Letter to the editor
I read your article in Federal Computer Week ["Report: Feds must work on IT worker shortage," FCW.com, Oct. 26, 2000]
regarding the National Research Council report on relieving information
technology worker shortages, and I would like to share my views as a federal
employee about how the government recruits personnel for IT positions.
I've been programming for my agency for more than three years, but programming
is not exactly in my job description. I have designed, developed and installed
complete Visual Basic applications used by my agency. I currently instruct
a course at my local school in Visual Basic programming. After three-plus
years with positive feedback at work and the drive to go further into a
demanding career field, I've decided to apply for some computer specialist/programmer
What I have seen is that the government does not look for IT skills
from within first. I discussed my career change with an Office of Personnel
Management assistant, and after our conversation was over, I hung up the
phone disappointed. Knowing that I have applications running on-site that
I have designed, developed and installed didn't seem to matter much to the
OPM assistant because it wasn't in my current job description.
The very hard task I have is to make OPM understand my programming skills.
I feel some sections of our government tend to be narrow-minded in some
areas, but I wish it wasn't in information technology.
The agency I'm with has been great and has enabled me to attend programming
seminars, etc. My grade is equivalent to a low GS-13 in pay with 12 years
of federal service. My goal is for 18 more, creative years in the IT career
Oh well, just thought I would share my vision of this so-called government
IT shortage. Maybe they're "looking for IT in all the wrong places."
Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Fort Worth, Texas
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