IT Specialist (Systems Administration)

U.S. Federal Government - Cambridge, MA (30+ days ago)4.3

This is the position of IT Specialistin the High Energy Division (HEAD) of the Smithsonian Institution Astrophysical Observatory. The employee will perform all aspects of computer system management of the Chandra X-ray Center (CXC) Unix workstation network of HEAD. The employee will receive line supervision from the Supervisor of the CXC Hardware/Systems Team. The employee will be assigned primary responsibilities in the areas of LAN security, user accounts and services (such as online user documentation and perform user training), writing utilities, scripts, installation and management of common scientific (both freeware and commercial) software/tools and system procedures. The employee will also be responsible for the CXC Unix Email server configuration, management and user support.


Oversees LAN security by staying abreast of Computer Emergency response Team (CERT)
advisories and vendor-supplied software security problems patches and fixes. Designs, recommends, and implements security improvements and security problem resolutions. Interfaces with manufacturers of hardware and software to provide up-to-date information on available products. This includes review of main line hardware, software products. Interfaces with manufacturers as a point of contact for maintenance of the LAN, both with respect to hardware and software.

Allocates system resources (such as disk, CPU memory) to provide adequate user accounts, electronic mail, and printing, as well as optimize performance and ease of use. Monitor use of resources to limit LAN access to only currently authorized personnel.

Oversees all aspects of management of the CXC LAN including: allocation of system resources, operation of LAN, maintenance of hardware and software, backups, installation of new hardware and software, and monitoring assigned licenses and service agreements.

Ensures CXC IT systems and their usage are in compliance with FISMA, SI, SAO, HEA and CXC policies and guidelines including periodic report generations for CXC/HEA/SAO management.

Serves as point of contact for CXC computer users requiring assistance or instruction in the use of the LAN and IT resources.

Develops Google forms, calendars, google drive and (email) groups, and various cloud services. Acts as the Google Gov Apps Administrator for the CXC. Configures and manages the CXC unix email server and maintains it with high availability.

Manages and maintains online documentation of divisional hardware, software resources, IT policies for the CXC for easy access and usage. Creates and manages web based scripts and documentation as required.

Performs other systems related responsibilities as requested by supervisor, such as, but not limited to:

Responsible for installation and maintenance of server and client software for use in conjunction with current operating system versions. Manage server and client configuration to optimize performance and provide high availability for Wide Area Network (WAN) file system access.

Design, implement, and make recommendations based on studies relating to CXC computing needs and performance including system backup and recovery strategy, LAN performance, optimization of system 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.

Supervisory status

Promotion Potential

Who May Apply
This job is open to…
This position is open to all qualified candidates.
First consideration may be made 14 days after the opening date. This is a career ladder opportunity with promotion potential to grade 12 level. Candidates selected at the grade 11 may be non competitively promoted to the grade 12 level upon the recommendation of the supervisor based on classification requirements, satisfactory performance and qualifications of the employee.
Questions? This job is open to 1 group.

Job family (Series)
2210 Information Technology Management

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Conditions of Employment
Pre and Post background Investigation.
May be required to serve a one year probationary period.
Direct deposit/electronic funds transfer required for salary payment.
Selection may be made at either the grade 11, or 12
This is a career ladder opportunity with promotion potential to grade 12
For qualification standards please check:

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 11 must possess minimum of one year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the grade 9 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 as as linux/unix system administration in general and CentOS/RedHat in particular; Operating systems installation, upgrades/patches and tuning; knowledge of NIS and LDAP namespace management skills and familiarity with shell programming; Knowledge and management of email server s and configuration; knowledge of managing Google Apps infrastructure and related tools; knowledge of web technologies

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. 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 as advanced knowledge of linux/unix system administration in general and CentOS/RedHat in particular; Expert knowledge of Operating systems installation, upgrades/patches and tuning; advanced knowledge of NIS and LDAP namespace management skills and strong shell programming skills; advanced knowledge and management of email server setup and configuration; Advanced knowledge of managing Google Apps infrastructure related tools; knowledge of web technologies.


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 Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree.

Additional information
The Smithsonian does not pay relocation expenses
The Smithsonian embraces diversity and equal employment opportunity.

How You Will Be Evaluated
You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.

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:

Knowledge of the Linux operating system with specific emphasis on management and networking aspects of the RedHat common code base "family" operating systems RHEL and CentOS

Knowledge of Email server configuration, tuning and management including familiarity with sendmail and postfix configurations.

Knowledge of management of Google Apps infrastructure, Google Govt Applications and related services including google groups.

Knowledge of scripting languages like shells scripts, PERL, python and HTML coding. Familiarity with other web tools will be an asset.

Skill in oral and written communication and interpersonal relations in general and helpdesk support in particular.

Knowledge of Web content management systems and tools for organizing and conveniently searching large volumes of online documentation

To preview questions please click here .

Background checks and security clearance
Security clearance
Public Trust - Background Investigation

Drug test required

Required Documents

Required Documents
Detailed Resume
School Transcript, if using education to qualify for the position
Proof of U.S. accreditation for foreign study if applicable

If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements:
Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education .

Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating.


A career with the U.S. Government provides employees with a comprehensive benefits package. As a federal employee, you and your family will have access to a range of benefits that are designed to make your federal career very rewarding. Learn more about federal benefits .

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Eligibility for benefits depends on the type of position you hold and whether your position is full-time, part-time, or intermittent. Contact the hiring agency for more information on the specific benefits offered.