During difficult economic times, jobs in the Intelligence Community (IC) have shown remarkable growth and career value. As National Security continues to be a priority for the government, Intelligence Community jobs have created interesting, well paying careers. Compensation in the Community is significantly higher than comparable jobs in other Federal Agencies and, because of the continuing need for Intelligence, career potential is high.
Types of Jobs
By a large margin, the greatest number of jobs created are Information Technology (including increasing skill requirements for Cyber Security) with Engineering and Operational Support also popular. This trend is dictated by the mission of the Intelligence Community based upon collection, analysis and dissemination of actionable intelligence.
The amount of data processed by the IC each day is enormous and extensive use of state of the art data management tools and techniques is a requirement in order to produce quality intelligence.
Professionals are employed directly and through system integrators and other contracting companies and these individuals play an important role in an effort to produce actionable intelligence.
Importance of Jobs in the Intelligence Community
The national security of the American people is the top priority of the Federal Government and the mission critical requirements of the Intelligence Community require the best in technology providers. As a result, the 16 members of the Community that collect and interpret intelligence information generally pay at least a 15% premium in wages for both employees and contractor personnel.
The Wage and Benefit Premium
Premium wages and benefits are offered because the requirements and preferences of the IC are demanding.
High level security clearances (often with full scope-lifestyle polygraphs) are required and advanced degrees are often preferred.
Obtaining a high level security is a difficult, expensive and time consuming process. Bureaucratic delays occur at each level of the clearance process. Extensive background searches are required and at least two agencies (NSA and CIA) require full scope polygraphs. Not everyone can pass scrutiny. This barrier alone reduces the available pool of skilled professionals and increases wage rates.
The type of work and the environment in the Community is demanding and challenging. Many professionals support mission critical projects and strict deadlines are the norm particularly when a national security event occurs.
Agencies also tend to prefer individuals with advanced degrees for the jobs requiring greater skills and this preference underlies the requirement for professionals with state of the art skills.
The work is very challenging, but usually very rewarding. State of the art applications are developed that produce real time intelligence that is valuable in the War against Terror.
In addition to higher pay and benefits, psychic rewards in the form of job satisfaction, national pride and honor, and an overall high esprit de corps and morale add to the rewards of the job. This factor contributes significantly to the low turnover of jobs in the Community.
Small Business vs. Large Business
Many of the employees working for the IC are actually provided by contractors who respond to requirements of Agency end users. These contracts are often long term engagements and large contractors like Lockheed Martin, Boeing, BAE and Northrop supply thousands of IT and Intelligence specialists under contract. In addition there are a large number of smaller, niche type contractors that also supply valuable technical support personnel.