The Government Is Now the Hottest Tech Employer in Town

And tech workers’ interest in government jobs remains strong. In late October, more than 3,000 people registered for a Tech to Gov career event, hosted by the Tech Talent Project, a nonprofit that helps the U.S. government recruit for technology positions. A thousand others had registered on a waiting list.

“It’s not just about layoffs: What I’ve actually seen is people taking a break from the tech sector,” says Jennifer Anastasoff, executive director of Tech Talent Project. “It’s a moment where people have started to pause and think about where they can make the most difference.”

A federal technology job portal had 107 openings in mid-November. Salaries range from around $40,000 to almost $240,000. The Office of Personnel Management, the human resources arm of the federal government, made a pitch to laid-off tech workers earlier this year, hoping to get some of them back. 22,000 people in technology positions in the public sector. That office did not respond to emails seeking updates on the hiring process for tech jobs. But the country’s small government agencies have made great strides in attracting high-level workers from the private sector.

New York recently hired a former high-ranking Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts employee to become its first customer experience manager. Shelby Switzer accepted the position of director of Baltimore’s new digital services team earlier this year. Three new employees were hired under Switzerland, all from the private sector. The group’s first project was to modernize permits; Instead of going to multiple offices in person to obtain permits for events and street closures, people can now apply online. It sounds simple, but for local government, it’s a huge deal.

One such benefit is hiring a UX designer, says Switzer. “Having someone who is an expert in thinking about the usability of technology services is just totally new.” But working in government can mean a technical team trying to innovate while being stuck in a larger, slow-moving pool. “There is enormous organizational inertia,” says Switzer. “Government wasn’t really designed to be efficient.”

These kinds of small changes are difficult to achieve in government, but we’re seeing a trend toward more and more cities and states investing in tech infrastructure. In early November, in Pennsylvania, the Commonwealth Office of Digital Experience, or CODE PA, launched a system that allows residents, businesses, charities and schools to check if they are eligible for a refund after paying for a permit , license or certification. , then request a refund.

Pennsylvania is investing big in technology and AI under Josh Shapiro, its new governor. He hired Amaya Capellán, who left Comcast for Pennsylvania government this year, trading her corporate life for the role of Pennsylvania’s chief information officer. Some of Capellán’s initial priorities include finding ways for governments to use generative AI and updating permits and licenses.

Capellán says people may realize that tech companies treat them as expendable, pushing them to reconsider their roles in tech. “It’s really inspiring to think about the ways you can make a positive impact on people’s lives. »

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