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CHIPS Articles: Department of the Navy Releases Final Draft of the Civilian Career Path Guide

Department of the Navy Releases Final Draft of the Civilian Career Path Guide
By Karen Danis - January-March 2001
On 16 August 2000, the Department of the Navy (DON) Chief Information Officer, Mr. Dan Porter signed a Memorandum for Distribution releasing the final draft of the Department of Navy Civilian Career Path Guide for Management of Technology, Information, and Knowledge. The final version will be released in early 2001, and will be converted to a Web-based tool.

It is inevitable that many future Information Technology (IT)-related jobs will be better suited to the private sector, the DON must ensure that it maintains a core workforce, skilled in the various Knowledge Management (KM), Information Management (IM), and Information Technology (IT) disciplines of strategic value to the DON. The Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996 requires the CIO to "develop strategies and specific plans for hiring, training, and professional development" to meet agency requirements. The Career Path Guide (CPG), released in August 2000, will assist our employees in developing into managers and leaders capable of handling the future business of the DON.

To build a skilled workforce for the future, focus must be directed to increasing the breadth and scope of employee skills. Targeting competency requirements and offering superior technical and professional training and developmental opportunities can do this.

The CPG is a very robust tool and is usable now. It assists employees in determining the career paths, educational and experience opportunities and competency requirements for DON KM/IM/IT career areas. Structured into two volumes, it provides guidance for each KM/IM/IT career field in the DON workforce, delineating career areas, job roles, a career development process, and recommended competencies.

The CPG helps to ensure that employees acquire the competencies that will enable them to excel. The CPG illustrates a full range of developmental opportunities, including education and training, on-the-job learning experience, and assignments. The CPG can be used in developing a Career Progression Plan that identifies the career goal, competency requirements and education, training and experience opportunities that are formalized into an execution plan tailored to the individual.

The ultimate goal for the CPG is to assist the DON in developing a highly competent KM/IM/IT workforce. The CPG promotes this goal by:

• Providing employees with a comprehensive list of competencies needed for excelling in KM/IM/IT work.
• Providing learning objectives that exemplify established standards for performance and accountability.
• Providing employees and their supervisors or mentors with a comprehensive reference to assist in determining the training that prepares employees for more responsible and challenging positions.
• Assisting supervisors in making effective use of scarce training resources by identifying critical competencies, training opportunities and certifications. This helps employees plan to attend the appropriate courses at the appropriate time, while gaining useful on-the-job experience.
• Enabling employees to plan and sequence appropriate career development activities.
• Developing and strengthening employees' professional qualifications and leadership abilities.

Intended Audience

The primary audience for the CPG is the current and potential DON KM/IM/IT employee. The DON recognizes the need for comprehensive career planning guidance in order to recruit for and retain our valuable KM/IM/IT workforce.

This guide is to be used by managers and mentors in helping an employee construct a formal training plan. The CPG is most beneficial when it is shared between managers/mentors and employees because it helps identify employees' career goals, assess their current competencies, and outline what may be required of them to qualify for their target job(s).

The CPG enables employees to formulate a personalized execution plan to sequence appropriate career experiences. This will ensure that in acquiring the competencies that will enable them to excel, employees are afforded a full range of developmental opportunities, including education and training, on-the-job learning, experience, and developmental assignments.

Overview of the Career Development Process

The DON KM/IM/IT career development process shows the steps of the career development process, from formulating a career goal to drafting and implementing a career progression plan (CPP).

This is a high-level overview of the process broken down into four phases:
PREPARE—Employee reads Career Path Guide.
ASSESS—Employee identifies target job role, with assistance of current manager or other mentor.
VALIDATE—Employee compiles current and target competencies with mentor and manager input and outlines learning and experience activities required to achieve the target competencies which become the career progression plan.
EXECUTE—Employee acts on the steps outlined in the career progress plan.

Career Areas and Job Roles

Volume 1 of the career path guide contains general information for all members of the IM/IT workforce. It details the “career foundation competencies” and job roles and competencies required for career development broken down into five general career areas: information management; knowledge management; computer and information systems engineering; information assurance; and telecommunications.

Each of these career areas, shaded in Table 1, contains a varied set of job roles associated with competencies. The table summarizes the list of job roles associated with each career area. Volume I is the DON CPG for Management of Technology, Information and Knowledge. Volume II, Career Areas, contains the detailed matrices that outline competencies and learning objectives at intended levels at which the competencies apply. It also contains recommended developmental activities.

The job roles depicted mostly represent inherently government functions, functions that are deemed to be so intimately related to the public interest as to mandate performance by government employees. These functions include those activities that require either the exercise of discretion in applying government authority, or making value judgments in government decision-making.

Two job roles, systems administrator and network operations, which are shown in the boxes with broken lines in Table 1, are not inherently governmental but provide foundational knowledge for oversight jobs. Thus, they are of value to the civilian KM/IM/IT workforce.

Capitalizing on advances in technology and the management of technology, information, and knowledge is crucial to optimizing federal (including DON) business practices. The recent NMCI contract award will provide the technology infrastructure necessary for achieving true DON enterprise process change and leveraging the department’s intellectual capital. The CPG is essential for developing the professional competencies that will enable the DON workforce to take advantage of these new opportunities.

Visit the DON CIO Web site for KM/IM/IT workforce guidance: http://www.doncio.navy.mil.

Karen Danis is the DON CIO program lead for IM/IT competency management.

Table 2 shows which careers fit into each area oof the  DON Career Path Guide.  Information Management includes acquisition oversight, CIO, learning, process reengineering and change management, asset management, competency management, manpower planning, records management, strategic planning, performance assessment, e-Business and Capital planning and investment.  Knowledge management includes chief knowledge officer, knowledge process manager, knowledge life cycle engineer, performance measurement engineer, knowledge assurance manager, knowledge community leader, knowledge transfer engineer, knowledge manager, knowledge systems engineer, knowledge research engineer, and intellectual capital manager.  Computer and information systems engineering includes architecture and standards, data management, project management, research and development, software engineering, systems analysis, systems engineering, test and evaluation and systems administration.  Information assurance includes computer forensics, IS/network security, policy, research and development, encryption, IS Security management, project management and risk management.  Telecommunications includes policy, network communications, research and development, network operations, project management, network communications engineering and network management.
Table 1
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