Whether you’re a first-timer looking to join the intelligence community or a cleared professional looking to make a move in your cleared career, the National Security Agency (NSA) is ready and waiting for you. Not sure a career in intelligence is just right for you? Not sure your valuable experiences, training, and education will be of much value to the NSA? Afraid to even begin the arduous process because you simply doubt the investment of your time will pay any dividends? Don’t worry. Many find themselves in the same situation, and the NSA’s responding to that concern.

IntelligenceCareers.gov is a deep dive into life inside the intelligence community,  from ‘5 Reasons to Work at the NSA’ to ‘Career Growth at the NSA.’ The NSA’s Job Exploration Tool offers to “tell you how your education, training and experience fit the IC,” in just five minutes. And we all have five minutes to spare. I tried it, and according to the Exploration Tool, the NSA just might be interested in me for jobs in General Administrative Support, Communication and Public Affairs, Intelligence Analysis, Education and Training, Intelligence Collection, Cyber, and Human Resources. It took me about three minutes.


Right up front, the NSA career site provides details on what working at the NSA means. Sure, they provide the bumper-sticker marketing language—“Challenging, rewarding, life-changing, history-making . . . .” But the NSA provides more. They provide quick, easy introductions to NSA Benefits, the NSA Culture, NSA Development Programs, Student Programs, and NSA Awards (“NSA is proud to be recognized as an outstanding employer by several industry-leading organizations”).

And it’s pretty much all interesting, relevant reading, whether you’re an old cleared hand or simply testing the waters. For instance, the Benefits site provides employee testimonials (short videos) on topics from paid time off to sick leave, maternity leave, health insurance, retirement plans . . . and work-life balance. Project manager Chris D will tell you, “It’s nice to know that at the end of a 40 hour work week, I get to go home and enjoy my life outside of work, too.” Forty hour work week? “My boss understands,” reports Chris, “that the time I spend away from work recharging will make me a better, more productive employee.” Another testimonial offers, “I would say that NSA is an extremely family-friendly environment.” So deciding whether the NSA is right for you is about more than salary and prestige, and the NSA knows it.


Don’t know enough about security work? They give you some answers. Wondering how long a clearance process might take? They’re candid: “The clearance process can be lengthy.” Wondering what salary is like? Wondering what parking is like? The NSA’s FAQs answer all that and more. By the way, there’s “sufficient parking.”

This inside look at the NSA is great intel for anyone considering a position with the NSA, including the thousands of contractors supporting their mission every day. Learning more about the Agency’s culture, priority and hiring needs may be the information you need to land a great job in one of the government’s most cutting-edge arenas. Check out the NSA Intelligence Careers site.

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Ed Ledford enjoys the most challenging, complex, and high stakes communications requirements. His portfolio includes everything from policy and strategy to poetry. A native of Asheville, N.C., and retired Army Aviator, Ed’s currently writing speeches in D.C. and working other writing projects from his office in Rockville, MD. He loves baseball and enjoys hiking, camping, and exploring anything. Follow Ed on Twitter @ECLedford.