Mississippi state government doesn’t have cybersecurity roles — yet

Competing with the private sector for top technology talent is tough for state governments, but doubly so when the names and definitions of their job titles have been outdated for years.

Mississippi state government is currently revamping its IT job classifications to reflect the technological advancements of industry and within the government itself, state Chief Information Officer Craig Orgeron told StateScoop in a recent video interview.

“The biggest thing we’re focused on in workforce is we are redoing all our job classifications,” Orgeron says. “So in public sector you sort of see this pull and tug with the cost barrier. The market is so tight by way of skills, but we’re looking at revamping the entire matrix of jobs that is IT.”

Mississippi’s government job titles follow a similar schema to that of other states, filled out by roles like “Network Specialist II” or “Senior Information Technology Planner,” that might not adhere to the full breadth of that person’s work nor the needs of the organization. 

“So as an example, we don’t really have any cyber-specific jobs,” Orgeron says. “You may be mapped into a network engineer or something. So, modernizing those job classes is going to be exceedingly important for us.”

California revamped its IT job classifications in 2018 — both reducing the number of jobs from 36 to nine, and redefining the roles and their promotion paths to help the state become a more competitive option for new hires. The jobs were also made to reflect the newer technologies the state was beginning to adopt.

Officials said the prospect of attracting and retaining top talent was made more difficult when their job titles did not appear to embody industry trends.

Orgeron on his top priorities and projects:

“With respect to cloud we’re implementing a hybrid cloud solution, lives in the data center. We’ve retired our second older data center and partnered with a company to provide us a Tier 3 physical facility.”

Orgeron on public safety:

“In public safety, we’ve had pretty good success with legacy modernization. The old system has been modernized, it’s been rolled out.”

Orgeron on how he sees his role changing in the future:

“As central IT, we’ve always provided shared services, but I think the broker role is really a game-changer.”

These videos were produced by StateScoop at the National Association of State Chief Information Officers’ annual conference in Nashville, Tennessee, in October 2019.