limited to U.S. citizens, and require a
Doing an internship with one of
these agencies is the most successful
way to secure jobs for aspiring stu-
dents. Such internships come with a
security clearance and give students a
view into the classified world, helping
them to better identify which part of
the agency would be the best fit for a
full-time job. It also helps the agencies
identify top talent and recruit them
accordingly. Applications are typically
due in October for internships the fol-
lowing summer. These security clear-
ances are also powerful differentiators
for students should they seek an in-
dustry career after graduation, which
could garner them a 10-15 percent
higher starting salary [ 1].
Outside of the defense and intelli-
gence ecosystem, private companies
have the need for cyber operators as
well. Of the more than 45,000 open
jobs in the Collect and Operate field
nationwide, 83 percent are for the
private sector and located outside
the Washington D.C. metropolitan
area. These jobs could be with large
companies with complex enterprise
networks that need to be defended
against sophisticated hacker threats,
or startup companies who are work-
ing to build better tools to aid in im-
plementing a proactive cyber defense.
Regardless of whether a public or
private sector career is chosen, there
are many options for career development from an entry-level specialist to
a senior-level manager or engineer,.
Those selecting careers in cyber operations will have a wide-range of professional opportunities.
[ 1] Kyzer, L. Clearance salary trends in 2017.
Clearance Jobs.com (Jan. 19, 2017); https://ne ws.
Dr. Charles Clancy is a professor of electrical and
computer engineering at Virginia Tech where he
directs the Hume Center for National Security and
Technology. The Hume Center’s mission is to develop
future technical leaders for the national security and
cybersecurity sectors. Virginia Tech was designated an
NSA National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber
Operations in 2017.
Copyright held by author.
The rise of computer
security as a
global issue has
field from one of very
to a highly
The size of the virtual private network
(VPN) market was $15.64 billion
worldwide in 2016. It is forecasted to
grow to $35.73 billion by 2022.