Advice on choosing a federal cyber security job

Hi All. I’m interested in switching from state to federal government. My background is: 4 years Army, Bachelors degree with 27 years IT (18 of which in cyber security). I have good certifications (CISSP, CISM, CISA, etc…) Next week I’m doing my TS/SCI indoctrination.
Considering making the switch in the next year or so. The goal is to eventually (in 3-5 years) have an option to go overseas (Europe preferred). What options are available? The Foreign Service variants don’t allow choice of assignment (not a problem for me personally but family makes that a challenge plus pay is low). So far I’ve seen jobs on bases like Rammstein (fine with me). Any other ideas? I’d consider going the contract route as well. I apologize in advance if this is the wrong forum-categories don’t match. Thanks,

Stay away from the contract side. It’s worse than the fed side.

EVERYBODY is looking for “cyber” even if they’re not sure what it means :slight_smile:

I would think NSA and CYBERCOM would have both a need for “cyber” people and opportunities to go overseas. CYBERCOM would include the service components (Army, Navy, etc) as well as US CYBERCOM itself. I’m pretty sure the services also have their own cybersecurity elements that fall outside of CYBERCOM but those are probably heavily military as opposed to civilian.

Get your USAJOBS resume together then start applying. And dont sit around waiting to hear back (coz you might not) just keep applying til one hits.


Is it an ethical problem? Or bad treatment?

LOL - so true. Private sector (and much of the state) don’t even use the word Cyber. I definitely need to learn USAJobs better. Filtering seems weak but I can sometimes mess with the URL line.

^^^ 100%

don’t wait around

@Grandizer- Based on the information you posted above about your experience, work history, and specialized certifications it definitely sounds like you would be a great candidate and good fit to move over to a Fed Govt Agency that is hiring for positions within the “cyber” realm.

Most of the jobs or general type of work you mentioned that match or coincide with your future plans and goal to transition from State to Fed, will require a Security Clearance, as you are finding out. If there is nothing in your background (personally or professionally) that would impact your ability to obtain a Security Clearance…then you should have no problem finding a good position. (Sounds like you are already familiar with this process as you mentioned the “indoctrination” for a TS/SCI.)

Your CISSP Certification is highly valued by both Agencies and Contract Companies. Additionally, two other acronyms for jobs related to “Cyber/IT” would be an ISSO (Information Systems Security Officer) or an ISSM (Information Systems Security Manager.) Both Agencies and Contact Companies often refer to ISSM/ISSO’s in actual job postings as job titles or even in the experience/qualifications sections of the job posting itself. Any reference to “COMSEC” might also be an industry “term/acronym” that I would utilize in your job search.

*In my opinion, the fact that you served in the Army…is likely one of the most important aspects of your experience that will definitely set you aside from other civilian candidates when applying for the same Fed Agency positions (not necessarily for the Contract Companies though.) Regardless of how long you served, which Branch you served with, or even what job you had during your service, is not relevant…the mere fact that you served and are a Veteran will benefit you regardless of the details. On a side note, Thank You for your Service!

Veterans are given “preference” and “points” when they apply for jobs with the Fed Govt. This extra “point preference” often times can beat out an applicant who has more experience, a higher education, expertise, ect. I am not a Veteran, therefore in the past I have searched and applied for jobs that do not give Veterans any preference or anyone else preference, I’ve found it impossible to compete with other candidates that have “point preference,” especially Veterans as they can have up to a 30 point lead over me right away and regardless of my experience. Use your status to your benefit.

One tip to help you with your job search specific to Fed Govt and the USAJOBS site is to filter your search to include your status as a Veteran (they refer to this as one of the “unique hiring paths.”) The below link will take you to the section on the USAJOBS site that will explain all of the ways that being a Veteran might assist you professionally, along with what “icons/flags” to look for on job postings, among other various details that are specific for Veterans only.

Hope this helps in some small way. Good luck with your future career path & goals! (See below links)

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Link for Veterans with information and details about job searches utilizing the USAJOBS site:

[USAJOBS Help Center | Veterans]

Link to CISA which has a bit more detail regarding the positions, roles, and definitions of an ISSM/ISSO (there is a lot of information online aside from the CISA site in which you can obtain additional details):

Information Systems Security Manager | CISA

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Air Force is definitely short staffed, and “always” looking, for cybersecurity personnel with your certifications.