Survey says...

Federal information technology personnel: The CIO Council wants to hear from you.

The council set up an electronic survey probing IT workers' skills, activities and certifications. The survey satisfies the Clinger-Cohen Act requirements for annual surveys across each department.

The voluntary, anonymous survey is intended to give the government a clear picture of the workforce's abilities and gaps in competencies. The survey questions IT specialists, computer specialists, computer scientists and computer engineers in five areas.

Ira Hobbs, the council's co-chairman of the Workforce and Human Capital for IT Committee, said the survey's success will depend on the number of people who fill it out. "Certainly, you will be able to see the end process at the end of the day," he said.

The council's survey allows agencies to assess their workforce skills without having to create their own survey. Agencies will use the survey information for developing their workforce plans, according to council officials.

Hobbs said the survey takes five to 20 minutes to fill out. It is broken down into five areas: demographics, competencies, certifications, IT skills and activities. Employees are asked to rate their proficiency on a five-point scale from none to expert in cost benefit analysis, information assurance and problem solving, for example. They are also asked about their specific levels of training and certification.

Although it is not 100 percent effective, the survey will provide a comprehensive view of workforce issues and signals a commitment from management, said Al Ressler, director of the National Academy of Public Administration's Center for Human Resources Management.

"It's statistically reliable because you get a response from the workforce that management is looking out for the interest of the agency and [the workers'] interests," Ressler said.

Annual surveys are necessary to keep data current despite employee turnover and attrition, he said. "You want to keep a constant database of information associated with how you want to allocate your resources," he said. "It keeps the database refreshed with the current organization."

Max Stier, president and chief executive officer of the Partnership for Public Service, said the survey can be effective for gathering broad data for funding and personnel plans. Managers may need to be involved in surveying to gauge employee attitude in greater depth. "They might want to do more than have a questionnaire that's up to the IT workers to fill out, as opposed to having the managers conduct the survey," he said.

Stier said he welcomes the governmentwide activity. "It's an important development to see the CIO Council engaging in a cross-government review of the skills in place," he said.

The value, however, will depend on how many people fill it out, he said.

FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.


  • Shutterstock image: looking for code.

    How DOD embraced bug bounties -- and how your agency can, too

    Hack the Pentagon proved to Defense Department officials that outside hackers can be assets, not adversaries.

  • Shutterstock image: cyber defense.

    Why PPD-41 is evolutionary, not revolutionary

    Government cybersecurity officials say the presidential policy directive codifies cyber incident response protocols but doesn't radically change what's been in practice in recent years.

  • Anne Rung -- Commerce Department Photo

    Exit interview with Anne Rung

    The government's departing top acquisition official said she leaves behind a solid foundation on which to build more effective and efficient federal IT.

  • Charles Phalen

    Administration appoints first head of NBIB

    The National Background Investigations Bureau announced the appointment of its first director as the agency prepares to take over processing government background checks.

  • Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.)

    Senator: Rigid hiring process pushes millennials from federal work

    Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said agencies are missing out on younger workers because of the government's rigidity, particularly its protracted hiring process.

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1987, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group