If you’re remotely familiar with Dcode, you already know that we exist for the sole purpose of bringing the emerging, innovative technology that exists in the private sector into the government marketplace. We passionately believe that tech companies have the power to affect massive change in the way our government operates, and that brining the two worlds together is a win-win for businesses, government, and the general public.

While we often talk about government agencies using strategic partners to fill those technology and IT gaps more and more, there’s another layer to this monumental challenge. The conversation almost always comes back to lack of resources and modernization, and bureaucracy, of course. Many government agencies simply don’t have the ability to turn their legacy systems into something that makes sense in today’s digital landscape, for numerous reasons.

One element that hasn’t been included here is the people. The talent. We talk about technology and resources, but it’s easy to forget that without the people to use the resources and create and deploy the technologies, it’s impossible to make a digital transformation happen.

Over the last decade there have been a number of initiatives to improve the human capital of the federal government. Policies that gave cyber security specialists direct hire authority, programs like the Presidential Innovation Fellows and teams like 18F and USDS are direct outcomes of these efforts. The work is so critical that this administration has largely carried forward these past efforts.

Over the summer, Federal Chief Information Officer, Suzette Kent testified before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on the federal government’s challenges with protecting their information. Kent drew a  clear picture on what the root of the problem was: a talent gap. If you ask Kent, the government’s cybersecurity challenges are primarily due to the fact that the federal government has been unable to attract (and keep) tech talent.

“In many cases, we still have almost a 25% gap in the number of cybersecurity resources we need across federal agencies and what we actually have in place,” she stated. “And particularly we have some gaps in leadership and places where we have open positions that are key leaders. In many cases the individuals, when we get them in, their tenure is less than 12 to 18 months. There are multiple workforce actions, both at entry level and at leadership, and there are things that we continue dialogue with the private sector to see if we can fill those gaps.”

Kent went on to inform the committee that there were close to 1,500 unfilled IT and cybersecurity roles within the government, and said it’s crucial that there is a continued focus on workforce activities.

While this represents a major challenge for the federal government, we can’t ignore the fact that it simultaneously represents a major opportunity for private tech companies who possess the ability to help fill this gaping hole. Finding your way into the government marketplace isn’t easy or straightforward, but it’s clear that they are actively seeking technology partnerships and alliances with established and emerging private tech companies.

If you have technology that you know belongs in government, get in touch with us today. It’s our mission to make this happen. If artificial intelligence and analytics are your specialty, you’ll want to know about our upcoming AI & Advanced Analytics program. Applications are open now.