I have been in IT for 18years and have seen almost all aspects of it, from Help Desk to CIO of small government agency. Now as the Security Lead for a State Government agency I find myself drawn to the Federal Government or similar institution. Most of those jobs are requiring a Clearance level of some sort.
Have any of you been able to break in to these jobs and obtain clearance after the fact? How did you do it?
The easiest way to get a clearance would be through a defense contractor, but if they are paying for you to obtain a clearance, you will have to have a very impressive resume and they will probably require that you stay with them for a certain amount of time. 9 times out of 10 though, they are going to take the guy who already has the clearance, because the process is very expensive.
Applying for a government job is the easiest way I know of. like the other person said, a contractor may not want to pay for your clearance unless you have very special skills. Working for the government will sometimes allow you to get an interim clearance until your full clearance is passed. Then the clearance is active until you leave the job. Certain clearances will go to an inactive state for a period of time after you leave federal service.
Also remember that the clearance does not belong to you. It belongs to the company/agency that sponsored you.
Not a big deal unless you've got skeletons. You're in the right field. Fed Gov is short IT Security professionals. Go to USAJOBS.gov and search. If you find any that are Direct Hire, they are the best! Direct Hire authority is a great tool. Allows the agency to do exactly what it says...direct hire. Not may jobs have this special authority. Just so happens IT Security does. If you are your CISSP enter CISSP in the search box. Security+, etc... You are in the right field. I'm in the Fed Gov and it's hard finding people in IT Security. Good luck!!
I agree with all the others. i had obtained clearance by working for a defense contractor. I did have to live in the Middle East for the position for 13 months but it wasn't that bad.
I had a clearance for years and during one my last readjudications, it was held up for a long enough time my contract ran out and there was a downturn in contracts at my place of employment. I was on the short end of a layoff notice and have not looked back since then. I enjoy doing my cyber work and IA work outside of the Federal sector and do not have to worry about how everything I do will impact my clearance.
This includes any social media postings, which I found most interesting when the last place asked for every social media I ever used. Even an old MySpace which was closed for years. It shows integrity and an ability to maintain the requirements of holding a clearance. But I enjoy not having my life scrubbed every five years and someone who does not know me, decide my employment fate.
I like my merits of what I do for a living to speak more so than the tickets I have to work in a select arena.
First, there are many different types of clearances used in the US federal government. The Department of Defense clears workers to access classified information, the Department of Energy clears workers to access nuclear information, and even organizations like the Social Security Agency determines suitability to work with their information. I've gone through a couple of the ones above (DoD SF86 and SSA SF85) and they use very similar questionnaires, submitted electronically through the same eQIP site.
I went a slightly different route than most of the others. Between Federal employees and defense contractors is one other option: the FFRDC (Federally Funded Research and Development Center). There are 40 or so which do research for many different government organizations: DoD, FAA, SSA, DoJ, NASA, IRS, DHS, you name it. Many of them want recruits with advanced degrees, but depending on experience they might take someone with just a Bachelors degree.
You might want to check this out: http://www.nextgov.com/cybersecurity/2017/11/hundreds-attend-federal-cyber-and-tech-hiring-fair/1423... It's already started but looks like it's going to be a regular event..
I recently relocated to the Baltimore area and new to the government industry. It has definitely been surprising how a significant percentage of openings require you to come WITH an existing security clearance as a pre-requisite to even applying for openings.
By the way, I did attend that Cyber job fair and found it not valuable at all. The room was about the size of a high school auditorium, some agencies had signs on their tables and some did not. Most frustrating was that you had to wait in long lines to talk to an agency rep and many said they currently had zero openings, and the rest all advised you to search for jobs online and apply there.
I am sure the right fit will present itself eventually but just echoing the learning curve for someone new to the industry. Good luck all.