An open letter to tech workers about careers in public service


Dear technicians,

Careers are defined by moments.

Sometimes these moments are carefully planned and meticulously planned—a culmination of years of effort. A dream job, a long-awaited promotion, or the successful completion of a remarkable project. These moments recharge our professional batteries and propel us forward in our careers. They often inspire us to achieve more.

For me (Camille), accepting an appointment to join the team establishing an Office of Cyber ​​Policy at the US Department of Homeland Security was a turning point in my career. My understanding of how my career could develop and the contributions I could make in and through cyber changed as I realized the benefits of a career that allowed me to move between sectors. I was able to support the drafting Presidential Policy Directive-41 It explains how the federal government organizes itself in the event of a serious cyber incident.

I was then able to leverage this understanding and build a federated security program at a large technology company, where I helped lead the Log4j shell response effort. Each sector offers a unique experience that, when combined, expands your personal professional toolkit.

Federal community service offers an opportunity that would greatly benefit from the expertise of talented technologists like you.

Other moments come unexpectedly. They surprise us and force us to rethink everything. They may even cause us to re-plan our future.

For me (Thomas) – I graduated in 2000 during massive layoffs in Silicon Valley. I was fired from my first job within three months. Though I managed to find another job and survive multiple rounds of layoffs, the instability made me reconsider what was important to me. Service has always been a part of my life and I was looking for ways to use my technical skills to make a difference. It was the United States Peace Corps’ mission to promote world peace and friendship, and its intention to promote mutual understanding between Americans and foreign peoples, that led me to apply to volunteer with the organization.

During my two years as an Information and Communications Technology volunteer in the Philippines, I have used my technical skills on projects including integrating technology into classrooms, developing an apprenticeship program for youth interested in computer repair, and developing a student information system for the local population teachers. The ability to foster innovation in a new environment and context changed the course of my career.

Despite the record low unemployment Five months into this new year, more than 170,000 workers at US-based tech companies have been laid off – and are suddenly faced with a unique, unplanned moment. In 2022, more than 140,000 technical workers were evicted. This is a crowd of highly skilled tech talent ready to take steps in new directions.

As senior leaders of our respective governmental organizations, who have each experienced similar unforeseen moments; We invite you to consider this turning point in history your chance to enter the civil service. The federal government has a unique role in the areas of cyber security and IT, which creates special career opportunities for people with your technical skills.

We recognize that government work can have a reputation for being overly bureaucratic. Additionally, budget cycles, established hiring powers, and traditional organizational structures sometimes make it difficult to quickly hire and onboard talent. But things are changing.

We are working hard to meet these challenges and increase opportunities for technologists to enter the federal workforce. The federal government has already taken many steps to seize this moment and alleviate the challenges associated with hiring public sector workers quickly. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the top US government agency that oversees federal civilian service, has advocated careers in federal IT for those affected by the recent layoffs. OPM hasprovidedIndustry-specific job fairs have issued new salary guidelines for agenciesleverageFunding from previous legislation andstreamlined the process for applicants to find public service opportunities – including working remotely.

If you’re not ready to move permanently into a federal career, many short-term, high-impact opportunities have emerged in the public sector, allowing specialized and highly-skilled digital talent to step into existing opportunities. With the Peace Corps, for example, we have thatPeace Corps Response , which recruits professionals with a variety of skills who know how to get started in volunteer placements lasting three to 12 months. In addition, we launched the virtual servicepilotan expanded service opportunity for returned Peace Corps volunteers to donate their time as individuals by working virtually on projects with colleagues in the host country.

The government cybersecurity landscape also needs talent like yours. youngest estimates state that demand for cybersecurity staff in the public sector has increased by 25% through 2022 with more than 45,708 new job postings. This ongoing need for cyber talent ranges from cybersecurity engineers and network security architects to cybersecurity analysts and policy makers.

The Office of the National Cyber ​​Director was tasked with doing so in the recently released notice National Cyber ​​Security Strategy to develop a cyber workforce and education strategy that, among other things, develops concrete mechanisms through which a more diverse group of people with different educational backgrounds and different professional experiences can more easily find their place in the public service.

We have helped drive cross-agency initiatives such as: technogov.orgto serve as a resource for technologists transitioning into government service. This includes facilitating workers’ transition from big-tech culture to state IT, organizing job fairs, and providing actionable hiring resources on the website.

As you get an overview of the career landscape and contemplating your next steps, we strongly encourage you to consider federal service. From improved incentives to streamlined hiring processes, serving the American people with the United States government has never been easier or more fruitful. For those still unsure, short-term opportunities such as those offered at the Peace Corps allow for temporary stops while Big Tech attempts to reposition itself.

We are both incredibly confident that federal community service has an opportunity that would benefit greatly from the expertise of talented technologists like you. We look forward to you embarking on your own journey to find the perfect solution and we look forward to working with you.

For job seekers looking for opportunities in the technology field within the federal government, see usajobs.govAnd technogov.orgfor more informations.

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