Mixed bag on IT reclassification

Almost a year later, few employees have been converted to the GS-2210 series

Almost a year after it was released, a new job family standard designed to bring the job descriptions and titles for information technology workers in the government into alignment with the private sector has had little effect on most of those workers.

The new GS-2200 job family — released by the Office of Personnel Management in June 2001 after an exhaustive design process — includes the GS-2210 IT specialist series, which replaces the GS-0334 computer specialist series.

As of December 2001, the most recent date for which numbers are available, only about 10 percent of the 60,283 total employees who were classified under the old series had been converted to the new series, according to federal employment data published quarterly by OPM.

The decade-old GS-0334 series classified all of the employees it covered as "computer specialists," a confusingly general grouping. The new GS-2210 series includes 10 "parenthetical specialty titles," such as network services, applications software and systems administration, which are intended to help agencies better define IT jobs.

However, reclassifying employees under the new specialties requires a time-consuming cataloging of the tasks individuals classified under the old series now perform, federal IT executives and other experts say.

In the Office of the Chief Information Officer for the Commerce Department, for example, "we're [reorganizing] our entire organization — realigning people, removing layers of management and trying to stay in line with the direction of the [Bush] administration," said Karen Hogan, Commerce's deputy CIO. "Ultimately, we will also be rewriting and reclassifying job standards, but we haven't done that yet, because of all these other things."

Some experts also blame the reclassification lag on the government's diversion of its IT workers into information security in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Reclassifying thousands of federal IT workers to another, more complex job family "is a major undertaking," said Rich D'Adamo, president of Workforce Solutions Inc. and formerly project leader for OPM's IT occupational study, which culminated in the new standards. "Agency IT and [human resources] offices are generally understaffed, and on the IT side, there's a lot of effort being devoted to cybersecurity."

Federal IT professionals are frustrated by the lag, however.

"For more than a year, the Air Force Personnel Center has had the GS-2200 series on their list of coming attractions," wrote Allan Emerson, systems administrator for the 27th Contracting Squadron at Cannon Air Force Base in New Mexico, in an e-mail message to Federal Computer Week. "Inquiries as to the progress have been vague, and any dates they have provided all have come and gone. The information they're giving me is smoke and mirrors."

The lack of widespread reclassification also appears to have a negative effect on agencies' ability to recruit the right people for jobs in the IT field.

"Most of the people we talk to who would be interested in the feds don't have any change in perception" because of the new job family, said Dave Tittle, president of Paul-Tittle Search Group, an executive search firm with government clients. "They may see changes in the title, but in many cases, you don't even see that."

The hardest part of reclassification, CIOs say, is deciding who belongs in the new series and who doesn't. Although many employees have IT-related duties and responsibilities, not all of them will fall under the guidelines OPM issued last year governing reclassification.

In addition, the guidelines didn't set what Judy Davis, chief of OPM's Classification Programs Division, called "hard and fast rules" about when agencies must complete their reclassifications. "We said agencies should apply the newly issued standards within a reasonable period of time as determined by [the] agency," she said.

There is a bright side to the reclassification issue, however. For those agencies that have converted to the new standard, the response is overwhelmingly positive.

The State Department recently used the new standards in evaluating candidates who applied for 103 IT job openings via the "virtual" online IT job fair held in late April. The new standards "really identify the individuals who have the skills you need," said Manuela Paninski, director of the human resource office in State's Bureau of Information Resource Management.

Linda Massaro, CIO of the National Science Foundation, has reclassified the 65 IT professionals who report to her and has also used the standards for NSF's new electronic recruiting system. The new job family "has fit really well with that," she said.

Cooperation between an agency's human resources managers and IT managers is crucial to making a reclassification effort work, D'Adamo said.

Carl Staton, the new CIO of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said his agency converted to the new standards without a hitch.

"We had a very good relationship with our personnel-servicing agencies," he said. "We worked closely with them."

***

Where do you fit in?

The GS-2210 job series, released a year ago, was designed to bring to the federal government the diversity of positions and titles held by information technology workers in the private sector. The standard establishes 10 specialty titles for IT work, along with descriptions of the jobs and the knowledge and skills necessary to perform them.

The specialties are:

* Applications software.

* Customer support.

* Data management.

* Internet.

* Network services.

* Operating systems.

* Policy and planning.

* Security.

* Systems administration.

* Systems analysis.

NEXT STORY: Anti-terror bills march forward

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.