CIO Council finds IT workers lack necessary skills

Few federal workers said they have extensive experience in IT security, records management, privacy, e-government and enterprise architecture. And the gaps in these skills are leading the CIO Council to begin working with the Office of Personnel Management and others to hire, train and overall improve the IT workforce.

The council found in its 2003 Clinger-Cohen Assessment Survey, released Friday, that just under 15 percent of the more than 19,000 federal IT workers questioned said they have extensive knowledge of cybersecurity. In other areas such as e-government, the number was just under 5 percent and for enterprise architecture the number was just over 6 percent.

“Based on self-assessments, competency proficiencies were rated higher than skill proficiencies,” the report said. “This could reflect that the workforce, in general, is equipped to handle complex jobs without the need to understand how a particular technology works.”

The report also attributed these gaps to lack of training and certification to stay abreast of new technologies, or because these functions typically are done by contractors.

A majority of the respondents, though, said they had great proficiency with hardware, configuration management, operating systems, technical documentation, data management as well as interpersonal skills, problem solving, customer service and decision making.

The survey also put to rest the notion that the federal workforce will leave in droves in the next few years. While 76 percent of the respondents are over 40 years old, almost 60 percent said they plan to retire in 11 to 20 years.

The CIO Council found the typical IT worker:

  • is 46 and 50 years old

  • is a General Schedule 13 grade

  • has more than 20 years of government experience

  • has little or no private-sector experience

  • plans to leave their organization in three years

  • holds a bachelor’s degree

In the report, the CIO Council recommended its Committee on IT Workforce and Human Capital should work with OPM’s Human Capital Leadership and Merit System Accountability Division and Chief Human Capital Officers Council to develop a governmentwide IT workforce strategy. The plan would build capacity by developing a future description of the IT workforce.

Part of that work would include evaluating the need for potential guidelines for the types of experience, credentials and certification important for successful performance in certain mission-critical IT occupations.

The Council also wants its workforce committee to work with its Federal Architecture and Infrastructure Committee to incorporate human capital into the Federal Enterprise Architecture Business Reference Model to help focus agency planning and management.

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