Network With a Spy: The NSA Knows the ‘Hidden Job Market’

Jun 14, 2013

CIA recruitment adWith all due respect to Lou Adler, the world now knows how to discover his “hidden job market.”

Call the NSA. Skip the networking with the hoi polloi and just cozy up to a spy who works IT for the agency.

As we all now know, the National Security Agency is tapped into every phone call and every email we all send and receive. (Which explains why those Nigerian businessmen and royalty have so much trouble getting their millions out of the country. But that’s another story.)

So who better to know who’s hiring, what the jobs are, and how to get directly to the hiring manager than one of the agency’s network admins?

Not taking my own advice, I instead poked around on the NSA’s careers site, figuring me, with a couple of degrees, ought to be a shoo-in for one of those $200k a year jobs that don’t require more than a GED and are in Hawaii. I didn’t find any of those listed (probably in the hidden job market), but I did find this pitch for computer scientists:

NSA’s systems environment is a haven for Computer Scientists, with vast networks able to manipulate and analyze huge volumes of data at mind-boggling speeds.

Computer Scientists at NSA have access to acres of hardware, software years ahead of current commercial technology, microprocessor-based advances, beyond-the-horizon supercomputers, leading-edge activities in programming, signals (including analog control), GUI’s and AI, neural nets, information security, the design and implementation of encryption, and advanced algorithms.

To get one of these jobs, which start at $42,200, you need a bachelor’s in computer science or the equivalent and a minimum GPA of 3.0.

That got me wondering how in the world a high school dropout with a GED who began as a security guard wound up with a cushy IT job with Booz Hamilton. Probably the discussion about that particular job req was just like the conversation in this video.

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