The Department of Defense’s (DOD’s) mandate is to protect the United States’ national resources. A plethora of careers exists with the department that covers a wide range of skills and interests. This makes it difficult to truly identify the best careers. Essentially, the best careers depend on the branch of the department in which you work. We’ve grouped these careers into categories based on some of the agencies within the DOD.

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)

Most people at DARPA don’t stay beyond 4 or 5 years. They hire only the best of the best who can handle big projects that revolutionize the tech industry. They foster the development of seemingly impossible ideas.

One of the best DARPA positions is that of Program Manager (PM). The median salary of a Government Program Manager is $115,622. The key skill required to serve as a PM is innovative thinking. Expertise in your chosen project area is essential, but the high value is placed on innovation.

Applicants must provide a preliminary proposal of a new DARPA program concept when applying for a PM position. Questions that can help you create a winning proposal can be found here.

Defense Finance and Accounting Services (DFAS)

DFAS is the payroll and accounting arm of the DOD. There are jobs in the following niches:

  • Accounting
  • Auditing
  • Contracting
  • Financial management
  • Human resources
  • Information technology
  • Mission support
  • Technician and call center

Highly qualified people in the finance and HR fields can receive good salaries here. If you’re considering joining this arm of the DOD, sit the relevant qualifying exams for your niche so that you have the right credentials. For instance, getting a CPA designation will set you apart from an accounting applicant who only has a first degree.

Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA)

All DOD agencies have a crucial role to play in the seamless operations of the organization. However, the DIA plays a pivotal role in ensuring the safety of Americans from international threats. Members of the agency are charged with the responsibility of producing, analyzing and disseminating military intelligence information.

There are 6 niches within the department where you can find jobs:

  • Collection
  • Analysis
  • Information Systems
  • Operational Support
  • Foreign Languages
  • Military

The more qualified you are in any of these areas, the better your salary.

The National Security Agency (NSA)

The NSA, like the DIA, handles critical intelligence information. Their primary responsibility is breaking codes and intercepting foreign communications. Many of their operations are clandestine. It’s one of the best places to work if you’re interested in a career in cyber crimes because of the experience provided. The salaries are average with Network Security Engineers, Cost Analysts, and Mathematical Analysts getting some of the better salaries.

Defense Media Activity Agency (DMA)

People who are interested in journalism, video production, digital marketing or education can find careers at the DMA. The DMA provides some of the best multimedia products and services that keep DOD audiences engaged. The salaries are diverse. However, a marketing and sales representative can earn between $92,000 and $120,000 per year.

There are more than 20 agencies and departments in the DOD. This article barely scratches the surface of the possibilities. Finding the right DOD career for you depends on your skills and interests. Look at the list of DOD agencies and determine which would be the best fit for your skills and interests. Once you’ve found the best fit, choose a career within that department that truly matches your interests.

If you are feeling frustrated with trying to figure out how to get a job working for the US government, click here to schedule a free Discovery session with Coach Margaret.

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