DHS looks to hire hundreds of ‘technologists’ to improve customer experience

DHS is aiming to hire "hundreds" to help improve customer experiences ranging from air travel to the immigration process.

The Department of Homeland Security is launching what it calls “the largest hiring initiative in any federal agency” to recruit technologists who will help DHS improve customer experience across its subcomponents.

DHS announced the “technologist hiring initiative” today. The goal, the agency said in a statement, is to hire “hundreds” of technologists to support DHS efforts to digitize services and reduce administrative burdens for accessing public services.

“Together, we can improve the customer experience for the millions of individuals with whom we interact every day, while advancing equity, protecting individuals’ rights and liberties, and increasing our openness, transparency, and accountability,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said.

The agency is looking for people with “product management and customer experience expertise.” No government experience is required.

DHS Chief Information Officer Eric Hysen is a former member of the U.S. Digital Service, having joined the Obama administration after working at Google.

“I left Silicon Valley for government service to be able to use my skills to serve my country and help those in need,” Hysen said in the release. “We are asking technologists from across the country to consider the call of public service to make a significant impact in the lives of travelers, disaster survivors, those accessing citizenship and immigration services, and the many other customers who depend on DHS for critical services.”

The hiring initiative is expected to advance DHS’s efforts under executive order 14058, “Transforming Federal Customer Experience and Service Delivery to Rebuild Trust in Government.

DHS is aiming to improve a range of customer experiences, including air travel through the Transportation Security Administration’s efforts to implement Mobile Drivers’ Licenses and “touchless curb-to-gate experiences.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is looking to redesign and simplify online disaster assistance applications, while U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is digitizing dozens of forms to help streamline an immigration system that is still heavily reliant on paper.

The agency has also set a department-wide goal of cutting 20 million out of the 190 million hours of paperwork burden it imposes on the public each year, as measured by the Paperwork Reduction Act.

DHS has over 1 billion interactions with the public every year, according to a DHS website promoting CX openings.  DHS says that’s more than any other federal agency.

The department is hiring CX positions in the federal competitive service at the GS-14 or GS-15 grade levels with a salary offering range of $95,973 to $176,200, according to the CX website. It says applicants will also be able to learn about similar positions at other agencies like the Department of State as part of the process.

Current CX job openings include positions for senior product manager and human-centered designer, respectively, according to the DHS website.

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