Application Deadline: March 24, 2020 May 1, 2020

Program Dates: To Be Determined

What Is the DSIA?

The Digital Services Innovation Academy (DSIA) is a one of kind, 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. Cutting edge course topics include Game Theory, User Interface (UI)/User Experience (UX), Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence (AI)/Machine Learning, DevSecOps (Development Security Operations), and Product Ownership. Students will participate in a digital services Team Innovation Challenge where they apply the concepts and knowledge learned to create solutions to specific digital challenges the State faces.

The program includes 20 days of formal instruction in addition to designated lab days to prepare for the Challenge. Students will have access to an experienced Program Coach who will provide guidance and support. The total program cost is $4800 per participant. Developers, web and graphic designers, program managers, data analysts, enterprise architects, data scientists, project managers, business analysts, and communication specialists are encouraged to apply.

DSIA Testimonials
How it Works

DSIA students have the rare opportunity to expand their skills in a variety of areas critical for the state’s digital workforce through classroom instruction and a digital services Team Innovation Challenge. As they develop and enhance their skills in the areas of design, ideation, and platforms/development tools, students will also learn about effective communication methods, team dynamics, and emotional intelligence.

Professional Development

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

Team Innovation Challenge

An integral component of the DSIA is the Team Innovation Challenge, which allows students to leverage the knowledge and skills they gain throughout the Academy to develop viable solutions to statewide digital problems.

Topics are carefully determined by the Executive Sponsor and are based on current digital challenges the state faces. Throughout the Academy, each assigned team works collaboratively under the guidance of the Executive Sponsor and Program Coach to create both a presentation and solution (application) that demonstrates their understanding of the unique problem associated with their specific challenge. The approach to addressing the business need and the proposed solution represents the students’ culminating experience in the Academy.

Teams present and demonstrate their Challenge solution to an executive panel as well to their peers, sponsors, and supervisors at the DSIA graduation.

Below are our 2019 Innovation Challenge Teams along with a brief description of their solutions:

Team CaliAm

DSIA CaliAm photo

Team CaliAm tackled the tough issue of homelessness by creating a digital identification solution to help impacted citizens gain access to critical services such as medical care, job training, housing, and social services.

Team eAmber

DSIA eAmber photo

Team eAmber created an enhanced Amber alert application to support our citizens’ ability to respond and recover abducted individuals by engaging citizens as part of the solution.

Team CalCoin

DSIA CalCoin photo

Team CalCoin developed their own application to provide a digital currency solution that would provide citizens with the ability to instantaneously interact with State programs to procure goods and services without the need for a third party vendor or system.

How to Apply

The DSIA application period is now open and closes at 5 p.m. on May 1, 2020.

The following documents must be submitted for your application to be considered complete:

  • Completion of the formal application.
  • Upload a signed Chief Information Officer (CIO) Authorization form (.pdf format). Alternates to the CIO signature will not be accepted without an explanation as to the unavailability of the CIO to sign. Please secure this form prior to beginning the application process as you will be unable to save information entered.

For questions, please contact

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the cost for the DSIA?

The cost for the 2020 academy is $4800 per participant.

When does the DSIA start and end?

The start and end dates for the DSIA will be posted as soon as they are determined.

What are the core hours for the training?

Training sessions are held from 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

How often will I be away from my department?

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 20 days of formal instruction within the program. In addition, lab days are periodically scheduled to allow students adequate time to work with their data challenge teams. This is additional time out of the office.

A program schedule will be provided by Office of Professional Development (OPD) Staff upon acceptance into the program.

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.

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

The course topics have been carefully selected by the Executive Sponsor to provide a combination of both technical and soft skills critical for the state’s digital workforce. Below is a tentative course listing for the 2020 program. Please note that course topics may be subject to change:

  • Game Theory (1 day)
  • Internet of Things (IoT) (1 day)
  • DevSecOps (Developer Security Operations) (1 day)
  • Team Challenge Set up (non-technical focus) (1/2 day)
  • Team Foundation Services Innovation Challenge Set Up (technical focus) (2 days)
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (1 day)
  • Blockchain Fundamentals and Use Cases (1 day)
  • Product Ownership (1 day)
  • Data Visualization and Analytics (1 day)
  • UI/UX (1-day)
  • Making Documents Accessible (1 day)
  • Presentation Skills (2 half-day sessions)
  • Emotional Intelligence (1 day)
  • Agile (2 days)

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

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

How are candidates selected?

With a limited number of spots in the program, the application process is highly competitive. Candidates are selected based on the quality and thoughtfulness of their application responses.

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 Team Innovation Data Challenge, where students will be divided into teams by the Executive Sponsor and expected to communicate and collaborate with one another during class sessions.

While some absences are unavoidable (e.g. illness), the maximum allowable absences is two. There are no make-up sessions for courses missed, and students who exceed this limit will be withdrawn from the program. Therefore, if you have vacation or other planned time off during the academy that will significantly interfere with your participation, you are encouraged to apply for a future academy that will not have conflicting dates.