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This Position Is No Longer Available

Job Title:  IT Specialist (APPSW)
Agency:  Smithsonian Institution
Job Announcement Number:  13-32

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

The contents of the announcement can still be viewed.
$62,758.00 to $97,787.00 / Per Year
Friday, September 27, 2013 to Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Full Time - Trust Fund Indefinite. This is not a federal position
1 vacancy in the following location:
Cambridge, MA View Map
All qualified candidates
First consideration may be made 14 days after the opening date. Selection may be made at the grade 11 or grade 12 level. If selected at the grade 11 the employee may be non-competitively promoted to the grade 12 level, upon the recommendation of the supervisor, based on the position classification as well as the qualifications and satisfactory performance 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!

The NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS) Project within the High Energy Astrophysics Division of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory is seeking a software developer.  The ADS was originally conceived and developed over 20 years ago as a system to support the discovery and retrieval of data from the NASA Astrophysics missions and the scholarly literature about them.  Today, the ADS finds itself as the central discovery engine for astronomical information, used nearly every day by nearly every astronomer.  Moving into its third decade, the ADS continues to serve the research community while remaining at the forefront of the massive technological and sociological changes occurring in the field of scholarly communication.  By joining our group you will be actively supporting the discovery, dissemination and reuse of scientific publications and data!

The ADS is currently developing the next-generation web-based platform supporting current and future services.  To this end, the project is committed to re-using and enhancing public domain software modules when they exist, and developing new open-source software when necessary.  The main components of the system architecture are Apache SOLR/Lucene, CERN Invenio and MongoDB.  The development stack includes java, python, flask, javascript and bootstrap.

The project is looking for a highly-motivated full-stack developer interested in joining a dynamic team of talented individuals architecting and implementing the new platform.  The primary responsibility of the employee is the design, development, and support of the ADS front-end applications (including the new search interface) as well as the implementation of the user database, login system and personalization of the new software platform


  • Pre and post background investigation
  • May be required to serve a one-year probationary period
  • Direct deposit electronic funds transfer required for salary payment
  • First consideration may be made 14 days after the opening date
  • This is a career ladder opportunity with promotion potential to grade 12


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  Duties at the grate 11 level may include, but are not limited to: designing and developing robust software applications and components to support the ADS services, in particular the ADS user interfaces, and its   interaction  with the back-end system components; providing ongoing support for the ADS system’s platform, including its bibliographic database, search engine, user database, and other web-based applications used by the project; defining system requirements and develop new tools to improve user submission and curation efforts;  developing and/or modifing existing tools used for digital content harvesting, metadata enrichment, document conversion and indexing; participating in the maintenance of ADS data holdings by taking part in the creation, curation and enrichment of datasets and metadata records, and their ingestion in the ADS databases. 

 Duties at the grade 12 level, in addition to those reflected at the 11 level, may include: working with members of other organizations to coordinate software development efforts and enable data exchange between ADS and its partners; designing and implementing services and Application Programming Interfaces that enable a high level of interoperability and integration between ADS and its collaborators.



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Qualification requirements must be met within 30 days of the job opportunity announcement closing date. For information on qualification requirements, see Qualification Standards Handbook for General Schedule Positions viewable on the web at

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, which should demonstrate knowledge of Linux, Apache, Python and python frameworks; knowledge of javascript and javascript frameworks; knowledge of HTML, CSS, json, XML, XSLT, relational and document database systems.  Candidates should also have strong analytic and problem solving skills, skills in oral and written communication, and skills in using software management systems.  Familiarity with authentication and authorization systems, and knowledge of digital library standards are desirable.

 Candidates for grade 12 must possess a 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 expert knowledge of the Python programming language and python frameworks; knowledge of distributed version control and software management system, and familiarity with authentication and authorization frameworks; Knowledge of text or data mining principles, knowledge of machine learning and information extraction techniques, knowledge of semantic computing technologies and techniques, and experience with the Java programming language are desirable  


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.

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 PhD or equivalent doctoral degree.
Grade 12: No education substitution at this grade. 


You will be evaluated to determine if you meet the minimum qualifications required; and on the extent to which your application shows that you possess the criteria associated with this position as defined below.
1. Knowledge of the development platform used within the project: Linux, Apache 
2. Knowledge of the Python language and python frameworks such as Flask or Django
3. Knowledge of the javascript language and  javascript frameworks such as jQuery, bootstrap and D3.js
4. Knowledge of front-end web standards and technologies such as HTML, CSS, json, XML, XSLT
5. Knowledge of relational and document databases such as MySQL and MongoDB
6. Knowledge of distributed version control and software management systems such as git and github
8. Knowledge of digital library standards such as MARC, RDF, OAI-PMH desirable
9. Knowledge of text or data mining principles and familiarity with machine learning and information extraction desirable
10. Knowledge of semantic computing technologies and techniques desirable 
11.  Ability to be self-directed, yet work in a collaborative environment
12.  Strong analytic and problem solving skills
13.  Skill in oral and written communication

To preview questions please click here.


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Please refer to our website for Trust Fund Benefits:


The Smithsonian does not pay relocation expenses but may pay a recruitment bonus. The Smithsonian embraces diversity and equal employment opportunity (


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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 and school transcripts if you are using education to qualify for the position
Proof of U. S. accreditation for foreign study, if applicable.


Mary Hebert
Phone: 617-496-7816
Fax: 571-258-4052
Agency Information:
Human Resources
60 Garden Street Cambridge, MA 02138
Mail Stop 17
Cambridge, MA
Fax: 571-258-4052


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.

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