Research Associate - Programmer

Washington D.C.
Jan 04, 2017
Aug 15, 2017
Full Time

About the Agency

This position is open until filled. The first cutoff date for review of applications will be February 1, 2017.

The United States Sentencing Commission is an independent federal agency in the Judicial Branch of government consisting of seven members appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate and two non-voting ex-officio members. The agency staff consists of approximately 100 employees. The Commission develops and revises guidelines for federal district court judges to consider in sentencing offenders convicted of federal crimes. The Commission monitors and evaluates the use of the guidelines, conducts research and education programs on guideline application and sentencing matters generally, produces sentencing-related reports, and recommends improvements in federal sentencing practices and policies.

The Commission is conveniently located next to Union Station on Capitol Hill, and is easily accessible by public transportation, including the Metro, and the MARC and VRE commuter trains. In addition to the federal benefits package, the Commission’s location in the Thurgood Marshall Federal Judiciary Building offers various amenities such as an on-site fitness center, health unit, credit union, day care center, and cafeteria.

  • Occasional Travel
  • You may be expected to travel for this position.

  • No

  • U.S. Citizenship required
  • All employees must serve a one year probationary period
    Applicants must have an undergraduate degree in criminology, criminal justice, sociology, or a closely related empirical social science from an accredited university or college as well as satisfactory completion of course work in statistics and/or methodology.

    Applicants must have a minimum of three years of SAS computer programming experience while working in a professional work environment as either an intern or a paid employee.

    Applicants must also have experience in the following areas:

    1. SAS programming experience must include working with manipulating and analyzing quantitative data in data steps such as subset datafiles, create collapsed or dummy variables, utilize IF/THEN statements and DO-loops, finding means/medians, and writing macros.
    2. Experience with data quality control and/or data cleaning.
    3. Experience creating tables and charts in SAS, Work, PowerPoint, and Excel, and using formulas in Excel.
    4. Experience matching or merging datafiles.

    Applicants must have at least one year of specialized experience equivalent to the next lower level of the grade for which they are applying. For example, to qualify for the GS-13, one year of specialized experience must have been at the GS-12 level or equivalent.

    Preference will be given to applicants with the following areas of experience:
    • Experience with using SAS macros to fill output data from SAS into Excel spreadsheets.
    • Experience analyzing federal criminal justice data and/or familiarity with the federal sentencing guidelines.
    • Experience reading Oracle data into SAS.
    • Experience using ARRAY function.
    • Experience using SAS procedures to create data reports, graphs, and maps (e.g., experience with the following SAS procedures PROC REPORT, TABULATE, GMAP, SGPLOT, and/or SAS ODS).
    • A Master’s degree in criminology, criminal justice, sociology, or a related empirical social science from an accredited university or college.

    Applicants must have demonstrated work experience related to the mandatory requirements. Applicants who do not address the qualification requirements (mandatory and preferred) in his or her application materials as stated in the vacancy announcement are automatically disqualified from consideration and must re-apply before the closing date to be considered for employment.

    Public Trust - Background Investigation


    The incumbent will work with research staff to:

    • Create new SAS programs as well as modify existing SAS programs.
    • Utilize SAS macros in order to make programs more generalizable and adaptable.
    • Create PDFs of SAS output, tables, and figures.
    • Create figures (pie charts, bar charts, line charts, etc.) in SAS including titles, footnotes, etc. in Commission styling for use in special requests, presentations, and Commission reports.
    • Assist in the design and development of tables and figures in SAS, Word, and Excel.
    • Assist with providing quick turnaround statistics on defendants sentenced pursuant to the federal sentencing guidelines, responding to special requests from Commissioners, Congress, the courts, and others, as directed.
    • Train ORD staff in SAS software (procedures and syntax); Review SAS programs written by ORD staff members for possible programming errors.
    • Study issues pertinent to the development and application of the federal sentencing guidelines.
    • Compile, organize, and document research-related datafiles and assist in the preparation of datafile documentation, statistical tables, and graphic displays and presentations.
    • Analyze qualitative and quantitative data and contribute to published reports assessing the sentencing impact of judicial and/or congressional sentencing modifications to the guideline structure and process.
    • Match USSC datafiles with datafiles from other federal agencies or from special USSC data collections.
    • Modify existing SAS prison and sentencing impact micro-simulation model to satisfy requests from Commission staff, Congress, and other government agencies.
    • Meet with research associates to discuss data quality issues and use feedback to create new edits to improve data quality.
    • Review existing data for errors and perform edits and data cleaning of research datafiles.
    • Research, review, and analyze social science research literature.
    • Assist in evaluating research problems and applying or adapting available research methods to solve research problems.
    • Learn and implement new technology, such as business intelligence tools (e.g., OBIE) to develop dashboards.
    • Perform support or administrative tasks as needed.
    The job may require occasional travel to give presentations or to attend meetings or conferences.

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