OPM pitches IT job family

The Office of Personnel Management last week proposed a new job family for federal information technology occupations that would make it easier to recruit and retain IT workers.

The draft IT job standard, which OPM released for comment last week, is the next step in creating a new IT management specialist series that would replace the existing computer specialist and telecommunications series of jobs.

The move is part of the ongoing effort to simplify the General Schedule classification system "to make sure these specialty titles describe the nature of the work" that is being done, said an OPM spokesman. "By having specialty titles, you have a better chance of getting a person with the right set of skills that you need."

OPM has been reviewing IT occupations for more than a year in an effort to make it easier for agencies to attract IT workers from outside the government and for agencies to specify the type of jobs they need.

Late last year, OPM released a draft list of specialty job titles and job profiles for computer specialists and telecommunications workers. The new draft IT job standard contains occupational information, factor-level definitions — such as required job competencies — and illustrations geared toward those specialties.

Fred Thompson, program manager for the Information Technology Workforce Improvement Program at the Treasury Department, said there is general support for the changes. They put IT jobs "in a more commercial structure," he said, adding that agencies would be in a better position to compare job responsibilities and wages with industry.

OPM is accepting comments on the draft IT job standard until Oct. 20. To view the draft, go to www.opm.gov/fedclass/html/whatshot.htm.

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