While some things about applying for state work have improved, the process still requires considerable patience and persistence.
Applicants should first contact the CA Department of Information Technology via e-mail at email@example.com. The staff will review resumes and provide applicants with further instructions. (As this article went to press, the department was working on adding a button labeled "IT Careers" to its website, www.doit.ca.gov.)
Next, applicants must take a state IT test, currently being updated by the State Personnel Board. Castillo hopes the exam will soon be available online. Those who place in the top rankings are then qualified to apply with agencies who have their openings listed on the state personnel website, www.spb.ca.gov.
Or you can apply directly to a state agency, since not all openings are listed at the SPB website. It pays to surf each and every department's website to find the kind of work that appeals to you.
"It's really exciting. There are so many departments with a variety of technologies - from law and social service, to transportation . . . from water resources to data centers. The choices are endless," exults Castillo, who landed his job with the state in January.
Once hired, it's always possible to transfer to other departments if your initial assignment grows stale or fails to measure up in other ways. Of course, whichever job you choose will have one major attraction - a respectable and reliable paycheck, with little or no threat of layoff.
Even nicer, you can retire at age 55 with a decent pension. For example, if you work for the state for 25 years, at 55 you quality for an annual entitlement equal to 2 percent of your last year's income times the number of years you were employed. If you earned $50,000 that last year, you would be eligible for $25,000 per year. Work longer, get more. You can calculate it yourself at calpers.com.
In addition, the state also provides retirement medical coverage as if you were an employee, until Medicare kicks in.
Match that in the private sector.