We’ve mined the databases here at ClearanceJobs and cross-referenced them with the Department of Labor, and are undertaking a state-by-state tour of the top job markets in the United States. Who is hiring? What do they do? Who is the competition? Here is what you need to know if you live in one of these markets, or are considering a move.

Maryland, sometimes called America in miniature! You want mountains? It’s got ‘em. You want swamps (for some reason)? It has them too. Forests, valleys, hills, and grasslands? Maryland has everything you need to take Instagram by storm. Bonus: If you’re eligible for a clearance and love apple pie and defending America, it’s where you were born to live. The National Security Agency headquarters is at Ft. Meade. Naval Intelligence and Coast Guard Intelligence are both in Suitland. The Naval Academy? In Annapolis. Maryland even builds spaceships at the Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel. The Baltimore Ravens win Super Bowls and the Baltimore Orioles… well, the Orioles are there too. Maryland’s official state sport is jousting. Jousting! You probably get the picture: Maryland has got it all, including the jobs.

WHO IS HIRING IN MARYLAND?

Many of the top cleared companies now hiring in Maryland (as of March 2018) have wild and oftentimes interweaving stories. Here are those employers, and where they came from:

Lockheed Martin — In 1912, a guy named Glenn L. Martin formed an aircraft company of the same name. Flight was only nine years old at the time. He and the Wright Brothers even merged their companies briefly, forming Wright-Martin, though the partnership didn’t last long and the companies again split. In the 1960s, the Glenn L. Martin Company merged with American Marietta Company to form Martin Marietta.

Meanwhile, in 1912 brothers Allen and Malcolm Loughead formed the Alco Hydro-Aeroplane Company, later renamed Loughead Aircraft Manufacturing Company. It didn’t survive long past World War I, when the government auctioned its surplus aircraft for a fraction of their worth. (If only they still did that today!) Allen would go on to found a new company, spelled as his name was pronounced: Lockheed Corporation. In 1995, Lockheed Corporation and Martin Marietta merged to form Lockheed Martin.

This part is going to blow your mind. In 1916 Loughhead took a chance and hired a young draftsman to help design planes. The draftman would later help Allen found Lockheed. The draftsman’s name? Jack Northrop.

Northrop Grumman — Jack Northrop founded several companies in his day, including one in 1931 with a man named Donald Douglas. (You know his company, too.) The company didn’t survive, so Jack started Northrop Corporation in 1939, which was a dominant player in aircraft manufacturing through the 1990s.

In 1929, Leroy Grumman and partners from a previous aircraft engineering venture set up shop in an old factory and founded a company called Grumman. Their most famous aircraft were the “cats”: Wildcats, Hellcats, Tigercats, and Bearcats. The F-14 Tomcat achieved superstardom because of the movie Top Gun. Grumman, of course, also dallied in outer space as lead contractor for a little project called Apollo.

In 1994, after Lockheed Martin won the contract for the Advanced Tactical Fighter, Lockheed and Grumman decided to combine their forces to form Northrop Grumman.

Booz Allen Hamilton — In 1914, a psychologist named Edwin Booz founded a management consultancy firm. He had the notion that companies could be more successful if they called upon outside help for impartial management advice. His company’s success bears this theory out, having helped organize everything from the Navy’s role in World War II to the National Football League. The name “Booz Allen Hamilton” is not the result of acquisitions, but rather, evolving partnerships as you might find at a law firm. James Allen joined in 1929. George Hamilton joined in 1935.

Leidos — Before it was Leidos, it was called Science Applications International Corporation, and it was was an engineering firm founded by Bob Beyster in 1969. In 2013, the company changed its name to Leidos and spun off its government services and IT division. It called its spinoff… the Science Applications International Corporation. So where did the name Leidos come from? Well, the company’s goal was to approach lots of different problems from lots of different angles. A lot like a… kaleidoscope.

General Dynamics IT — The earliest iteration of General Dynamics came in the late 1890s, when it was the Holland Torpedo Boat Company. (Airplanes had not yet been invented.) The company’s founder, John Holland, sold the U.S. Navy its very first submarine, and would eventually sell his company to Isaac Rice. Its new name was the Electric Boat Company, and it did pretty well until the end of World War II, at which point its new CEO decided to diversify. They acquired Canadair in 1946, and changed the company’s name to General Dynamics in the early fifties, certainly reflecting the various laws of physics upon which the company now depended. They have owned everything from Cessna to the F-16 to the Gulfstream. In 1993, Lockheed Corporation bought the aircraft manufacturing division of General Dynamics, and proceeded to merge with Martin Marietta. The company remains diversified, and its Information Technology division does cyberwarfare, hospital administrative support, and everything in between.

ManTech International Corporation — One year before Bob Beyster founded SAIC, George Pedersen and Franc Wertheimer started a technology management company. They called it ManTech, using the first letters of those two words. Their first government contract was with the U.S. Navy, helping them do submarine wargaming. Today, they specialize in cultivating new technologies and finding ways they can be applied to government problems and processes.  

CSRA / General Dynamics IT —  The Computer Sciences Corporation was founded in 1959 to help the government do software development. Among their customers was an upstart outfit called NASA, who would go on to do notable things. Fast forward to 1976, when a man named Ernst Volgenau founded Systems Research and Applications Corporation. He was an Air Force retiree, and had spent his career building and managing software and databases for the Defense Department. In 2015, it became clear what natural partners the two companies were. Accordingly, SRA and the U.S. public sector division of CSC merged to form CSRA.

CSRA was recently acquired by General Dynamics IT.

AECOM — The Ashland Oil & Refining Company was founded in 1924 and still exists today as Ashland Inc. On the road to dominance in the chemical and manufacturing sectors, the company developed and acquired a number of engineering firms, building a deep bench of architectural knowledge. (Already, Ashland was a major contractor for America’s highway system.) In 1990, seeking to focus on the oil industry, it spun off its technology division as an independent company focused on architecture, engineering, consulting, operations, and maintenance. Conveniently, the first letter of each of those words spells AECOM.

Engility — When Lockheed Corporation and Martin Marietta merged in the early nineties, a few of its business units were either made redundant or no longer fit in the new Lockheed Martin portfolio. Executives from those companies formed a company of their own—L3—to acquire those vestigial divisions. Over the next twenty years, L3 became a juggernaut of its own, acquiring a number of command and control, avionics, instrumentation, services, and telecommunications companies. Six years ago, L3 spun off the government services and engineering divisions as Engility.

Raytheon — The American Appliance Company might have gone on to be the best refrigeration company in the 1920s, had one of its founders, a scientist named Charles Smith, not further developed a power supply for radios. They went all-in on that technology, even renaming the company Raytheon, or: “Light from the gods.” Ten years later, it was one of the biggest vacuum tube manufacturers in the world, and when World War II came along, they had diversified into radar technology. During the Cold War, Raytheon developed missile technologies, and during the Gulf War achieved a kind of celebrity status with their Patriot missiles. Notably, until the 1990s, they never fully let go of refrigeration or appliances, owning Amana, maker of refrigerators and microwaves. That division, however, was eventually sold off, and today Raytheon is the biggest guided missile manufacturer in the world.

HOW DO YOU COMPARE?

If you want to write yourself into the story of America’s defense industry, you’re probably wondering where you fit in the Maryland job market. According to the ClearanceJobs database of more than 800,000 job candidates, the cleared workforce in Maryland looks like this:

  • Top Secret / SCI: 38%
  • Secret: 32%
  • Top Secret: 18%
  • Intel: 6%
  • Public Trust: 4%
  • Not Specified: 2%
  • Confidential: < 1%
  • Dept of Energy (Q or L): < 1%
  • Dept of Homeland Security: < 1%

In terms of ranking, the order of these clearances is identical to neighboring Virginia. The exact numbers vary by a percentage point or two, this way or that, but the upshot is that 56% of workers and job seekers in Maryland hold a Top Secret—a direct reflection of the type of highly sensitive work to be found in the area. (Washington D.C.’s top secret workforce is even higher, at 64%.)

As to the education of the Maryland workforce:

  • Bachelors 35%
  • Masters 21%
  • High School or Equivalent 19%
  • Associate 12%
  • Certification 8%
  • Doctorate 1.6%

Far fewer job candidates hold graduate level degrees in Maryland than in either Virginia or Washington, D.C. (Maryland is still double the national average, which as of 2017 was 11.4%.) College degrees overall are slightly lower than neighboring job markets, with “only” 57.6% of Maryland’s workforce holding a baccalaureate or higher. The numbers in Virginia and D.C. are 66% and 76% respectively. In other words: if you hold a degree, and especially an advanced degree, you have a leg up on the competition in Maryland.

As to job experience, Maryland looks like this:

  • Student (undergrad/grad): 2%
  • Entry (<2 years of experience): 5%
  • Early (2+ years of experience): 9%
  • Mid (5+ years of experience): 28%
  • Senior (10+ years of experience): 42%
  • Management (Manager / Director of Staff): 13%
  • Executive (SVP, EVP, VP): 1%
  • Senior Executive (President, CEO): < 1%

Again, these numbers track very closely to those of Virginia. It’s a top-heavy workforce; people who move to Maryland stay in Maryland. If you’re a scrappy up-and-comer, though, that makes it a nice place to go. You’ll have a long line of people in front of you for promotions, but you’ll have a job and can always move to D.C., where the workforce has a bit more mobility. The downside is you’ll be living in traffic.

LIVING IN MARYLAND

Here is what you need to know if you want to move to Maryland. First: It has the highest median household income of any state in the union. If you are bringing a family with you for the move, the local economy and school system are worth considering. In Maryland, the news is pretty good. According to the Education Week annual ranking of schools, Maryland schools place sixth in the nation, and scored a B- overall in 2017. The Great Schools database allows you to research Maryland schools by name, city, or district. Maryland is the eighth-best state in the nation for teacher pay, according to the National Education Association.

The Maryland government reports that as of January 2018, the state has a 4.1% unemployment rate. The median home price is $274,000—cheaper than either Virginia or Washington, D.C., according to Zillow. Median rent is $1650. 

With more than 4,100 cleared openings today, now is a great time to extend your cleared job search to the dynamic state of Maryland.

David Brown is a regular contributor to ClearanceJobs. He is currently at work on his next book, One Inch From Earth, which tells the story of scientists who study the outer planets of the solar system. He can be found online at https://www.dwb.io.