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, 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.