offered a DoD contractor job - what should I expect?

ck86ck86 Member Posts: 62 ■■□□□□□□□□
I'll preface this by saying my IT 'career' has been growing up as a gamer doing lots of break/fix to 5 years army signal followed by two jr sysadmin positions (3 yrs) and two stressful tier3/many-hat stints at small shop MSPs(4 yrs). I've been fulltime student the last 6 months toward a CS/software engineering due to developing a strong distaste of "tech support" after my last two positions.

This week I was contacted by a recruiter that came across my resume and showed my previous secret clearance and Windows sysadmin experience. Due to some financial constraints and issues finding a non-IT gig to supplement some income I went through with the interview process. I'm scheduled to sit down with the contracting business owner Monday morning and be given an offer for a position with a 5-man contractor team supporting a nearby Army base's medical IT system. My job specifically will be managing the enterprise-level data backup system. I'm expected to get a security+ in a few weeks and have my clearance renewed as well as an "industry" certification.

I've heard a lot of bad things about DoD/gov contracting IT jobs but was curious what those with experience here had to say and if they could provide any further info that may help me make an informed decision on whether to take this gig or not.

Comments

  • devilbonesdevilbones Member Posts: 318 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I think it all depends on the company and where you are. I have been a DOD contractor for 17 years. I have lived overseas, traveled to over 80 countries, deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan with my customer and had a great time. What do you want to know?
  • kaijukaiju Member Posts: 405 ■■■■■■□□□□
    Do it and gain some resume experience. If the company is good they will either pay for your certs or reimburse you after you pass.

    Research the contract and the contract company!! How is the companies reputation for compensation and management? How long is the contract? What type of bid (extreme low bid contracts SUCK)?
    Work smarter NOT harder! Semper Gumby!
  • TechGromitTechGromit A+, N+, GSEC, GCIH, GREM, Ontario, NY Member Posts: 1,975 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Personally I feel that contracting companies that offer staffing solutions are the scum of the earth, they low ball you on salaries, have crappy benefits, your disposable at there whim, etc, but government contractors are the exception. Usually in the contract with the government, it's stipulated the salary range of the contractors is higher, and benefits better. It makes sense after all, you don't want a bunch of pissed off, disgruntled contractors making crap wages supporting your secret military operations. I worked as a government contractor at the Federal Aviation Administration, the pay was pretty good, decent benefits, and when another government contractor won the bid on the contract a few years later, I transferred over to the new company with the same Pay and benefits. I was even able to keep my seniority for accruing vacation time.

    The only draw back is sometimes the Federal Employees didn't play well together. Sometimes a contractor in another department would request information or something from a federal employee, and the fed copped an attitude, I don't have to listen to him, he's just a contractor. I didn't see this happen often, just occasionally. Requesting something from federal employees requires the upmost finesse. The other is your the first to go when there is any government cut backs. I was laid off during the government sequester in 2013, I really pissed me off when a report was released a few years later saying the No Government employees lost there jobs because of the sequester cuts, the report made no mention of the 100,000 contractors that got laid off. The building I worked a 1/3 of the contracting staff was let go, close to 500 people.
    Still searching for the corner in a round room.
  • yoba222yoba222 Senior Member Member Posts: 1,086 ■■■■■■■■□□
    It's an odd mix of management/leadership because you're dealing with an organization that includes active duty military, federal government employees, and government contractors. While it's military at its core, it's not really possible to be tightly unified in the way you might expect the military to operate. I also think the experience drastically varies depending on where and even when you are assigned. I'd go for it.
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  • devilbonesdevilbones Member Posts: 318 ■■■■□□□□□□
    a3g said:
    I think it all depends on the company and where you are. I have been a DOD contractor for 17 years. I have lived overseas, traveled to over 80 countries, deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan with my customer and had a great time. What do you want to know?
    I'm guessing you are ex-military...
    How do CISSP big 4 type guys fare against you? 
    What do you mean?
  • roninkaironinkai Senior Member San DiegoMember Posts: 303 ■■■■□□□□□□
    edited March 2019
    I may be able to help shed some light on this. I entered IT at 16, became a government employee at 19, and a DoD Contractor at 26. I've been passed around on various contracts, but all the while still working for the same 'DoD entity'. Years later I contracted again, and now I work as a full-time employee for a company who are one of the largest DoD contractors. Now at 40, I can say it's been a very good decision as I am in a stable industry, high-paying job opportunities, and lots of room for growth. Get your foot in the door, add value each and every day you come to work and in time, you'll excel far above the rest. Some in the DoD world like to keep their head down and not make waves. But I'm there to actually improve security, so I push back and push back hard. Don't be afraid of senior people who don't know what they are doing. There are lots of them, and often times they need to hear the advice of the guys on the ground floor!
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