Why I Joined the U.S. Digital Service

United States Digital Service
U.S. Digital Service
3 min readJan 28, 2015


By Kathy Pham, Advisor on Health Data, United States Digital Service

Kathy has taken her private sector tech career into public service. This is her story…and her ask for you to join the growing effort to change government.

I am a technologist, committed to public service. I have always had a deep appreciation for service because I have seen what being an American has meant for my family.

Being an American meant hope and opportunity for my parents, who fled Vietnam in search of a better life.

Being an American meant that when my brother, Captain David Pham, was wounded during his brave service in Afghanistan, his country took care of him and recognized his sacrifices with the Purple Heart.

Being an American meant that when my mom was diagnosed with Leukemia, I could move her across the country to better care for her and not worry that her new state insurance would deny coverage based on a pre — existing condition.

And being an American for me meant having access to the best education the world has to offer and helping build a cutting-edge technology industry that is transforming so many aspects of the way we live.

As a computer scientist, I have worked throughout the private sector to see how we can use technology to drive innovation. In the early days of Google Health, I was trained to pull together teams of people with different backgrounds to produce results. I worked with doctors to analyze health data as a consultant for IBM. I have designed healthcare interoperability software, studied disease trends with data analytics, and built data warehouses for hospitals. I have done all this while getting to contribute to companies that are leading the world in innovation.

But it was just recently that I got the chance to bridge my background in technology with my passion for service.

On October 6, 2014, my mom received her final round of chemo and was declared cancer-free. Just two days later, I got a call from Mikey Dickerson. He asked me to join the new United States Digital Service and take part in a movement that is striving to make public services as effective and efficient as those in the private sector. He called on me to bring my experience to government to improve health technology, to expand Veterans’ access to care, and to better services for so many who interact with the government.

I said yes. I saw the opportunity to use everything I have learned professionally and personally to contribute to public service and take care of our country’s Veterans.

At the U.S. Digital Service, I am surrounded by brilliant technologists, strategists, and public servants who care deeply about transforming government. These are people who left jobs at the best tech companies to serve. I am in awe each day by the passion and tech skills they apply to solving our toughest problems, and I feel honored and privileged to serve alongside them.

All of us at the U.S. Digital Service have our own stories. But we share the same mission: let’s make our government work better for people. We are working to build the Digital Service team across government and we need talented individuals like you with deep skills in engineering management, product design, software engineering, visual design, and site reliability and production engineering.

We have an incredible opportunity to change the way government does business. But we need the best talent America has to offer. We need you. Join us!

To apply and learn more about the U.S. Digital Service, check us out here.

Kathy and her brother Captain David Pham are really excited about public service.

As a member of the U.S. Digital Service, Kathy is working to improve health technology for more Americans, expand veterans’ access to benefits, and transform how government provides services. Read more about Kathy here.



United States Digital Service
U.S. Digital Service

The U.S. Digital Service is a group of mission-driven professionals who are passionate about delivering better government services to the public.