NSA CAREER FIELDS

Computer science, engineering, mathematics and so much more

Challenging, rewarding, life-changing, history-making – there’s no single way to describe a career at NSA. From STEM professionals to foreign language experts, intelligence analysts to business managers, NSA offers extraordinary opportunities to professionals in a wide variety of fields.

Browse the career fields below to find your field of expertise, general qualifications and examples of specific positions.

You enjoy transforming raw information into critical reports used to understand intelligence issues within the United States and abroad. Your quick mind can analyze complex situations under pressure. You have an aptitude for identifying intelligence gaps, evaluating information from multiple sources, monitoring trends and interpreting events related to particular countries or issues. Serve among best-in-class professionals on the front lines of the nation's defense. Collect, analyze and report intelligence that uncovers the intentions of foreign governments and non-state entities worldwide.

Education/Experience

  • Data Science and Analysis
  • History, Government or Political Science
  • Intelligence
  • International Affairs, International Relations or International Studies
  • Library Sciences or Information Sciences
  • National Security Studies
  • Science (e.g., Biology, Chemistry)

Example Positions

  • Intelligence Analyst
    Develops creative solutions to answer analytic questions and solve difficult problems. Conducts research, develops query strategies, and analyzes foreign target intelligence to produce reports and recommendations.
  • Intelligence Analyst (Geographic/Regional Specialization)
    Uses geographic, regional and/or cultural expertise to produce analytic summaries and reports for key decision makers to safeguard personnel, information, facilities, systems operations and plans.
  • Cryptologic Cyber Planner
    Applies in-depth knowledge of the joint planning process to develop detailed cryptologic Functional Support Plans (FSPs), Cryptologic Support Plans (CSPs), and Concept of Operations (CONOPs) that support the Cyber Operation requirements of the DoD, the U.S. government and its allies.

As an intelligence collector, your mission is to acquire the vital information needed to produce intelligence. You may live and work anywhere in the world. You may be asked to use your proficiency in a foreign language or to learn a new language. You must be able to establish and build interpersonal relationships. The arts of persuasion, negotiation, interviewing and problem solving will serve you well. The ability to work in ambiguous and unstructured situations is critical. Contribute to a unique mission by applying your exceptional interpersonal skills, high-level training and professional talents to the collection of intelligence.

Education/Experience

  • Applied Social Sciences
  • History, Government or Political Science
  • Intelligence
  • International Affairs/Relations/Studies
  • Library Sciences or Information Sciences
  • Social Sciences (e.g., Anthropology)

Example Positions

  • Access Analyst
    Collects, processes and analyzes communications signals from foreign entities using analog and digital collection and processing equipment. Performs signals and protocol analysis on collected information, as well as first-line network analysis.
  • Access Manager
    Participates in the development, planning and coordination of the deployment of collection systems, including identifying appropriate collection access points, collection methods and/or plans necessary to exploit target networks.
  • Access System Architect
    Collaborates across agency to upgrade capability to access emerging and critical foreign entities of interest, correct collection gaps and improve efficiency of intelligence collection approaches.

You have a passion for foreign languages, and you have strong oral communication, written communication and critical thinking skills. You enjoy research, translation, transcription, reporting and analysis. Most of all, you understand the nuance of foreign language, its context, cultural overtones and regional dialects. Serve in a position where your contributions can have a positive effect on a global scale. The Intelligence Community has many opportunities for foreign language analysts.

Education/Experience

  • Foreign Language or Linguistics
  • History, Government or Political Science
  • Intelligence
  • International Affairs/Relations/Studies

Example Positions

  • Language Analyst
    Uses knowledge of foreign language and English to provide key decision makers with a complete and accurate picture of the context within which the decision is being made (i.e., provide an understanding of nuance, context, cultural overtones and dialect in which the communication occurred).
  • Foreign Language Advisor
    Uses knowledge of foreign language and the agency's mission needs to provide guidance to decision makers and language analysts at all levels, including recommending training/development approaches, hiring and staffing priorities, and other assistive strategies that will help accomplish the mission.
  • Scientific Linguist
    Applies linguistic knowledge (syntax, morphology, phonetics, phonology, semantics, discourse analysis, pragmatics, typology) and linguistic principles to address operational problems by designing, developing and/or evaluating tools used to enhance understanding of foreign languages or materials.

As a computer scientist in the Intelligence Community, you will solve complex problems, test innovative approaches and research new solutions to storing, manipulating and presenting information. Successful candidates will know how to apply the theoretical models of computer science to complex system architecture and system software organization challenges. Apply your computer science expertise to projects that seek to create new standards for the transformation of information.

Education/Experience

  • Computer Engineering
  • Computer Networking and Security
  • Computer Networking or Information Assurance
  • Computer Science
  • Computer Science or Computer Programming
  • Data Science & Analysis
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Information Assurance Certification
  • Information Technology or Information Systems

Example Positions

  • Computer Scientist
    Uses advanced technologies in computer science and related fields to accomplish ongoing NSA initiatives and programs, including developing technology, tools and testing approaches. Researches solutions and solves technical problems of national consequence.
  • Network Vulnerability Analyst
    Identifies vulnerabilities of and potential attacks to the design and operation of network systems by relating vulnerabilities and attacks to effects on operations and missions supported by those systems. Based on this knowledge, develops effective countermeasures to potential threats.
  • Software Engineer
    Analyzes, designs, verifies, validates, implements, applies and maintains software systems. Appropriately applies discrete mathematics, probability and statistics, and other relevant topics in computer science and supporting disciplines to complex software systems.

National security depends on technology as never before, and this dependence is growing at an ever increasing rate. As a cyber professional in the Intelligence Community, you will work as part of a team on the frontlines of defense against our cyber adversaries. The Intelligence Community needs cyber professionals with technical expertise and a driving desire to remain at the forefront of their field. Help protect national security interests as part of the world's most advanced team of cyber professionals.

Education/Experience

  • Computer Engineering
  • Computer Networking and Security
  • Computer Networking or Information Assurance
  • Computer Science
  • Computer Programming
  • Information Assurance Certification
  • Information Technology or Information Systems

Example Positions

  • Computer Network Defense Analyst
    Uses information collected from a variety of computer network defense resources (including intrusion detection system alerts, firewall and network traffic logs, and host system logs) to identify, analyze and report events that occur or might occur within the technical environment.
  • Computer Network Operator
    Provides time-sensitive mission support by maintaining situational awareness of potential cyber threats. Leverages technical methods to manage, monitor and execute large-scale operations in response to national security requirements.
  • Capabilities Development Specialist
    Conducts comprehensive technology research to evaluate potential vulnerabilities in cyberspace systems. Detects, identifies and describes specific vulnerabilities in a system, network, component or process. Conducts software and systems engineering and software systems development in order to meet required capabilities.

As an engineering and physical science professional, you will use your skills to create the systems and tools that will be used to enhance the operation of intelligence. You will advise, administer and perform scientific projects, such as planning, designing and constructing specialized equipment, identifying and eliminating hazardous conditions and ensuring adherence to sound engineering and scientific standards and principles. The Intelligence Community offers multiple areas of focus for engineers, including computer, electrical, mechanical and structural, as well as a wide range of opportunities in the physical sciences including chemist, biologist and physicist. Apply your science and engineering skills to protecting the nation.

Education/Experience

  • Applied Mathematics
  • Computer Engineering
  • Computer Science
  • Engineering (e.g., Electrical, Civil, Mechanical, Systems) or Physical Sciences
  • Mathematics or Applied Mathematical Sciences
  • Science (e.g., Biology, Chemistry)

Example Positions

  • Environmental Engineer
    Uses knowledge of the principles, methods and techniques of facilities and systems engineering for controlling pollution and protecting the quality of resources and the environment. Requires an understanding of and utilization of pertinent aspects of chemistry, biological sciences and public health sciences.
  • Hardware/Software Design Engineer
    Designs, develops, constructs and tests electronic hardware and software processing components that are typically subsystems of communications, collection, processing or analysis systems.
  • Physicist
    Conducts research into phases of phenomena, develops theories and laws on the basis of observations and experiments, and devises methods to apply theories and laws to solve technical problems, analyze proposals for feasibility, and guide technical development.

When many just see numbers, you see new possibilities. You know how to design and analyze complex algorithms; work on interdisciplinary teams to help co-workers tackle complex mathematical problems and express difficult cryptographic problems in mathematical terms. You are educated and well versed in one or more of the following: number theory, group theory, finite field theory, linear algebra, probability theory, mathematical statistics or combinatorics. Join the Intelligence Community, expand your experience and put your skills to work for the good of the nation.

Education/Experience

  • Data Science & Analysis
  • Mathematics or Applied Mathematical Sciences
  • Applied Mathematics

Example Positions

  • Applied Research Mathematician
    Applies and develops mathematical or computational methods and lines of reasoning for mission-related problems. Creates computer algorithms, data models and protocols to address critical mission needs.
  • Cryptanalytic Diagnostician
    Uses knowledge of cryptanalytic techniques and encryption methods to analyze and decrypt signals and/or cryptologic data. Uses this knowledge to develop tools and techniques to facilitate the collection and analysis of signals.
  • Data Scientist
    Uses knowledge of data, data systems and analytic techniques and tools to make sense of large volumes of information and data. Uses large scale analytics to provide key decision makers with analytic results that provide important context related to mission critical decisions.

As a professional in a business role, you make the business of intelligence run like clockwork. You are part of a team that supports an internal infrastructure that may be as large as the top Fortune 500 companies. You formulate and execute budget resources, develop and allocate manpower resources and even provide guidance on implementing policy on cost, finance and accounting. Start a career where you become a steward of taxpayer dollars, seeking the greatest return that money can provide: a superior intelligence service for the safety and security of our nation.

Education/Experience

  • Accounting
  • Finance or Economics
  • Business Administration or Business Management
  • Business

Example Positions

  • Accountant
    Uses accounting systems and techniques to help decision makers manage cost and measure performance. Records and analyzes complex non-routine transactions; monitors financial systems operations for legal compliance and internal control purposes; prepares reports on financial status and operations for external oversight authorities.
  • Business Consultant
    Advises and assists organizational leadership with strategic business planning and decision-making by providing recommendations based on sound business principles and supported by detailed analyses.
  • Contracting Specialist
    Contracts for goods and services, conducts negotiations, reviews purchase requests and clarifies all facets of a proposed acquisition to ensure accuracy and completeness. Prepares requests for proposals and awards documentation and administers the contracts until performance is completed.

As an inspection, investigation and compliance professional, you will support national security by ensuring proper adherence to all appropriate standards, rules and regulations. Inspection professionals examine a wide variety of facilities, equipment and procedures to ensure compliance to standards and make recommendations for improvement. Investigation professionals conduct detailed investigations to ensure adherence to standards, rules and regulations, ranging from employment suitability to performing independent reviews of personnel-related incidents. Compliance professionals review numerous processes and procedures to ensure that all efforts adhere to the appropriate standards, rules and regulations. Bring your strong sense for rules and regulations to the Intelligence Community to keep national operations running by the book.

Education/Experience

  • Criminology or Criminal Justice
  • Law or Legal Support
  • Physical Security

Example Positions

  • Auditor
    Conducts independent audits and reviews of agency programs and operations in accordance with government auditing standards, designed to ensure compliance with applicable laws, regulations and standards, and to improve efficiency and effectiveness. This includes audits of program performance, financial statements, information technology and cybersecurity areas.
  • Compliance Officer
    Develops and implements comprehensive mission compliance solutions to keep the government's activities consistent with the laws, policies and procedures designed to protect privacy during mission operations.
  • Inspector General (IG) Investigator
    Plans, conducts and reports on investigations into alleged fraud, waste, abuse and mismanagement. Researches applicable legal authorities, collects relevant official documents and other physical evidence, interviews witnesses and produces reports summarizing investigation findings and conclusions.

The Intelligence Community operates in an extremely complex arena that is governed by international and domestic laws, rules, regulations and standards. As a law and legal service professional, you will advise leadership and mission professionals on legal issues associated with intelligence operations. You will use your knowledge of the law and applicable standards, rules and regulations to advise IC leadership and guide policymakers on the legal issues facing the IC today and in the future. Bring your legal training and skills to the Intelligence Community for a career in the law like no other.

Education/Experience

  • Bar Membership
  • Criminology or Criminal Justice
  • Law or Legal Support
  • Paralegal Certification

Example Positions

  • Attorney
    Protects government interests by advising government clients, advocating on behalf of government clients and educating government clients concerning legal and regulatory authorities, requirements, entitlements, obligations and oversight requirements.
  • Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Investigator
    Plans, conducts and reports on independent reviews of the government's compliance with EEO rules and regulations. Gathers data pertinent to formal allegations of discrimination, conducts statistical analyses, interviews key witnesses and writes reports of investigations.
  • Paralegal
    Applies legal knowledge and expertise in the analysis of the legal impact of legislative developments, administrative/judicial decisions and opinions/rulings on relevant programs. Conducts legal research, prepares for and attends hearings, interviews witnesses, manages evidence and drafts legal documents.

The Intelligence Community is dedicated to the safety and well-being of our employees and their families around the globe. As a medical professional in the IC, you will perform a wide variety of functions, including medical evaluations, laboratory analyses and even pharmaceutical care. Likewise, our occupational health professionals ensure that the conditions in which our employees work are safe and will not adversely affect well-being. You will perform a variety of functions, including evaluating work spaces to ensure conditions meet health and efficiency standards and amending issues that negatively impact an employee's health or ability to work. This includes the provision of counseling services to employees and family members in need of assistance. Join the Intelligence Community and take care of the people who take care of the nation.

Education/Experience

  • Environmental Health or Industrial Hygiene
  • Health Care or Medicine
  • Licensed Clinical Psychologist
  • Licensed Pharmacist
  • Licensed Physician
  • Licensed Professional Counselor
  • Psychology or Psychological Services
  • Registered Nurse

Example Positions

  • Industrial Hygienist
    Identifies and analyzes environmental conditions or stresses affecting the health, morale and productivity of employees to eliminate or control occupational hazards in accordance with federal and Department of Defense (DoD) regulations and consensus guidelines.
  • Clinical Psychologist
    Applies professional psychological knowledge and skills to conduct mission-related risk assessments, consultations and training. Provides consultation on security clearances and other adjudicative decisions. Selects individuals suitable for sensitive or high-risk assignments, and screens personnel for pre- and post-assignment processing.
  • Physician
    Provides clinical, consultative and administrative services in the areas of occupational health, case management, travel health, primary diagnosis and treatment. Provides medical support for health promotion and wellness, to maintain the value, integrity, quality and availability of medical services.

While the Intelligence Community works to protect the nation, you work to protect the Intelligence Community. If you have a knack for finding clues that uncover hidden truths, you could work in the area of personnel security, evaluating the character, background and history of employees and applicants. Or you could apply your law enforcement skills to provide counterterrorism and force protection, critical incident management, and vehicle, facility and material security inspections.

Education/Experience

  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
  • Criminology or Criminal Justice
  • DoD Polygraph Institute Continuing Education Certificate
  • Military Service
  • Physical Security

Example Positions

  • NSA Police Officer
    Provides armed and uniformed security, force protection and law enforcement functions in support of the agency's mission, assets, personnel and facilities.
  • Polygraph Examiner
    Helps ensure that only trustworthy individuals receive access to classified information by using structured polygraph examinations (including interviews and interrogations) to obtain information from affiliates that will assist in making adjudicative decisions.
  • Security Analyst
    Helps protect agency personnel, facilities and missions by collecting, analyzing, synthesizing and collating data associated with counterintelligence, counterespionage and counterterrorism as it affects agency equities worldwide.

Intelligence Community employees operate in a high risk, high stress and high reward environment. As such, the IC is committed to investing in its most valuable source of capital – its employees. As a human resource professional, you may get involved in all aspects of human resource management, including recruitment and job placement, employee benefits, compensation, job design, performance management and professional development. Human resources professionals are trusted, strategic partners who work with the mission and are a vital part of the IC. Play a key role in the development of the world's most advanced intelligence workforce.

Education/Experience

  • Applied Social Sciences
  • Business Administration or Business Management
  • History, Government or Political Science
  • Human Resources or Human Capital Management
  • Law or Legal Support
  • Psychology or Psychological Services
  • Social Sciences (e.g., Anthropology)
  • Support Services

Example Positions

  • Human Resources Professional
    Provides HR services to a global workforce. These may include recruiting; interpreting and applying HR policies; advising the agency workforce on HR-related topics and programs; addressing performance and conduct issues; processing HR-related actions; compiling and analyzing workforce data; and communicating HR information to the workforce.
  • Benefits Specialist
    Provides retirement and insurance services to personnel, including developing and publishing benefits policy and working aids; verifying employee retirement and insurance eligibility and coverage; counseling the workforce, assisting employees in resolving discrepancies; and providing administrative services for the benefits system.
  • Human Resources Program Manager
    Provides HR-related program management (e.g., student employment, training administration, training development, assessment, awards, promotion, incentive pay, field orientation) to include negotiating and executing funding; establishing and tracking program schedules; retrieving, compiling and analyzing program data; evaluating program deliverables; and recommending possible options to address program shortcomings or gaps.

You enjoy helping people learn and grow. You have the skills to use state-of-the-art methods to develop and administer training courses and curricula that address the developmental needs of all employees. A career in training and intelligence may be in your future. In addition to creating and presenting new courses, you will constantly review course content to ensure that our programs are up-to-date, and that we are creating a learning environment that is conducive to the success of each learner. Keep each member of our workforce on the forefront of his or her chosen field with a fulfilling career in education and training.

Education/Experience

  • Applied Social Sciences
  • Education, Training or Instructional Design
  • Human Resources or Human Capital Management
  • Social Sciences (e.g., Anthropology)
  • Support Services

Example Positions

  • Education and Training Program Manager
    Establishes and directs education and training related programs (e.g., developmental, certification, training) by effectively organizing and prioritizing work and utilizing resources.
  • Instructional Designer
    Defines training goals and objectives and determines appropriate training delivery methods and evaluation/assessment strategies. Methods may include interactive, scenario-driven, technology-based simulations, gaming training activities, demonstrations, tutorials, templates, job aids, business rules and process documents.
  • Instructor
    Prepares employees to accomplish mission requirements by transferring subject matter expertise through the delivery of formal and informal training. Evaluates learners and provides feedback on learning performance. Makes recommendations for modifying course content or delivery as needed.

General administrative support professionals provide support to all key aspects of our mission. You will work closely with strategic and tactical leaders, manage projects and serve in staff officer positions. Apply your skills to help the Intelligence Community protect national interests around the globe.

Education/Experience

  • Social Sciences (e.g., Anthropology)
  • Applied Social Sciences
  • Support Services

Example Positions

  • Customer Service Advocate
    Provides one-stop access to support products and services by interviewing requester to determine specifics of request, understanding customer perspective, or providing information to resolve the problem. Performs preliminary analysis of customer needs to identify the most appropriate approach for solving problems.
  • Office Assistant
    Perform basic office support functions such as typing, filing, answering phones, greeting visitors, operating general office equipment, timekeeping, records management and providing basic administrative services for the immediate organization.
  • Program/Project Director
    Performs one or more functions that contribute to the management of a project or effort (planning, resource management, scheduling, tracking and oversight, quality assurance). Builds and motivates teams to accomplish goals, creates and sustains a strong customer focus, and maintains high expectations for performance.

Clear and compelling communication products are your specialty. Working in words or images, online or print, you know how to articulate ideas and craft communication products that tell a story. Whether your specialty is visual communication, writing, editing or web development, you have the opportunity to facilitate internal or external communication to achieve its intended effects. Become a part of a team that is in charge of communicating vital information to multiple audiences. Join the Intelligence Community as a communications expert.

Education/Experience

  • Communications, Public Affairs, Journalism or Marketing
  • Digital Image Technician Apprentice
  • History, Government or Political Science
  • Publishing
  • Support Services
  • Theater/Arts/Art Design
  • Video Production

Example Positions

  • Graphic Designer
    Designs and/or creates artwork or graphics for print, electronic products, exhibits or displays. Designs communication campaigns or strategies. Develops multimedia products, integrating text, computer graphics, conventional art, photographs or other media.
  • Public Affairs Specialist
    Informs and educates the public about the missions, organization, capabilities, needs, activities and performance of the Intelligence Community as instruments of national defense policy and security. Communicates between the government and members of the news media, expediting the flow of information to both internal and external audiences.
  • Editor/Writer
    Originates new documents and oral presentations, and improves the quality of existing materials by using journalistic principles. Edits and writes a variety of documents, correspondence and other material for publication or presentation.

If you specialize in designing and maintaining facilities and infrastructure, the Intelligence Community offers a wealth of opportunity. You work on a team that performs facilities designs and technical service in support of the intelligence mission. Designing physical facilities, preparing engineering calculations and drawings, analyzing HVAC, air distribution and piping systems – these are just some of the opportunities available in the Intelligence Community. Start or continue a career where the facilities are specialized to meet a critical mission.

Education/Experience

  • Automotive Service Excellence (ASE)
  • Engineering (e.g., Electrical, Civil, Mechanical, Systems) or Physical Sciences
  • Environmental Health or Industrial Hygiene
  • Facilities or Facilities Management
  • Operations or Logistics
  • Prepress Technical Apprentice

Example Positions

  • Facilities Manager
    Manages installation, operation, maintenance and repair of mechanical systems, including electrical, HVAC and building plumbing systems, plus general facility components, such as roofs, roads or sidewalks.
  • Facilities Services Officer
    Responsible for the operation, maintenance, repair, modification, design, construction and inspection of government facilities. Oversees work related to physical infrastructure, utilities, roadways and surrounding grounds as performed by a variety of employees or contractors.
  • Logistics Services Officer
    Oversees a wide range of logistics services to include assessing situations, interpreting policies, and developing and implementing solution sets. Administers all elements of multi-faceted programs; serves as a technical consultant to partners in areas related to logistics functions.
  • Logistics Supply Specialist
    Receives and examines orders for accuracy (item, quantity, damage) and creates receiving reports (copies for warehouse and finance). Warehouses and issues materials, recycles materials, processes excess items, provides storage for customer equipment and material. Delivers and picks up material within the Baltimore-Washington area.