To harness the power of data science across the Federal government, Deputy Federal CIO Maria Roat said that agencies are launching a new subject matter expert hiring initiative alongside the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) data science reskilling program.

While the Federal Data Strategy provides the 10-year horizon on what Federal data management could look like, Roat said the COVID-19 pandemic has underscored an increased need for a data-centric government.

“Throughout the pandemic we experienced the need for horizontal and vertical data sharing throughout multiple levels of government,” Roat said at the October 6 FCW IT Modernization Summit, “including the states through to the Federal government and across from agency to agency.”

Roat asserted that the Federal government needs to become a data-centric enterprise where data is the foundation for everything it does. To fulfill this mission, the Federal government is taking actionable steps such as making data more accessible, improving data quality, and building a workforce with the skills and knowledge to connect data management to agency mission.

OMB and the Federal CIO Council launched a data science training program following the success of the Federal Cyber Reskilling Academy to train existing Federal employees on data skills relevant to their jobs. Roat revealed that 61 Feds “from GS-7s to SES [Senior Executive Service] and covering DoD as well” with existing data experience are now enrolled in the six-month program.

“The purpose of this is to give them an understanding of R and Python and some of the other tools and utilities,” Roat said of the program, “and giving them those capabilities and skills so that they continue to grow.”

Alongside efforts to bolster existing talent, the Federal government is also launching a data science subject matter expert hiring initiative based on a similar successful pilot in the customer experience space.

“We’re identifying common data science vacancies across the Federal government so we can move forward with a government wide hiring action,” Roat said of effort, “and this will be a government wide data science competitive hiring action that uses subject matter experts to create the qualifying assessments to determine who is qualified.”

Read More About
More Topics
Katie Malone
Katie Malone
Katie Malone is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.