My alma mater, Penn State University (PSU) has launched a master’s degree program in artificial intelligence. The 33-credit program is offered online in order to provide a professional, technical education in developing and deploying AI and machine learning. Applications are currently being accepted, with courses starting in January 2022. While you don’t always need to get a master’s degree, it can be helpful in landing jobs at AI powerhouses, like Palantir.

As the job market grows and AI becomes a dominant theme, the power of education can be the differentiating factor in a pile of hopeful resumes. With AI becoming a growing force in national security – both from an offensive and defensive role – it’s important that cleared professionals continue to add the technical skills, as well as a deeper understanding of the capabilities.

“We really need this professionally oriented degree to satisfy this need we’re seeing in the job market and the growth potential,” Colin Neill, a professor of software and systems engineering who is the director of the new program said. “It speaks to how AI is not one specific career — it’s everywhere. The idea is ubiquitous.”

Contract Opportunities to Watch

Palantir Palantir was selected by the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) to continue its work as their enterprise data management and AI-enabled mission command platform as part of the Mission Command System/Common Operational Picture program. The contract is valued at a total of $111 million, inclusive of options, with $52.5 million executed upon award. The total contract includes a base year and one option year.

Palantir’s platform has been used by USSOCOM in real-time mission operations to interoperate with other components of the global situational awareness architecture since 2016. Palantir’s software is designed to aggregate disparate and siloed data sources to enable the best possible data-driven decision-making, making Palantir uniquely suited to provide a platform to support unity of effort and enhance high impact decision-making across warfighting functions.

“When Special Operators are risking their lives in no fail scenarios, they deserve technology that works. Our partnership with USSOCOM was one of our first in the U.S. military, and we are honored to keep providing technology that gets the job done while we partner on the future of what is possible,” said Doug Philippone, Palantir’s Global Defense Lead.

Palantir’s technology enables real-time collaboration across USSOCOM and its allies, giving its commanders situational awareness at a global scale, bringing AI to the battlefield, and improving the ability to respond to near-peer threats. Palantir’s software is used for the full life cycle of today’s continuous operations; from planning, to review coordination and approval, through to battle tracking of the actual mission execution.

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Cleared Job of the Week

Big Data Engineer While big data is a big undertaking, if you’re into working deep in the systems stack behind the scenes, and you really enjoy the technical side of things, this career track could be the ticket for you. You’ll need to stay up-to-date on a lot of different programming languages because different jobs require different technologies. So plan on getting a computer science or engineering bachelor’s degree, and work on your SQL, Python, R languages and add certifications like Google’s Cloud Certified Professional Data Engineer. While the world needs the data scientist at the front, national security also depends on its data teams in the back. Big data engineers need to be able to get the knowledge in, as well as, spend time practicing with the technology in order to stay proficient.

Growth Opportunities

As NASA continues to be a leader in growing the next generation interested in space, they are also leading the way in developing more free flying habitats in low Earth orbit. While NASA has celebrated 20 years with astronauts continuously onboard the International Space Station, the space frontier has so much uncharted territory still. NASA plans to award up to $400 million to as many as four companies with their Commercial LEO Destination (CLD) project to develop private space stations.

Currently, NASA has transferred cargo transportation, crew transportation, and destinations to SpaceX, Northrop Grumman, and Boeing with different roles for each company.

“By bringing the private sector into these sections and into these areas, as suppliers and users, you expand the pot, and you have more people in low Earth orbit,” NASA commercial LEO director Phil McAlister said in a briefing.

NASA’s briefing had a wide variety of aerospace and space companies in attendance, including: Airbus U.S., Blue Origin, Boeing, Collins Aerospace, Firefly Aerospace, General Dynamics, ispace, Lockheed Martin, Moog, Nanoracks, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Redwire Space, RUAG Space, Sierra Nevada Corporation, SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, Virgin Orbit, Voyager Space Holdings, and York Space Systems.

The space frontier continues to be a key interest and play a role in national security, as well.




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Jillian Hamilton has worked in a variety of Program Management roles for multiple Federal Government contractors. She has helped manage projects in training and IT. She received her Bachelors degree in Business with an emphasis in Marketing from Penn State University and her MBA from the University of Phoenix.