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Looking for a Homeland Security Job? Be Patient

Looking for a Homeland Security Job? Be Patient

Allan Hoffman / Monster.com

October 16, 2007

The US may be pouring billions into homeland security, including funds to target cyberterrorism, but these outlays don’t necessarily translate into easy pickings for information technology professionals seeking work in this sector.

Those with security clearances and expertise in a security niche, such as encryption or biometrics, have an edge in seeking employment on homeland-security projects. But even for those with years of security experience, the field is difficult to break into, because:

1) Government bureaucracy slows hiring.
2) Jobs may be contingent on federal contracts being awarded to private-sector employers.
3) Security clearances may be necessary, whether for employment at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) or companies working on government contracts.
4) The work isn’t concentrated in one place. Jobs exist at the federal, state and local levels of government, as well as at small businesses and corporations.

Advance Your Career

Michael Fitzgerald, principal consultant at staffing firm Winter, Wyman & Company, sees homeland security as a “growth area” for IT workers, yet notes that the complications of job hunting in the field can be discouraging to techies accustomed to faster hiring processes.

Techies may also have the misconception that working in homeland security, even for the DHS itself, is like working for a spy agency. It’s not, Fitzgerald cautions. Tackling the innovative challenges of the post-9/11 world certainly makes up a portion of the IT work available on homeland security projects, but not all of it, he says. “There’s a lot of work that is just humdrum IT work,” such as updating and maintaining computer systems and other such functional tasks, he notes.


Look Down the Private Path 


But the hiring situation may be improving, especially as DHS awards IT-related contracts to companies. “There’s a lot of activity,” says Jacob Goodwin, editor-in-chief of Government Security News. “It’s not a slam-dunk [for job seekers], but it’s a growth opportunity.”

Furthermore, the security concerns spawned by 9/11 have created opportunities beyond those classified strictly as homeland security. Brian Drum, president and CEO of recruitment firm Drum Associates, says that major companies must often retool their IT systems and data centers to cope with the possibility of power-grid problems, terrorist attacks and other unforeseen events.



Such work can entail:

1) Developing biometric identification for smart cards.
2) Sharing information between government agencies through databases, intranets and other communication systems.
3) Protecting the Internet and other networks from attack.
4) Designing back-up systems.
5) Bring It All Home


If you’re seeking work in homeland security, keep the following in mind:

Be Prepared for Bureaucracy: Don’t discount the power of government bureaucracy to create obstacles to hiring. That is particularly true for those seeking work at DHS, says Fitzgerald, who notes the “long and trying process” many job seekers will face. “You need to examine whether you’re patient enough to make this happen,” he says.

Look Beyond the Government: Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the DHS is where all the action is. “The best and most important IT work is not done by government employees who are on the government payroll,” Goodwin says. “It’s done by contractors.”

Follow the Contracts: Because many jobs in homeland security exist outside government, follow the trail of government contracts to find which private-sector employers are working on DHS-related projects. Check out articles at Government Security News, Government Technology and Washington Technology for leads. Conferences, such as the RSA Conference, is another way to learn about who’s working on homeland security projects.

Use Your Clearance: If you have a security clearance, you will have a much better chance of finding work in homeland security. “Security clearances are normally required to be an applicable candidate for this space,” Fitzgerald says.


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    chepo3000

    over 5 years ago

    2 comments

    Hello there are any security commpanie that is doing any hiring in the area of gainesville florida or ocala florida.i will like to get a job with a good commpanie i do have class D and class G license as security officer.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    mben_007

    over 5 years ago

    2 comments

    I am currently working as an independent contractor in Iraq as an import/export logistician and cultural advisor. I am fluent in French and Arabic. I retired from the US Navy after 20 years. I hold a top secret security clearance. After living most of my life away from my family, I would like to get back to the states. I am not greedy. I only want to be able to survive with my family.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Account Removed

    over 5 years ago

    Sheilan- Check the TSA web site for current screener positions. They are usually plentiful.

  • 2o8a6571_max50

    sheilan

    over 5 years ago

    4 comments

    I want to be in security or an airport screener, do you have any suggestions since I am not a gove employee at this time. Is there a contractor I could go thru?

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    boxerboys

    over 5 years ago

    2 comments

    survey,s do not get you a job!Action does!

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Von

    over 5 years ago

    6 comments

    yes I have two security clarince's. First a class AAA; When i used to gaurd aircraft in calafornia. The second clarince is a class L at the dept of energy....

  • Picture_183_max50

    bfinney

    almost 6 years ago

    2 comments

    To work for homeland security can you live anywhere within the US?

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    DEggert

    almost 6 years ago

    4 comments

    How hard is it to get and how do I get a security clearance?

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Chris4506

    almost 6 years ago

    2 comments

    well if a security clearance is needed to get into dhs then how cana person get one?

  • Blue_hills_max50

    WandaR

    about 6 years ago

    2 comments

    I own my own business with LLC attached to company title. I am as clean as anyone could possibly be; very literate and attentive; keeping accurate up-to-date records is a fortitude of mine. I have my office in my home and could be available if you need someone to follow up and follow thru with any government records and also willing to travel should there be a requirement. If there is a need for my services; do not hesitate to let me know what I need to do.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Account Removed

    about 6 years ago

    If you're not in the federal government and are a veteran, search for GS-083 Police jobs. These are great entry jobs to get you into the system. From there it's normally easier to move around to other security realted fields.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    rich_dust

    about 6 years ago

    2 comments

    I am looking for a career in homeland security but do not know where to start, I have an associates,and a Bachelor's degree in criminolgy and ongoing to get a Masters degree, I live in the state of Texas, and looking for a career with homeland security. I am a male hispanic and speak english and spanish fluently and any Government job will be greatly appreciated, I just need a place to start. I am confident that my combination of work experience and solid educational experience has prepared me for making an immediate contribution to our country. I understand the level of professionalism and communication required for long-term success in the field. My back ground and professional approach will provide you with a highly productive work Development.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    GRAHAM

    about 6 years ago

    2 comments

    Hi, I just retired from the navy as an Aviation Ordnanceman and is looking to get in the Homeland Security field somewhere in Richmond, Va area.....is someone out there to point me in the right direction.

  • Dscn0093_max50

    nmbr1stewartfan

    about 6 years ago

    2 comments

    I am currently in college for Crime Scene Investigation and I hope to one day work for Homeland Security. I am open to any suggestions on how to accomplish this goal. What steps I need to take to get there. Condaleza Rice is from my home state and she is a very big influence, I hope to accomplish as much with my life as she has.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    kamalskkaram

    about 6 years ago

    2 comments

    hello to any one ive ben doing dod job in the gulf for the past 3 years dod and us army contractor 3 languages fully english ;;arabic ;;french''yes i do have security clearance mid fifty lebanese native us citizen , for the past five years gulf area present in las vegas nevada i like to join the home land security program any were im ready /reply if some one intrestet interegation translater very good with the arabic and gulf culture im ready my e mail ;kamal_k_karam@yahoo.com my numb.is;702 860 6869 cell thank yu kamal k karam

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