October 22, 2020

Moving into the public sector: GDS skills

With most of the country grinding to a halt over the last 7 months, the public sector is currently one of the few sectors going through a large recruitment drive. Despite the pandemic the government needs to keep running and a successful EU Exit transition delivered. For this reason, it’s a better time than any to make a move into the public sector.

One of the current key areas for growth is within digital transformation and the improvement of government services available through GOV.UK. There is a need for candidates who:

  • Are looking to help make a difference to the lives of millions of people
  • Are passionate about simplistic but quality digital design
  • Are conscious that data should have value and be usable
  • Put the Users’ needs at the top of the priority list
  • Eat, sleep, drink and breathe Agile
  • Can collaborate successfully with different departments and disciplines

All government digital design follows the Government Digital Services (GDS) framework which consists of ten design principles that govern the end to end processes involved. It can be difficult to break into a public sector design role without commercial GDS experience but not impossible! Below are some steps that could help towards securing your first public sector design role:

  1. The first step is to familarise yourself with the GDS principles themselves which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/government-design-principles. Look at the examples given and try to summarise in your CV how you have worked in a similar way or towards similar design principles.
  2. Try to secure an Agile/Scrum Certification such as SAFe, Scrum Alliance or ICAgile. You may have worked within an agile environment previously, but a certification will increase your marketability and potentially provide you with new approaches to agile.
  3. Spend some time on GOV.UK. Simply visiting the website, exploring the various services and how they are offered will give you an excellent idea of the GDS principles end goal.
  4. Keep up to date with the Government Digital Service Blog available at https://gds.blog.gov.uk/. It’s updated regularly (even during the pandemic) and provides excellent insight into the government’s digital transformation programmes.
  5. Subscribe to the Government Digital Service Youtube Channel which hosts videos on what it is like to work using GDS, the milestones and pitfalls they face on a daily basis and learning tools to bring you up to speed on the guidelines.
  6. Connect with public sector workers on LinkedIn and engage with them. Often, they are more than happy to provide insight into what they do and post interesting thoughts, blogs and articles. Look out for disciplines such as User Researchers, Interaction Designers, Product Owners and Content Designers.

If you are looking to move into the public sector and would like to discuss any of these suggestions in more detail, or currently looking for new opportunities, please contact us for a confidential discussion with a member of our Public Sector team.

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