Office of Acquisition Technical Lead GS-14

We’re hiring a Technical Lead to help us build amazing products for our clients. This page includes key objectives for the role as well as the official job description. The Duties and Qualifications on this page are specific to the GS-14 level position. You can apply at the bottom or learn more about the application process at Joining 18F.

Please note: Innovation Specialist is the official government title for this Technical Lead position.

Role Summary:

Technical Lead GS-14

As a member of the TTS Office of Acquisition team, a Technical Lead possess three key qualities:

  • Strong technical background to tackle engineering problems
  • Social skills to face human-factor problems
  • The judgment to differentiate between the two

Technical leads are as comfortable tackling engineering problems as they are navigating through human-factor problems. This role may be perfect for you if you can explain technical design architecture to technical and less technical folks alike, determine the appropriate technology stack for a customer agency’s mission-critical project to ensure we can pair them with the best vendor for the job, and lead organizational strategy and change for TTS’s own endeavors — and can do so simultaneously.

While our core languages are Ruby, Python, and JavaScript, not every federal agency shares our technology stack. Because of this, you should have a strong, demonstrable experience with at least one modern programming language. You also should be proficient in web development, relational databases, and using Unix-like operating systems. You should understand engineering best practices such as source control, automated testing, continuous integration and deployment, and peer review. The strongest candidates will have a background working on cross-functional, multidisciplinary teams that work incrementally in a user-focused environment to deliver digital products and services.

Key Objectives

Objective #1: You’ll advocate for and ensure that the government obtains high-quality, well-tested, maintainable code across the entire lifecycle of a project.

  • Participate in vendor selection, code review (vendor, team, and peer), architecture discussions, and feature prioritization.
  • Contribute to drafting solicitation documentation and project documentation, tests, style fixes, accessibility, performance, security, and more.
  • Encourage the practice of and enthusiastically share modern development and engineering methodologies and tools throughout all stages of the project lifecycle.
  • Influence project planning and design using usability research, analytics, and other metrics.
  • Ensure the delivery of code that’s accessible and easy to deploy, update, and monitor, through use of appropriate tooling early in the project development cycle (or by introducing tooling into an existing project, as needed).
  • Take pride of ownership in all projects you work on; leave the partner agency you worked with better off than you found them.

Objective #2: You’ll positively contribute to the culture and knowledge of the government by practicing and enthusiastically sharing agile methodologies throughout all stages of the project lifecycle.

  • Work within distributed, multidisciplinary agile teams by participating in constructive discussions, openly sharing knowledge, and demonstrating value for technical and non-technical contributions.
  • Practice the same human-centered design, user testing, feature prioritization, DevOps, and other relevant concepts that we expect vendors to practice.
  • Help provide visibility into each project’s progress, communicate blockers and challenges, and ask for help when you need it.
  • Demonstrate a strong understanding of the elements of agile methodology (Scrum, Kanban, and so on).

Objective #3: You’ll apply technical knowledge, problem-solving analysis, and risk calculation to produce high-quality results, meeting customer expectations and organizational goals.

  • Hold yourself, your team, and the vendors you work with accountable for measurable, high-quality, timely, and cost-effective results.
  • Demonstrate your credibility in your area of expertise, deliver high-quality work, and accept responsibility for mistakes.
  • Meet the needs of internal and external customers. Make well-informed, effective, and timely decisions. Identify and analyze problems in a constructive manner.
  • Explain technical issues and concepts clearly to both technical and non-technical audiences.

Basic Information

Job announcement number: 1700617JCOTR

Opening and closing period for this job application: (open) Monday September 11 to Friday September 22, 2017, 11:59 pm Eastern Time (close)

Job Title: Innovation Specialist

Series & Grade: 0301-14

Promotion Potential: GS-14

Salary Range: Base salary GS-14: $88,136 to $114,578

Total compensation will include locality pay based on the individual’s duty location. With locality pay, the pay may range from $88,136 to $121,778. For locality pay details, please visit If you are a new federal employee, your starting salary will likely be set at the Step 1 of the grade for which you are selected.

Location: Washington, DC; San Francisco, CA; Chicago, IL; New York, NY; Virtual (100% remote)

Number of vacancies: 1 (Additional vacancies may be filled from this announcement as needed)

Supervisory status: No

Travel requirement: Occasional travel may be required up to 10% per year

Who May Apply: All United States citizens and nationals (residents of American Samoa and Swains Islands) and applicants must not be GSA employees or contractors

Security clearance: Public trust. Background investigation required.

Work Schedule: Full time

Appointment Type: Excepted Service – Not to exceed 2 years; may be extended for an additional 2 years for a maximum of 4 years total.

Job Summary

This is a Schedule A position under 5 CFR 213.3102(r) to hire unique technical skills to develop innovative digital tools and services in the Excepted Services, US Digital Service 18F Fellowship Program. The 18F office is charged with developing innovative digital tools and services and uses lean startup and agile development principles to collaborate with other agencies to fix technical problems, build products, and improve how government serves the public through technology.

As an Innovation Specialist, the team member serves the government and makes an impact on a massive scale. The position requires that fellows perform work of an exceptional degree of difficulty across a wide range of topics at the convergence of technology, policy, and delivery. The incumbent leverages their experience deploying high quality, user centric platforms and services to lead major initiatives, consult on systems and policy proposal, and provide technical, policy, and programmatic guidance to government.

This position is located within the General Services Administration (GSA), Technology Transformation Services (TTS), Office of Acquisition.

GSA has been repeatedly named as one of the ‘Best Places to Work’ in the Federal Government’. You will have access to many benefits including:

  • Health insurance (choose from a wide range of plans)
  • Life insurance coverage with several options
  • Sick leave and vacation time, including 10 paid holidays per year
  • Thrift Savings Plan (similar to a 401(k) plan)
  • Flexible work schedules and telework
  • Transit and child care subsidies
  • Training and development
  • Flexible spending accounts
  • Long-term care insurance
  • Training and development

Key Requirements

  1. You must be a U.S. Citizen or National (residents of American Samoa and Swains Islands)
  2. Suitable for federal employment, determined by a background investigation.
  3. You may be required to serve a trial period.
  4. Direct Deposit of salary check to financial organization required.
  5. Register with Selective Service, if you are a male born after 12/31/1959.

Employment Requirements

  • Serve a one year trial period, if required.
  • Undergo and pass a background investigation. You must be granted this clearance before you can start the job.
  • Have your identity and work status eligibility verified if you are not a GSA employee. We will use the Department of Homeland Security’s e-Verify system for this. Any discrepancies must be resolved as a condition of continued employment.
  • Complete a financial disclosure report to verify that no conflict, or an appearance of conflict, exists between your financial interest and this position.


  • Conceiving/recommending projects/studies to advance the state of the art in the specialty area; applying forward-thinking design and development principles to product or services development, delivery and program management, such as lean startup, user-centered design, and agile development;
  • Analyzing and scoping the technical and policy requirements needed to implement complex digital solutions;
  • Assessing the state of digital services provided by the federal government, and working to align strategies and practice; conferring with key government/private officials and top experts in the field, representing the agency at technical symposia and/or conferences;
  • Developing authoritative papers/reports; developing and leading adoption of government-wide standards for digital services, leading to their adoption across citizen and business-facing government services;
  • Demonstrating thought leadership and contributing best practices in a variety of technologies and principles


We will use a method called Category Rating to assess your application.

Here’s how it will work:

You will be scored based on a review of your application materials, measuring your possession of each of the following competencies:

  • Software Engineering Technical Experience: The ability to use software engineering technologies to ensure the delivery of technical solutions and products.
  • Software Engineering Practices: The ability to apply tools, technologies, and established engineering best practices to help ensure the delivery of innovative technical solutions and products.
  • Communication: The ability to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences to establish and advocate for a shared vision and understanding of a project’s technical implementation, objectives, and goals.
  • Technical Strategy: The ability to advise on technical strategy, agile development, software tools, and technical architecture.
  • TTS Core Values Alignment: The ability to work with integrity, transparency, and resiliency in civic minded or high impact environments.

Your score will be used to place you in one of the 3 categories: Superior, Qualified, or Not Qualified.

If your resume does not support your possession of the competencies listed above, we may lower your score, which could place you in a lower category.

Within each category, veterans will receive selection priority over non-veterans if supported by appropriate documentation.


  • To qualify, you must have one year of specialized experience equivalent to the GS-13 in the Federal service. Specialized experience is:
  • Use of innovative software engineering technologies such as dynamic programming languages, relational and/or non-relational database programming, web development, containerization, cloud technologies, infrastructure automation, configuration management, and/or Unix-based operating systems.
  • Experience with software engineering best practices such as open source, APIs, source control, automated testing, continuous integration and deployment, and peer review. Working on cross-functional, multidisciplinary teams that deliver digital products and services in an incremental, user-focused environment.
  • Experience in a technical consulting role, developing and communicating technical architecture and vision, and responsibility for planning and implementation of that vision.
  • Fluency in at least one software engineering technology (eg, programming language).

Qualification determinations cannot be made when resumes do not include the required information, so failure to provide this information may result in disqualification.

For each job on your resume, provide:

  • the exact dates you held each job (from month/year to month/year)
  • number of hours per week you worked (if part time).

How To Apply

Submit a complete online application prior to 11:59 pm Eastern Time on the closing date of the posting. Please fill out all applicable fields.

Click here to apply

Need Assistance in applying or have questions regarding this job opportunity, please email Esther Chang

Required Documents

ALL required documents must be submitted before the closing date to be considered for the role. Review the following list to determine what you need to submit.

  • Resume
    • For a brief video on creating a federal resume, click here.
    • If you have volunteered your service through a National Service program (e.g. Peace Corps, Americorps), we encourage you to apply and include this experience on your resume.
  • Completed application

  • If you are claiming veterans preference:
    • Copy of your Certificate of Release or Discharge From Active Duty, DD-214 that shows the dates of your active duty service. If selected, a DD-214 showing your type of discharge (member 4 copy) will be required prior to appointment.
    • If you are claiming 10-point preference or derived preference (a spouse, widow or widower, or parent of a deceased or disabled veteran), submit both of the following in addition to the DD-214:
      • completed SF-15 form; and
      • proof of your entitlement; refer to SF-15 for complete list.
      • If you are claiming veterans preference, you MUST submit all Veteran’s documentation to Jacqueline Coleman by the job posting closing date. Please subject the email “Veteran’s documentation for Job Posting 1700617JCOTR”.
  • If you are active duty military: Certification on a letterhead from your military branch that includes your rank, character of service (must be under honorable conditions) & military service dates including discharge/release date (must be no later than 120 days after the date the certification is submitted).

Other Information

Bargaining Unit status: Non Bargaining Unit

Relocation-related expenses are not approved and will be your responsibility.

All the information you provide will be verified by a review of the work experience and/or education as shown on your application forms, by checking references and through other means, such as the interview process. Any exaggeration of your experience, false statements, or attempts to conceal information may be grounds for not hiring you, or for firing you after you begin work.

Reasonable Accommodation Policy

Federal agencies must provide reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities where appropriate. Applicants requiring reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process should contact the hiring agency directly. Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.

To learn more, please consult the following resources:

Equal Employment Opportunity Policy

The United States Government does not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, membership in an employee organization, retaliation, parental status, military service, or other non-merit factor.

To learn more, please consult the following resources: - Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) office at OPM - Office of Equal Opportunity

What To Expect

After the closing date:

  1. ELIGIBILITY/QUALIFICATIONS: Your application will be reviewed for all requirements.
  2. REFERRAL TO MANAGEMENT: If you meet all the requirements, you may be referred to management for review and a possible interview.
  3. SELECTION/TENTATIVE JOB OFFER: If you are selected, you will receive a tentative offer and start the suitability and/or security background investigation process.
  4. FINAL JOB OFFER: Once our security office determines you can come on board, you will be given a final offer.

Thank you for your interest in working for U.S. General Services Administration!