Articles

Tech to GovTech Transition Guide

by Daniel Pritchett / 14 February, 2024

My first programming job was for a university lab in partnership with the Alabama Department of Transportation. While this provided me with early exposure to the nature of government technology work, it was only for a brief period. My father also worked in defense technology for most of my childhood; however, I didn’t find the right opportunity to follow his path until a few years ago. After college, I worked for large and publicly traded companies, some small software development agencies, and eventually some tech startups. Now, I’m a few years into my GovTech transition, and I’ve learned more than I could have possibly anticipated when making this change.

Benefits of Working in GovTech

Mission: Working on government projects can provide a greater sense of pride and accomplishment as the impact of the work is often more tangible than in the private sector.

Name Recognition: One challenging aspect of working in regional tech jobs or high-flying startups is that your friends, family, and most importantly, future hiring managers are likely unfamiliar with the company. This can present an additional challenge while networking and participating in job interviews. However, if you work in the GovTech space, you won’t find name recognition to be an issue, as people are generally familiar with the workings of the military, as well as federal, state, and municipal governments.

Skill Development: If you’re building tech solutions that solve real-world problems while meeting the strict safety and security standards of the Department of Defense, you’ll gain valuable experience, knowledge, and skills that are highly desirable and transferable.

For instance, when you collaborate with an employer to acquire a Continuous Authorization to Operate (cATO) or a specific DoD Impact Level authorization, you will have an advantage in the future when you need to deliver similar requirements for another job.

Tips for GovTech Transitions

Stay up to date on computer security: Government systems have stringent security requirements, so it’s a good idea to be aware of at least the basics of cybersecurity. If you’re pursuing a career in software, security training and certification courses like Security+ are worth your time.

Prepare for background checks: Some GovTech job opportunities will require you to be eligible for a security clearance. Look up the basic questions and documentation you’ll need to fill out an SF-86 form — you will need to be able to provide references from past jobs and some details on your legal and tax history.

Why New Grads and Early Career Professionals Should Consider a Career in GovTech

Travel: Working in defense contracting has allowed me to travel to places in the United States that I may not have had the chance to visit otherwise. For young and ambitious professionals, volunteering for business travel can be an exciting opportunity to see new places and gain valuable experience.

Geographic Flexibility: Location is a significant advantage for government jobs. Not only do you have different travel options to consider, but there’s also a good chance that you’ll be able to find government jobs available in your area. With U.S. military bases located in every state, building a career and a professional network in GovTech can enable you to find fulfilling work wherever you need to live.

There are numerous sustainable and exciting career opportunities available in GovTech these days. Ready to make the leap? Visit https://wearemetronome.com/careers/ to get started.

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