Upskilling the Government Tech Workforce

Start Date: May 2019

Portfolio: Data + Digital

Stage: Exploratory

Summary + Problem Statement

In recent years, governments have increasingly begun reimagining the way they function and serve the needs of the populations they serve by utilizing modern technology, software development, and human centered design principles. This has led to creation of digital teams in government as well as the need to designate specialized technologists to carry out the work, such as software developers, human-centered designers, user-experience researchers, and data scientists.

Because these teams and workers are still quite new to government, and the field of public interest technology is still relatively new overall, there are limited career development resources for workers and limited capacity for governments to meet their needs. For example, most U.S. government offices do not presently have standardized roles, position descriptions, career ladders, and training for public interest technology workers, and while there are some established professional associations or activities outside the government, most aren’t currently designed for public interest technologists.

Project Elements


The Beeck Center’s Digital Service Collaborative, in partnership with The Rockefeller Foundation, is examining where resources to support the digital service field already exist within the network of government digital service leaders and bringing colleagues together to centrally catalog those resources, make them more findable and useful, and consider what other resources should be created.


This project aims to build upon the professionalization of the government digital service delivery field through the following four ways:

  • Building on the good models that already exist, we will create templates for job titles, position descriptions, and career ladders.
  • Examining existing training curriculum and opportunities to identify gaps in content, barriers to accessing this content, and recommendations for training pathways for government leaders.
  • Exploring the creation of a professional association for government digital service delivery professionals.
  • Evaluating the landscape of professional conferences and opportunities for in-person work and collaboration and will consider what might be beneficial to add to the existing offerings.

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Sarah Schacht

Fellow, Data + Digital
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Sara Hudson

Fellow, Data + Digital
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Vandhana Ravi

Program Associate, Data + Digital
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Cori Zarek

Executive Director
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