The ranks of chief data officers are expected to grow significantly in government this year, as a number of federal and state agencies have put out the ‘Help Wanted’ sign for top data scientists.

One of the most recent examples is the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which last week closed the application window for the position of senior advisor to the chief data officer, working in the Office of the Inspector General in Washington DC.

As noted in the job posting, “The mission of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) is to protect the integrity of HHS programs and the health and welfare of the people they serve.” An independent organization, the HHS fights fraud, waste and abuse in HHS programs.

Toward that mission, the HHS is hiring a new senior advisor to the chief data officer to help build a vision for the office. The application window ended on December, and finalist candidates will be selected on their ability to provide advice “on strategy and organizational design for a robust and integrated Office of the CDO that encompasses data operations, advanced analytics, and organizational performance management.”

The HHS job posting sheds light on what top data science positions are being paid as we enter 2016, at least in government. This job opening comes with a salary range of $122,000 to $169,000, depending on experience.

In exchange, the selected candidate will “make recommendations on data mining and analytics into the day-to-day operational risk environment of the organization, working with stakeholders to develop requirements for tools, data, and products to support the OIG mission; advise the CDO and staff on appropriate data collection and analysis requirements and techniques to improve the analytic rigor and impact of products and reports; foster balance and integration between CDO office functions to support current and future data and analysis needs; provide recommendations for opportunities to increase the effectiveness and efficiency in managing data, analyzing the value of data already available, and collaborating to store data.

Small Business Administration Seeks Its Own CDO

The HHS is not alone in recognizing the value of top data scientists, and the U.S. Small Business Administration is in the process of hiring a new chief data officer. The application window for this opening closed on Dec. 22, with an appointment expected soon. According to the job posting, this CDO role will also be based in Washington, and carries an annual salary of $126,000 to $159,000, again, depending on experience.

The need for this post is driven by passage last spring of the DATA ACT, which requires that federal agencies make their financial, budget, payment, grant and contract data interoperable when published to, which is the central hub for publically available financial data from the U.S. government.

The candidate selected to this post will lead the agency’s efforts to develop technology that automatically posts loan and grant information in shareable form.

FDA Begins Search for Its New CDO

Not to be outdone, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will also look for a new chief data officer to help the agency make changes in how it collects and uses data on the testing of food, drugs and medical devices.

The FDA recently got a new chief information officer -- Todd Simpson – who stated in December that a major goal of the agency this year will be to connect testing laboratories and field offices in order to enable inspectors and researchers to better communicate and share agency data.

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