Having job market difficulty? Think about this if you are in the US.

I'm usually not a big thread starter, but I have noticed something in the past few months. While the economy is in the tank, there is one group of people who are doing very well. Government contractors seem to have stability, high pay, and a lot of interesting work assignments.

If you are new into the IT world and want to really jump start your career, look into a position that needs a government security clearance. Basically if you have no criminal record, terrorist ties, or drug/alcohol problems you can probably pass a Secret background investigation with ease.

As I was stating above, cleared workers have job prospects all over the world. It is very common to see job postings looking for people in Germany, Japan, Korea, and even Russia. If you like to push the limit a bit, you can even work in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. The pay for overseas positions are generally really high, with Iraq and Afghanistan being obviously much higher (danger pay). There are also plenty of openings here in the US as well.

You also have the option to work for many different branches of the government:
Department of Justice (FBI, CIA, NSA)
Department of Defense (Army, Navy, Airforce, etc)
Department of Homeland Security
Department of Energy

If you all ready have a security clearance and are looking for a job, check out Security Clearance Jobs - ClearanceJobs.com . Post up your resume and see if you get any hits. You can also search plenty of CONUS and OCONUS positions.

EDIT: The higher you can get up in clearance level, the more in demand you will be. These are obviously harder to obtain, but welll worth it in the long run. You may start out with a position that only requires a Secret, but then eventually move to something that is Top Secret level. TS cleared people are in high demand.

If anyone has any questions, please feel free to post them in this, or PM me.
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Comments

  • Bl8ckr0uterBl8ckr0uter Inactive Imported Users Posts: 5,031 ■■■■■■■■□□
    I'm usually not a big thread starter, but I have noticed something in the past few months. While the economy is in the tank, there is one group of people who are doing very well. Government contractors seem to have stability, high pay, and a lot of interesting work assignments.

    If you are new into the IT world and want to really jump start your career, look into a position that needs a government security clearance. Basically if you have no criminal record, terrorist ties, or drug/alcohol problems you can probably pass a Secret background investigation with ease.

    As I was stating above, cleared workers have job prospects all over the world. It is very common to see job postings looking for people in Germany, Japan, Korea, and even Russia. If you like to push the limit a bit, you can even work in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. The pay for overseas positions are generally really high, with Iraq and Afghanistan being obviously much higher (danger pay). There are also plenty of openings here in the US as well.

    You also have the option to work for many different branches of the government:
    Department of Justice (FBI, CIA, NSA)
    Department of Defense (Army, Navy, Airforce, etc)
    Department of Homeland Security
    Department of Energy

    If you all ready have a security clearance and are looking for a job, check out Security Clearance Jobs - ClearanceJobs.com . Post up your resume and see if you get any hits. You can also search plenty of CONUS and OCONUS positions.

    EDIT: The higher you can get up in clearance level, the more in demand you will be. These are obviously harder to obtain, but welll worth it in the long run. You may start out with a position that only requires a Secret, but then eventually move to something that is Top Secret level. TS cleared people are in high demand.

    If anyone has any questions, please feel free to post them in this, or PM me.

    My father works for the USAF (as a civilian, not a contractor) and he has his TS. It has been my goal to work at the local AFB since I was about 16. I find it very hard to get interview for jobs if you do not have a clearance. I almost considered going to the Air Force to get a clearance.

    For all of those folks that have one, you really are golden. I saw a job that wanted A+ and a Security clearance that was paying 65k.
  • L0gicB0mb508L0gicB0mb508 Member Posts: 538
    Security clearances are actually quite expensive to get. Once you get your skills up to par, you'll find it easier for them to justify the cost. It is also possible on some contracts that they are unable to clear you , which means you have to have one coming in. Stay persistent with it. Look for multiple contractors working in that area, and just throw your resume out there. If you know people who are contracts or civs, make sure you network with them. If you fill something the company needs, they will throw the money out to get you cleared.

    EDIT: Also make sure you stay persistent in the postings. If you see the same job come up, apply for it again. You may also find that many sub contractors are posting out there. Apply with all the subs you can, sometimes its easier to get on as a sub than with the actual contracting company. This will decrease your pay, but we're looking for ways to get you foot into the government's door.
    I bring nothing useful to the table...
  • veritas_libertasveritas_libertas CISSP, GIAC x5, CompTIA x5 Greenville, SC USAMember Posts: 5,746 ■■■■■■■■■■
    My company sends contractors overseas and we do the desktop support from the states as well as sending IT teams overseas. All of this is government contracts. Just last week I had to walk a colleague through some VPN issues, and she was located in Bosnia. Cool stuff...
  • loxleynewloxleynew Member Posts: 405
    Don't some jobs pay you to get a security clearance? Like they put you in a pending hire state while they wait for the clearance then you get hired or not hired? Ive seen this a few times around where I live it says on the app.

    Id imagine this wouldn't apply to over seas jobs but US jobs Id imagine most would pay for yo to get one.
  • veritas_libertasveritas_libertas CISSP, GIAC x5, CompTIA x5 Greenville, SC USAMember Posts: 5,746 ■■■■■■■■■■
    loxleynew wrote: »
    Don't some jobs pay you to get a security clearance? Like they put you in a pending hire state while they wait for the clearance then you get hired or not hired? Ive seen this a few times around where I live it says on the app.

    Id imagine this wouldn't apply to over seas jobs but US jobs Id imagine most would pay for yo to get one.

    That is the way mine works for people going overseas to Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • Bl8ckr0uterBl8ckr0uter Inactive Imported Users Posts: 5,031 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Security clearances are actually quite expensive to get. Once you get your skills up to par, you'll find it easier for them to justify the cost. It is also possible on some contracts that they are unable to clear you , which means you have to have one coming in. Stay persistent with it. Look for multiple contractors working in that area, and just throw your resume out there. If you know people who are contracts or civs, make sure you network with them. If you fill something the company needs, they will throw the money out to get you cleared.


    I know they are expensive as hell, like 10-15k and sometimes much more depending on what level. I am working on building my Networking (CCNA, CCNA:S, CCDA,etc), Unix/Linux (SCSA, SCNA, RHCT, RHCE, etc) and security (S+, SSCP,GSEC,GCUX,OSCP, etc) with the hopes of landing a contractor job. I actually live about 15 minutes away from a Major AFB and I would love to work there.

    EDIT: Also make sure you stay persistent in the postings. If you see the same job come up, apply for it again. You may also find that many sub contractors are posting out there. Apply with all the subs you can, sometimes its easier to get on as a sub than with the actual contracting company. This will decrease your pay, but we're looking for ways to get you foot into the government's door.

    Good thinking. As far a "contractor jobs" I am not sure where to look. I do look on USAjobs from time to time but I know those are all actual government jobs (correct??).
  • dynamikdynamik Banned Posts: 12,312 ■■■■■■■■■□
    GCUX? You hippie ;)

    I hear there tends to be a bit of tension between contractors and military personnel...
  • Bl8ckr0uterBl8ckr0uter Inactive Imported Users Posts: 5,031 ■■■■■■■■□□
    dynamik wrote: »
    GCUX? You hippie ;)

    I hear there tends to be a bit of tension between contractors and military personnel...

    Hippie!!! lol. It looks like an awesome cert.

    My Dad has worked in Fuels research for about 20 years (right out of college). He has worked in the Fuels lab the entire time. He said it really depends on the area. For an example, they have a few oracle guys working in the fuels lab to keep the data in tip top shape and the relationship is good. In IT however, a lot of the time the contractors make a significant amount more than the non contract folks, and sometimes they are doing very similar jobs.

    I know a guy who has been doing contract work for the government (with the same contract) for longer than my dad (30 yrs+) and he says he loves it. The jobs are pretty stable, and alot of the time they just recycle guys from 1 project to another because of the security clearances.
  • carboncopycarboncopy Member Posts: 259
    knwminus wrote: »
    I do look on USAjobs from time to time but I know those are all actual government jobs (correct??).

    Yes, those are actual government jobs.
  • L0gicB0mb508L0gicB0mb508 Member Posts: 538
    loxleynew wrote: »
    Don't some jobs pay you to get a security clearance? Like they put you in a pending hire state while they wait for the clearance then you get hired or not hired? Ive seen this a few times around where I live it says on the app.

    Id imagine this wouldn't apply to over seas jobs but US jobs Id imagine most would pay for yo to get one.

    More than likely you will be granted an interim clearance. This is just a temporary clearance until you can pass the background checks fully. This is usually the case stateside or even working in combat zones.
    I bring nothing useful to the table...
  • L0gicB0mb508L0gicB0mb508 Member Posts: 538
    knwminus wrote: »
    Hippie!!! lol. It looks like an awesome cert.

    My Dad has worked in Fuels research for about 20 years (right out of college). He has worked in the Fuels lab the entire time. He said it really depends on the area. For an example, they have a few oracle guys working in the fuels lab to keep the data in tip top shape and the relationship is good. In IT however, a lot of the time the contractors make a significant amount more than the non contract folks, and sometimes they are doing very similar jobs.

    I know a guy who has been doing contract work for the government (with the same contract) for longer than my dad (30 yrs+) and he says he loves it. The jobs are pretty stable, and alot of the time they just recycle guys from 1 project to another because of the security clearances.

    Look on Dice, or even Linkedin. You can find the jobs pretty easily. If it mentions anything about a clearance, then you know its a government contractor gig.
    I bring nothing useful to the table...
  • L0gicB0mb508L0gicB0mb508 Member Posts: 538
    My company sends contractors overseas and we do the desktop support from the states as well as sending IT teams overseas. All of this is government contracts. Just last week I had to walk a colleague through some VPN issues, and she was located in Bosnia. Cool stuff...

    I've seen plenty of your company's people when I was in the 'Stan. You'll find a ton of guys all over the place doing this type of work. I have several friends who worked in Bosnia before heading to Afghanistan.
    I bring nothing useful to the table...
  • L0gicB0mb508L0gicB0mb508 Member Posts: 538
    dynamik wrote: »
    GCUX? You hippie ;)

    I hear there tends to be a bit of tension between contractors and military personnel...

    I guess it depends on where you work at. Some are really good to you, and some hate you. That's just how it is. If you work in the combat zones, you will definitely get that lack of respect feeling. It's actually pretty understandable. You make $250,000 for your 12 months stay and they make about $40,000 for the same time. I'd feel a little bitter too.
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  • dynamikdynamik Banned Posts: 12,312 ■■■■■■■■■□
    knwminus wrote: »
    In IT however, a lot of the time the contractors make a significant amount more than the non contract folks, and sometimes they are doing very similar jobs.
    If you work in the combat zones, you will definitely get that lack of respect feeling. It's actually pretty understandable. You make $250,000 for your 12 months stay and they make about $40,000 for the same time. I'd feel a little bitter too.

    Yes, I believe that is the crux of the issue.
  • 7lowe7lowe Member Posts: 178 ■□□□□□□□□□
    This is pretty much exactly what I've been looking to do. But, almost everything I've seen is wanting you to already have clearance. And, I have even applied for jobs in Iraq and Afghanistan, but I haven't heard anything from them either (only applied about 1-2 weeks ago.)

    7
  • L0gicB0mb508L0gicB0mb508 Member Posts: 538
    7lowe wrote: »
    This is pretty much exactly what I've been looking to do. But, almost everything I've seen is wanting you to already have clearance. And, I have even applied for jobs in Iraq and Afghanistan, but I haven't heard anything from them either (only applied about 1-2 weeks ago.)

    7

    The backlog of applicants is rather large for OCONUS positions. It is not uncommon for them to take several weeks to get back to you. I'm guessing you just got out of school. I hate to say it, but maybe you should look into ADPE (basically a computer tech) or a helpdesk person. They pay is still extremely high (some helpdesk staff is making nearly 200k for 12 months). This is also a ticket to get a clearance. It may not be what you want to do right now, but its a very very good step to get there.

    Most positions over there are leaning more towards the experience and certifications than anything else. You will find a lot of the guys over there do not have college degrees.

    Things are ramping up in Afghanistan by a lot. You will find less and less of a chance to go to Iraq. Honestly I'd much rather go to Iraq, just because living conditions are generally nicer. I know I've had a few offers to go back to Afghanistan here lately. It seems they are on the hunt.
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  • btowntechbtowntech Member Posts: 198
    7lowe wrote: »
    This is pretty much exactly what I've been looking to do. But, almost everything I've seen is wanting you to already have clearance. And, I have even applied for jobs in Iraq and Afghanistan, but I haven't heard anything from them either (only applied about 1-2 weeks ago.)

    7

    I hate to tell you this but you're going to have to wait it out. I applied with the military contractor that I work for now around the end of Nov. 2007 and pretty much wrote them off until I got a call from them in mid Jan. 2008. It helped me get my foot in the door with a networking job, but it also helped that I held a security clearance when I served in the Army National Guard.
    BS - Information Technology; AAS - Electro-Mechanical Engineering
  • L0gicB0mb508L0gicB0mb508 Member Posts: 538
    btowntech wrote: »
    I hate to tell you this but you're going to have to wait it out. I applied with the military contractor that I work for now around the end of Nov. 2007 and pretty much wrote them off until I got a call from them in mid Jan. 2008. It helped me get my foot in the door with a networking job, but it also helped that I held a security clearance when I served in the Army National Guard.

    Definitely can take a while. The only way to speed it up, is if you can find someone to give you a reference. You can also have someone get you a direct connection with a recruiter. That helps a lot.
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  • TurgonTurgon Banned Posts: 6,308 ■■■■■■■■■□
    In the UK two areas are holding in terms of job opportunities..

    Banks
    Defence

    It's very difficult to get into banking without years of experience working bank infrastructure. There are many people with that experience on the market since the layoffs.

    It's almost impossible to get defence work without SC clearance. You can't get this yourself. You have to be sponsored and there's no incentive for a sponsor to pay the money and wait for that with so many defence contractors with SC clearance looking for work.

    Everything else is really struggling. However service providers are scrambling (panicking) for talent to make good on their promises to clients. Voice/Wireless offers some opportunities. VMWare/Citrix. PIX/ASA. MPLS. Storage. The big problem is the companies themselves are interviewing but holding back on appointing anyone. This should start to loosen up a bit next year as we come to the end of the financial year with senior manager bonuses linked to targets that are just not being met since so many contractors were laid off.

    In terms of getting call backs and interviews the classic trap IT Professionals fall into is getting hung up about technical skills. Yes these are important, and for specific roles they are vital! But when someone is recruiting or when someone is looking for work the important thing is to match the 'Man' or 'Woman' to the job. It's about what you can bring to the party and your technical skills are just a component of that. If somebody wants someone with Call Manager on their CV there are many takers out there, but a savvy employer is looking for much more than that. Your personality is important and your traits. What about the way you work. Do you show initiative? Can you step in and handle things when you may be out of your depth? Are you a good self starter as well as an able team player? Are you concientious and careful? Will they like to work with you for a year? These are all factors.

    When I negotiate I make it clear that while I have a wide range of skills and experience, they are hiring a man, not an engineer on a coat hanger, and that man brings so much more than a bodyshop of skills. Thinking in terms of technology only is by definition one dimensional. Sell 'yourself' and you get better job opportunities and ultimately make more money.

    So sell yourself not your list of certs. Lots of people have those anyway :)
  • veritas_libertasveritas_libertas CISSP, GIAC x5, CompTIA x5 Greenville, SC USAMember Posts: 5,746 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Things are ramping up in Afghanistan by a lot. You will find less and less of a chance to go to Iraq. Honestly I'd much rather go to Iraq, just because living conditions are generally nicer. I know I've had a few offers to go back to Afghanistan here lately. It seems they are on the hunt.

    This is the truth from everything I have been told by the contractors that went over. Contracts for us are ramping up in Afghanistan, a less than unpleasant place for sure.
  • shodownshodown Member Posts: 2,271
    I just had a home girl come back from Stan. This was her 2nd tour. She says it sucks monkey balls. She went also when she was in the army and she said it was worse. I did he Iraq thing when I was active duty and it sucked. Contractors had it pretty fat, but they have pretty much shut it down in Iraq as people have already pointed out. A lot of the smaller bases have shut down and things are moving just to the larger bases. As far as a security clearance jobs. The Starting pay has went down by about 15 percent. At 1 time I seen people getting out with CCNA and TS/SCI getting around 80-85K and 10K bonus. The bonuses are gone and the pay has dropped to the low 70's unless you have outside the military experience or worked on some large networks. All in all at least the jobs are still available.
    Currently Reading

    CUCM SRND 9x/10, UCCX SRND 10x, QOS SRND, SIP Trunking Guide, anything contact center related
  • darkerosxxdarkerosxx Banned Posts: 1,343
    SOFIA - Support Our Friends in Iraq and Afghanistan

    Link to view positions isn't working atm, but that seems to be the spot to look for DoD civilian jobs in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • 7lowe7lowe Member Posts: 178 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I'm guessing you just got out of school. I hate to say it, but maybe you should look into ADPE (basically a computer tech) or a helpdesk person.

    You nailed it. I finished my BAS in Network Security & Forensics in August. Forensics is what I would most like to do, but it's near impossible to get into here without experience/clearance. I I was told that I should look into Media Exploitation Analyst positions over there. If I could do that then I would get some experience and clearance and maybe able to move on from there.

    I'm working at a helpdesk here in TN now. I haven't seen any overseas jobs that low. I have applied for the MedEx jobs I mentioned above and also some lower level network jobs.

    7
  • Hyper-MeHyper-Me Banned Posts: 2,059
    I've looked into jobs in the middle east, and i'd definitely do one for the money if I didnt own a home. Too much to leave here and hope it dosent get ruined.
  • L0gicB0mb508L0gicB0mb508 Member Posts: 538
    7lowe wrote: »
    You nailed it. I finished my BAS in Network Security & Forensics in August. Forensics is what I would most like to do, but it's near impossible to get into here without experience/clearance. I I was told that I should look into Media Exploitation Analyst positions over there. If I could do that then I would get some experience and clearance and maybe able to move on from there.

    I'm working at a helpdesk here in TN now. I haven't seen any overseas jobs that low. I have applied for the MedEx jobs I mentioned above and also some lower level network jobs.

    7

    There are plenty of HD or tech positions. You probably wont find them posted up on dice and stuff. You may actually have to go look at the website of the comapanies involved. I know DSCI is currently hiring help desk techs. They pay pretty high as well.
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  • L0gicB0mb508L0gicB0mb508 Member Posts: 538
    I know there are lots of people interested in the overseas gigs. I should give you some advanced warning. You can die with these positions. Please don't think you're going to go there and always be safe.

    There are also lots of physical and emotional stresses that can take its toll on you there. I know many people say "oh no big deal", but it WILL have some effect on you.

    You are deployed with the troops. You will wear body armor, eat MRES, and sometimes take incoming enemy fire. You dont always get to sleep in a bed. Sometimes a cot in a tent is all you will get. You may never go outside the wire so to speak, but you can definitely still be killed with rockets and mortars. Also many contractors travel by chopper around the country (depending on your job and who you work for), there is an obvious risk of being shot down and captured/killed with that.

    I just want to make sure you are clear on what it takes and what to expect with one of these positions.
    I bring nothing useful to the table...
  • TurgonTurgon Banned Posts: 6,308 ■■■■■■■■■□
    I know there are lots of people interested in the overseas gigs. I should give you some advanced warning. You can die with these positions. Please don't think you're going to go there and always be safe.

    There are also lots of physical and emotional stresses that can take its toll on you there. I know many people say "oh no big deal", but it WILL have some effect on you.

    You are deployed with the troops. You will wear body armor, eat MRES, and sometimes take incoming enemy fire. You dont always get to sleep in a bed. Sometimes a cot in a tent is all you will get. You may never go outside the wire so to speak, but you can definitely still be killed with rockets and mortars. Also many contractors travel by chopper around the country (depending on your job and who you work for), there is an obvious risk of being shot down and captured/killed with that.

    I just want to make sure you are clear on what it takes and what to expect with one of these positions.

    Far from a picnic. People are getting killed out there. I think you are quite right to warn people of the risks. The scary thing is a lot of people just don't seem to appreciate all this.
  • veritas_libertasveritas_libertas CISSP, GIAC x5, CompTIA x5 Greenville, SC USAMember Posts: 5,746 ■■■■■■■■■■
    I know there are lots of people interested in the overseas gigs. I should give you some advanced warning. You can die with these positions. Please don't think you're going to go there and always be safe.

    Yeah, some of our people were greeted to gun fire and explosions when they arrived (None of our people were injured thankfully). That is one risk I am not willing to take.
  • 7lowe7lowe Member Posts: 178 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I appreciate the reality check L0gicB0mb. The ads I saw didn't mention pay, so I applied mostly out of curiosity and figured I could always say no if I was made an offer. But, I am considering and have tried to talk to anyone I know that's been over there. But, all of them are military and in non-tech positions, so they all basically said I should do it because the contractors have it easy and are relatively safe. And, relative to the enlisted people that may be true to an extent. But, there is still an element of danger and it's good to hear people with more relevant experience.

    Like I said, I'm considering it. But, for me it's more of a last resort. Right now I'm temping at a help desk effectively making less than min. wage after commute. If I don't find something better and they offered me big bucks to go over there it'd be hard to turn down.

    And, thanks for the lead on DSCI. I'll check them out.

    7
  • routepoisonroutepoison Member Posts: 10 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I don't mean to hijack your thread but I just wanted to ask - anyone knows something similar for the EU citizens?
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