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NASCIO: Tech Leaders Say Gov IT Work Can Be Your Best First and Last Job

To get the next generation of IT talent into government, Montana CISO Andy Hanks wants candidates to think of state IT work as a great way to bookend a career in technology.

Montana CISO Andy Hanks
Government Technology/David Kidd
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Luring young people into government work is on the agenda of every state CIO. A perennially popular topic, IT leaders at this week’s NASCIO Midyear Conference flocked to a Monday session with the Texas Department of Information Resources’ Chief People and Culture Officer Lisa Jammer.

But as the new generation enters the workforce and begins their professional career, the private sector can often offer salaries and perks with which government can’t compete.

Acknowledging that a first job is often just one of many on a diverse career journey, GT asked state technology leaders what their pitch is to young professionals to convince them to consider the public sector.

Utah CIO Alan Fuller had just spoken to a group of students recently. “Just last week, I spoke to an MBA class at one of the local universities and made my pitch as best I could,” he said. Noting his own private-sector background, he pointed to the “purpose-driven, service-oriented” people he enjoys working with in state government. “We at the state have a really unique opportunity to do lots of cool and interesting work,” he added, from working on electronic health records and drones to homelessness and more.

Montana Chief Information Security Officer Andy Hanks said the state is a great place to start, as well as end, a career, pointing as Fuller did to the broad base of experience it offers, in contrast to the specialized work of a lot of private-sector roles.

Noelle Knell is the executive editor for e.Republic, responsible for setting the overall direction for e.Republic’s editorial platforms, including Government Technology, Governing, Industry Insider, Emergency Management and the Center for Digital Education. She has been with e.Republic since 2011, and has decades of writing, editing and leadership experience. A California native, Noelle has worked in both state and local government, and is a graduate of the University of California, Davis, with majors in political science and American history.
Lauren Kinkade is the managing editor for Government Technology magazine. She has a degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and more than 15 years’ experience in book and magazine publishing.