Letter to the Editor

I read articles in Federal Computer Week about how the impending retirement of IT personnel in the federal government is causing a crisis. These same articles talk about how difficult it is to attract and retain young information technology workers.

I would submit that the federal government could do itself a great service by improving the USA Jobs Web site (www.usajobs.opm.gov), operated by the Office of Personnel Management.

Put yourself in the shoes of someone who has experience, for example, building software to analyze satellite imagery and wants to find a civil service position. This person is skilled in C/C++, Java and Motif programming. How is this person supposed to search the USA Jobs Web site for a job requiring similar skills?

As far as I can tell, he or she must read the description of every computer specialist position the government has, looking for the keywords in which he or she is interested. The same person could go to Monster.com or Dice.com and set up job agents that e-mail him or her every day that those sites find a job description containing the keywords the job-seeker specifies.

And we wonder why the government is having trouble attracting young people to its ranks.

Name withheld by request

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