Industry Spotlight: Homeland Security

Industry Spotlight: Homeland Security

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 for these reasons:

  • Government bureaucracy slows hiring.
  • Jobs may be contingent on federal contracts being awarded to private-sector employers.
  • Security clearances may be necessary, whether for employment at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) or companies working on government contracts.  
  • 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.

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:

  • Developing biometric identification for smart cards.  
  • Sharing information between government agencies through databases, intranets and other communication systems.  
  • Protecting the Internet and other networks from attack.  
  • Designing back-up systems.

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, are 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.

Learn more about government careers.

Learn more about security careers.

Latest Jobs

Masco Cabinetry
Posted: 05/29/2015
Ann Arbor, MI
Posted: 05/29/2015
Valley Stream, NY, 11581
A-Line Staffing Solutions
Posted: 05/29/2015
Richardson, TX, 75081
Posted: 05/29/2015
Watchung, NJ, 07069
Toyota Carlsbad
Posted: 05/29/2015
Carlsbad, CA, 92011

Want more personalized results?  Update Your Profile


Monster Communities

Teaching Community
Where teachers meet and learn.
Create and connect.
Networking for the career-minded woman.
Nursing Link
Where nurses call the shots.
More Monster Communities

Monster Partners

Scholarships, financial aid and more ways to pay for school.
Find top campus and online degree programs.
Military portal for the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
Financial Aid
Scholarships & financial aid.
Staffing for Government Jobs
Staffing and hiring solutions for federal government agency jobs.
More Monster Partners

Job Hunt Strategy

Six Ways to Make a Recruiter Hate You
If you want to blow your chances with recruiters -- and, by extension, with the companies they work for -- here are six perfect ways to do so.

Resumes & Cover Letters

Rev Up Your Resume to Relocate
Hoping to relocate? Get the ball rolling on landing the right job in the right location with these expert resume and cover letter tips.


100 Potential Interview Questions
Interview questions can run the gamut. You probably won't face all 100 of these, but you should still be prepared to answer at least some of them.

Salary & Benefits

10 Questions to Ask When Negotiating Salary
Most of us aren't natural negotiators, but asking these 10 questions during salary negotiations can help you get everything you deserve.

Employee Sourcing

Alt text
November Monster Employment Index Grows 13% Year-Over-Year, Tenth Consecutive Month of Positive Annual Growth.

For Seekers

Campus and Online Degrees
Advance your career and earn more with an online degree.
Free Salary Wizard
What are you worth? Find out and negotiate a better salary.
Research Careers
Get information on jobs and career paths to help guide your choices
Questions & Answers
Find answers to all your career related questions -- powered by Yahoo! Answers
Resume Distribution Service
Our distribution service puts your resume right in the hands of recruiters.
Resume Writing Services
Our experts will craft a keyword-rich resume that stands out in the crowd.
More Career Resources

For Employers

Career Ad Network
Target your job posting to more candidates on thousands of websites.
Hire Right Background Checks
Explore our background check packages to improve the quality of your hires.
Hiring Home Page
Find the best candidates for your business with Monster hiring solutions.
Job Postings
Find the right solution for your hiring needs. Starting at $99.
Power Resume Search
Monster's new search technology precisely matches people with your jobs.
Resource Center
Find staffing insights, labor trends, HR best practices and more.
Target Post
Connect with skilled, hourly and administrative candidates for only $99.

Social Media

Jobs on Twitter
Find jobs in your area and industry.
Monster Careers
Tune into our career advice and discussions tackling a wide range of topics and industries.
Monster Corporate & PR
Stay up-to-date on the latest news. Get the 'Who', 'What', 'When', and 'Why' on all things Monster related.
Monster Customer Service
Got a Monster question? We've got the answer. Whether you're a job seeker or employer, we can help you find the answers you need.
Monster for Employers
Find advice on hiring.
Follow Us
Check out our many pages and stay connected with the latest industry news, events, career advice and job openings.

Other Links

Monster Company Profiles
Explore companies and get information to guide your career decisions.
Compare Salaries
See how your pay stacks up to others in your field.
iPhone Application
Download the Monster app for iPhone and iPod touch.
Monster Job Seeker Blog
Monster Job Seeker Blog.
Monster Thinking Blog
Monster's Recruitment Trends Blog.
Jobs & Career Resources
Search Jobs:
For Employers: Post Jobs | Search Resumes | Advertise
About Monster | Work for Monster | Advertise with Us | AdChoices | Partner with Us | Investor Relations | Social Media
Terms of Use | Privacy Center | Accessibility Center | Help | Security | Contact Us | Sitemap | Mobile
©2015 Monster - All Rights Reserved U.S. Patents No. 5,832,497; 7,599,930 B1; 7,827,125 and 7,836,060 MWW - Looking for Monster Cable? - V: 2015.8.0.34-214