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IT Makes FBI Most-Wanted List

Need that was identified last year still unmet; bureau will ramp up hiring pace in coming year.
Amid the slump in IT jobs, the FBI has been hiring, and it plans to pick up the pace. It's even changing some of its hiring practices to get techies in the door.

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.

WANT TO BE AN FBI I.T. AGENT?

Pay: $43,705 during training, $53,743 to $58,335 upon graduation

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

DATA: http://www.fbijobs.com

The FBI typically requires new agents to have five to 10 years' work experience, but it's willing to waive the work requirement for people with technology degrees, Bross says. The FBI wants techies with good problem-solving and programming skills to improve its intelligence operations.

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."

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