With so much criminal information transmitted electronically, the FBI put computer science among the six disciplines on which it's most focused, alongside engineering and foreign languages. "That need became more focused after Sept. 11, 2001," says Joe Bross, FBI special agent in charge of recruiting.
Training: 16 weeks at Quantico, Va., followed by one-to two-year probation period
Requirements: A BS in computer science or related discipline; or any BS or BA degree plus certification as a Cisco Certified Network Professional or Cisco Certified Internetworking Expert
Age: At least 23, younger than 37
Duties: Investigate organized crime, white-collar crime, terrorism, public corruption, financial crime, fraud against the government, civil-rights violations, bank robbery, extortion, kidnapping, air piracy, foreign counterintelligence, and other violations of federal law
It's also using the Internet for the first time to find the right candidates, posting its agent application at http://www.fbijobs.com. The bureau hesitated to post online in the past for fear that the information could somehow be intercepted, Bross says. To address the concern, applications submitted electronically are downloaded from the FBI's Web server and transferred to a password-protected internal system.
More people are interested in government IT jobs, says Robert Lyons, president of GovITjobs.com, a new online job board specifically for IT consultants looking for government contract work. The amount of data "the government tries to manage using advanced systems presents a lot of opportunity for IT professionals," he says.
Of the 923 agents the FBI hired this year through September, about 100 are IT pros. But, Bross says, "we'll begin to see more significant IT numbers in the hiring we do now and going into next year."