Feds have edge in some IT skills

"Closing the Gap: Government and Private Sector IT Skills"

Federal information technology workers outscore their private-sector counterparts when it comes to understanding certain technologies, including Unix and Linux, according to a recent report.

The Brainbench report compiled and compared the scores of 4,110 government and 7,096 private-sector employees who had taken the company's online tests to evaluate their knowledge of a particular technology.

The result showed that government IT workers scored better than their private-sector counterparts in disciplines such as Unix, Linux and Microsoft Corp. technologies.

"I was surprised to see that the government has an edge in the Linux and Unix and Windows 2000 server administration," said Mike Russiello, Brainbench's president and chief executive officer. "I wasn't surprised to see that the government on the whole appears to be better trained on Microsoft office tools."

Private-sector IT workers outscore government workers in five other technology areas, including networking, databases, programming language and Internet technologies skills.

Networking and database work are areas that agencies typically contract out, Russiello said. When it comes to server administration, "there are still agencies [that are] protective of the servers and want to run it themselves and that explains the Linux and Unix skills."

The report, "Closing the Gap: Government and Private Sector IT Skills," was released Oct. 29.

Brainbench helps companies and individuals quantify and qualify their skills, Russiello said. "We have a library of about 400 exams that people can take as individuals or as employees of a company. We measure their skills. We help individuals take tests and help them become certified." The company also helps to screen job applicants and measure their skill sets.

Brainbench counts the Defense Information Systems Agency, the Agriculture Department, the Office of Personnel Management and the State Department among its government customers.

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