Editorial Cartoon

Good IT people are out there

In response to 'Federal jobs gain prestige, but hiring crisis persists' [GCN, Feb. 21, Page 1], I have observed a trend that continues in the worst way, and I feel compelled to voice my observations.

Government officials seem to feel that the answer to the hiring crisis is to outsource jobs in critical areas. I entirely disagree.

I was an Interior Department employee for the last eight years, until a reduction in force dissolved my position. It was my original intent after college to start and build a career with Interior. I have never encountered more obstructions to success than the nightmarish hiring process of the Office of Personnel Management.

The article states, 'Few people are aware of the types of job opportunities that exist in government.' It further says that the word isn't getting out, or that young people only look at the money aspect.

My observations are: One, government, and Interior in particular, makes zero attempt to retain existing, qualified employees at the lower GS levels. Two, in the same 5-9 GS range there is minimal promotion from within to higher levels.

Three, most IT support positions are graded GS-11 or higher, which excludes all entry-level IT professionals. Four, OPM works under the opinion that all IT personnel absolutely must have a computer science degree to be eligible for IT positions.

If you apply for any IT position at www.usajobs.opm.gov, the initial weed-out question inevitably asks if you have a four-year degree in computer science or information systems management.

The article states, '80 percent of college-educated Americans reject Uncle Sam as a potential employer.' According to OPM's current hiring process, those 80 percent didn't reject Uncle Sam; they simply were not eligible to apply for that dream job with Uncle Sam.

What OPM and every other government department does not, or will not, realize is that there are qualified people out there right now who are available and interested in providing IT support to their station, office, region or government in general. I was one of those people.

I personally know a number of former colleagues who are currently working in an IT capacity while in some other official role, and their regional offices neither recognize their contributions nor admit that these workers perform IT duties.

Also, OPM has created a conundrum for itself. In this day and age, the majority of computer science graduates are not the types of people who would even consider working for the federal government. Yet there are thousands of college-educated job seekers with advanced IT skills to offer and who are looking at government careers. They have degrees in resource management, business, natural sciences and forestry, for example. But they cannot qualify for IT related jobs because OPM refuses to recognize non-IT education and work experience.

What's the solution? If the government wants to solve this hiring crisis, then it must realize there are people right now who are capable, motivated and want to be involved in IT. They work in administration, maintenance, habitat management, planning, biology and many other fields'not just computer science and information technology.

Rick Heroux of the Securities and Exchange Commission should be applauded for acknowledging the hiring problem lies with government itself.

Outsourcing is prohibitively expensive. If government cannot afford to retain its own people, or fund maintenance and other projects that need priority attention, then how in the world can it even consider the unfathomable cost of outsourcing IT needs?

Outsourcing is not the answer. The answer is to change the outdated and absurd rules that keep ambitious and well-educated people from getting a foot in the IT door.

Timothy Roberts

Stevensville, Mont.


More than a decade before the introduction of the first IBM PC in 1982, Intel Corp. supplied the world's first microprocessor to Busicom Corp. of Japan for use in the Busicom printing calculator. According to the Computer Museum History Center in Mountain View, Calif., four Intel engineers'Ted Hoff, Federico Faggin, Stan Mazor and Matsatoshi Shima'designed and built the Intel 4004 microprocessor in 1971 to replace dozens of discrete logic chips and meet Busicom's rigorous packaging requirements.

Since then, CPUs embedded in equipment, like those in the Busicom calculators, have vastly outnumbered their counterparts in computers.

As for the Busicom calculator, it fell victim to intense competition, and the company sold rights to the 4004 microprocessor back to Intel.

The 4004 became the progenitor of many generations of CPUs, including the 8080, 8086, 8088, x86 and Pentiums used by the hundreds of millions worldwide. The Computer Museum History Center has a Busicom calculator on display.

'Wilson P. Dizard III

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