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Job Title:
IT Specialist, IS-2210-Grades 11,12; $81,963 - $127,707 per year
Type of Position:
Trust Fund (non-federal) Indefinite
Job Location:
Cambridge, MA
Posting Opening Date:
Posting Closing Date:

AREA OF CONSIDERATION: All qualified candidates. 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.

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 IT Specialist (Network Security), Computation Facility, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. This position will manage and maintain network infrastructure, ensure optimal performance, security, and reliability of IT infrastructure, and support astrophysical data analysis and processing.


  1. Implement and maintain network infrastructure, including routers, switches, firewalls, and VPNs.
  2. Configure and manage network protocols such as OSPF, VLAN, and TCP/IP to ensure efficient and secure data transmission.
  3. Implement and support IPSEC VPNs, including tunnel configurations, to ensure secure remote access and communication.
  4. Utilize your knowledge of DNS to manage domain name resolution and maintain DNS servers.
  5. Works with SEIM management tools like Splunk to monitor and analyze network traffic, identify security threats, and implement appropriate measures.
  6. Install, configure, and troubleshoot Cisco routers and switches, ensuring proper functionality and optimal performance.
  7. Maintain FortiGate and Cisco ASA firewalls, implementing security policies and ensuring network protection.
  8. Performs other duties as required.


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 a minimum of one year of specialized experience equivalent to at least grade 9 in the normal line of progression for this occupation. Specialized experience is experience that has equipped the applicant with the competencies/knowledge, skills, and abilities to successfully perform the duties of the position such as listed above.

Candidates for grade 12 must possess a minimum of one year of specialized experience equivalent to at least grade 11 in the normal line of progression for this occupation. Specialized experience is experience that has equipped the applicant with the competencies/knowledge, skills, and abilities to successfully perform the duties of the position such as expert knowledge and experience using industry standard web development tools and programming languages including to manage and maintain FortiGate and Cisco ASA firewalls, implanting security policies and ensuring network protection.


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: PhD. or equivalent doctoral degree
or 3 full years of progressively higher-level graduate education leading to a PhD. or equivalent doctoral degree. 

Required Documents: Tor receive consideration, applicants must submit the following:

  • Resume/CV
  • School Transcript, if using education to qualify for the position

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.

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