Security

Homeland security and job opportunities


How's this for a silver lining? For a while there it looked like cyberterrorism was going to open up the job market for IT pros with expertise in security. Some people who were already looking for a change in the mundane scenery from Help Desks were pulled in by the "international spy" allure of a career fighting cyberterrorism. However, many found the process of getting in the door a little tougher than they had anticipated. Before you go out and buy a trench coat and start ordering your martinis shaken not stirred, you might want to listen up.

Interviewed for an article on monster.com, Michael Fitzgerald, principal consultant at staffing firm Winter, Wyman & Company, sees homeland security as a "growth area" for IT workers, but cautions that it's not as glamorous as it may initially sound. He warns that much of the work merely involves the crappy maintenance stuff you're probably already doing anyway.

But if you're still hankering to enter the field, Fitzgerald offers some tips.

  • Be prepared for a long, protracted hiring process. (It's the government, after all.)
  • Sidestep working for the government directly, and look into contractors who already are doing work
  • Find out which private-sector employers are working on homeland security projects. You can find these in publications like Government Security News.
  • Get a security clearance. Security clearance will be required so you might come to the forefront if you've already got yours.

Author's note apropos of nothing: If I never hear the words "And I approved this message" again in my lifetime it will be too soon.

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

5 comments
IT Security Guy
IT Security Guy

Depending on your experience and the job you are looking for, it can be easier to find work for a company with a contract, then after a couple years of demonstrable growth, start applying for a federal job. It took me 2 years of applying before I got in,and that is with 4 years of experience as a contractor working in the same field and doing the exact same work, plus 3 years in the private sector. The position I am in now was the last of 30 positions I applied for over a 8 month period. Be very patient and use the time to increase your skills and marketability. Also practice answering the KSAs because the more you answer, the better you will get, and that will help you during interviews because you will have the answers in your head, in the format they need to be.

bruce.dimon
bruce.dimon

"get a security clearance" is not something that I can do. I can't just apply for one like a passport. As far as I know, only your current employer can apply for your clearance. I applied in April 2005, had the interview in June and am still waiting to hear about a result.

IT Security Guy
IT Security Guy

Treu, but you can work for a company with a gov't contract that will pay for you to get a clearance. Once you have one through a contract company and you have a couple years with that company, you can start appying for a gov't position that requires a clearance

DarkFriend
DarkFriend

See this security clearance jobs faq for some good info on how to get a security clearance, why you might be denied a clearance, how long it takes, etc.

falahyar_fatmi
falahyar_fatmi

Do you know what company will file for clearance? I am interested to get the Seceret level security and trying to find a company that will for me. I will be open to pay for the fees.