OPM Issues Guidance on ‘Data Scientist’ Titles

According to guidance issued by the Chief Human Capital Officers Council within the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), agencies can now use “Data Scientist” with the occupational titles of positions whose major portion of work is performing data science tasks.

The term Data Scientist should be used in parentheticals with the occupation title as it can “indicate special knowledge and skills needed to perform the work of a position,” the guidance states.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Interoperability Framework defines Data Scientist as “a practitioner who has sufficient knowledge in the overlapping regimes 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.”

“Data science is a rapidly changing field and positions may be classified in a number of different occupational series based on the nature of the work,” Associate Director of Employee Services Mark Reinhold wrote in the guidance.

The guidance also informs agencies that this effort supports the President’s Management Agenda priority that works to recruit top-tier talent to the workforce. It also further supports establishing Chief Data Officer roles and support staff within the agencies.

“Data Scientist work is multifaceted and requires talent from interdisciplinary backgrounds,” Reinhold wrote.

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