A short tour translates to long term impact
Jiten is passionate about working on projects that have an outsized impact on the world. In the private sector, Jiten worked for companies like Google, YouTube and Dropbox managing teams that built and maintained the ‘nuts and bolts’ backend infrastructure for these platforms. By applying his engineering skills to help build large systems, he was able to provide reliable access to information for millions of users—thus fulfilling his quest to have an impact.
After attending a recruitment event and learning about the scope of work, Jiten was excited about the chance to impact the lives of Americans by improving technology delivery in the public sector. Jiten decided to take the leap and joined the United States Digital Service (USDS). He accepted a three-month tour in late 2017 but was initially concerned whether he would be able to have an impact in such a short period of time.
However, Jiten quickly learned that a lot could be done in three months when he started with the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). During his time with the VA, he worked on two projects, both of which directly impacted veterans. The first improved the efficiency of a system that makes the process of adjudicating appeals by veterans easier. He also streamlined a mobile application to allow veterans to easily schedule medial appointment.
What was surprising to Jiten, however, was that he was not only sharing technical guidance, but was also leveraging his influence—increasing the team’s awareness of putting the customer first to quickly address and better solve issues.
“What makes technologists successful in government isthe ability to focus on impact “impact while navigating complex organizations.”
In each project, Jiten provided teams with tools and techniques that reoriented their focus to an “outside-in” view of the veteran experience—ultimately ensuring a positive user experience. In addition, he influenced leadership, challenging the status quo and getting their approval for teams to share code using more efficient tooling—for the first time ever. This not only helped to expedite current projects, but also future ones. These projects affirmed to Jiten the contribution he could make.
Jiten believes there are many opportunities for technologists to get into government, especially with the rise of the civic tech movement in the last 5 years at both the federal and state levels.
“…the American government serves all citizens and there are large parts of government which are pretty non-partisan…I would say that it makes sense to go and serve independent of which party is in power.” He came to realized, “What makes technologists successful in government is the ability to focus on impact while navigating complex organizations.”
Are you a technologist?
Do you have the skills and desire to tackle our government’s most challenging problems? Now more than ever, we need your technical talent to help address public sector issues such as COVID-19 recovery, unemployment services and more.