Office of the Chief Information Officer

United States Department of Agriculture

Career Development Planning

Align Your Skills with the Mission. Advance in Your Profession.

Career development is an organized method for matching the needs of an organization with the career goals of employees.

Employees can use career development to target and qualify themselves for advancement opportunities—by working with their supervisors to figure out what training, professional development, or continued education options are available to them.

As you move forward with your career development plan, here are some links that can help:

USDA Virtual University: The Virtual University (VU) is a global USDA training entity focused on preparing current USDA employees and student interns for professional excellence and career advancement to achieve USDA succession planning, diversity, and program objectives

USDA Individual Development Plans: An IDP provides a clear statement of an employee’s career goals and an individually-tailored action plan for acquiring the skills and competencies required to improve performance within a current or to prepare for new responsibilities. Employees use IDPs to set a clear-cut course toward their career objectives. Managers use IDPs to facilitate communication with their employees, to identify skill gaps, to focus training resources, and to support strategic workforce development. IDPs benefit USDA by helping the Department align the skills of its employees with the requirements of its missions

USDA Academy: USDA welcomes interns in an effort to grow and sustain a highly skilled and culturally diverse workforce

National Career Development Association: The National Career Development Association (NCDA) inspires and empowers the achievement of career and life goals by providing professional development, resources, standards, scientific research, and advocacy. NCDA is a founding division of the American Counseling Association (ACA)

Presidential Management Fellows: Bearing the Presidential moniker, the PMF program is a flagship leadership development program at the entry level for advanced degree candidates. It was created more than three decades ago by Executive Order and has gone through many changes over the years. The Program attracts and selects the best candidates possible, but is really designed with a more narrow focus? developing a cadre of potential government leaders. It provides some sustenance during the first years of employment and encourages development of leadership capabilities. The PMF program inculcates a lasting bond as well as a spirit of public service, ultimately encouraging and leading to a career in the government

Four Steps To Conducting A Needs Assessment: An article on needs assessments, written by Robert H. Rouda and Mitchell E. Kusy, Jr.  A needs assessment is a systematic exploration of the way things are and the way they should be, as they relate to individual performance

Training Policy Handbook: This document serves as a single reference to legal information impacting employee training

OPM Leadership Development & Training: The Federal Executive Institute and the Management Development Centers are dedicated to developing career leaders for the Federal Government

Reference Library for IT Professionals

Books 24x7 (ITPro Collection): Books in the ITPro collection provide the complete, unabridged contents of thousands of books, documents, and other reference materials that span the spectrum of information technology topics


CompTIA: CompTIA is the voice of the world's information technology (IT) industry. It is dedicated to advancing industry growth through its educational programs, market research, networking events, professional certifications, and public policy advocacy

Cisco Certifications: The widely respected IT certification programs available through Cisco Career Certifications bring valuable, measurable rewards to network professionals, their managers, and the organizations that employ them

Federal Acquisition Institute (FAI): The Federal Acquisition Institute (FAI) defines Federal certification programs to establish consistent competencies and standards for those performing acquisition-related work in civilian agencies. FAI has reviewed and mapped 23 SkillSoft courses to OMB's required acquisition management competencies for the Program and Project Management Certification (FAC-P/PM)

Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI): The HR Certification Institute works to define and maintain the HR body of knowledge, and offers assessments and certification of this knowledge. Human Resource certification demonstrates mastery of the HR body of knowledge and is widely accepted as a symbol of professional achievement

International Information Business Analysis (IIBA): IIBA is a professional association serving the growing field of business analysis. It is the leading association in the world of business analysis and the publisher of the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK), which is recognized as the industry standard reflecting generally accepted practices

Microsoft: Microsoft Certification aids in practical technology problem solving and helps improve your job satisfaction and professional performance

National Association of Boards of Accountancy (NASBA): NASBA serves as a forum for the 54 U.S. boards of accountancy. NASBA sponsors a variety of programs and services designed to enhance the effectiveness of its member boards

Project Management Institute (PMI): PMI provides global leadership in the development of professional standards, certifications, research, publications, education, and training in the project management field

Six Sigma: Six Sigma is ASQ's systematic, rigorous, and proven methodology focused on improving the quality of processes within an organization, and eliminating process defects

Federal Acquisition Certification Program/Project Managers (FAC P/PM): USDA strives to ensure all Program/Project Managers (P/PM) managing major investments are appropriately trained and certified at the appropriate level. The Office of Federal Procurement Policy released a memo on December 16, 2013 to reflect the revisions to FAC P/PM certification. To meet the requirements stated in the memo, USDA offers FAC P/PM Levels 1, 2, and 3 courses. To learn more about FAC P/PM certification and course offerings, click on