Interdisciplinary Assistant Director, Computer Scientist/Engineer (Emerging Technologies)

Washington, D.C
Oct 08, 2019
Oct 16, 2019
Executive, Director
Full Time


This position is located in GAO's Science, Technology Assessment, and Analytics (STAA) Team - Innovation Lab. STAA's mission is to produce technology assessments, technical performance audits, science oversight audits, engineering sciences analyses, and advanced analytics and cybersecurity research to Congress and GAO overall.

Learn more about this agency


  • Leads the development of prototyping and testing emerging technical systems such as including digital ledger technologies such as Blockchain, cloud IT architectures, machine learning systems, and internet of things as well as technical evaluation methods and/or criteria in support of current and future audits and evaluations for key GAO mission teams such as the Financial Management and Accounting (FMA), Information Technology and Cybersecurity (ITC), and Forensic Audits and Investigative Services (FAIS), among others.
  • Supports GAO's Chief Data Scientist (CDS) in developing, defining, and driving GAO's strategy with regard to the exploration and deployment of emerging technologies and technical evaluation criteria as they pertain to the future of audit.
  • Innovates and expands the agency's capacity to explore, leverage, and evaluate emerging technologies to support quantitative enterprise risk management and/or technical evaluations through a rigorous problem definition, ideation, review, revision, and execution process to determine to most promising ideas and approaches which, if successful, could profoundly change the business of audit, investigations, and program evaluation for the future GAO.
  • Develops or acquires advanced computational architectures and/or digital accounting systems based on skills and experience in working with data representation, data structures, file systems, operating systems, computer languages, software development methodologies, and network protocols.
  • Reviews products for adequate coverage and supportable conclusions regarding sound engineering and/or cybersecurity methodological practices.
  • Serves as a Designated Performance Manager (DPM) responsible for supervising, evaluating and documenting work performance of assigned staff. Identifies training and developmental needs and makes provisions for training as required by performance expectations. Coaches staff in skills development, oversees individual development activities, and provides opportunities to develop increased capabilities through a variety of projects and assignments. Hears and resolves employee complaints, recommends disciplinary measures such as warnings and reprimands, and recommends other action in more serious cases. Refers unresolved grievances or more serious complaints to higher-level management.

Travel Required

Occasional travel - Some travel may be required.

Supervisory status

Promotion Potential


Conditions of Employment

  • You must be a U.S. citizen
  • You may be required to submit a financial disclosure statement.
  • Employees new to GAO in Analyst and Attorney positions must complete a two year probationary period.
  • Registered for Selective Service, if applicable. (
  • You must be suitable for federal employment.


In addition to the education requirement, applicants must have 1 year (52 weeks) of specialized experience at the next lower band or level equivalent to the GS-14 in the Federal Service, or comparable private/public sector experience which has equipped the applicant with the skills and knowledge to successfully perform the duties of the position. Specialized experience for this position is defined as practical experience overseeing or leading the development, prototyping, and testing of emerging technical systems such as including digital ledger technologies such as Blockchain, cloud IT architectures, machine learning systems, and internet of things as well as technical evaluation methods and/or criteria in support of current and future audits and evaluations for GAO mission or support teams on problems such as audit and assurance of digital ledger-based systems, cybersecurity evaluation of Cloud, DLT/Blockchain, and IoT systems, and prototyping and evaluation of robotic process automation and machine learning systems; and experience guiding others to use these approaches to effectively perform pilots/experiments with emerging technologies.

You must meet all the requirements before the announcements closes.


This position has a positive education requirement. Documentation to verify your education MUST be submitted with your application in order to be considered.

An interdisciplinary, professional position is a position involving duties and responsibilities closely related to more than one professional occupation. As a result, the nature of the work enables people with education and experience in either of two or more professions to be considered equally well qualified to do the work. The final classification of the position is determined by the qualifications of the person selected to fill it. You may qualify for this position based on one of the professional occupations below.

Computer Science Series, 1550:

Basic Requirements:

Bachelor's degree in computer science or bachelor's degree with 30 semester hours in a combination of mathematics, statistics, and computer science. At least 15 of the 30 semester hours must have included any combination of statistics and mathematics that included differential and integral calculus. All academic degrees and course work must be from accredited or pre-accredited institutions.

All Engineering Professional Engineering Positions, 0800:

Basic Requirements. To qualify for this occupational series, you must posses one of the following :

Successful completion of a professional engineering degree. To be acceptable, the program must: (1) lead to a bachelor's degree (or higher) in a school of engineering with at least one program accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) ; or (2) include differential and integral calculus and courses (more advanced than first-year physics and chemistry) in five of the following seven areas of engineering science or physics: (a) statics, dynamics; (b) strength of materials (stress-strain relationships); (c) fluid mechanics, hydraulics; (d) thermodynamics; (e) electrical fields and circuits; (f) nature and properties of materials (relating particle and aggregate structure to properties); and (g) any other comparable area of fundamental engineering science or physics, such as optics, heat transfer, soil mechanics, or electronics. Such education must demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to do the work of the position.
Current registration as an Engineer Intern (EI), Engineer in Training (EIT), or licensure as a Professional Engineer (PE) by any State, the District of Columbia, Guam, or Puerto Rico. Absent other means of qualifying under this standard, those applicants who achieved such registration by means other than written test (e.g., State grandfather or eminence provisions) are eligible only for positions that are within or closely related to the specialty field of their registration For more information about EI and EIT registration requirements, please visit the National Society of Professional Engineers website at:
Evidence of having successfully passed the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) examination or any other written test required for professional registration by an engineering licensure board in the various States, the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico The FE examination is not administered by the U. S. Office of Personnel Management. For more information, please visit: .
Successful completion of at least 60 semester hours of courses in the physical, mathematical, and engineering sciences and in engineering that included the courses specified in the basic requirements under paragraph A (above). The courses must be fully acceptable toward meeting the requirements of an engineering program as described in paragraph A (above)
Successful completion of a curriculum leading to a bachelor's degree in an appropriate scientific field, e.g., engineering technology, physics, chemistry, architecture, computer science, mathematics, hydrology, or geology, may be accepted in lieu of a bachelor's degree in engineering, provided the applicant has had at least one year of professional engineering experience acquired under professional engineering supervision and guidance. Ordinarily, there should be either an established plan of intensive training to develop professional engineering competence, or several years of prior professional engineering-type experience, e.g., in interdisciplinary positions.


Additional information

This is not a bargaining unit position.

Based on the staffing needs, additional selections may be made through this vacancy announcement.

Selectee may be required to file a Financial Disclosure Statement.

Travel and relocation expenses will not be paid for by the GAO.

Males born after 12/31/59 and at least 18 years of age must be registered with the Selective Service System. Visit

Please be aware that applicants will be required to complete questions contained on the Declaration for Federal Employment (OF-306) at the time a tentative job offer is made. If selected, at the time of appointment, selectees will be required to update the OF-306.

If you are selected for this position, you will be subject to a determination of your suitability for Federal employment.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office's policy is to provide equal employment opportunity for all regardless of race, religion, color, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age, disability, genetic information, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

The U.S. GAO is part of the Legislative Branch of the Federal government. As such, all positions are in the excepted service. Initial appointments, permanent or indefinite, to the GAO require completion of a one-year or two-year probationary period.

How You Will Be Evaluated

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

The position(s) advertised in this announcement are covered by a direct hire authority. Traditional rating and ranking of applicants, including category rating, does not apply to this vacancy. Your qualifications will be initially evaluated against the basic qualifications only. Qualified applicants will be referred for consideration in accordance with the Office of Personnel Management Direct Hire guidelines. Veterans' Preference does not apply to positions covered by a direct hire authority.

Please make sure that your responses to the assessment questions are supported in your resume and follow all instructions carefully. If you provide incomplete answers, fail to provide a narrative response to any assessment question(s) that requires further explanation, or if your response to an assessment question is "see resume," your application may be affected or you may be determined ineligible.

All applicants will be evaluated based on their responses to the assessment questions, in conjunction with the following Knowledge, Skills and Abilities (KSA's):
  • Ability to lead and manage a technically and professionally diverse, yet highly talented workforce.
  • Mastery-level experience in a variety of software, computational, and/or electrical engineering disciplines and interrelated advanced concepts, including theories, principles, practices, and techniques of computational systems and architectures, software, electrical, and computer engineering, and/or cybersecurity practices.
  • Mastery-level experience of peer-to-peer networking architectures and algorithms, cryptographic hashes, public key and asymmetric key cryptographic systems, digital signatures and verification, Merkel trees, consensus algorithms, machine learning algorithms, statistical computing, and information assurance concepts described in the NIST cybersecurity framework.
  • Master-level experience in developing integrated computer systems using a knowledge of:(1) computer software concepts such as data representation, data structures, file systems, operating systems, computer languages, software development methodologies, and network protocols; (2) computer hardware concepts such as computer architecture, computer communication systems, peripheral control systems, and bus architectures; and (3) mathematics such as calculus, mathematical analysis, probability, linear algebra, statistics, discrete structures, and abstract algebra.
  • Professional experience evaluating options for emerging technologies - including infrastructure and tools, design comparison tests, and prototyping to steer build/buy decisions. Examples would include cloud IT architectures, digital ledger technologies (such as Blockchain), and networks of "things" in an operational context.
  • Professional experience performing machine learning (ML), natural language (NLP), artificial intelligence (AI), text mining and statistical systems and approaches to validate them.
  • Skill in selecting, organizing, and presenting appropriate information in a concise and balanced manner as well as skill in communicating such information to non-technical and technical target audiences alike.
  • Ability to collaborate and work effectively and complete projects in a group setting, particularly across organizational boundaries and with those with less technical backgrounds.

To preview questions please click here .

Background checks and security clearance

Security clearance

Drug test required

Required Documents

You must provide a complete application package which includes:

- Resume: must be created using the USAJOBS resume builder and show relevant work experience.

- If you are using your education to qualify (even partially), you must submit a copy of your transcripts. Transcripts do not need to be official, but if you are selected for this position and you used your education to qualify, you will be required to provide official transcripts. Foreign Education: If you are submitting a transcript from a non-US educational institution, applicants must submit all necessary documents to a private U.S. organization that specializes in interpretation of foreign educational credentials, commonly called a credential evaluation service.

- Current or former federal employees may submit their most recent Notification of Personnel Action (SF-50 or equivalent), showing tenure, type of service (competitive/excepted) and the highest grade held.

Failure to submit any of the above mentioned required documents will result in loss of consideration due to an incomplete application package. It is your responsibility to ensure all required documents have been submitted.

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.

Similar jobs