I have been working at 18F full-time
You get to work on some of the most meaningful digital projects available, and among some of the brightest, humblest, and most delightful professionals ever gathered in one place. I’ve learned more at this job than at any other position in my career — working here has helped me grow professionally more than any other position previously. Being a government employee, even if term, means you have more leeway to challange norms and assumptions from within than a private sector contractor would be able to do.
Few, if anyone, in management has experience running a large organization and most seem unaware of the day-to-day realities their staff faces. This has improved recently, but in a rapidly changing environment, management seems to need to focus all of their attention onto putting out external fires. The parent agency’s leadership doesn’t seem to understand the nature of the work required, and constant pressures from above seem to be slowly eroding the ability of the organization to do truly top of the line work. 18F is run like a consultancy (in that it sells services to other agencies and is required to be cost recoverable) but from within the government. The problem is that 18F lacks the flexibility of a private sector firm to control costs and seek diverse clients (aka, private sector clients when government work dries up at the end of the budget cycle).
Advice to Management
Take care of the people doing the work, their knowledge and talent is your only asset.
I applied online. The process took 4+ weeks. I interviewed at 18F (Remote, OR) in October 2017.
A multi-step interview process with both phone screens, skills test, video chats, culminating with a 3 hour long multi-person chat with 18F team members.
Overall, a fair interview process. They take their time with each person, and are very open with the timeframes and expectations. It all falls a bit apart in the end during the "culture fit" interview, mostly due to questions unrelated to technical expertise.
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