From Silicon Valley to Capitol Hill: The Thrilling Career That Blends Innovation and Public Service


As technology continues to advance and infiltrate almost every aspect of our lives, the way governments function is also changing. From utilizing smart city initiatives to promoting digital democracy, technology is playing a significant role in transforming traditional government practices. As a result, the need for technology experts within government agencies has become increasingly important. 

In this article, we will delve into the opportunities available in tech-related public service jobs, how these roles can make a meaningful impact on society, and simple tips and tricks to successfully transition to a tech-enabled government career. 

How technology is impacting public service jobs

According to a survey conducted by Deloitte, 73% of government officials believe that their agencies are not keeping up with the pace of technological advancements. To counteract falling behind in the digital era, government agencies have started to actively recruit tech talent. 

A report by the Partnership for Public Service and Booz Allen Hamilton found that 80% of federal government leaders surveyed identified “technology and innovation” as a high or very high priority for their agencies. Some of the key ways in which technology is impacting public service agencies include:

  1. Smart city initiatives: Many cities around the world are leveraging technology to improve infrastructure, transportation, and public services. For example, cities are installing sensors to monitor traffic and reduce congestion, implementing smart waste management systems, and using data analytics to improve emergency response times.
  2. Digital democracy: Governments are increasingly using technology to engage citizens and make democracy more accessible. This includes online voting, e-petitions, and crowdsourcing platforms to gather input on policy decisions.
  3. Open data: Governments are making more data available to the public, allowing citizens, researchers, and businesses to use the data to create new products and services. Open data initiatives include making government records, such as budgets and meeting minutes, available online in machine-readable formats.
  4. Cloud computing: Governments are moving their computing infrastructure to the cloud, allowing for greater scalability, flexibility, and cost savings. This includes moving email, storage, and applications to cloud-based platforms.
  5. Artificial intelligence: Governments are using artificial intelligence (AI) to improve public services in areas such as public safety, healthcare, and transportation. For example, AI-powered chatbots can provide citizens with personalized responses to their queries, and predictive analytics can help governments anticipate and prevent problems before they occur.

The benefits of working in a tech-enabled government role

The above are just some of the ways that technology is driving the demand for tech-savvy talent in the public service sector. However, you may still be wondering if a public service career is the right choice for you. To help you decide, here are some of the benefits of working in a tech-enabled government role. 

  1. Increased efficiency and productivity: Technology can streamline and automate many government processes, allowing employees to work more efficiently and focus on higher-level tasks. This can help reduce bureaucracy, save time and resources, and ultimately improve service delivery for citizens.
  2. Opportunities for innovation: The government is often seen as a slow-moving, bureaucratic entity, but technology can provide opportunities for creative problem-solving and innovation. Tech-enabled government roles may involve working with cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence, blockchain, or big data analytics, which can be exciting and challenging.
  3. Positive impact on society: By working in a tech-enabled government role, you have the opportunity to make a tangible impact on society. For example, you might be involved in developing digital services that improve citizens’ access to healthcare, education, or social services. Or you might be working on initiatives to increase digital inclusion and bridge the digital divide, ensuring that everyone has equal access to technology and its benefits.

Top 5 in-demand tech skills for government jobs

Transitioning into a new career and going through the recruitment process tends to be grueling. One of the most important things you can do to make this time easier is to pick up some of the most in-demand tech skills that government recruiters are looking out for. We’ve identified the top five below.

  1. Cybersecurity: In an increasingly digital world, cybersecurity is crucial for protecting sensitive government data and infrastructure. Cybersecurity professionals are in high demand in government roles, with skills in threat analysis, risk management, and incident response being particularly sought-after.
  2. Data analytics: With the growing importance of data-driven decision-making, skills in data analytics and data science are highly valued in government roles. This includes proficiency in tools like SQL, Python, and R, as well as experience with data visualization and statistical analysis.
  3. Cloud computing: Many government agencies are migrating their IT infrastructure to the cloud, creating a need for professionals with skills in cloud computing platforms like AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud Platform. Knowledge of containerization and automation tools like Docker and Kubernetes is also highly valued.
  4. Software development: Government agencies are increasingly developing their own software applications to improve service delivery and meet citizen needs. Skills in software development, including programming languages like Java, Python, and JavaScript, as well as experience with agile development methodologies, are highly valued.
  5. Project management: The ability to effectively manage complex technology projects is a critical skill in government roles. This includes skills in project planning, budgeting, risk management, and stakeholder engagement, as well as familiarity with project management frameworks like Agile and Prince2.

Top 3 tips for finding and applying for government tech jobs

Government agencies often have specific requirements and hiring procedures, and the competition for these positions can be fierce. However, with the right approach, you can increase your chances of landing a government tech job that matches your skills and interests. Here are the top three tips for finding and applying for government tech jobs.

  1. Identify the right job opportunities: Government agencies often have a variety of tech-related positions available, so it’s important to identify the roles that best match your skills and experience. Look for job postings that match your skills and interests, and consider reaching out to recruiters or networking with people who work in government tech roles to learn about opportunities.
  2. Tailor your application: Government job applications often require detailed and specific information, including education and work history, certifications, and references. Make sure to read the job posting carefully and tailor your application to highlight your relevant experience and skills. Be sure to provide specific examples that demonstrate your ability to work in a government setting and handle complex tech-related tasks.
  3. Be prepared for the interview: If you are selected for an interview, be prepared to discuss your experience and skills in detail. You may be asked about your experience working with specific technologies or your knowledge of government policies and regulations. It’s also important to demonstrate your ability to work collaboratively with others and communicate effectively, as these are critical skills in government tech roles. Be sure to research the agency and the role beforehand, and come prepared with questions that demonstrate your interest and knowledge.

For social impact enthusiasts: the role of tech in advancing public service

Technology has the potential to drive positive social impact by providing solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. From addressing inequality to improving access to education and healthcare, technology has the power to create positive change. One way technology can be used for social good is through government programs. Many governments have started to utilize technology to improve public services and make them more accessible to citizens. For example, India’s Aadhaar program uses biometric identification to provide a unique identification number to every citizen, enabling them to access various government services more easily.

In addition to government programs, at GA, we are working towards making the tech industry more inclusive. Our mission is to change the faces of tech experts by providing training and support to underrepresented groups, such as women, people of color, and minorities. By doing so, we hope to create a more diverse and inclusive tech industry where everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed.

Tech professionals can also play a vital role in creating social impact. There are many opportunities for tech professionals to work on projects with a social impact, such as developing software to help track and prevent the spread of diseases, creating tools to help refugees access essential services or building platforms that connect people with mental health support.

Technology can also help governments become more efficient and responsive to their constituents. For instance, data analytics can help government agencies identify trends and patterns, enabling them to make better decisions and allocate resources more effectively. Additionally, automation tools can help streamline processes and reduce bureaucracy, making it easier for citizens to access public services. By leveraging technology, governments can become more efficient, transparent, and accountable, ultimately improving the lives of their citizens.

Career changers: how to transition to a tech-enabled government career with GA

Networking and professional development are crucial components of success in government tech roles. Networking can help you build relationships with other professionals in your field, learn about new job opportunities, and gain insights into the culture and priorities of different government agencies. You can network by attending industry conferences and events, participating in online forums and social media groups, and connecting with colleagues and mentors. 

Professional development is also important in government tech roles, as technology is constantly evolving and new skills are in high demand. You can develop your skills through online training courses, industry certifications, and continuing education programs. Many government agencies offer professional development opportunities for their employees, and it’s worth exploring these options to stay up-to-date on the latest technologies and trends.

Another thing to keep in mind is once you’ve identified the types of roles you’re interested in, it’s important to develop the necessary skills and credentials. This might involve enrolling in training programs, obtaining relevant certifications, or building a portfolio of relevant projects. 

General Assembly is a resource that can help with all of these steps. We offer a range of training programs in areas like cybersecurity, data science, and software engineering, as well as career coaching and networking opportunities.

We’re here for you

With this blog, we’ve shared some fundamental tips and tricks to getting started in a tech-enabled government career, how to land the public service job you will love, and the benefits of working in the public service industry.

If you’re curious about pursuing a government career, but need more information to get started on your career transition, feel free to reach out to our admissions team. With GA, you can receive tailored advice for your professional endeavors and step-by-step guides on how to get started.

Disclaimer: General Assembly referred to their Bootcamps and Short Courses as “Immersive” and “Part-time” courses respectfully and you may see that reference in posts prior to 2023.