OPM Issues Federal Guidance for Adding ‘Data Scientist’ Job Title

Jeff Brody

The Office of Personnel Management issued a memorandum allowing federal agencies to add “data scientist” job titles to a number of positions to establish the role of chief data officers and their support personnel and support the President’s Management Agenda and the Foundation for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018, Nextgov reported Tuesday.

Mark Reinhold, associate director for employee services at OPM, wrote in the June 27 memo to agency human resources directors that data scientist work involves skills in analytical applications, data analysis, big data engineering, machine learning and algorithms, among other areas. He also defined data scientists as professionals with “sufficient knowledge in the areas of business needs, domain knowledge, analytical skills and software and systems engineering to manage the end-to-end data processes in the data life cycle.”

The document also noted that agencies are not precluded from using any unofficial title for positions. “Unofficial titles (such as those relating to specific agency organizations or programs) are appropriate and may be helpful for internal agency use or for recruiting purposes,” Reinhold wrote.

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