OPM proposes new IT job categories

As agencies feel the pinch of a tight labor market, the Office of Personnel Management this week moved one step closer to revising the way the government structures and defines the work performed by its information technology work force.

OPM released a draft list of new job titles and job profiles for computer specialists and telecommunications workers in the federal government. The intent is to make it easier for agencies to attract and retain technical employees. In a memo sent on Oct. 19 to personnel directors, OPM said the goal of the list "is to respond to agency concerns that today's tight labor market requires innovative, optimal approaches to IT recruitment and assessment, with particular reference to information security issues."

Most federal IT workers hold jobs in one of four occupational series or categories: computer specialist, telecommunications, computer engineering or computer science. However, the qualifications listed for these jobs do not specify particular technical skills, such as managing a local-area network or a World Wide Web site. The goal, therefore, is to change the standards to better resemble how the private sector structures job categories, which would help better match salaries with specific jobs.

The OPM draft proposes new specialty titles, such as network services and information security, which more accurately describe IT work performed by the GS-334 computer specialist and GS-391 telecommunications series of jobs. And, in an effort to provide a clear picture of what a job requires and how it will be measured, OPM also detailed new job profiles that describe specific qualifications required by employees in these IT positions.

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