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Apply To Be a Fellow

The USDA Digital Service is an environment that brings highly experienced practitioners into USDA to partner with our agency’s workforce. Together we work to accelerate the design, development, and delivery of customer-centric services, as well as enable stakeholders to easily access USDA resources and programs across the country. This year we are proud to announce our new Digital Service Fellows Program within the USDA Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) and authorized by the USDA Office of the Secretary (OSEC).

USDA DS’s goals with the launch of this new program include:

  1. To create a community of collaborative, highly skilled technical talent that can be deployed across the agency to meet key challenges
  2. To serve as a catalyst for USDA to meet its missions to support American agriculture and help feed the world

In order to meet these goals, selected fellows will be comprised of experts across a variety of disciplines such as engineering, product, design, customer experience, computer science, and others. The importance of this program and the work encompassed by the program will be critical to helping achieve the mission and vision of the Department, especially key priorities laid out in the following agency-wide plans:

Term Appointments

The USDA Digital Service Fellows Program operates on a tour-of-service model where Fellows are appointed for term of a minimum of two years on a full-time basis, with the potential option to serve a total of four years. Service under this time-limited appointment confers no rights to further Federal employment in either the competitive or excepted service upon expiration of appointment. Further, Fellows cannot be converted to another appointment if a total of four years under this Program has been served.

Positions will be located either remotely (anywhere in the U.S.) or in Washington, DC with up to 20% travel expected on an annual basis. Candidates may be eligible for workplace flexibilities, such as telework, remote work, and alternative work schedules as determined by their supervisor and consistent with agency policy.

If you have additional questions about remote work, in-person work or term appointments, please reach out to the DS team at

Compensation and Benefits

Currently all positions available are at the GS-15 level. You can look up the total salary amount based on grade level and locality pay by going to the Office of Personnel Management’s official website on the General Schedule: For example, if a Fellow was appointed in the Washington DC area in 2023, the salary range would be between $155,700 to $183,500, not exceed an annual rate of $183,500.

All USDA Digital Service Fellowship positions are eligible for a variety of additional benefits, including health insurance. Learn more by going to the OPM resource page on Benefits. More specific information will be forthcoming and available on our website.

What We Are Looking For:

The USDA Digital Service is seeking diverse, talented senior practitioners across the following three tracks:

  • Digital Service Expert - who have leadership experience in human centered product management, software engineering, and data science
  • CX Strategist - who have leadership experience in CX/UX research, and human centered service, content and product design
  • Procurement Strategist - who have leadership experience in developing requirements for, and selecting vendors who have agile software development and human centered design experience

See Work Requirements below for information on how to apply.

For more information read our Hiring FAQ (PDF, 198 KB):

Work Requirements / How to Apply

To be a DS Fellow you must be a U.S. Citizen and pass a background check.

How to Apply

The USDA Digital Service Fellows Program will be accepting applications starting February 20, 2024 via USAJobs, the federal government’s official employment site. Each track will have its own job announcement that will include key language about the position and how to apply. Live announcement links will be kept up to date here on our webpage and shared via multiple communication channels. Please make sure to read the announcements in full before submitting your application. If you wish to apply for multiple tracks, you may do so - you will just need to submit an application for each track that interests you and looks to be a good match for you background and skillset.

Key Steps on How to Apply via USAJobs:

  1. If you do not have a USAJobs account, create one here
  2. If you already have a USAJobs account, sign-in
  3. View each USAJobs Fellows Program announcement by track below:
    1. Digital Service Expert
    2. CX Strategist
    3. Procurement Strategist
  4. Review all details and requirements in each USAJobs announcement
  5. Upload your resume and other relevant documents to your USAJobs account
  6. Click “Apply” when ready via the specific USAJobs announcement
  7. Follow the application instructions until completion
  8. Attach your resume and other relevant documents to your application
  9. Submit your application before COB 11:59PM ET on the closing date of the job announcement
Evaluation Process

Candidates will be evaluated using the following steps:

  • Subject Matter Expert (SME) Resume Qualifications Review
  • SME Structured Interview
  • Agency Match Interview

Candidates who advance from the resume qualifications review will receive notification and preparation instructions for their structured interview, which will be conducted by phone. If needed, DS team members will be ready to assist in providing further support prior to a candidate’s scheduled interview.

After the agency match interview is completed and a final recommendation is made, candidates selected will move onto the job offer process with our USDA Office of Human Resources Management (OHRM). If you aren’t selected to join the USDA Digital Service Fellows Program, you can apply again after one year.

Reasonable Accommodations

Our first guiding principle is “people first.” This includes anyone who engages with USDA DS, especially our candidates. We want every candidate to feel empowered during all parts of the hiring process and an important part of that is capturing accommodations.

As part of your application submission, please do not hesitate to share with us any specific accommodations needed in order to apply to the program. Examples may include:

  • Requesting for extended breaks between interviews
  • Requesting for modifications to equipment or devices
  • Requesting for a sign language interpreter
  • Requesting a different interview format instead of phone

USDA provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities on a case-by-case basis. Candidates requiring reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process should contact the “Agency Contact” listed in the job announcement, which is Ms. Shara Kenner, at

Veterans Preference

Veterans can submit relevant paperwork to show that they have veteran’s preference status when submitting their application. If you believe that you qualify for veterans’ preference, please follow the instructions in the job announcement in order to submit relevant paperwork for review as part of your application (e.g., DD-214 Member Copy 4 showing type of discharge/character of service, SF-15 Form and related documentation, VA letter, etc.). Eligibility for application of veteran’s preference will be reviewed by the agency Veteran applicants must meet the qualification of one of program’s roles.

Privacy Act Statement

The information you submit will be used to evaluate your qualifications for a federal job as a technologist and / or strategist, which is authorized by 5 U.S.C. § 1104 and 5 C.F.R. § 213.3102(r). Our request for DD 214 Form “Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty” is authorized by the Veterans' Preference Act of 1944, as amended, and 5 U.S.C. § 2018a. What you choose to provide is voluntary, but we cannot fully consider your application unless we receive the requested information. This information may be disclosed to a source from which additional information is requested by USDA Digital Service when necessary to obtain information relevant to an agency decision concerning hiring or retaining an employee, issuing a security clearance, conducting a security or suitability investigation of an individual, or classifying positions. A complete list of the routine uses can be found in (and USDA policies and practices we want to link).

Prepping Your Submission

Are you excited to apply? So are we! Before you submit your application, below are a few best practices we recommend reviewing to make sure you are set up for success.

Your resume and application materials will be evaluated by people, not automated screening tools. Be explicit in your resume and include all relevant work experiences and details. Do not assume the reader has expert knowledge or context of your job history. For example, don’t just list your tech skills or the design approaches and methodologies you use. Instead, share a summary of the project or initiative you led or contributed to, the approach you used, and the outcomes you achieved. Below are some additional general recommendations you can use when preparing your resume for the application process:

  • A federal resume is not required but is still accepted.
  • Make sure your resume is concise (e.g., no more than 3-5 pages).
  • When you’re preparing your application, be sure to reference the Qualifications & Evaluation sections of the job announcement to help you best frame your experience.
  • For your most relevant, recent, or longest held position(s), provide key bullet points about your responsibilities, accomplishments, and impact of your work. For each prior position, you can list fewer points focusing on the information that is most relevant to the job for which you are applying.
  • Don’t be afraid to use technical terminology if it’s relevant to your current or past roles or to the role for which you are applying. Do avoid acronyms and abbreviations.
  • Quantify as applicable. For example, “successfully led the development and launch of [product or service] that enabled users to do [x] and/or saved our organization [y amount].”

For more guidance on writing resumes for federal positions, please visit: