By Melissa Davies, Wise Ways Consulting
Recently, I was watching one of my consulting team teach a class on preparing a federal resume. She asked for a show of hands for how many people knew someone who worked for the federal government or a government contractor. Then she asked the same question, but for tech workers. She created a Venn diagram with one more question – how many people know someone with a tech job in the federal government.
The highlighted overlap surprised a lot of people. There is a feeling that you either work for the feds or you don’t – in this case, in the tech sector.
Since the dawn of the federal government, Northern Virginia has been the home and income source for millions of residents. The buzz over the past year has focused on the arrival of Amazon’s HQ2 in Arlington and the growth of the tech industry.
No one can (why would they) argue that Amazon and other big players will change the workforce of our community. Yet it’s not all about the private companies supporting goods and services in the marketplace. According to real estate services company JLL, 37% of all federal technology contracts are awarded to firms in Northern Virginia.
FedTech is big business and it comes at a good time when the federal workforce is shrinking. But that doesn’t mean there are no new opportunities for federal employment.
The federal government, along with private industry, is investing heavily in cloud computing and correspondingly, in cyber security. Comp TIA’s Cybersecurity 2019 report states that Northern Virginia tech employment has grown by 6,400 jobs with a median wage of $94,000. This is 103% more than other occupations in the area. Technology jobs now make up 10.7% of the workforce.
The federal government is heavily invested and will be able to compete with the same high level jobs. As for salary, it may have to compete as well.
In addition to the growing numbers of tech jobs, workers are coming here for tech education. Both George Mason University and Virginia Tech are expanding classes and training into our region. Our level of skilled workers will continue to increase attracting more work and opportunities. The region is shifting its focus toward technology, but not as far from federal work as you may think.
Melissa Davies is an executive leadership coach and facilitator as well as the author of How Not to Act Like a BLEEP at Work. She resides in Prince William County and runs Wise Ways Consulting, which specializes in leadership, management and team development, executive coaching, group facilitation and high-engagement training. She can be reached at [email protected] or through wisewaysconsulting.com