Dec 31 2009

Around the Cyber Campus

Feds go online to fill in educational gaps and accelerate career development.

Today's online community provides
plenty of resources for government IT
professionals interested in taking
educational courses and crafting professional
development paths. Here are some good
starting points.

The Gov Online Learning Center
( is home to the
Competency Management Center, which
provides services and tools to support the
continuing development of federal employees.

The center, developed by the Office of
Personnel Management, recently launched the IT
Workforce Development Roadmap, a competency
assessment and career development tool.

This tool lets government IT personnel
review competencies identified for career paths,
assess their competencies against those career
paths, and identify appropriate training and
development opportunities. The result is a
personalized career development plan based on
competencies needed for advancement.

More than 200,000 students enroll each
year in the Graduate School at the Department
of Agriculture (, which
offers 1,000 career-related and continuing
education courses. Classes are available on a
variety of subjects and in convenient formats,
including daytime, evening and weekend
classes, as well as correspondence, self-study
and online courses.

The school also offers leadership development
programs and tech certificate programs as part of
its mission to improve the performance of
government and to provide opportunities for
individual lifelong learning. However, the
Graduate School does not grant degrees.

Of the school's 1,000 courses, 206 are IT
focused, and include such technical topics as
Active Directory design and XML application
development. Non-tech courses teach the
design of briefings and presentations, and the
fundamentals of IT management and capital
planning. Career development courses offer
classes such as choosing and changing an IT
career, and IT management for CEOs and
senior executives.

The Senior Executives Association
(, which focuses on career
development and personal growth, provides
participants with a forum to share leadership
and management experiences in keeping with
the goal of improving government agency
programs and services.