Photo: Karoline Wolf
I studied political science with the supplementary areas of public law and economic policy - at that time still with a diploma - and later I did my doctorate in administrative sciences. My specialization areas during my studies were “Government System of the Federal Republic of Germany” and “Comparative Political Science”, whereby I already dealt a lot with administration and administrative structures.
I work in the Ministry of the Interior and for the municipal authorities of the State of Brandenburg - or in short, in the “MIK”. A structural reform of the administrative structure was planned in Brandenburg a few years ago - it was precisely on this topic that I wrote my diploma thesis and later also did my doctorate. When a position in this area was advertised in 2016, I applied and was accepted.
In the meantime, I am responsible for the subject of the Online Access Act (OZG) in the field of digitization and here for the OZG subject area “Immigration and emigration”. Brandenburg is responsible for the digitization of administrative services nationwide in this area - a very exciting and highly topical area of responsibility.
No two days are the same, especially when it comes to the subject of the Online Access Act - many processes and structures have yet to be established in the federal context. And OZG means one thing above all: coordination. Federal ministries, the ministries of other countries, local government, IT service providers, external consultants, etc. must all work together to implement the OZG. That requires a lot of coordination work.
I exchanged ideas with a larger city in another federal state about the implementation options for the OZG in the area of “immigration”, discussed the final steps for putting our online solution into operation with the Brandenburg project team on the “residence permit” and talked to consultants about the possibilities of a digital citizen assistant.
If we take the pre-Corona times as a benchmark: In the OZG context, there are quite a lot of external appointments, but the majority of the work - as it should be for bureaucracy - takes place in the office of course. However, like so much in a ministry, this question depends on the specific area of responsibility in which you work.
Even if you might not intuitively suspect it: I am very flexible in the design of my work. But again this strongly depends on the area of responsibility within the ministry. It makes a difference whether you work in legally determined areas or - as I currently do - de facto in project structures.
Even if the answer may seem unsatisfactory at first as a student, in the end it is the meta-skills acquired during the course that you benefit from. As explained, I am now doing something different in terms of content than during my studies or my doctorate. But the degree of abstraction acquired in the course of studies with regard to processes, structures, methods, theories and empirical analyses generally help you to develop problem-solving skills.
No - not at all. In my case, however, the doctorate - as explained above - certainly did not harm my application because of the proximity to the advertised position.
Of course, the political line dictates the legitimized management of the house. As a consultant in a ministry, however, you must be able to think politically in every case in order to classify facts and the consequences of your decisions politically, and in order to be able to assess their relevance for the management.
My current work in the area of online access law is extremely exciting, given that it bridges the interface between administrative modernization, digitization and multi-level politics. And that is also the challenge: bringing all actors under one roof is certainly not always easy for anyone involved in the OZG implementation process.
Administrative work should not be equated with dusty filing. The areas of responsibility are very diverse and the design options are quite high. The opportunities for further development and the options for deciding your own working hours and your place of work are also more flexible than you generally think.
Many roads lead to Rome: Especially for non-lawyers, the path to public administration in the area of the higher service is not well mapped out. Gain practical experience in the field of public administration during your studies, deal with topics that are relevant to administration, get involved - as with me in the field of science - if necessary, first in other areas and later apply for positions in public administration. And finally, a tip at the end: the digitization of administration will certainly not lose its importance in the next few years.