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IT Professionals: Apply to Become a Foreign Service Information Management Specialist

NyblizzardNyblizzard Member Posts: 332 ■■■■□□□□□□
The Department of State is hiring again. Since I first found out about this position through this forum last summer, I've made it a goal of mine within the next 2-3 years to tackle this process so I feel obligated to pass down this information.

Information Management Specialist - U.S. Department of State

Open Period: March 13, 2014 – April 9, 2014
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    jthunderbirdjthunderbird Banned Posts: 95 ■■□□□□□□□□
    What exactly is good about this position?

    It wants you to have certs plus 4-5 years of experience if you do not have a degree... then send you to an armpit of a country to make $43k a year? Am I missing something here? With that experience/cert combo, you can easily make more anywhere in our own country.

    You can go to Afghan as a civilian contractor for a helpdesk position on a secure base and make $120k+. I went 3 years ago as a net admin with only a CCNA and no real networking experience to my name and got offered $160k... and I was on the low end.
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    BGravesBGraves Member Posts: 339
    Seems cool....pay scale is...interesting....guess it depends on where you get put.

    Even after being in the military and as a contractor, I always think of positions like this from what I've seen in movies. Either you get stationed in Antartica or Siberia, or people with guns storm your facility and kill everyone.

    That's a bit paranoid/morbid yeah? I'm sure this will be fine though....
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    jthunderbirdjthunderbird Banned Posts: 95 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Just read a little more... they want at least a mid level cert (CCNP, MCITP, CISSP, etc)... AND preferably a TS clearance.

    The ONLY way this job makes any kind of sense to anyone qualified is if they will get you a TS clearance... and even then, if you are a competent CCNP, you can make double what this job offers and be to the point where the TS really isnt all that beneficial any longer.

    I get offers from private sector just as high or higher than my gov contractor job. Clearance is just a little extra job security once you climb the ranks a bit.
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    BGravesBGraves Member Posts: 339
    The Student Loan repayment program might be useful for someone with a lot of student loans though. Might be worth considering in that case?
    Living somewhere new and exciting is valuable as well I suppose, depending on the person.
    Hopefully they tell you where you would be placed before you agree to the position, not after. lol
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    NyblizzardNyblizzard Member Posts: 332 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Apply with a degree and the Experience Requirements don't seem that intense, and a Top Secret Clearance is given to you as part of the entire process. In regards to the salary range, you have to take into account that all of your housing (among other things like children's schooling) are paid for in full by Uncle Sam.

    I'd like to point you to an informative link that was shared to me on this forum by another member. It goes into good detail on what you can expect

    http://forums.military.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/407191012/m/6710093382001
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    emerald_octaneemerald_octane Member Posts: 613
    thanks for posting!
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    MSP-ITMSP-IT Member Posts: 752 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Nyblizzard wrote: »
    Apply with a degree and the Experience Requirements don't seem that intense, and a Top Secret Clearance is given to you as part of the entire process. In regards to the salary range, you have to take into account that all of your housing (among other things like children's schooling) are paid for in full by Uncle Sam.

    I'd like to point you to an informative link that was shared to me on this forum by another member. It goes into good detail on what you can expect

    The U.S. Foreign Service - Crossing over to a Diplomatic Career - Topic

    That would make it competitive. What about transportation, etc?
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    NyblizzardNyblizzard Member Posts: 332 ■■■■□□□□□□
    MSP-IT wrote: »
    That would make it competitive. What about transportation, etc?

    Transportation to and from posts are paid for by Uncle Sam and that includes ALL moving and flight expenses for you and your family. If you're assigned to a hardship post, you'll have anywhere from 1-3 R&R's which are flights(using your Annual Leave), Uncle Sam pays for. Not to mention you get about a month of Home Leave in between assignments and you're look at working 11 months and getting paid for 12.
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    jthunderbirdjthunderbird Banned Posts: 95 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Sorry, wasnt trying to be a downer, but this still seems like a terrible deal for a qualified person to me.

    "Free housing" varies VERY much depending on where you are stationed. In afghan, Kuwait and other arab countries, free housing is often a large tent shared with 19 other guys.

    Add in not exactly knowing where you are going. and it sounds an awful lot like military, but without the benfits and a lower pay.

    Good luck to any looking to go, just seems like a terrible offering that has high turnover to someone who has experience working for Uncle Sam both foreign and domestically.
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    TomkoTechTomkoTech Member Posts: 438
    I'm fairly certain that if you are working for the State Department in IT, and bringing your family along is an option you will not be set up in a tent in the desert lol. More than likely it would be an embassy compound where you live in the lap of luxury even in the armpit of the world like Karachi Pakistan.
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    da_vatoda_vato Member Posts: 445
    Nyblizzard thanks for sharing.

    To each their own as we all know. This job appeals to me in particular for many reasons none of which have anything to do with money. If a big paycheck is a major requirement then this job is obviously not for you. I spent most of my military career overseas and loved every second of it, it was like an adventure everytime I left my house but again thats not for everyone.

    A major thing that is not thought about is that the pay is a base pay which means that is your pay is only increased due to allowances like location, family size/needs, and several other factors Plus FREE housing.
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    the_Grinchthe_Grinch Member Posts: 4,165 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Free housing plus locality pay along with any hardship pay will bulk up that salary big time. That being said their HR blows big time. I submitted all the required paperwork, received an email saying I was qualified and would be contacted in six weeks. Two weeks later they say I didn't submit my unofficial transcripts and was out of the process. I'm good where I am now so I won't apply, but would have loved that job.
    WIP:
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    networker050184networker050184 Mod Posts: 11,962 Mod
    It is interesting, but I would never jump through the stupid hoops government jobs make you go through in the hiring process.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
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    stryder144stryder144 Member Posts: 1,684 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Thanks for posting. I will keep this in the back of the mind. Civilian life is getting, well, predictable and boring. Maybe a bit of Uncle Sam sponsored sight-seeing would help to cure that.
    The easiest thing to be in the world is you. The most difficult thing to be is what other people want you to be. Don't let them put you in that position. ~ Leo Buscaglia

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    da_vatoda_vato Member Posts: 445
    stryder144 wrote: »
    Thanks for posting. I will keep this in the back of the mind. Civilian life is getting, well, predictable and boring. Maybe a bit of Uncle Sam sponsored sight-seeing would help to cure that.

    This is my take exactly
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    XyroXyro Member Posts: 623
    TomkoTech wrote: »
    I'm fairly certain that if you are working for the State Department in IT, and bringing your family along is an option you will not be set up in a tent in the desert lol. More than likely it would be an embassy compound where you live in the lap of luxury even in the armpit of the world like Karachi Pakistan.
    Embassies... always the first places to be bombed. icon_lol.gif
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    TomkoTechTomkoTech Member Posts: 438
    Xyro wrote: »
    Embassies... always the first places to be bombed. icon_lol.gif

    I didn't say it was without risk. But then again that's what the hazard pay is for icon_lol.gif
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    NyblizzardNyblizzard Member Posts: 332 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Xyro wrote: »
    Embassies... always the first places to be bombed. icon_lol.gif

    Color me intrigued
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    colemiccolemic Member Posts: 1,569 ■■■■■■■□□□
    What exactly is good about this position?

    It wants you to have certs plus 4-5 years of experience if you do not have a degree... then send you to an armpit of a country to make $43k a year? Am I missing something here? With that experience/cert combo, you can easily make more anywhere in our own country.

    You can go to Afghan as a civilian contractor for a helpdesk position on a secure base and make $120k+. I went 3 years ago as a net admin with only a CCNA and no real networking experience to my name and got offered $160k... and I was on the low end.
    Did you work for ITT? :) Any jobs that are left in Afghanistan aren't paying anything near what they were. Don't forget that housing, utilities, travel expenses, and COLA are included as well... that can make it significantly more than 43K/year. I would pursue this if my family situation was different... but then I am happy where I am.
    Working on: staying alive and staying employed
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    jthunderbirdjthunderbird Banned Posts: 95 ■■□□□□□□□□
    They are called Exelis now :)

    But yes, I did work for them when I went over there a few years back. I know pay has gone down, but it has not gone down that much. I have 2 friends there now, one just left a few days ago. He is a sys engineer but pulling in about 200k. The other is a net admin lead for ITT and is around 150k. Sure, its not balling out of control, but you can still find a helpdesk job for 100k... still free food/room/etc.

    The state department is nice... but if you have 4+ years of experience and a high level cert, you have much better options IMO. If this were for entry level jobs, Id say go for it... These people say they want to travel so this job sounds nice... L O L... you can work on just about any US base in the world (that you actually want to work at), just apply for Secret or no clearance jobs (of which there are tons). I just spent 8 months living in Hawaii because I took a job there, didnt like it and took another job back home.

    Waiting for a job to open in Italy now but am considering S Korea. Yall wanna let the goverment dictate which area you go? Remember that when youre in Ali Al Saleem, its 128 degrees and theres a sand storm... thats like half the days there.
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    NyblizzardNyblizzard Member Posts: 332 ■■■■□□□□□□
    They are called Exelis now :)

    But yes, I did work for them when I went over there a few years back. I know pay has gone down, but it has not gone down that much. I have 2 friends there now, one just left a few days ago. He is a sys engineer but pulling in about 200k. The other is a net admin lead for ITT and is around 150k. Sure, its not balling out of control, but you can still find a helpdesk job for 100k... still free food/room/etc.

    The state department is nice... but if you have 4+ years of experience and a high level cert, you have much better options IMO. If this were for entry level jobs, Id say go for it... These people say they want to travel so this job sounds nice... L O L... you can work on just about any US base in the world (that you actually want to work at), just apply for Secret or no clearance jobs (of which there are tons). I just spent 8 months living in Hawaii because I took a job there, didnt like it and took another job back home.

    Waiting for a job to open in Italy now but am considering S Korea. Yall wanna let the goverment dictate which area you go? Remember that when youre in Ali Al Saleem, its 128 degrees and theres a sand storm... thats like half the days there.

    The job isn't for everyone and that's okay too
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    colemiccolemic Member Posts: 1,569 ■■■■■■■□□□
    They are called Exelis now :)

    But yes, I did work for them when I went over there a few years back. I know pay has gone down, but it has not gone down that much. I have 2 friends there now, one just left a few days ago. He is a sys engineer but pulling in about 200k. The other is a net admin lead for ITT and is around 150k. Sure, its not balling out of control, but you can still find a helpdesk job for 100k... still free food/room/etc.

    The state department is nice... but if you have 4+ years of experience and a high level cert, you have much better options IMO. If this were for entry level jobs, Id say go for it... These people say they want to travel so this job sounds nice... L O L... you can work on just about any US base in the world (that you actually want to work at), just apply for Secret or no clearance jobs (of which there are tons). I just spent 8 months living in Hawaii because I took a job there, didnt like it and took another job back home.

    Waiting for a job to open in Italy now but am considering S Korea. Yall wanna let the goverment dictate which area you go? Remember that when youre in Ali Al Saleem, its 128 degrees and theres a sand storm... thats like half the days there.
    Don't remind me... I worked there too. :D And strictly my opinion but I think your friend is blowing smoke on his salary... especially since last June when they restructured the gov. contract and basically lowered salaries to encourage staff to quit instead of being forced to lay them off. As far as applying for secret/no clearance jobs - if you are in IT, it will be a minimum of Secret. I don't think I've ever seen one advertised that wasn't, except for managing MWR PCs or something. And remember that grunts and contractors get the tents in Kuwait... State Dept. personnel are at the Embassy and it's nothing to sneeze at.
    Working on: staying alive and staying employed
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    jthunderbirdjthunderbird Banned Posts: 95 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Haha not all state department people. They are on the local bases all the time, depends on the job.

    I know the 200k one is real, but he does not work for ITT. And yes, ITT is the most garbage company on the planet and Id rather flip burgers than work for them again.

    A minimum of Secret is a good thing. Nearly anyone who doesnt have a felony can get one within a month. To get a TS can sometimes take years. I got mine the fastest in our shop and it took 8 months. That means if you are chasing a TS, you could be stuck wherever they stick you for 2 years with HOPES that you get a TS.

    Im not bashing on the state department, those guys usually have it nice. I am bashing the notion that you do not know where you are going and get paid an easily acheivable state-side salary. I hope it works out for all parties interested, but you can do the same thing on your own terms, choosing the country you want to go to and get paid more... just does not compute in my little brain :)
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    colemiccolemic Member Posts: 1,569 ■■■■■■■□□□
    Don't forget to factor in government benefits and accrued time off... ;)
    Working on: staying alive and staying employed
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