An open letter to tech workers about careers in public service

Dear technology workers,

The races are defined by moments.

Sometimes these moments are meticulously planned and carefully strategized—the 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. Often, they also inspire us to achieve more.

For me (Camille), accepting an appointment to be part of the team that started a cyber policy office at the US Department of Homeland Security changed the trajectory of my career. My understanding of how my career could evolve and the contributions I could make in and through cyber changed when I realized the benefits of a career that allowed me to move between sectors. I was able to support the drafting of Presidential Policy Directive-41 that describes how the federal government is organized during a significant cyber incident.

I was then able to take that understanding and develop a federated security program at a large tech company, where I helped lead Log4j’s shell response efforts. Each industry provides a unique expertise that, when combined, enhances your personal career toolkit.

The federal civil service has an opportunity that would greatly benefit from the expertise of talented technologists like you.

Other moments are unexpected. They catch us off guard and force us to rethink everything. Maybe they’ll even make us redraw our future.

For me (Thomas): I graduated in 2000 during the mass layoffs in Silicon Valley. I was fired from my first job after three months. Although I was able to get another job and survive multiple rounds of layoffs, the instability made me rethink what was important to me. Service has always been a part of my life and I looked for opportunities to apply my technology skills to make a difference. It was the United States Peace Corps mission of global peace and friendship and its intent to promote mutual understanding between Americans and foreign peoples that drew me to volunteer for the agency.

During my two-year tenure as an information and communications technology volunteer in the Philippines, I applied my technology skills to projects that included integrating technology into classrooms, developing an apprentice program for youth interested in repairing computers and the development of a student information system for local students. 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 suddenly they are facing a unique and unexpected moment. In 2022, more than 140,000 tech workers were shown the door. This is a host of highly-skilled tech talent ready to take steps in new directions.

As senior leaders within our respective government organizations who have faced similar moments without a script or anticipation; We invite you to view this turning point in history as your opportunity to immerse yourself in government service. The federal government has a unique role in IT and cybersecurity, creating distinctive career opportunities for individuals with your technology skill set.

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

We are working hard to overcome these challenges and increase opportunities for technologists to join the federal workforce. The federal government has already taken many steps to capitalize on this moment and alleviate the challenges associated with fast-track hiring in the public sector. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the main US government office that oversees the federal civil service, has championed careers in federal IT for those affected by recent layoffs. OPM hashostedindustry-specific job fairs, issued new pay guidance to agencies forleveragefunding from previous legislation andaerodynamic the process for applicants to find opportunities within government service, including remote work.

If you’re not ready to make a permanent switch to a federal career, many short-term, high-impact public sector opportunities have emerged that allow highly-skilled, specialized digital talent to plug into existing pathways. For example, in the Peace Corps, we havePeace Corps response , which recruits professionals with various skills who know how to get started on volunteer assignments of three to 12 months. In addition, we have launched the Virtual ServicePilotan expanded service opportunity for returning Peace Corps Volunteers to donate their time as private citizens by participating virtually with their host country counterparts in projects.

The government cybersecurity landscape needs talent like yours, too. Recent Dear All They cite that the demand for public sector cybersecurity employees grew by 25% through 2022, with more than 45,708 new job offers. This ongoing need for cyber talent ranges from cyber security engineers and network security architects to cyber security analysts. and policy makers.

The Office of the National Cyber ​​Director was commissioned in the recently published National Cybersecurity Strategy to design a cyber workforce and education strategy that, among other things, develops concrete mechanisms through which a more diverse group of people with diverse educational backgrounds and professional experiences can more easily fit into government service.

We have helped promote inter-institutional initiatives, such as, to serve as a resource for technologists transitioning to government service. This includes helping to ease the transition of workers from the Big Tech culture to federal IT, hosting job fairs, and presenting actionable hiring resources on the website.

As you review the employment landscape and think about your next steps, we strongly encourage you to consider federal service. From enhanced incentives to streamlined hiring processes, serving the American people with the US government has never been easier or more rewarding. For those who aren’t sure yet, short-term opportunities like those featured in the Peace Corps allow for fixed period shutdowns while Big Tech looks to reposition itself.

We are both incredibly confident that the federal civil service has an opportunity that would greatly benefit from the expertise of talented technologists like you. We’re excited for you to embark on your own journey to find the perfect fit, and we look forward to serving alongside you.

For job seekers seeking technology opportunities within the federal government, visit usajobs.govand techtogov.orgfor more information.


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