Last week Master of Arts in Policy Studies alum David Doyle (’15) began a new venture as City of Seattle’s Open Data Program Manager. His primary focus is continuing the implementation of Seattle’s open data policy, which involves coordinating efforts across all City departments to accelerate the publishing of high value datasets into http://data.seattle.gov. In February 2016, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray signed an Executive Order directing all City data to be "open by preference," meaning City departments should make their data accessible to the public after screening for privacy, security, and quality considerations.
A Microsoft employee for 18 years, David credits the Policy Studies program as key in his transition to public service. Describing his trajectory, David writes:
I had spent my entire career in Microsoft, and while it had been an enjoyable and eventful career, I began to feel the need to find my true calling and use the skillset I had developed at Microsoft as a base for my next role. Around four years ago I began to think hard about transitioning into a new career and what that might look like. I’ve always been hugely interested in politics and current affairs, I read voraciously about many topics (social science, technology, history), and thought that the world of policy (and in particular, technology policy) might be a great place to explore. Policy was interesting to me from the perspective of being able to have impact on a large scale and help solve some really tough problems. When I found the Policy Studies program, it seemed to fit all of my needs, including the ability to study part-time and attend class at night.
It wasn’t until I entered the program that I became aware of the world of open data and civic engagement. I was immediately hooked and spent my entire second year researching open data for my capstone research project. Apart from exposing me to open data, there are other ways that Policy Studies helped me to reach this point. One was taking the policy and data skills I had developed in the program and using them within a new big data role I undertook at Microsoft. Another was using the networking opportunities that the program afforded. Via the Policy Studies LinkedIn group, I met people who pointed me toward City of Seattle volunteer committees, and I became an active member of Electronic Government (E-Gov) Committee which was heavily focused on open data initiatives within Seattle. This experience gave me real world insights into how policy is shaped and provided opportunities to work directly with the Open Data Program team.
When the Open Data Manager position became available, it seemed like a natural fit, and I was fortunate enough to be offered the position. My new role will allow me to use the skillsets from my previous career, as well as the new skills I acquired from the Policy Studies program, to help shape new policy regarding open data and civic engagement within the City of Seattle.
You can read more about David’s background at: http://techtalk.seattle.gov/2016/09/07/david-doyle-is-the-citys-new-open-data-program-manager/.