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Job Title:
IT Specialist (SoftwareAdmn), IS -2210- Grades 13/14; $116,820- $179,462 per year
Type of Position:
Trust Fund (non-federal) Indefinite
Job Location:
Cambridge, MA
Posting Opening Date:
Posting Closing Date:

AREA OF CONSIDERATION: This position is open to all qualified candidates. This is NOT a federal position.  This vancy position is open until filled.  

Note:   First consideration may be made 14 days after the opening of this vacancy.

INTRODUCTIONSAO is at the forefront, internationally, of the scientific exploration of the universe. Its programs range from ground-based astronomy and astrophysics research to space-based research, the engineering and development of major scientific instrumentation for space launch and use in large ground-based facilities, and research designed to improve science education. The research objectives of SAO are carried out primarily with the support of Government and Smithsonian Institution funds, with additional philanthropic support.  Government funds are in the form of Federal appropriations or the form of contracts and grants from other agencies. In contrast, Institution funds are available to SAO through grants from the Institution's Restricted Funds, Special Purpose Funds, Bureau Activities, Business Activities, and non-Federal contracts and grants.

PURPOSE OF THE POSITION: This is the position of Software Administrator in the Information Technology Services Department. This position was created to lead and oversee a variety of enterprise software platforms. The employee should have a strong understanding of IT concepts, including network, compute, and storage technologies, and should be skilled in planning, executing, and monitoring application projects across short and longer-term timelines.


  • Installation and Configuration: Skillfully install and configure a wide range of enterprise software applications, including ERP systems (e.g., Oracle), CRM platforms, and collaboration tools including Google Suite, MS Teams, and Slack. Ensure applications are correctly integrated into existing systems.
  • Support and Issue Resolution: Provide technical support to end-users, addressing their software-related queries, concerns, and issues promptly.
  • Maintenance and Upgrades:  Lead the efforts in regular software maintenance tasks, including applying updates, patches, and security fixes to critical enterprise applications. Lead the planning and execution of major software upgrades for enterprise applications.
  • Troubleshooting and Debugging: Utilize a strong problem-solving approach to troubleshoot complex issues in enterprise software applications.  Ability to resolve dependency requirements along with compatibility and integration challenges.  
  • Performance Enhancement: Monitor performance metrics of enterprise applications through the use of commercial monitoring software as well as developed scripts.  Proactively identify areas for improvement. Optimize configurations to enhance user experience and efficiency.
  • Documentation and Knowledge Sharing: Maintain comprehensive documentation of software installations, configurations, and troubleshooting steps for various enterprise applications. Share knowledge to expedite problem resolution across platforms.
  • Compliance and Security: Implement stringent security measures in compliance with NIST 800-53 Rev 5, including access controls and authentication mechanisms to safeguard enterprise software systems.
  • Performs other related duties as assigned. 


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 for grade 13 must possess a minimum of one year of specialized experience to at least grade 12, which is in the normal line of progression for this occupation. Such experience includes but is not limited to the position’s duties listed above.


Candidates for grade 14 must possess a minimum of one year of specialized experience to at least grade 13, which is in the normal line of progression for this occupation. Such experience includes but is not limited to installation, configuration, and troubleshooting of complex 3rd party software, including Oracle and cloud solutions such as Google Suite.


How You Will be Evaluated: Your application will be evaluated first for the above basic qualifications. The applications that meet the basic qualifications will be evaluated further against the following criteria:

  • Skill in software installation, support, maintenance, and upgrades, specifically with enterprise applications like Google Suite, MySQL and Oracle.  Knowledge of patching cycles, location and operations of software updates as well as interdependency requirements.
  • Familiarity with security protocols and best practices for enterprise software administration.
  • Familiarity with software containerization platforms, including Docker and integration with cloud environments.
  • Strong communication skills and the ability to collaborate effectively across teams.
  • Detail-oriented with a proactive approach to problem-solving.  Experience with finding and reading through system output and application logs.  Engage with application vendor support, providing documentation, hands on troubleshooting, testing and implementation of recommended solutions.
  • Familiarity with NIST 800-53 controls, understanding of ability to implement software level security settings.  Understanding of enforcement challenges and how to work with the security team on defining Plan of Action and Milestones (POAM).

Required Documents: To receive consideration, applicants must submit all of the following:

  • CV

Application Procedures:  We are only accepting applications online for this position. To apply, please visit

Conditions of Employment: 

  • Successful completion of a pre-employment background investigation.                                                                   
  • A one-year probationary period is required.         

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

Visit the SAO website at

Learn more about SAO Human Resources

Visit the SAO website