Design, Technology, & Innovation Fellows

I have a lot of options in the tech sector. Why should I become a fellow?

This is an opportunity for you to have a huge impact. Our city is responsible for providing necessary services to over a million people every day, and we need your expertise to help improve those services.

You’ll also join a growing community of civic leaders who are working to create a more open, accountable, and participatory government, and you’ll help us establish new standards and practices that we can share with other cities. For examples of these practices in action, check out the work from 18F, the US Digital Service, and the UK Government Digital Service.

What kind of work will I do?

Fellows serve on multidisciplinary project teams of designers, developers, researchers, and subject-matter experts working to to improve city services through iterative, user-centered design and development. The breadth of city services spans across all city functions, including public safety, permitting, resource recovery, and event management, and project work can range from early research and prototyping to detailed design and implementation. We’ll look to each fellow’s strengths and interests in order to match them with projects where they can have the greatest impact.

What kinds of people are you looking for?

We’re looking for practitioners and project leaders in all areas of design, technology, and innovation with at least three years of experience working on multidisciplinary teams and producing great work. We need people who can challenge the status quo while appreciating the work that’s already being done, which requires a balance of assertiveness, patience, and humility.

As we review applications, we consider the following areas:

  • Analysis and creative problem solving: Expertise determining user needs or identifying market opportunities and designing and deploying innovative solutions
  • Tools and execution: Experience in iterative design, development, and deployment of solutions using current and emergent technologies and best practices
  • Empathy and emotional intelligence: Experience in client-facing roles, navigating processes and bureaucracy, and delivering services with a strong user-facing or consumer-oriented element
  • Ability to work well on teams: Experience collaborating with folks from other disciplines on a daily basis, appreciating differences in perspective while also providing deep expertise in their area of specialization. (We’re a large organization, so we want to see evidence that you can thrive in a large organization.)

How much will I get paid?

Fellows are paid between $32.47 and $41.34 an hour, commensurate with experience. Fellows hired in Fall 2017 and early 2018 serve in temporary positions for one year of full-time work (40 hours per week).

What are the benefits?

Fellows hired in Fall 2017 and early 2018 serve in temporary positions, which means that they are not be eligible for paid time off or health insurance, though Fellows who work beyond one year can become eligible for health insurance from the City.

What happens at the end of the one-year term?

We would love for all of our Fellows to find jobs with the City or other government organizations! Over the course of each fellow’s term, we work to connect them with City departments, state and federal agencies, civic technology companies, and public policy organizations that are looking for talent, and we encourage our partnering departments in the City to consider Fellows as candidates for regular City positions.

Fellows who would like to continue on their projects or help manage the next round of the program can request to extend their assignments, which would be considered through an evaluation process.

Where will the work be located?

In November 2017, we moved our offices to the Old Faulk Central Library (800 Guadalupe St). Our teams often use conference space and have meetings at City Hall (301 W 2nd Street) where the program was incubated for over a year. We also travel to different areas in central Austin based on the needs of specific projects, and we host meetings and events in different spaces throughout the year.

We have a strong appreciation for the effectiveness of working from home, so our telework policy allows Fellows to work from home at least one day each week.

What will a typical day look like?

Fellows serve on multidisciplinary teams of designers, developers, user researchers, and subject matter experts using scrum and other agile methods to manage work and ensure frequent collaboration.

A typical day includes a stand-up with your core team and plenty of time for you to focus on advancing the project based on your skills and expertise. Depending on the needs of your project, you’ll also meet with users, stakeholders, and other city departments on a daily or weekly basis. At the end of each week, all of the fellows teams take time to share progress and learnings across projects and teach each other new skills.