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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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  • Sgt

    craigmiles75

    about 6 years ago

    2 comments

    Craig: Just got out of the Active Army last year. A CIA personnel had referred me to this site to applied to Homeland Security in the DC area.

  • Picture_139_max50

    texas69

    about 6 years ago

    8 comments

    Hope I get government job or get my previous as interpreter

  • Picture_139_max50

    texas69

    about 6 years ago

    8 comments

    Hope i get government employment or get my previous employment as interpreter

  • Picture_139_max50

    texas69

    about 6 years ago

    8 comments

    I hope to get government empoyment specially my old one as interpreter

  • Picture_139_max50

    texas69

    about 6 years ago

    8 comments

    Joseph :

    I was hired and obtained security clearance to serve in the Army as interpreter in Afghanistan, After 4 months serving there. I was going for promotion to work in more government security area. I was terminated and returned back to the US. Then The Army started investigated with my previous employers and others about me . I do not know these investigation turned out in to my favor or not? Why they investigating about me after I was terminted? why they did not complete their investigation prior to my departure to Afghanistan? i have more qustions than answer.,But I'm keeping my finger cross. If you have some information in these area please let me know . My email address is : texas62@satx.rr.com Thank you !!!

  • 1gastonguay_m107_sniper_rifle_max50

    clifton

    about 6 years ago

    4 comments

    Looking for a job in Homeland Security. I am curently in the U.S. Army my specialty is weapon systems. I am very physical fit. and up on all my battle drills. I would like a job somewhere in the weapons department.

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    lancegibson

    over 6 years ago

    4 comments

    I am looking for a job with (TSA) Airport. i have served 14 years in the military. five of them as a military guard/police. I spent 3 of the 14 years overseas. Kwatti, persian gulf wars. I know i have what it take to be imployed by TSA airport.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    patricia324

    over 6 years ago

    8 comments

    There are hiring at tsa in Pittsburgh, Pa.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    gmy1953

    over 6 years ago

    10 comments

    I am a retired State and Federal Police Officer, and miss serving the public, and my country. I have aquired many skills and talents over the years, and would apprechate any consideration given.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    gmy1953

    over 6 years ago

    10 comments

    I am a retired State and Federal Police Officer, and miss working with the public and serving my country. I have many talents aquired over the years of training and experience. Any conseration given will be deeply apprechated.

  • Dsc00002_max50

    jatrujillo72

    over 6 years ago

    4 comments

    There are a lot of things that you can do to help your community. Most cities have an emergency mgt office. Within that office there is the local CERT team. CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) is a great place to serve your community while aslo working in the private sector. I am not advocating that if you volunteer with the city you will get a job. What I am saying is that you can learn how the government works and it will help you make a more informed decision about DHS or FEMA. Just my thoughts.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    bowlingfordavid

    over 6 years ago

    2 comments

    I'D LIKE TO HAVE A POSOTION WITH HOMELAND SECURITY, i'M A VETERAN, RETIRED POLICE OFFICER, WITH AN ABUNDANCE OF EXPERIENCE AND EDUCATION IN THIS FIELD. i'VE ALWAYS ENJOYED HELPING PEOPLE AND HONORED TO SERVE MY COUNTRY. I SERVED IN THE U.S. AIR FORCE AS A SECURITY POLICEMAN. ANY CONSIDERATION FOR A POSITION WOULD BE GREATLY APPRECIATED.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    taylrsh

    over 6 years ago

    2 comments

    I would love to be a part of the Homeland Security Team. I been working for federal contractor for 22 yrs, and would like to work for the government. Thanks

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    juancho

    over 6 years ago

    4 comments

    I need a job

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    juancho

    over 6 years ago

    4 comments

    i am looking for jog,very interesiting'

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