State Department hiring for 50 data scientists using streamlined process

Only the first 250 applicants will be considered.
The Harry S. Truman State Department Building in Washington, D.C. (Getty Images)

The State Department launched an assessment-based job application process for about 50 data scientists Friday to streamline talent acquisition across more of its bureaus.

A Subject Matter Expert Qualification Assessment (SMEQA) will be used to certify qualified applicants for work at the participating bureau of their choosing.

The SMEQA announced in March builds off the one the U.S. Digital ServiceOffice of Personnel Management and Federal Chief Data Officers Council rolled out on behalf of 10 agencies in January 2021, but this time it’s only for State Department bureaus.

“This means that once on the cert, offices and bureaus with an open billet, who are in need of data science talent, will reach out to you and do a final interview before making you an offer,” wrote Garrett Berntsen, deputy chief data officer for the State Department, in a tweet thread. “Last SMEQA we did, we were actually competing for talent.”


Only the first 250 applicants will be considered due to “bandwidth” while the data scientist listing is available through April 28, making it competitive given 390 people attended the Center for Analytics and Bureau of Global Talent Management’s webinar on the hiring action last week, Berntsen added.

Depending on experience and background, private sector hires may not see pay cuts with salaries in the General Schedule-13 and -14 bands between $106,823 and $164,102.

Subject matter experts will review condensed resumes, a written assessment, a multiple-choice questionnaire with some technical questions and conduct structured interviews “quickly,” but hiring times may vary due to the potentially months-long clearance process, Berntsen said.

Bureaus seek candidates with skills in core math and statistics; written, verbal and visual communication of analyses; and data cleaning and engineering.

Dave Nyczepir

Written by Dave Nyczepir

Dave Nyczepir is a technology reporter for FedScoop. He was previously the news editor for Route Fifty and, before that, the education reporter for The Desert Sun newspaper in Palm Springs, California. He covered the 2012 campaign cycle as the staff writer for Campaigns & Elections magazine and Maryland’s 2012 legislative session as the politics reporter for Capital News Service at the University of Maryland, College Park, where he earned his master’s of journalism.

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