For recent IT degree program graduates as well as those already in the workforce, the federal government can be a great source of jobs. Information technology is a key tool for keeping things running. However, budgetary and political issues have caused some changes that may affect your options. Here are four of the biggest shifts in the landscape.
Think you have a hard time with the household budget? Try running a government. The federal deficit is at a 60 year high at 10 percent of gross domestic product. The only times it has been higher since 1900 was when the country was involved in the two World Wars.
Expect IT spending to be flat in the near future. That’s on the average. Some budgets will get hit harder than others. For example, deficit hawks have eyed stimulus funds for healthcare IT spending as a possible candidate for cutting. The Department of Homeland Security also faces pressures to reduce spending, and so IT hiring will be slower than expected. The Office of Management and Budget has shown itself ready to scrap projects that show little promise.
What to do? Pay close attention to news on the budget process and its impact on various agencies, and then look at the ones that seem to have weathered the storm. Public records should also give clues as to what hiring an agency plans.
Open Government Pushback and Cyber Security
After WikiLeaks released confidential State Department cables, the Obama administration has increased its concern that too much information is available. At first glance, that could seem like a factor to slow IT spending. After all, if there is too much sharing, just share less and spare the IT expense otherwise incurred.
But don’t get discouraged, because this falls into the area of cyber security. The information is already online, and WikiLeaks happened not because of open government initiatives, but, rather, a leak of classified information. Government will need more security, not less, and spending is expected to hit $13.5 billion by 2015.
IT efficiency isn’t only for corporations. The federal government is slated to eliminate 800 data centers by 2015. That means a reduction in positions as fewer people administer the same amount of work.
The good news is that if you walk in with the right background and high-demand skills including experience with x86-based servers, virtualization, and remote management or security, you are an attractive candidate.
Companies are utilizing cloud computing because it holds the promise of lowering operational costs, among other benefits. As companies such as Microsoft and Google square off to get government contracts, what the government directly manages will drop.
If you can demonstrate the knowledge to make the technology work, you may become indispensible to government and private sector organizations. This is a case where additional training, like a master’s in information systems from American Sentinel, could give you an edge. An online IT degree can give you the strategic skills necessary to integrate an organization’s information systems with its management goals.