Application Deadline: Closed

Program Dates: May 16 – July 25, 2019

What Is the DSIA?

The Digital Services Innovation Academy (DSIA) is a 10-week program designed to introduce the tools and skills required to transform a business problem from concept to product using design and development principles found in modern digital service development. Course topics include UI/UX, Human Centered Design, Dev Ops, and Data Visualization. Students also participate in a digital services team challenge where they will have the opportunity to apply concepts and knowledge learned. The program includes 18 days of formal instruction in addition to designated lab days to prepare for the challenge. Students will also have access to dedicated Program Coaches who will provide guidance and support. The total program cost is $4000 per participant. Developers, web designers, graphic artists, program managers, data analysts, data scientists, project managers, and communication specialists are encouraged to apply.

DSIA Testimonials
How it Works

DSIA students expand their skills in a variety of areas critical for the state’s digital workforce through classroom instruction, a digital services challenge, and exposure to the Department of Technology’s Innovation Lab. As they develop and enhance their skills in the areas of design, data analytics, ideation, and platforms/development tools, students will also learn about effective communication methods, Lean process improvement techniques, and emotional intelligence.

Professional Development

Participants will interact with peers, class instructors, subject matter experts, executives, the DSIA Program Coaches, and former DSIA students throughout the duration of the Academy.

Team Innovation Challenge

An integral component of the Digital Services Innovation Academy (DSIA) is the Team Innovation Challenge, which allows students to leverage the knowledge they gain throughout the Academy to develop solutions to statewide digital problems.

Topics are selected based on current digital challenges the state faces, and teams work collaboratively under the guidance of the Executive Sponsor and Program Coaches.

The 2018 DSIA cohort included four teams of five students who were grouped according to their technical, soft skills, and leadership styles to work on complex challenges, which could potentially evolve, into large-scale proofs of concept. Challenges were selected and assigned by Scott Gregory, California State Innovation Officer, who also provided coaching to the teams regularly.

Throughout the duration of the Academy, each team collaborated extensively to create both a presentation and a viable solution (application) that demonstrated their understanding of the unique problem associated with their assigned challenge. The approach to addressing the business need and proposed solutions represented the students’ culminating experience of existing talents and skills learned through the Academy. The teams each presented their Challenge proposals and were scored based on creativity, functionality, design, and presentation delivery.

Teams were judged by an executive panel consisting of Scott Gregory; Cruz Nieto, DSIA Program Coach and Portfolio Manager within CDT’s Office of Digital Innovation; and Scott Christman, Chief Information Officer and Deputy Director, Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development.

Students were also provided the opportunity to present on their challenge and proposed solution at the DSIA Graduation on July 20, 2018, which showcased all of their hard work throughout the program to their peers, supervisors, Executive Sponsors, CIOs, and AIOs.

The 2018 winner was the Civic User Testing Portal. Links to all presentation decks as well as the source code hosted on can be found below:

DSIA photo


This year’s winner, Team Fusion, created an application to connect California citizens with user testing opportunities to the State’s existing and emerging online digital services.

Civic User Testing Portal | Civic User Testing Portal Source Code

DSIA photo


Team CalSAFE created an emergency notification alert application to reduce potential for loss of life and property during natural disasters and emergencies.

Emergency Notification Alert (PDF) | Emergency Notification Alert Source Code

DSIA photo


The Match Makers took on the challenge of developing an application to help the State be more competitive with private sector through a tool that compiles key data points and formulates a comprehensive talent profile for applicants.

Talent Pool Inventory (PDF) | Talent Pool Inventory Source Code

DSIA photo


Team MyCA collaborated to develop a unique and secure sign on tool which includes multifactor authentication for state employees.

Single Sign-on for Services | Single Sign-on for Services Source Code

How to Apply

The DSIA application period is now closed.

Please contact the Office of Professional Development for questions and further information at

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the cost for the DSIA?

The cost for the 2019 academy is $4000 per participant.

When does the DSIA start and end?

The DSIA runs from May 16- July 25, 2019.

What specific topics are covered in the curriculum, and how in depth is the training?

The course topics have been carefully selected to provide a meaningful blend of both technical and soft skills critical for the state’s digital workforce. Many courses are ½ or 1-day sessions, while some are 2 days in length. Below is a tentative course listing for the 2019 program. Please note that course topics may be subject to change:

  • Emotional Intelligence (1/2 day)
  • Open Source/Playbook (1/2 day)
  • Data Visualization (1/2 day)
  • Digital Web Services Network (DWSN) Quarterly Meeting (1/2 day)
  • Artificial Intelligence (1 day)
  • Blockchain (1 day)
  • Product Management (1 day)
  • UI/UX (1-day)
  • Lean-White Belt (1 day)
  • Presentation Skills (1 day)
  • Human Centered Design (1day)
  • Robotic Processing Agents (RPAs) (1-day)
  • Dev Ops/Dev Ops Security (2 days)
  • Team Foundation Services Innovation Set Up (2-days)
  • Agile (2 days)

What level of expertise and experience are you seeking from a candidate?

The DSIA welcomes applications from any candidates who have a strong interest in modern digital service development. While developers, web designers, graphic artists, program managers, data analysts, data scientists, project managers, and communication specialists are ideal candidates, applicants need not be highly experienced in one or multiple disciplines to be accepted into the program.

How many candidates will be accepted into the program?

With only 20 spots in the program, the application process is competitive. Candidates are selected based on the quality and thoughtfulness of their application responses.

How many days per week are the training sessions for this academy?

While the training schedule varies depending on the week, students can generally expect to be out of the office an average of 3 days per week.

There are 18 days of formal instruction within the program. Lab days will also be scheduled throughout the program to allow students adequate time to work with their data challenge teams. This is additional time out of the office.

What are the core hours for the training?

Training sessions are held from 8:30-4:30 p.m.

Where will the training be held?

All training sessions will be held at the California Department of Technology’s Training and Education Center in Rancho Cordova, located at 10860 Gold Center Drive. Parking is free.

Do I have to attend all the training sessions to remain in the academy?

The DSIA covers a great deal of curriculum in its 10-week period. In addition, a critical component of the academy is the data challenge, where students will be divided into teams and expected to communicate and collaborate with one another during class sessions. Therefore, full commitment to the entire program is the expectation upon enrollment. We understand that some absences are unavoidable (e.g. illness) so the maximum allowable absences is two. Students who exceed this limit will be withdrawn from the program.