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2024 Data Science Supervisory Hire

USGS is hiring a supervisor for the Data Science branch.

Date Posted June 6, 2024 Last Updated July 9, 2024
Author Gericke Cook
Reading Time 7 minutes Share
Blue banner depicting overlapping graphical waves with the caption: We are hiring

Update The job posting has been closed as of Tuesday, July 9, 2024.

News flash! This July, the U.S. Geological Survey Water Mission Area will be hiring a GS-13 supervisory Data Scientist to lead and manage cutting-edge data science research and applications to advance the USGS mission . We are looking for someone who is experienced working within interdisciplinary research teams and leading collaborative projects. We hope to find the right combination of technical chops and innovative drive who can also lead a team with empathy, support inclusion and diversity in the workplace, and be able to communicate a compelling and motivating vision of data science excellence. If this intrigues you, please visit prior blogs that describe our work within the Data Science Branch and reflections on federal data science management that still holds true with the current management team.

We are hiring!

The incumbent is a supervisor and team lead for the Applied Data Science team. The supervisor has ultimate responsibility for the strategy and workforce development of the team’s capabilities. The skills of employees under the supervision of this position include research code development, data analysis, machine learning, high-performance computing, data engineering, and MLOps. The selected candidate will be expected to lead project work within the area of their expertise. The position is telework eligible and the location of the duty station for the supervisor is negotiable. Remote work is possible in limited cases but not guaranteed.

This position is an interdisciplinary job series (physical scientist – 1301 , biologist – 0401 , and mathematical statistician – 1529 ) which means as long you meet the minimum education and experience requirements for one of the included job series, you may be referred to the hiring manager.

Duties include

  • Leading projects within one or more core set of Data Science branch capabilities: reproducible workflows, data visualization, data science modeling, and/or web analytics.
  • Collaborating with experts in other domains or agencies to develop strategies for improving efficiency, quality, understanding, and accessibility of USGS-WMA science.
  • Develops and implements approaches or software tools that improve delivery, analysis, or modeling of large volumes of structured and unstructured data using modern software languages and methods.
  • Planning the work, establishing work standards, and providing job priorities for the Applied Data Science Team.

How to find the vacancy announcement

The position is a permanent federal position at the GS-13 experience level. Apply online at, where the position will be open to applicants between 07/08/2024 to 07/22/2024. We will update this blog with the link to the vacancy once it opens.

The position may close early if there are more than 50 applicants. In that case, the vacancy will close at 11:59 PM ET on the day when that threshold is passed (all applications received before that time will be considered). For all positions, an unofficial transcript and detailed resume summarizing job qualifications and relevant skills is needed. Please be sure to include any additional documentation listed on the USAjobs vacancy to ensure your application is considered.

We will host an informational webinar on Monday, July 1, 2024 between 1-2pm MT/3-4pm ET. Join the Microsoft Teams Live Event at this link .

For additional information, please contact the hiring manager (Gericke Cook, she/her).

Our Commitment to Diversity, Inclusion, and Transparency

We are committed to creating a diverse and inclusive workplace where all employees feel valued and have the support they need to thrive. We believe that a diverse team brings a wide range of perspectives, experiences and ideas that drive innovation and improve our ability to deliver cutting edge science. We encourage applicants from all backgrounds, including those from underrepresented groups, to apply for these positions.

Additional Information

Calculating the value of the job While pay scales within federal government cannot compete directly with the private sector for data science job compensation, there are additional benefits you should weigh when calculating the value of the job.

Pay - The pay and responsibilities of this job are defined by general schedule (GS) grades, which are roughly equivalent to levels of work experience. This position will be advertised at the GS-13 level. Salary bands are started at the nation-wide GS Base Pay Scale and then adjusted for location. To find what salary band you’d be looking at, visit OPM’s GS 2024 Salary Table , scroll down to the locality that matches your geographic area, and look at Grade 13. If your geographic area is not listed, then you are in the “Rest of United States” pay locality. The “steps” in the grade are intermediate performance-based pay increases between grades. Typically, new hires into the federal government start at “Step 1”.

Benefits - This position includes health and life insurance. The federal government pays for 75% of the biweekly premium for health benefits and 33% of the premium for life insurance. Other benefits include 5% retirement match in the Thrift Savings Program, 11 federal holidays, 13 sick days + 13 vacation days per year (for new federal hires, which increases to 20 vacation days after three years), 12 weeks paid parental leave, and accrual of federal service to count towards a pension (typically an additive 1% of the average of your highest 3 years of salary for each year of service). See the USGS new hire pay and benefits information page for more details.

Intangibles - If the mission of public service towards advancing environmental science communication and data delivery resonates with you, there will be no shortage of energy and motivation available when working with great colleagues on these challenges. Likewise, a flexible schedule and emphasis on work life balance are important components to work at the USGS.

How to Apply

Creating a USA Jobs account - These federal positions will be posted and filled using public vacancy announcements on . If you are remotely interested in applying to any of the positions mentioned here or elsewhere, get ahead by creating an account as soon as you can. Having an active account will allow you to set up job filters and get a jump start on getting your application materials together. We highly suggest reading guidance from USGS Water Mission Area’s Chief of Staff on how to develop a federal resume (which is quite different from the private sector).

Qualifying for the GS-13 grade - We recognize that individuals from a wide range of backgrounds and different experiences will be able to excel at this job. That said, federal pay grades have requirements that applicants must meet for the system to pass you on to the pool that we can then review. We CAN’T STRESS THIS ENOUGH: see USGS tips for combining graduate education and experience and spell out how you meet the grade and job series qualifications. One way to do this is to attach an additional document to the hiring package that makes this math clear to HR. We will be advertising a combination of biologist, physical scientist, and mathematical statistician job series.

  • Possess 3 full years of progressively higher-level graduate education or a Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree related to the field for the job series to which you are applying: physical scientist – 1301 , biologist – 0401 , mathematical statistician – 1529
  • GS-13 – One year of appropriate professional experience that is in or directly related to the duties of the position to be filled is qualifying if it is equivalent to at least the GS-12 level in the Federal service, and if it equipped the applicant with the knowledge, skills and abilities to perform successfully the duties of the position.

Specialized experience - We’re using USGS’s direct hire authority (DHA) to post public positions and see a wide candidate pool. We expect a lot of applications and are planning on interviewing lots of people. By using DHA, we will be able to consider any candidate who meets the minimum educational and work experience for the job series (see above) and the Specialized Experience that we’ve defined for the role.

  • Required specialized experience for GS-13 Supervisory hires: Demonstrated experience analyzing and communicating findings from large and/or complex datasets. Experienced working with research code development in R or Python, data analysis, machine learning, high-performance computing, data engineering and/or MLOps . Experience working on interdisciplinary teams. A demonstrated ability to organize the work of others and contribute to effective planning and execution of project deliverables.

Specialized Experience includes the demonstration of specific skills for a minimum of one year, so make sure to be explicit about how you’ve met these requirements in your resume.

Materials – You’ll need a resume and educational transcripts (unofficial are OK). Again, to make sure HR can see that you’re qualified, make sure your resume explicitly ties your experience to each of the qualifications listed for the grades you are applying for and also the Specialized Experience section.


After the application window closes, HR combs through applications and filters for candidates who meet the GS Grade qualification and specialized experience. Then they’ll pass on that entire list to the hiring manager – in this case, Gericke Cook . The hiring manager will contact all the qualified candidates for additional information and will set up interviews, visits, or writing/code requests. From there, she will refer a selected candidate to HR, and HR will extend an offer. After HR makes an offer, that is your chance to negotiate the offer and ultimately accept or reject it. Once negotiations are done and you accept the offer, HR will perform a background check. Then you agree to a start date and at that time your employment at the USGS begins!


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