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How information technology is changing the landscape for federal employees.

Work-Life Balance Goes Mobile

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Mobile devices increasingly are changing the way federal employees work. And this is especially good news for information technology workers, as the use of mobile devices has allowed for a lot more flexibility and even greater work-life balance, according to a new survey by Solarwinds.

The survey of 184 public and private sector IT administrators found that all respondents use at least one mobile device for work, with half saying they use two devices for work. The most popular devices among IT professionals were the iPhone, iPad, Android phone,Blackberry and Android tablet.

Nearly half of IT professionals said they spend between six and 15 hours per week working after hours or on their own free time. The majority (55 percent) of these workers solve after-hours problems from home using their mobile devices, while 40 percent said they work after hours using their mobile devices at another location.    

This flexibility has enabled IT workers to be more productive at their jobs, the study found. For example, 77 percent of IT pros said they save time each week by working from their mobile devices, with 62 percent saying they save about 5 hours per week and 4 percent saying they save more than 10 hours per week.

Cyber Crash Course for Your Career

With the looming threats of tighter budgets, pay cuts and sequestration, federal employees -- whether working in information technology or other fields -- may be looking for a career change. And if you consider yourself a creative problem solver, the in-demand, high-paying field of cybersecurity might be right for you, according to one expert.

Eric Cole, a senior fellow at the SANS Institute, said Monday that SANS is hosting a new training session next month that provides participants with little to no knowledge of cybersecurity with the basic foundational knowledge to get started on a cyber career.

“In five days, we’ll get them to understand the terminology so they can go into the workplace and understand how to communicate with other cybersecurity professionals, ask the right questions and effectively learn the technical skills,” Cole said.

Cole said that not only is the training event drawing interest from professionals in various fields, like lawyers and accountants, it’s also drawing a diverse age group. For example, some parents have enrolled their children in the course in hopes of getting them excited about a cybersecurity career, while other participants are professionals in their 30s looking for a career change or workers nearing retirement who simply want to learn something new so they can be protected at home, Cole said.

“Students will walk into this class with no knowledge of cybersecurity and walk out with knowledge and roles they can use to be effective in the information security space,” he said.

And despite tight budgets and potential cuts to pay and benefits at federal agencies, cybersecurity is one field that’s growing. A quick search for cybersecurity positions on USAJOBS yields more than 4,500 results, 700 of which are in the Washington area, Cole said.

For more information on the training, click here.

Reporter Portrait for GovernmentExecutive.com

Brittany Ballenstedt writes Nextgov's Wired Workplace blog, which delves into the issues facing employees who work in the federal information technology sector. Before joining Nextgov, Brittany covered federal pay and benefits issues as a staff correspondent for Government Executive and served as an associate editor for National Journal's Technology Daily. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Mansfield University and originally hails from Pennsylvania. She currently lives near Travis Air Force Base, Calif., where her husband is stationed.

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