The National Security Agency employs a wide variety of cyber professionals to help protect and defend U.S. government IT systems, and to help exploit the intelligence of adversaries.
As our use of technologies grows exponentially, so do our country's vulnerabilities. Our national security depends on the stability and reliability of our communications infrastructure. The cyber threat to IT and national security systems has never been greater.
As a cyber professional at NSA, you will become a part of a tradition of excellence, poised to lead the nation in the protection of our country's national interests in cyberspace for years to come.
The Skills We Need
If you have a background in any of the following fields, consider a cyber career at NSA.
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. Your time will be spent solving problems, testing approaches and researching solutions. At NSA, you have the opportunity to maximize your knowledge, skills, initiative and your ability to learn and be imaginative.
Our computer scientists work in two major categories: development and support. Within these two categories, a multitude of jobs is available with NSA:
- Computer network operations
- Information systems security
- Vulnerability discovery
- Information assurance
- Project management
- Database management
- Real-time interfaces
- Information resource management
- Object-oriented programming
- Executive support
- Web design
NSA offers some of the world's most demanding and exhilarating high-tech engineering challenges. Our entry-level engineers work with teams, meaning you'll be involved in multiple stages of a project, including requirements analysis, design, simulation, experimentation, benchwork, prototype development and testing, manufacturing and possibly field work. You'll be part of a multidisciplinary team made up of engineers, computer scientists, mathematicians, analysts, contractors and other project members.
Career PathsAt NSA, there are multiple career paths in computer/electrical engineering:
- Design of special-purpose computers and antenna systems
- Pattern recognition technologies
- Signals analysis
- Design, development, and testing of electronic communications
You may also be working in our microelectronics facility, including our Class 1,000 microelectronics assembly clean room. In this setting you will be working on such tasks as 3D integrated circuit assembly. You may also be involved in leading-edge integrated circuit design, package engineering, automated test engineering, product reliability and failure analysis.
Our dual track system affords you the opportunity to choose to expand your technical expertise or move toward a management role within NSA.
Technical SkillsThe following technical skills are needed throughout NSA:
- Network engineering - Design/analysis of LANs/WANs, routers, switches, firewalls, protocol
- Software engineering - JAVA, C++, XML, HTML, web applications, object oriented analysis and design, rapid prototyping, algorithm development
- Communications - Digital and analog, fixed and mobile wireless, satellite, antenna design
- Systems engineering - Inter-disciplinary engineering, requirements definition, architecture, design, interface specification, integration, validation, modeling and simulation developing installation/acceptance test plans
- Microelectronics - VHDL, FPGA, microelectronic manufacturing and testing (MCM, SOC), electronic packaging, VLSI
Project ProspectsComputer/electrical engineers at NSA work on many different kinds of projects:
- Vulnerability Analysis
- Public Key Infrastructure (PKI)
- Security Testing/Red Teaming
- Intrusion Detection
- Security Software Design/ Development (object oriented programming: C++/JAVA)
- Security Hardware Design/ Development
- Customer Support
- Defense Information Operations (DIO)
- Special Processing Laboratory (SPL)
- Microelectronics Research Laboratory (MRL)
- Mathematics Research
- Information Assurance Research
- Cryptology Research
- Secure Network Technology
- Intrusion Detection
- Wireless Security
- High Speed Networking Security
- Secure Systems Research
- Laboratory for Physical Sciences
- Electronics Research
- Physics Research
- Laboratory for Telecommunications Sciences
- SIGINT Research
- Scientific Linguists
- Algorithm Research and Development
- Information Technology Infrastructure Services (ITIS)
- Software Development (object oriented programming - C++/JAVA)
- Database Management Systems
- NSA Internal Infrastructure
- NSA Operational Computer Security
- Enterprise Software
- Traditional Communications
- Fiber Optics
- Wireless Security
- Digital Signals Processing (DSP)
- Digital Design ("build what we can't buy")
- Chip Level
- Software Design/ Development (object oriented programming - C++/JAVA)
- Hardware Design/ Development
- Information Operations
- Special Hardware
- Network Technologies
- Voice Technologies
- System Engineering
At the National Security Agency, intelligence analysis is the process of generating intelligence from data and information derived from foreign signals. Intelligence analysts are the agency's professionals whose research, analysis, and presentation of findings provide the most complete possible signals intelligence (SIGINT) picture. U.S. policymakers, military commanders, and other Intelligence Community organizations use SIGINT to assist in executive branch decisions and actions.
As an intelligence analyst, you may find yourself preparing written and oral assessments of current events based on the sophisticated collection, research, and analysis of both classified and unclassified information.
Intelligence analysts solve difficult technical problems, work independently in analysis and research, apply new techniques to solve analytic problems, demonstrate knowledge of the communications environment and technology trends of their targets and assess information to provide unique insight into target intentions unavailable from other intelligence disciplines.
This work requires interest in the relationships of history to current events, as well as knowledge of the geographic, social, economic and political issues that influence world events.
NSA mathematicians spend their days focusing on some of today's most distinctive challenges and problems. They apply number theory, group theory, finite field theory, linear algebra, probability theory, mathematical statistics, combinatorics and more. We encourage our mathematicians to participate in interdisciplinary assignments and train with professionals in such fields as computer science and signals analysis.
Your education is far from complete when you join NSA. Both formal and informal seminars are routinely organized among our scholars to study specific, timely, mathematics-related topics, while professional organizations sponsor regular discussions on issues of broader interest.
NSA mathematicians apply their skills to such tasks as:
- Designing and analyzing complex algorithms
- Expressing difficult cryptographic problems in terms of mathematics
- Applying work to find a solution or demonstrating that a solution cannot be found, given certain computational limitations and reasonable time limits