System Specialist II/Architectural (Remote)

Herndon, VA
Work Type: Remote
  • Job Category: Information Technology
  • Travel: None
  • Clearance: Not Applicable
  • Req ID: 2024-3917


Job Summary:

The USGS National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC) is a full-service wildlife diagnostic laboratory that leads the nation in identifying and responding to emerging diseases affecting wildlife. To coordinate disease response and provide situational awareness to the wildlife, bio surveillance, and wildlife health communities, the NWHC developed a wildlife health data portal called WHISPers, which stands for Wildlife Health Information Sharing Partnership - event reporting system. It is a voluntary, partner-driven, web-based repository for sharing basic information about historic and ongoing wildlife mortality (death) and/or morbidity (illness) events and provides a portal for requesting diagnostic and epidemiologic assistance from NWHC. WHISPers provide timely, accurate information on where wildlife disease events are occurring or have occurred for better preparedness and decision making. With recent congressional support, NWHC is planning to improve usability of existing functionality, develop new functionalities, and target new surveillance data streams.

Akima is hiring a System Specialist II whose primary responsibility will be to oversee the development of WHISPers and will be expected to gather and translate functional and technical requirements into a work package for program developers, assign tasks, create timelines, and report up and out on project progress, expected or unexpected delays, and interim and final accomplishments. The position requires the translation of biological principles into an application based on computer science principles and methods to perform a wide variety of scientific computing functions in support of USGS scientists and partner organizations. This effort will also include the development of mobile tools for offline data collections while in the field.

Work will be conducted in an Agile software development environment. Efforts will focus on both the front and back ends of the existing WHISPers platform. The front-end web application has been developed in JavaScript/TypeScript using the Angular web application framework and the Angular Material UI component library. Back-end architecture includes a web API built in the Django REST Framework using the Python programming language, a PostgreSQL relational database, and Celery and RabbitMQ python packages which operate the application’s notifications feature. In addition to overseeing work in the existing platform, the project manager will oversee the development of the next generation of WHISPers, which will include expanded functionality. Alternative or additional frameworks, software, and libraries will be considered to achieve optimized performance, expanded functionality, and enhanced user experience.

This position will oversee all aspects of development using best practices in web development, data processing, unit testing, end-to-end testing, and Git version control. The position will lead and conduct code reviews, Agile sprint planning and retrospectives, and software development technical discussions.

Job Responsibilities:

  • Leads development team in improving existing system usability:

  • Project Management.

  • Contributes to and leads work with NWHC Informatics team to develop requirements for the expansion and improvement of WHISPers.

  • Develops timeline and metrics, tracks progress, and communicates project status to branch chief.

  • Helps coordinate gathering input and collating needed features from NWHC and partner users and leads translation of those needs into system requirements.

  • Uses an agile framework, oversees, prioritizes, and assign tasks of development team.

  • System Testing, Benchmarking & User Support:

  • Oversees system testing and coordinates system software installations and upgrades.

  • Recommends system acceptance testing approaches for new systems, and oversee creating, enhancing, or running benchmark test suite of applications by team developers.

  • Gathers information to reproduce problems for NWHC software Applications, Systems, and Tools.

  • Reports bugs, develops support tickets, and follows through on resolution with various NWHC and collaborator staff, including other USGS development groups and contractors.

  • Applies technical skills and diplomacy in working with scientists, administrators, and staff on troubleshooting system issues.

  • Software Translation and Development:

  • Evaluates new features and products with comprehensive analysis and recommendations.

  • Oversees the fulfillment of ongoing requests for enhancement for applications within an agile, iterative development methodology, providing guidance to the center regarding solution design and implementation.

  • Supports data management, visualization and geospatial R&D activities by prototyping solutions using Python, Java, and other technologies.

  • Applies analytical ability to develop creative solutions to complex problems and issues including the ability to conceptualize and visualize end-user experiences.

  • Application and System Performance:

  • Works with users to isolate and resolve moderately complex application problems.

  • Works with other team members, stakeholders, and developers within USGS to drive consensus on requirements and solutions.

  • Works frequently with other groups in USGS or partner organizations in resolution of difficult problems.

  • Consults with supervision concerning unusual problems and developments.

  • Design and Documentation:

  • Oversees and aids in the design and documentation of software solutions including how it will look, and how it interacts with other modules and views in the application.

  • Gathers technical information and provides subject-matter expertise for user documentation, Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and other documentation needs.

  • Works with the NWHC Informatics and USGS development team to supply corrections and improvements to the documentation set.

  • Contributes articles to the knowledge base, including author technical reports and publications and present papers at conferences.


Minimum Qualifications:

  • Bachelor's degree in computer science, information systems, engineering, scientific or a mathematics-intensive discipline.

  • Ten years specialization in particular software or business application utilized in an end user environment.

  • Experience with JavaScript/TypeScript using the Angular web application framework and the Angular Material UI component library.

  • Experience with Back-end architecture using programming languages such as Python.

  • Familiar with PostgreSQL, Celery and RabbitMQ.

  • Experience with project management to identify and solve functional area issues and business solutions.

  • The ability to obtain and maintain the equivalent of a Public Trust.

Desired Qualifications:

  • Prefer experience with Wildlife Health Information Sharing Partnership (WHISPers).