This area will cover relevant news of the threat to the planet from Near Earth Objects (NEOs) including concepts and designs for mitigation. All opinions are those of the author.

28 August 2011

Job Posting in Planetary Defense: Minor Planet Center (MPC) looking for IT Specialist

An IT specialist job announcement from the Minor Planet Center (MPC).

From Wikipedia: "Under the auspices of the International Astronomical Union, the MPC is the official organization in charge of collecting observational data for minor planets (asteroids) and comets, calculating their orbits and publishing this information via the Minor Planet Circulars." The MPC is part of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

Here is the MPC link as well as the USAJOBS link. Here is the listing:


HR: Employment Opportunities
Job posting 11-59
Opening date: August 26, 2011
Closing date: September 16, 2011

TITLE: IT Specialist, IS-2210 (SYSADMIN/APPSW), Grade 13, $89,449 to $116,282/yr

TYPE OF POSITION: Trust Fund (non-federal) Indefinite

DIVISION: - Minor Planet Center, Solar, Stellar and Planetary Sciences Division

LOCATION: Cambridge, Massachusetts

AREA OF CONSIDERATION: All qualified candidates First consideration may be made 14 days after the opening date.

DUTIES: Duties may include but are not limited to: implementing all aspects of the software development lifecycle, including requirements generation, design, code, verification and test, and maintenance; interfacing with science staff at the highest project levels to obtain information regarding their needs as the user of the system; designing software following the Minor Planet Center (MPC) software design standards, applicable vendor's literature, and established practices; overseeing the translation of design into code within the MPC programming team and coordinating software development activities between subsystem teams to ensure design consistency; designing software subsystems and components, coding and debugging complex programs to support mission planning, scientific data analysis and reduction, and data archiving and retrieval on workstation computer and image display systems; verifying and testing all generated software and maintaining code as part of an overall system and overseeing these activities within the team. 

QUALIFICATIONS : 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. In addition to the basic requirements listed above applicants must possess a minimum of one year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the grade 12 in the normal line of progression for this occupation which should demonstrate mastery of and skill in applying the various phases of the system software development lifecycles, including requirements generation, design, code, verification and test, systems integration, and maintenance; knowledge of the physical systems for which software is being developed to be able to define scientific requirements and develop software requirements; knowledge of FORTRAN, C, scripting languages, Unix and Linux; knowledge of the current state of system software technology and related computer equipment in the assigned area; knowledge of mathematics, sufficient to be able to communicate with scientists and engineers concerning calculations and algorithms; knowledge of image handling, graphics, display systems, and database management systems; ability to develop software at the subsystem level while conforming to standards; ability to assess emerging technologies as alternatives to current practices; ability to provide expert technical guidance to management and other staff; ability to present findings to management and staff on complex issues; and the ability to communicate both orally and in writing.

APPLICATION PROCEDURE: We will only accept applications on line for this position.

For a copy of the complete vacancy announcement and how to apply, visit: USAJOBS

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

Link: MPC Job Posting
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