CIO Briefing


Behind the Scenes of the White House's TechHire Initiative

By Hallie Golden // March 11, 2015

Orhan Cam/

With more than 500,000 IT jobs across the country waiting to be filled, the White House is leading a new effort to expand the pool of qualified applicants.

Announced Monday, the "TechHire" initiative is aimed at expanding the tech workforce namely by employing short, innovative training techniques to prepare more people for the field, according to the White House. The effort, which is spearheaded by the Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Economic Council, already brought together 21 community leaders, representing a combined 120,000 unfilled tech jobs. Many large private sector companies are also working toward the initiative’s goal.

Their work will be aimed primarily at expanding access to tech employment for unemployed low-skilled and other underrepresented segments of the population.

The TechHire initiative team identified two effective techniques to achieve such a result: dynamic and quick, job-driven training and job placement. The initiative includes a $100 million federal grant competition. The money will be awarded to those teams that design groundbreaking methods for job training and placement.

“Getting Americans trained to fill these well-paying jobs is not only the right thing to do, but it's also an economic imperative,” Jeff Zients, director ...

Infosys Is Taking on the Biggest Problem in Tech: Getting Women to the Top

By Saptarishi Dutta // Quartz // March 10, 2015

Sergey Nivens/

Vishal Sikka wants to transform Infosys.

Ever since he took over as the CEO in June 2014, Sikka has brought new clients on board, revived investor confidence, stemmed the high attrition rate, and improved the operating margins—the ratio of operating income to revenues—of the technology giant.

And now, the former SAP executive wants more women to occupy high-ranking positions at Infosys. His aim is to have 25% women in senior leadership roles by 2020.

“Every time I am at Mysore, I am reminded of the fact that more than half our trainees are women. Then, I look at our executive teams and realise almost none of them made their way up there,” he wrote in an email on March 8, International Women’s Day. “Something happened during the journey from Mysore to management—and we lost our leverage over half of humanity.”

In all, 35% of Infosys’ employees working in different parts of the world are women, and the company has three female and seven male board members.

The National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM), an industry lobby group, estimates that women participation in the Indian IT and BPM workforce is between 35 and 38%. That ...

Applying for Federal Jobs? Uncle Sam’s Career Site To Get a Facelift

By Jack Moore // March 9, 2015


The Obama administration is planning several tweaks to USAJobs, aiming to make the notoriously creaky federal jobs portal easier to use. 

Officials at the Office of Personnel Management also hope to transform the site from a static repository of resumes into a more dynamic tool that helps federal hiring managers leverage data to make hiring decisions.

The planned website revamp is part of a series of workforce initiatives announced Monday during a webcast by OPM Director Katherine Archuleta.

The site redesign has been in the works for a while. The agency turned its “innovation lab” loose on the problem-child of a website last year.

“We know that this important gateway to federal service does not currently meet the needs of the very large and diverse group of Americans who use it,” said Tracy Orrison, who leads the site’s user experience and data analytics team.

Orrison’s team relied on focus groups and user surveys of hundreds of site visitors to come up with the areas most in need of overhauling. She promised a “beginning to end” look at the USAJobs experience.

However, don’t necessarily look for a “big-bang” relaunch of the website. OPM, instead, plans to roll out ...

Here’s How Silicon Valley Tech Companies Welcome You on Your First Day

By Alice Truong // Quartz // March 9, 2015


In Silicon Valley, where there’s a constant battle for talent, companies big and small are welcoming employees with open arms—and maybe also a bottle of booze.

Tech companies take a sense of pride in doing things differently, and the same applies to the first day of work. Fun rituals and perks can reinforce a company’s culture, but they can also help fight churn, a costly problem for any business. We surveyed dozens of tech companies to learn about the more unusual aspects of their orientation programs.

Swag, swag, swag

Everyone loves free stuff. At Chubbies Shorts, an e-commerce startup that sells shorts to bros, newbies are encouraged to raid the warehouse and get decked out in the company uniform. “Shorts on shorts on shorts,” says a company rep. To match the bottom half of their outfits, new hires are also encouraged to pick up other gear not sold on the Chubbies online store, such as sweatshirts, hats, sunglasses and bags.

Teespring, a crowdfunding platform for custom T-shirts, hands new employees a special shirt with “Free Fish Co” adorned on the front. It’s a reminder of the company’s humble beginnings: The founders, who were students at ...

You Don’t Have to Know How to Code to Make it Big in Tech

By Karen Wickre // Quartz // March 4, 2015

Mark Lennihan/AP

I’m in my 60s. I don’t code. In college exams, I was one of those high-verbal, low-math scorers. So I might not seem like an obvious person to be giving advice on getting into tech. Yet in the last year alone I’ve had more than 50 meetings with people who want my guidance on how to do it.

Many of these coffee dates have been with individuals in more traditional jobs who think they want to work at Twitter or Google, the two companies where I’ve spent the last 15 years. Journalists and editors, too, approach me in large number. So do numerous over-40 types who wonder how to move into the tech world, famous (or infamous) for its orientation to a younger crowd. And some advice-seekers have been bright-eyed new grads, typically with social science or liberal arts backgrounds, pinning their hopes on getting into the storied Bay Area tech scene in some capacity or other.

Sure, I’m interested in coffee. But I think one big reason I’m sought after for these conversations is that despite my liberal arts background, I’ve lasted in the tech world for 30 years. If I can ...