Careers in Security

There was a time when might made right, when the victor was determined on the battlefield, and the tools of destruction were the weapons of war. That time is past. Keeping our nation safe and secure today involves much more than wielding a sword against the enemy. The development of new technology and communications systems has transformed the job of keeping our nation safe. The weapons of war today include some of the same tools we see in our schools: computers, communication devices, and electronics. While we benefit from the advancements in the telecommunications industry, so do our adversaries. We can no longer protect the outer borders of our nation and feel safe. The enemies of the present and future are bright, educated individuals who require us to be prepared and keep a step ahead. There is a great and steady demand for professionals in security-related fields.

While law enforcement, criminal justice, and military intelligence spring to mind as fields traditionally associated with security, people with diverse and varied backgrounds are needed to keep our country safe. For instance, the National Security Agency alone hires more business management professionals than the top 10% of the Fortune 500 companies combined. While important, education, training, and background are not as critical in today’s security job market as the individual’s drive, innovation, and ability to solve challenges creatively.

The field of security is a haven for computer scientists and engineers. With training in development and support, a multitude of jobs are available. Computer Scientists and Engineers are often teamed with Mathematicians and Signals Analysts to analyze, understand, and exploit the advanced signals that threaten our security.

Individuals with a background in history, foreign language, or education are also needed in security-related fields. As Intelligence Analysts or translators, these individuals have an impact on the actions of our leaders in the government. Their research and written and oral assessments affect the course of action taken. Language Analysts are in such high demand that they often receive generous recruitment incentives, especially if speakers are multi-lingual, or proficient in Asian or Middle Eastern languages. Often candidates who are fluent in one language will be hired and trained in another language to suit the current needs of the country.

Researchers with a more creative bent are also in high demand in the security sector. To stay ahead of the nation’s adversaries, new products must be developed and tested. Within the security industry, inventors have opportunities to create much more than the next new gadget. These visionaries use cutting-edge technology to invent a safer tomorrow, leaving their marks as technical legends.

To get almost any job in security one must pass a full background investigation and pass a drug test. If security clearance is required for hiring, this may take six months to a year. The military employs the nation’s greatest population of individuals who possess security clearance. Often members of the armed forces find gainful employment in security-related fields when their terms are up. It’s important to plan ahead and plot out your career path. The field of security is not for the light-hearted. It is a serious subject, with serious implications. Although it requires individuals to work under intense, stressful conditions, the reward is a better future for everyone.