The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has established new criteria for Federal agencies hiring data scientists by releasing its new occupational series for data scientists in government – a project that has been more than two years in development.

In a new classification flysheet released by OPM, the agency said it was following the occupational series: Data Science Series, 1560.

This new series, which builds on guidance OPM issued in June 2019, helps establish a foundation to assist agencies in identifying prospective employees with the right skills and to build a Federal community around data modernization.

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“This series covers professional positions which primarily involve work related to identifying the methods, processes, algorithms, tools, and systems to extract and interpret findings from varied structured and unstructured data sets related to the data science lifecycle,” wrote OPM. “Work also involves the development of algorithms and/or tools to support data manipulation and processing as well as the use of data visualization techniques to articulate findings.”

According to OPM, the primary requirements of the work include “applying professional knowledge of computer science and mathematical and statistical theories, techniques, and methods to gather, analyze, design and construct new processes for modeling, interpret, and/or report quantitative information, trends, relationships and correlations among or within datasets.”

The new data scientist series is the result of collaboration from OPM with the Census Bureau, CIO Council, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and other agencies.

According to a memo issued by Kimberly Holden, OPM’s Deputy Associate Director for Talent Acquisition, Classification and Veterans Programs, agencies must apply the new classification series to covered positions within 12 months and must implement the Data Scientist Qualifications Standard immediately to new positions.

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.