The decision to move from contractor to federal employee is a highly personal one. But for an increasing number of professionals, career progress is based on career mobility – and includes successful stints in both the public and private sector. For Monica Courtney, management and program analyst at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, making the move from contractor to federal employee with the nation’s newest agency was one that involved considering all of the aspects of federal versus contract employment. And it was a decision she considered with her spouse, who had also worked in federal contracting.

“The pros and cons converting from contractor to federal service was something that we weighed heavily, as we both have had prior contractor experience,” said Courtney. “We’ve both experienced doing great work on a contract…when one day, you hear, ‘hey, you’ve done great work on the contract, but your services are no longer needed.’ And then it just kind of leaves you hanging.”

The nature of contract work is inherently cyclical. And while internal mobility is essential for many contracting companies, the reality is that sometimes just when you begin to feel your career roots plant, you have to move on to another opportunity. The chance to invest in long-term projects and also to jump into and out of different projects – under the umbrella of the same agency – is a major benefit.

“Being a federal employee gives you that opportunity for training, people able to participate in different projects,” said Courtney. “However, as a contractor, depending upon what the scope of work is for that contract or whatever parameters are set for your job duties, you don’t have the same leverage as you do as a federal employee.”

CISA’s efforts include infrastructure, cybersecurity, technology, emergency response – when you launch a career at CISA you have the opportunity to explore opportunities across a variety of mission sets, but all within the same agency and while advancing the same mission – protecting U.S. assets and interests.

Bring On the Benefits

One obvious, ongoing benefit of federal service is benefits. The federal government long had a lead when it came to vacation, retirement and healthcare. Healthcare remains a major plus, but they’re also working to advance benefits in nontraditional routes like flexible work schedules and casual work environments.

“One of the things I considered was health benefits. Being in federal service, the medical benefits are really, really awesome,” said Courtney.  “When you’re talking about expanding your family, especially when you’ve had young young babies and children, that’s something that’s very very important when it comes to family.”

Benefits of being a federal employee with CISA

CISA celebrates the “Five ‘P’s of CISA’s Success”: PeoplePartnersPolicyPrograms and Public Affairs. The most important ‘P’ is our People. Recognizing the value of our workforce, CISA offers a variety of benefits and perks:

  • Exciting, challenging, and innovative work that includes goal-oriented projects, networking and leadership opportunities, recognition, teamwork and camaraderie
  • Flexible work schedules to include telework, and both casual and professional work environments
  • Competitive salaries, annual leave, sick leave, and paid Federal holidays
  • Comprehensive benefit options, including medical, dental, vision, life and long-term care insurance, flexible spending accounts (FSA), thrift savings plans (TSP) and retirement plans
  • Paid parental leave plus programs and resources for parents
  • Up to three hours of paid leave per week, to engage in health and wellness activities
  • Access to an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
  • SmartBenefits®—a monthly transit benefits subsidy
  • Education and development opportunities such as mentoring programs, leadership programs, and sponsored graduate degree programs

Considering Federal Service? Consider a Career with CISA

Federal agencies like CISA know they need professionals with a cross section of experience in order to be successful. That includes college graduates and federal contractors with 20 years of service under their belts.

“I am all for federal service when it comes to diversifying your resume,” said Courtney.


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