Two hundred ways to switch an…

Two hundred ways to switch an EC Directorate to open source


Last week Friday, the European Commission received some two hundred studies, outlining plans for switching one of its Directorates General to open source, implementing this type of software solutions on servers as well as desktops. The case studies were composed by IT candidates, taking part in a selection competition for the EC.


The test was organised by the European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO). According to one of the participants, candidates were asked to "write an action plan on the migration of all server and desktop software to free and open source software for one of the Directorates General". The request was accompanied by several printed emails and documents, describing the DG's IT systems and applications and adding context.

EPSO declined to provide details on the origin of the case study. However, the topics are formulated in close cooperation with civil servants working for the European Commission and the case studies are intended to help find the expertise that the EC expects it will need in the near future. However, there is no direct link between any of the EPSO case studies and EC plans, the organisation stresses. "These documents are fictitious, and produced solely for the purpose of this exercise."

The answer is easy

Last week's case study is part of a selection competition for ICT personnel that begun in March 2010. The EC wants to hire 72 IT staffers and started admission test for several hundreds of candidates. The first round tested participants' verbal, numerical and language skills.

The second round, including last week's case study, is meant to examine capabilities including analysis and problem solving, communication, team work and leadership. The two hundred case studies are to be validated by the 'selection board'.

In its guide to its open competition, the EC writes: "A selection board is appointed to select the best candidates in the light of the requirements set out in the competition notice. The board compares the candidates' performance in order to assess their suitability for the duties described in the notice. Its task is not only to evaluate their knowledge but also to identify those who are best qualified in terms of merit."


More information:

Notice of open competition (PDF)
Mock Case Study (PDF)
EPSO information page on the ICT case study
EPSO's Guide to open competitions (PDF)

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