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Job Title:
Supervisory IT Specialist (Department Manager), IS-2210, Grade 15; $154,007 - $183,500 per year
Type of Position:
Permanent - Indefinite Trust Fund Appointment
Job Location:
Cambridge, MA
Posting Opening Date:
Posting Closing Date:

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


At SAO, we build instruments to unlock the mysteries of our universe, and the IT department collaborates with scientists and engineers to make that happen. As the Department Manager Computational Facility (CF), you will have the opportunity to work closely with the Associate Director of Technology and Engineering (ADTE) and a senior team of IT specialists to develop new computing capabilities for scientific instrumentation that studies black holes, exoplanets, galaxies, and the sun.


Major Duties:

  1. Defines and implements cloud systems support processes and procedures in a multi-cloud environment for scientific computing. Create platforms and templates to aid scientists in standard storage and high performance computing.
  2. As CF Manager, exercises the following supervisory and managerial authorities: Plan and direct work to be accomplished by subordinate supervisors; assign work to subordinates based on priorities and capabilities of employees; develop performance standards; evaluate work performance of subordinates; assure reasonable equity of performance standards and rating techniques developed by subordinate supervisors; recommend/approve awards or bonuses, promotions or reclassification of non supervisory personnel; recommend selections for subordinate supervisory positions responsible for coordinating the work of others; approve expenses related to within-grade increases, employee travel, etc.; effect disciplinary measures such as warnings and reprimands; hear and resolve group grievance s or serious employee complaints; promote team building and improve the business practices of the CF.
  3. Network Supervision: The incumbent oversees the network group that plans and manages the extensive CfA Local Area Network, campus interconnections, and remote access.
  4. Administrative Support: Incumbent oversees the hardware support group that develops and implements hardware support for administrative functions at CfA, and ensures compatibility of management software with hardware.
  5. Planning: The incumbent advises the supervisor, the Director of the Observatory, and the Associate Directors on the current and future computational and network needs of CfA, and participates in the planning required to meet these needs. The incumbent will also interact with and provide advice to SI Washington as required. Regular contact with CfA scientists will be maintained to communicate the status of CF efforts as well as anticipate future improvements.
  6. Works on scientific computation projects, tasks, and questions, providing expert technical advice, guidance, and recommendations to management and other technical specialists on critical IT issues.
  7. Works with the ADTE to develop and manage the department budget, including organization wide resources and new resources to support scientific computation.
  8. Directs the Observatory IT Security program in accordance with SI policy.
  9. Other duties as required.


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 15 must possess a minimum of one year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the grade 14 in the normal line of progression for this occupation. Specialized experience is an experience that has equipped the applicant with the particular competencies/knowledge, skills, and abilities to successfully perform the duties of the position, such as the following. Applicants should have prior supervisory experience of a team of IT specialists and management experience sufficient to plan and execute large projects such as technology migrations and rollouts for more than 100 users, data center moves, building moves, incident response planning, high availability data access and backup petabyte scale volume sets etc., experience developing and/or supporting systems or pipelines in a cloud environment such as AWS, Azure, or Google Cloud, using languages such as Python, and configuration tools such as Ansible, applying an understanding of containerization and container orchestration using Docker and Kubernetes, experience leading the management of an organizational voice/data network with hundreds of endpoints and multiple buildings, including robust secure remote access, experience with the security assessment and authorization of a major complex system within a security framework such as FISMA and experience administering on-premise high performance Linux servers and/or clusters with coupled storage arrays such as NetApp or Dell EMC.

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

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