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Nearly 2 Years On, IT Reclassification All But Done

A state IT reclassification process that did away with 36 job classifications and created nine new ones has essentially one step remaining, after about 22 months.

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The state’s IT reclassification process, officially begun in January 2018 with State Personnel Board approval, has largely been carried out, the California Department of Human Resources (CalHR) confirmed to Techwire. However, four of seven “footnoted classifications” that “do not fit the new classification concepts” still exist and will be addressed at the appropriate times.

The Personnel Board’s approval on Jan. 11, 2018, activated the biggest piece of former Gov. Jerry Brown’s Civil Service Initiative at that time, one estimated to affect 10,000 state workers, or about 5 percent of the state workforce. The state eliminated 36 IT job classifications — the oldest of which, the Data Processing Manager series of four, had been in place since 1968, CalHR said. Among the takeaways:

• The nine new classifications are IT Technician; IT Associate; IT Specialist I, II and III; IT Supervisor I and II; and IT Manager I and II. They were identified, CalHR said, through “discussions with a core group of departmental IT subject matter experts and HR professionals to identify emerging IT business needs.” The state analyzed existing classes and found gaps in the structure, including in concepts like IT cybersecurity — “soft skills that often overlap with other classes in the state.”

“The benefit to doing this is that it allows a state or local government agency to create new classes of jobs to attract talent and to ensure that their classifications reflect today’s modern skillset needs,” said Joe Morris, vice president of research for e.Republic, parent company of Techwire. “The only constant is change, and that is particularly true for the technology sector.” A recent National Association of State Chief Information Officers survey, he noted, found 33 percent of CIOs who responded felt “modernizing the traditional public sector job-classification system would be the most impactful change in reforming their workforce.”

• In addition to the nine new classifications, the state identified six broader domains “focused on overarching IT concepts” from the discussions — Business Technology Management, Client Services, Information Security Engineering, IT Project Management, Software Engineering and System Engineering.

“The new structure of nine classifications and six domains focus on IT concepts rather than specify technology, ensuring the new structure will stand the test of time even as new technology emerges,” CalHR said.

• The growing cybersecurity threat, outlined to CalHR by the California Department of Technology as part of the Workforce Development and Education Subcommittee discussion in 2014, helped drive the reclassification. So did the launch of the Civil Service Initiative to create a “sleek, modern classification system,” CalHR said.

There’s no required timeline for individual state agencies to complete any related IT restructuring or reclassification of their own, CalHR said. Rather, the intent of the new IT structure was to provide departments with new tools to do their work. Since the advent of the nine new IT classifications, CalHR said it has received “very positive feedback,” including anecdotes that hiring managers have had “significantly more” applications for IT jobs that previously had little interest. A CDT spokesman told Techwire via email that its reclassification is final.

• The seven “footnoted classifications” are: Computer Operations Supervisor I and II; Computer Operator, Ranges A and B; Information Systems Technician Supervisor I and II; Information Systems Technician, Ranges A and B; and Associate Information Systems Analyst (Supervisor). As of Jan. 11, 2018, 33 staffers worked in those classifications — though in all but one case, each had fewer than six employees. (The other, Information Systems Technician, Ranges A and B, had 19 staffers in its classification.) CalHR said three of the classifications have since become vacant and will be sent to the Personnel Board to be abolished. Employees still work in the remaining four classifications but these, too, will be abolished once they’re vacant. It’s unclear which classifications have already been done away with. It’s the “final step in completing the implementation,” the agency said.

Theo Douglas is Assistant Managing Editor of Techwire.