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Data-Focused Jobs Thriving in Federal Government

While the private sector gets a lot of credit for being innovative with data, the federal government may actually be ahead of the curve.

Data may seem like the new kid on the block, but surprisingly, in the federal government, jobs that specifically require managing, interpreting and analyzing data are nothing new.

A Commerce Department document examining the data-centric job landscape reveals that as of 2013, there were 1.6 million government workers in data-driven positions.

Interestingly, as the report’s authors note, “a higher percentage of government workers in data occupations are found in management and in office/administrative support fields as compared to the private sector.”

This is a point that federal chief data scientist DJ Patil made recently, reports NextGov.

Federal agencies are “more data-driven than most companies are right now,” he said last month at a West Coast tech conference. “And that's a bold statement. But from everything [I've seen] in the small period of time that I've been there, it’s absolutely true."

For the purposes of this analysis, the Commerce Department placed data jobs into three overarching categories: analyzing data or information, processing information and interacting with computers.

Admittedly, these are broad categories, and like the word "cloud," "data" can be used loosely to describe a wide swath of tasks, functions and disciplines.

But still, it’s impressive to see how entrenched the federal government already is with the use of data in its processes. As governments build toward their ideal data future, at least we know that it’s not completely foreign territory for agencies.

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Apr 01 2015

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