Network With a Spy: The NSA Knows the ‘Hidden Job Market’

CIA recruitment adWith all due respect to Lou Adler, the world now knows how to discover his “hidden job market.”

Call the NSA. Skip the networking with the hoi polloi and just cozy up to a spy who works IT for the agency.

As we all now know, the National Security Agency is tapped into every phone call and every email we all send and receive. (Which explains why those Nigerian businessmen and royalty have so much trouble getting their millions out of the country. But that’s another story.)

So who better to know who’s hiring, what the jobs are, and how to get directly to the hiring manager than one of the agency’s network admins?

Not taking my own advice, I instead poked around on the NSA’s careers site, figuring me, with a couple of degrees, ought to be a shoo-in for one of those $200k a year jobs that don’t require more than a GED and are in Hawaii. I didn’t find any of those listed (probably in the hidden job market), but I did find this pitch for computer scientists:

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NSA’s systems environment is a haven for Computer Scientists, with vast networks able to manipulate and analyze huge volumes of data at mind-boggling speeds.

Computer Scientists at NSA have access to acres of hardware, software years ahead of current commercial technology, microprocessor-based advances, beyond-the-horizon supercomputers, leading-edge activities in programming, signals (including analog control), GUI’s and AI, neural nets, information security, the design and implementation of encryption, and advanced algorithms.

To get one of these jobs, which start at $42,200, you need a bachelor’s in computer science or the equivalent and a minimum GPA of 3.0.

That got me wondering how in the world a high school dropout with a GED who began as a security guard wound up with a cushy IT job with Booz Hamilton. Probably the discussion about that particular job req was just like the conversation in this video.

John Zappe is the editor of and a contributing editor of John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. Before joining ERE Media in 2006, John was a senior consultant and analyst with Advanced Interactive Media and previously was Vice President of Digital Media for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

Besides writing for ERE, John consults with staffing firms and employment agencies, providing content and managing their social media programs. He also works with organizations and businesses to assist with audience development and marketing. In his spare time  he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility and obedience competitions.

You can contact him here.


2 Comments on “Network With a Spy: The NSA Knows the ‘Hidden Job Market’

  1. Thanks John. Perhaps Project PRISM could be referred to as “Extreme One-way Social Network Recruiting.” *Within a year, we’ll be able to easily compile detail “Digital Dossiers” on potential candidates, based on publicly-accessible information. Later, by analyzing/interpreting the data, you’ll be able to know when/how best to approach someone. However, your hiring manager will still complain about not having quality candidates, the “Fab 5%” will still be inundated with recruiter queries, and most potential candidates will still be largely ignored for almost any position they’d be qualified for…

    Happy Friday,


    *I’m communicating with a company in/near beta-testing this.

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