perform the Chandra observing program. This includes software for proposal planning, science mission planning, standard data processing, status monitoring, and alerts.   The team also develops and maintains the Chandra Interactive Analysis of Observations (CIAO) system for data analysis of Chandra results.  In addition, the team is responsible for the Chandra Data Archive that securely stores all spacecraft telemetry and data products and provides web-based interactive data search and retrieval applications.   The employee's work will involve coordinating with scientists and developers in software development and maintenance tasks that support the CXC data system and astronomical community at large.


  • Pre and Post background Investigation.
  • May be required to serve a one year probationary period.
  • Direct deposit/electronic funds transfer required for salary payment.
  • This is a career ladder opportunity with promotion potential to grade 11


This is the position of IT Specialist (APPSW), Chandra X-ray Center (CXC), High Energy Astrophysics Division (HEAD), Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO), Cambridge MA.   The purpose of this position is to develop and maintain software pipelines and data analysis tools to reduce and analyze data from the Chandra X-ray telescope. Tools are written primarily in C, C++, and Python, and run in a Unix environment.


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 must possess minimum of one year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the grade 7 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 designing, coding, testing, debugging, and maintaining software in support of data processing and analysis on multiple Unix platforms; developing user and internal documentation; communicating with scientific and technical staff on scientific requirements and test cases; and providing support to the user community.





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 9: master's degree or equivalent graduate degree or 2 full years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to a master's degree or equivalent graduate degree. 

For qualification standards please check:


Your application will be evaluated first for the basic qualifications described above. The applications that meet the basic qualification will be evaluated further against the following criteria:

1. Knowledge of C, C++, scripting languages, Unix and Linux.

2. Knowledge of modern programming practices and standards.

3. Knowledge of mathematics, sufficient to communicate with scientists and engineers concerning the nature of the calculations being performed and algorithms being developed.

4. Knowledge of debugging techniques and version control software.

5. Skill in developing new software, modifying existing programs, planning, coding, testing, and maintaining programs.

6. Skill in oral and written communication.

To preview questions please click here.


This is a Trust fund position please refer to our website:



Click on the "Apply Online" button on the upper right side of the page. Please Note:
  • You must apply for this position online through the 'Apply Online' button.
  • Faxes are received by an automated system, not a physical fax machine. Documents that are faxed as part of the application process must be sent with the system generated cover sheet by the closing date. Documents faxed without the system generated coversheet are not retrievable and cannot be considered as part of the application package.
  • Clicking the "DONE" tab does not submit your application. The "DONE" tab allows you to exit the system and save your information for completion at a later time. To submit your application, click the "FINISH" tab.
  • The complete application package, including any required documents, is due in the Smithsonian Office of Human Resources on the closing date of the announcement by 11:59 PM Eastern Time.


Detailed Resume

School Transcript, if using education to qualify for the position

Proof of U.S. accreditation for foreign study if applicable


Mary Hebert
Phone: 617-496-7816
Fax: 617-495-7263
Agency Information:
Human Resources
60 Garden Street Cambridge, MA 02138
Mail Stop 17
Cambridge, MA
Fax: 617-495-7263


You will receive an e-mail to acknowledge that your application has been received. Please be aware that the confirmation e-mail could reside in your "junk" or "bulk" mail folder depending on your filters. The Smithsonian receives many applications for each job. Each application is reviewed carefully which may take a few weeks. You may also check your application status by logging into and selecting the tab "My USAJOBS;" or by contacting the Office of Human Resources Representative listed. Additional Information:

  • The Smithsonian does not pay relocation expenses, but may pay a Recruitment Bonus.
  • The Smithsonian embraces diversity and equal employment opportunity 

  • Control Number: 333631800
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