Computer Engineer / Computer Scientist (Emerging Technologies)

Washington, D.C
Oct 12, 2021
Oct 16, 2021
Engineer, IT, QA Engineer
Full Time


This position is located in GAO's Science, Technology Assessment, & Analytics (STAA) Team, Innovation Lab. The STAA is devoted to enhancing & expanding its support to Congress in conducting technology assessments, oversight of federal science and technology programs, & development of innovative analytical techniques in carrying out audits and evaluations. The Innovation Lab aims to meet Congress's growing need to understand the science and technology of the future. To learn more visit: STAA

Learn more about this agency


The STAA, Innovation Lab is seeking an experienced professional to serve as a Technologist to perform the following:
  • Applies best practices in DevSecOps to configure, integrate, containerize, orchestrate, and harden open source, web, and cloud-based services, tools, and other computational resources within established information security boundaries. Cloud-based services include Amazon Web Services (AWS) Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS, both GovCloud and standard accounts), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), and other evolving as-a-service capabilities.
  • Applies knowledge of a variety of software, computational, and/or engineering disciplines and interrelated advanced concepts to independently evaluate options as well as lead prototyping efforts across the innovation lifecycle on emerging technologies. These emerging technologies may include distributed ledger technologies (DLT or blockchain), Internet of Things, robotic process automation (RPA), virtual/augmented realities, and 5G technologies.
  • Applies leading federal cybersecurity practices as described in the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) cybersecurity framework to secure prototype solutions, infrastructure, and services.
  • Conducts frequent research across academia, public sector institutions, and commercial providers to collaborate with outside experts for foresights into emerging technologies and how they may impact oversight work in near-term, medium-term, and long-term horizons.
  • Facilitates change management across processes, methods, and team cultures to successfully integrate innovative emerging technologies. The incumbent needs to understand of Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards (GAGAS) and other standards relevant to GAO work to advise mission teams on best technical approaches to achieve quality results.
  • Participates in forums, conference, seminars, and panels as expert speakers to articulate technical methodologies as well as oversight considerations. The incumbent may also be called to author or contribute contents for publication, review GAO products for supportable conclusions regarding sound methodological practices, and provide presentations to both internal GAO customers and external customers such as Congressional staff.
  • Identifies deficiencies in problem statements, proposed approaches, and/or data access issues which are significant to the design, development, execution, and reporting out of emerging technologies pilots of the Innovation Lab.
  • Supports the Assistant Director for Emerging Technology in developing, defining, and driving GAO's strategy with regard to the exploration and deployment of emerging technologies for improved or novel business outcomes.
  • Expands GAO's prototyping capabilities through a rigorous process of problem definition, ideation, review, revision, and execution to determine the most promising solutions and approaches which, if successful, could profoundly change the business of audit, investigations, and program evaluation for the future GAO.

Performs other duties as assigned.

Travel Required

Occasional travel - Some travel may be required.

Supervisory status

Promotion Potential


Conditions of Employment

  • Must be a U.S. citizen.
  • Completion of a financial disclosure statement required.
  • Must meet/maintain background and suitability requirements for employment.
  • Completion of a probationary period is required.
  • Must be registered for Selective Service, if applicable. (

This is an interdisciplinary, professional position which may be filled as a Computer Engineer or Computer Scientist.

You must meet the education and specialized experience required by the position to be qualified.


In addition to the education requirement, you must have 1 year (52 weeks) of specialized experience at the next lower band or level equivalent to the GS-12 in the Federal Service, or comparable private/public sector experience which has equipped you with the skills and knowledge to successfully perform the duties of the position. Specialized experience for this position is defined as technical experience across innovation lifecycle on development of prototype use cases across emerging technologies (e.g. distributed ledger (blockchain), Internet of Things, robotic process automation (RPA), virtual/augmented realities, and 5G technologies); developing and/or implementing next generation capabilities in support of audits, investigations, business operations, or other oversight activities; and demonstrated experience applying best practices in DevSecOps under an Agile development framework.

You must meet all the requirements before the closing date of the announcement.


This position has a positive education requirement. You may qualify for this position based on one of the professional occupations below.

Documentation to verify your education MUST be submitted with your application in order to be considered.


All Professional Engineering Positions, 800 series (includes 854):

A. Degree: 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.


Combination of education and experience -- college-level education, training, and/or technical experience that furnished (1) a thorough knowledge of the physical and mathematical sciences underlying engineering, and (2) a good understanding, both theoretical and practical, of the engineering sciences and techniques and their applications to one of the branches of engineering. The adequacy of such background must be demonstrated by one of the following:

1. Professional registration or licensure - 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:

2. Written Test - 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: .

3. Specified academic course - 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)

4. Related curriculum - Successful completion of a curriculum leading to a bachelor's degree in am appropriate scientific field, e.g., engineering technology, physics, chemistry, architecture, computer science, mathematics, hydrology, or geology, may be accepted in lieu of bachelor's degree in engineering, provided the applicant has had at the least 1 year of a professional engineering acquired under professional engineering supervision and guidance. Ordinarily there should be either an established plan of extensive training to develop professional engineering competence, or several years of prior professional engineering -type experience, e.g., in interdisciplinary positions. (The above examples of related curricula are not all inclusive.)

Computer Scientist, 1550 series:

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.

Additional information

This is a bargaining unit position.

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

You may be required to obtain and maintain a security clearance depending on the engagements, projects, and initiatives you are assigned to.

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

Selectee will be required to complete the Declaration for Federal Employment (OF-306) at the time a tentative job offer is made. At the time of appointment, the you will be required to update the OF-306.

Selectee will be subject to a determination of suitability for Federal employment.

GAO provides reasonable accommodations to applicants and employees with disabilities. To request accommodation, please email

GAO'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.

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 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 the 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" or like answer, 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):
  • Expert level understanding of open source, web, and cloud-based services - encompassing best practices in configuration, integration, containerization, and orchestration.
  • Experience in AWS IaaS, PaaS, SaaS, and other evolving X-as-a-service capabilities.
  • Expert level understanding on each component the innovation lifecycle from ideation through deployment.
  • Expert knowledge in federal information assurance concepts described in the NIST cybersecurity framework, including compliance with Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) (e.g., at both moderate or high), Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS), and Department of Defense (DOD) Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) standards.
  • Expert knowledge of and extensive experience in a variety of software, computational, and/or electrical engineering disciplines and interrelated advanced concepts, including theories, principles, practices, methods, and techniques related to systems, architectures, software, and cybersecurity.
  • Extensive experience executing DevSecOps best practices using the SAFe approach.
  • Demonstrated understanding of principles and methods promulgated under the Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards (GAGAS) or Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), including developing methods and procedures that are accepted under GAGAS or GAAP.
  • Demonstrated ability to define success from ambiguous problem statements and evolving requirements.
  • 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.

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.

- TRANSCRIPTS: 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.

- SF-50: Current or former federal employees must submit their most recent Notification of Personnel Action (SF-50 or equivalent), showing position information (pay plan, series, grade), tenure, and type of service (competitive/excepted).

- PROFESSIONAL CERTIFICATION/LICENSE: Proof of professional registration, licensure, or evidence of passing written test (if applicable).

If you fail to submit any of the above required documents, your application will be considered incomplete and will result in loss of consideration. 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.

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